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A New View: Theology & Practice

An Attempt at a Theology that
Looks at Things in a New Way
So We Live in New Ways

(Skip to Contents. Skip to Summary.)

How can this life, with all its joys and problems,
be meaningful be in the light of the next?

'New View' sees God as active in and with the world
- more than a mere responder to prayer or a being to believe in -
with Jesus the Anointed One at the focus.

This site.

Here I have set out my developing understanding of what God is doing, and requiring of us, in the context of history and theology, and of the practice of life with Jesus Christ. As well as explaining 'what', it also tries to explain 'why', and sometimes 'how'. It tries to be self-critical. Enjoy. And comment.

Andrew Basden.

Contents of Page:

Contents of the Site

This is a mini-website of a few dozen pages, that

  • develops some of the new approaches in theology,
  • links things together in new ways,
  • informs new directions in practice of everyday life,
  • furthers new understanding of God's Cosmic Plan of creation and salvation,
  • and perhaps even requires a fresh vision of God,

in order to make compelling sense of environmental responsibility and the importance of all that we do in every in work, academia and everyday living - and this bridge the Sacred-Secular Divide.

This site is written from and to an evangelical Christian perspective, but in such a way that readers with other perspectives should be able to understand, enjoy, benefit from and contribute to what is written. It tries to address issues from both an everyday and an academic point of view. It aims to open up possibilities for reflection, rather than polemic for argument - though if my language sometimes seems too 'eager' please treat it as a draft.

Some Individual Pages Worth Visiting:

Why New?

Comparison with Other Views:

Relevance of New View:

On the Gospel, Evangelism, Revival, Prayer, etc.

Some Points of Theology:

Summary Introduction to A New View
God's Plan as Five 'R's.

Major Theme Some Main Questions Some Main Answers
Reality Rejoicing What is God's 'cosmic plan'? Why did he create us and the cosmos? Why did he come to save us? God creates and gives dignity to all his creation.
Something that makes sense of the richly varied world we are part of.
God values even the 'mundane' aspects of life.
Radah What is our Role in Creation as human beings? Our role is much more glorious than we have assumed: shepherds rather than stewards, masters or consumers. To 'shepherd' the Rest of Creation, for its own sake, not ours.
Much more than "the chief end of Man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever."
Relatedness What's the nature of the creation? What's important? Understanding Everyday Life: Responsibility, Justice, Fall, Powerlessness and Eternal Life's relationship with here and now.
Rich Redemption - How does God overcome the Fall? God's answer and action is even more glorious than most of us might expect. Romans 8 Revisited - Really Good News! Three-dimensional salvation. New inner will and power for a purpose.
Representation Does God have special people? The notion of God's special people who represent him is richer than we might think. Joy and responsibility of representing God to 'the rest' - then, now and forever. Salt & Light.


Brief Introduction to this New View

'New View' is a journey and the journey is not yet ended, but I think I can see where it is headed.

Why 'New View' came about.

I felt: "We Christians of an evangelical persuasion
should take the lead in environmental responsibility,
(including for climate change!)
and be willing to radically change our lifestyle".
Many Christians resisted. Was I wrong?
Or have traditional evangelical theologies missed something?
I wanted to find out.

The journey I set out on would reveal more than I had expected!
Way beyond environmental responsibility.

The challenge.

Some evangelicals: "No way! Environmental concern is the Devil's diversion!"
Does Scripture show them to be wrong?
Some evangelicals: "Environmental concern is OK but secondary."
But is it more than just OK? Is it primary? Is environmental responsibility primary in God's eyes,
at the centre of His Cosmic Plan
(of creation, history, salvation and consummation)?
Or is it merely part of social justice, or an aid to evangelism?

What does Scripture really say about this?

What I did.

I would read Scripture seriously and humbly, as the Word of God;
but I would not be bound by conventional ways of interpreting it.
I would take account of contemporary thinking,
but I would ask some of the big questions afresh, such as
"Why did God create in the first place?"
"Why are humans different?"
"What gets saved? - and Why?"
"And why is environmental responsibility important in eternity?"

Result.

