Nostalgia for the Past is Desertion from the Present Conflict

Written by Mark Farnham

On September 26, 2011

The task of theology in a decentered age is not easy, but theology never was. The crusader who nostalgically quests for the golden age of Christendom is in fact a deserter from the present conflict…

Perhaps all the challenges to contemporary theology derive, in part, from the anthropocentric turn. That turn has led to a dead end, the decentering and dissolution of the subject. Man was not created to be the center; he cannot like Atlas bear the weight of the world, nor can he fully convince himself that the world is not heavy. The way forward is, at the beginning, the way back. A radical return to theocentrism, a retrieval of our creedal heritage, and an emphasis on the community of saints concretely localized in the proclamation of Scripture and [the Lord’s Supper and baptism] may open a new global future for us.

Charlie Johnson, Sacred Page Blog

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  1. Positive Action (@actionforchrist)

    Glad to have you back posting again!

    Great quote. It is too bad that we have so radically departed from theocentrism, but that is the nature of our hearts and has been from the beginning of time. Dethrone God and make an idol of me.

    Question: do you think that Johnson was saying that a “radical return to theocentrism” is one part of the solution (so theocentrism plus the rest of the list), or that theocentrism is fleshed out in the rest of the list (theocentrism = “a retrieval of our creedal heritage, and an emphasis on the community of saints concretely localized in the proclamation of Scripture and [the Lord’s Supper and baptism]”)?

    Hope the dissertation is going well.

    Jason Ehmann

    • Mark Farnham


      I think he is saying both–that a return to a God-focused ministry (that phrase sounds familiar!) is needed, and that it looks like a return to serious, sound doctrine (as taught in the historic creeds), an emphasis on the local church, and a valuing of those distinctly Christian practices. Although I may articulate it slightly differently, I think this way of saying it is also good.

      Thanks for commenting!



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