Accentuating the Positive
Last year I was invited to give the keynote address at the annual meeting of the Scottish Evangelical Theology Society, and I was asked specifically if I could engage the question of how to handle diversity. My address has now been published in the Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology 30/1 (2012), 21-29, and by permission of the editor I have posted the PDF of the article on the “Selected Published Essays, etc” tab of this blog site. The title of the article: “You’ve Got to ‘Accentuate the Positive’: Thinking about Differences Biblically.” Here’s the link to the SBET:
My emphasis is the article is that a readiness to accommodate diversity in a positive manner seems to have been one of the key characteristics of that cluster of forms of early Christianity that comprise what has been referred to as “proto-orthodox” Christianity. The original connotation of “heresy” in early Christian usage was a sectarian outlook, a narrow religious “party”. I give some examples of the diversity that we see represented directly in the New Testament, which is a collective statement affirming a critical diversity. Early Christianity at its best was more of a jazz combo, with creativity and room for variations, rather than a tightly orchestrated symphony with each part written out in detail and conforming to a closely-directed performance.