Daily Archives: April 23, 2005

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Who am I? Part II

I’d been hoping to get going on Mark 1:1 this weekend, but I have left my black notebook at work. Without my black notebook, I am nothing… So instead, some more throat-clearing: a few words on my theological stance.

As I said in Who am I? Part I, I am a Christian and an academic theologian. But what kind of labels can be stuck to me without contravening the Trade Descriptions Act? At this point, I’m meant to say that I hate labels, and that they’re so misleading as to be worthless, and so divisive as to be immoral. But I can’t. I love labels. (You know those internet surveys you can do which will ask boxfuls of questions about your political stance or your computing habits or your sex life or your musical taste, and then spit out an answer telling you just what kind of person you are? I love them. I wonder whether all INTJs are like this?) Of course, this doesn’t mean that labels, taken at all seriously, aren’t so misleading as to be worthless, and so divisive as to be immoral…


  • I’m an Anglican theologian;
  • who thinks of himself as credally orthodox, and who habitually says that the doctrines of Trinity and Incarnation are at the heart of his theology;
  • who can probably be identified from a mile off by cognoscenti as a student of David Ford;
  • who reads quite a bit of Karl Barth but isn’t Reformed enough to be a Barthian;
  • who finds himself agreeing more often than not with Rowan Williams;
  • who in theological terms is fairly (Anglo)Catholic, but not really in ‘churchmanship’ terms;
  • who could probably be called ‘postliberal’ a la Hans Frei, except that I don’t think I was ever a liberal;
  • who was brought up an evangelical, but by the most easily availble definitions probably doesn’t count as one any more;
  • who was also brought up a charismatic, but almost certainly doesn’t count as one any more;
  • who doesn’t have much time for doctrines of biblical inerrancy or infallibility, but who certainly does have time for doctrines of biblical authority, and the idea that the Bible is norma normans non normata (Google it, you’ll get some idea);
  • who – professional guild markers coming up – subscribes to Modern Theology and The International Journal of Systematic Theology.

If I have to pick one label, I like the phrase coined by Hans Frei to describe one of his teachers: ‘Generous orthodoxy’.