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Right and Left and Wrong and Stuff

Imagine my surprise to find this rant in my feed reader this morning:

No one to my knowledge has ever been kicked out of the Evangelical Theological Society for being too conservative, and frankly I don’t think anyone could get kicked out for being too conservative. Why? Because going right is never wrong. Go as far as you want, you’ll never get into trouble. You can believe in dictation theory, in views on the authorship of books that are more miraculous than anyone needs to believe, in snakes talking to Adam and Eve (as a result of a miracle, mind you), in a 10,000 year old earth and in young earth creationism, in radical views of complementarianism, you can deny women their rightful place in ministry (it’s in the Bible, after all, that women were prophets and apostles and leaders of the whole People of God), you can equate right wing Tea Party libertarianism with what the Bible is teaching, you can be as Calvinistic as you want to be (and more), and I could go on and on … no one ever gets in trouble for espousing these views among conservative evangelicals. Ever.

But if you wonder if science might have a few things to offer us when it comes to Genesis 1-3, if Isaiah didn’t write that whole book, if something in one of the Gospels just might be midrash (did Peter really grab a coin from a fish’s mouth?), if maybe God made a world where there is divine self-limitation (some forms of open theism), if Jesus rides (or will ride) on clouds, if justice is at the heart of God’s mission in this world, especially through the church … well, then, you’re on the slippery slope. Going left is wrong (for the right); going right is never wrong. Even if you can show that your view is justifiable biblically, many think any move away from the right is wrong.

Here’s my thesis: the slippery slope, if there is one, is on both sides.

I love it when really smart people agree with me. 🙂



  1. […] F. McGrath TweetI have written several contradictory things over the years about the notion of a slippery slope, but one of them focused on the idea of a “radical middle,” where one tries to maintain […]


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