The Necessity and Danger of Polemical Theology


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Justin Taylor:

D. A. Carson argues that polemical theology is biblical but can also be dangerous:

. . . any robust theology that wounds and heals, that bites and edifies and clarifies, is implicitly or explicitly engaging with alternative stances.

In a world of finite human beings who are absorbed in themselves and characterized by rebellion against God, polemical theology is an unavoidable component of any serious theological stance, as the Bible itself makes clear.

But then he points to the dangers:

Nevertheless there is something wrong-headed about making polemical theology the focus of one’s theological identity.

This can be done in many ways.

There are well-known scholars whose every publication has an undertone of “everyone-has-got-this-wrong-before-me-but-here-is-the-true-synthesis.”

Some become far better known for what they are against than for the overflow of their worship or for their generosity to the needy or even for their affirmation of historically confessed truth.

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2 thoughts on “The Necessity and Danger of Polemical Theology

  1. Great article giving balance to a topic that is often unbalanced. I guess I would add that while Paul was writing to the church of Galatia, “Polemical” Theologians today (especially those who utilize Internet as a medium of dissemination) are also writing to seekers and skeptics. As such, the message needs to be true and humbly persuasive, but it also should not drive others away (or further away) from God.

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