There are few things I violently hate more than theological liberalism. It is a colossal failure of nerve. I’ve since realized that not all non-conservatisms are created equally. Post-liberal theology, while perhaps incapable of saying anything definitively, is not the same thing as old-school liberalism. It, like its evangelical counterpart, acknowledges that modernity has failed. Further, reading critical scholars can pay surprising dividends. Evangelicals are so quick to defend inerrancy that when there are “tensions” in the text, the Evangelical is quick to smooth them out. Now, I’m all for inerrancy and the unity of God’s word, but I have to ask if we are missing something. Maybe the tensions in the text need to remain there a bit longer. Perhaps this is the way of the author to let us look deeper into the historical situation.
While I don’t agree with the Documentary Hypothesis and the postmodern claim that the different authors are using the texts as acts of violence against one another, I think the different emphases (say between Kings and Chronicles) are perhaps more than different emphases. Going beyond that is a bit of speculation, though.
The problem is that these guys never really left old-school liberalism. The problem is illustrated in Walter Brueggemann. Brueggemann is a talented preacher and I enjoy listening to him. But when he moves to application, it’s even worse than old-school liberalism. Old school liberals, for all of their faults, loved high culture and decency. They would have been horrified at the sexual decadence today. Brueggemann, by contrast, urges the white male (how come that phrase isn’t considered racist and sexist to white males?) to embrace the coming gay and feminist hegemony. But as many culture warriors have pointed out, it’s not simply that we don’t want gays to have equal rights. The problem is that they don’t stop there: the sexual revolution is simply a weapon to destroy traditional society (which is why godly men and women are being sued because they won’t cater to gays).
Which leads to the next problem: post liberals and leftists have never really been able to “speak truth to power.” They are Washington lapdogs. You can’t say you are “speaking the truth to power” when you line up with the Power’s agenda.