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Chp 2 of Roger Olson, Reformed and Always Reforming, is about “Christianity’s Essence” and his concern is “transformation over information.”
Why? Because “there is no final stopping place in the process of ongoing correction and reform short of the return of Jesus Christ” (69). But, postcons think cons evangelicals are “too obsessed with the cognitive and intellectual sides of the gospel and of Christian existence” (69). I’d like you to read that carefully: it is not an either/or or a false dichotomy Olson is drawing here; instead, it is emphasis. Postcons want to correct this “one-sidedness.”
And, of course, postcons have been accused of a slippery slope. Olson says back: “it is a vicious calumny unjustified by any fair reading of the works of postconservatives” (69).
Millard Erickson says the “doctrinal component is a major component of Christianity… [and it] will be regarded as the most important permanent element” (70). That is what Olson is talking about. Yes, Erickson and cons evangs do believe in transformation; and postcons believe in doctrine. The question is one of emphasis.
Is conservative evangelicalism’s emphasis on doctrinal content? And is its emphasis an overemphasis?
Next post: postconservativism’s “experiential impulse”.