An Interesting Conversation

I am still working on Love Wins.  I have about a chapter or two remaining, and I should probably finish it today.  But I doubt if I will have a good opportunity to sit down and write about it before Sunday or Monday, but we’ll see.

In the meantime, check out this interesting conversation between Brian McLaren and Albert Mohler.

It started with this Mohler piece, arguing that Love Wins is simply warmed over liberalism for a new age:

http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/03/16/we-have-seen-all-this-before-rob-bell-and-the-reemergence-of-liberal-theology/

Then Brian McLaren responded with this:

http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/challenging-three-cherished-evan.html

And then Mohler responded with this:

http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/03/23/a-theological-conversation-worth-having-a-response-to-brian-mclaren/

One key quote is from the second Mohler piece:

“We do not know who God is by knowing what love is. We understand love by knowing who God is.”

This is what we Calvinists mean when we talk about God-centered theology.  God is the absolute standard of all that is good.  He does not conform to a higher standard.  Therefore, all that is good and right is determined in relation to his supremacy.  I believe this way of understanding God is simply a corollary of understanding divine simplicity, but that is probably a topic that should wait for another post at another time.

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2 Responses to An Interesting Conversation

  1. Bill says:

    Thanks for sharing – very interesting indeed. You bring out a key point. As Plato asked Euthyphro, is “what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?”

    You’ve shown your cards, but I think a related question is, can “natural theology” bring anything useful and analogous about God to the table? Romans 1?

    In this exchange between McLaren and Mohler, is McLaren saying that the gospel can’t be known, or is he saying that it’s so deep and rich that one formula can’t trump all the others? It seems Mohler is missing the subtlety of what McLaren suggests.

    As an aside, I agree completely by the way that the Bible as “community library” a la McLaren is a problematic notion at best.

  2. Bill,

    I have thought about Plato’s dialogue in relation to this question, but I would suggest that my position actually moves along a different axis.

    If we ask whether God commands something because it is morally good or whether it is morally good because he commands it, we are forced into a false dilemma because we are considering only what God commands and not who he is. But if we understand that God’s nature is the standard of all that is good, and that he will only command that which is in keeping with his own (God-centered) nature, then we are able to avoid two sub-biblical concepts:

    (1) That God must conform to a standard higher than himself; or
    (2) That God’s will arbitrarily determines what is right and wrong.

    The first option subordinates God to something else. The second detaches his will from his nature (voluntarism). Neither option is biblical.

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