Monday, 13 September 2010

An Introduction to Radical Orthodoxy

from Stefan Lindholm's talk - mp3 available from English L'Abri

- 'more of a loose tendancy than a exclusive movement'
- not ecclesial (relating to church)
- links to thought of Chesterton/Lewis/Schaeffer?
- mainly Anglican? Or even a 21st century Catholicism?
- described as a postmodern thought. Although Milbank is v critical of nihilsm in postmodernism.
- 'participation' is one of RO's favourite words – in terms of relation between God and the world.
- Dependent creation and an independent God.
- Participatory framework supports a theology which touches all life – not confined to biblical or systematic theology.

*Systematic theology - rationalised Christian theory that tries to be universally applicable, like theory of relativity?

- Idea of participation is found in Analogy (medieval theologian Aquinus' doctrine of the 'analogy of being'. Similar thought in Augustus/in?) – every being has an analogous relationship with God.

  • (created) Words are neither completely non applicable, nor exactly the same, when applied to God. i.e language is not univocal – does not mean exactly the same in and beyond creation.

*Ontology – philosophical study of being/existence/reality
*Emergent church – late 20th/21st cent. Broad trends in churches developing in recognition of postmodern situation?

The inherent value of the material. In any other world view, than the one where everything participates in God, the material will lose value and the world will be 'flattened'. Taken to its extreme, this thinking could lead to pantheism/atheism. Without it, the world is not valued as created by God – domination and exploitation allowed.
- RO applies these ideas to history.
- Robert E. Webber (RO sympathiser) argues that Reason has unnecessarily been relied on to validate Christianity, which does not require such validation. Is RO therefore fideistic or irrational?

*Fideism – reason cannot reach certainty (in religion) so a leap of faith (without, or against, reason) is required

- Is Fideism a bad thing?
- Milbank refers to 'knowledge by faith alone' in ref to radical pietism (17th-18th cent. Movement emphasising a religion of the heart, not of the head)
- He also discusses the idea that you cannot acquire any knowledge direct from the world, without mediation by God. Lindholm suggests that this could conflict with the inherent value of the material that RO set out to defend. I'm not sure if it does, Milbank is just saying that the material world only has value because God animates it.
- What does this viewpoint mean to non christian claims to knowledge?!

*Epistemology – theory of knowledge

- We need to think of reasons within the boundary of religion, not religion within the boundaries of reason (Kant).
- Lack of exegetes (biblical scholars) in RO?

*Open theism – view that God does not perfectly know the future (which reconciles God's sovereignty with human free will). Boyd explains it that the future does not exist to be known by anyone – God doesn't know it anymore than he knows square circles..



  1. Hey bro! how are ya? Be sure to tell the Salford folks that I said "hi"

    Is Lindholm a self-described member of RO?

  2. Hey man. In the midst of planning for the new year right now!

    Lindholm is critical of RO, although I think he is generally positive towards it, or optimistic about it's potential. I'm still slowly reading some John Milbank, and hearing a general assessment of RO has helped me a lot in understanding what I'm reading.

    I have never read any more traditional theology though, which would probably help.