Today’s Theological Trends -- By: Stanley N. Gundry
BSac 132:526 (Apr 75) p. 123
Today’s Theological Trends
[Stanley N. Gundry, Member of Faculty, Department of Theology, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois.]
At least three main areas may be included in current theological trends: (1) neo-Protestantism, by which is meant all nonconservative Protestant theology; (2) contemporary Roman Catholicism; and (3) conservative Protestantism in its various shades. Because of limitation of space this article is concerned with the first two areas.
Limiting the consideration to neo-Protestant theology and contemporary Roman Catholic theology still leaves one with a topic of staggering dimensions, for within these two camps there is a confusing array of theological options. Many of these propose concepts that are foreign to historic Christian orthodoxy and that had not yet surfaced when most students of theology now over thirty-five years of age took courses in contemporary theology in school. When this writer was in seminary in the early 1960s, it was assumed that if a person had a basic understanding of classical liberalism, neoliberalism, Barthianism and neoorthodoxy, and traditional Roman Catholicism, he could be fairly confident in handling whatever he might encounter outside his own theological circle. But this is no longer the case.
In the last decade and a half, the theological landscape has been bombarded with books such as Bishop Robinson’s Honest to God, Harvey Cox’s The Secular City, Leslie Dewart’s The Future of Belief, and Paul van Buren’s The Secular Meaning of the Gospel. Though we are past the death of God theology (Altizer, Hamilton), numerous other theologies continue: the era of linguistic analysis of religious language (van Buren), secular theology (Cox), theologies
BSac 132:526 (Apr 75) p. 124
of hope and revolution (Moltmann, Braaten), and process theology (Ogden, Pittenger). This is an era of almost cultic interest in the theological writings of two deceased men, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Out of this confusing and complex array no consensus has developed to make this survey of today’s trends easier, and there are no “big names” today on the theological scene that would be comparable in reputation and influence to the “big four” prior to 1960, viz., Barth, Brunner, Bultmann, and Tillich. To make matters even more confusing, there is a great deal of overlapping and borrowing in the theological fads just referred to, so that the lines of distinction are not always clear. For instance, though secular theology, theology of hope, and process theology are usually regarded separately, theology of hope is very secular in its orientation and concerns and has a view of time, rea...
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