Far beyond my expectations!
Yes, I discovered environmental responsibility and the gospel go together.
But more ...                                            
Many Scripture passages began to shine with new colours.
Salvation began to have a new dimension!
(Celtic, Calvinistic and Charismatic Christianities in harmony?)
It throws new light on Christ + Culture, on Evangelism, on Revivals, etc.
All spheres of life are important to God.
- the economy, business, government, agriculture, transport, sport, ...
I could engage with secular thinking without compromise yet without antagonism.
Yet also 'mundane', 'everyday' issues are important in God's eyes.

This new view seems to address the new era we face: the twentyfirst century.



Some Questions About This New View

Why call it 'new'? (Since many today are exploring similar ideas)

Because it sees Scripture saying something
that does not seem to have been said before
because it exposes and meets new challenges
because it links things that others say in new ways
and because this has compelling implications
that do not seem to have been worked out before.
See several reasons
above.

Does it seek to replace previous views?

No: it acknowledges them and incorporates them
- the work of God in movements over the past 4,000 years,
from before Abraham to yesterday,
to understand what was important then and why,
and to incorporate them if it can.
For this reason, it is not unconnected to A Brief History of God.
But where that tries to understand all that God revealed through Scripture as a whole,
this New View seeks to address the current situation.

Does it try to be complete?

No, but it does try to be able to address anything that it encounters.
Any new challenge will be given due respect and consideration.
As with any understanding of God, it takes time before the overall shape is discerned, and it will be the same here.
Nevertheless, those of us engaged at the start of it
have the duty and joy to try to make sense of it,
to give it clear shape so that people who have no inkling of it may see it clearly,
to give it a clear logic so that it hangs together coherently
to explain it so that people might rightly criticise it and perhaps refine it,
and above to give clear vision so that people are compelled by it.

Are these ideas of God or simply of my own speculation?

I am an academic, supposed to innovate new ideas;
Generating new ideas has become my habit of life.
So are there problems with the New View?
Maybe all this is rubbish dredged up by my habits?
Or maybe the Living God graciously uses who we are and have become in his purposes?

I pray that what is of God will flourish
and bless and stimulate many,
and that what is not will be overlooked and forgotten.
I cast my bread upon the waters so that it may return after many days.


Why Do We Need a New View?

We need a new view because ...

In What Way 'New'?

I'm not sure the word 'new' is correct. Judge for yourself. It might be new because ...

You can't better on the original story of God, the world and humanity - as recorded in Scripture. But we interpret for our own situation; indeed we must do so. I believe we are entering an historically new situation that demands a new slant in interpretation. So some things in Scripture light up that were not seen before while others, once lit up in a past era, fade - though they retain some relevance.

For example: During the Wesleyan revival in the U.K. (1700s) the importance to God of the ordinary individual 'lit up', as well as the effectiveness of 'method' (hence Methodists). During the nineteenth century evangelical awakening the importance of social justice 'lit up', leading to the banning of slavery. With the twentieth century charismatic movement, that God's action and love is for here and now lit up. Each seems to have been God's work to meet a new social or cultural situation.

I believe another lighting up is due, to do with the rest of creation. This re-interpretation may be more radical than some of those were because the situation we face is like none that has existed since Jesus walked on earth. For want of a better name, I call it A New View. It seems to be new in the following ways, especially when taken together:

None of these are unique to New View on their own, but perhaps New View is rare in bringing them together.


Origins of New View

Let me tell you in a bit more detail how this 'New View' site came about. I'm a Christian of evangelical (slightly charismatic) persuasion who has always had a deep love of nature, deep concern for responsibility and a deep awareness that I should not follow my own agenda but God's. But I have questions: I am deeply concerned about environmental matters; should I become active in them in major ways (not just as a sideline)? I find my work (information systems research + teaching) fascinating; should I resist this? Is it important in God's sight as such, or merely as a source of income and arena for evangelism or worship? I enjoy walking, Amiga computer games, music; should I see these as a waste of time?

Traditional evangelical theology did not seem to give me sufficient grounds for doing so - nor even grounds to decide whether to get involved. (See an analysis of three deficient theologies in A Theology of Environmental Responsibility.) I also noticed that vast tracts of Scripture (which Christians believe to be God's Word) were regularly overlooked, yet contained much of relevance to me. (See my story and A Brief History of God.)

So I began looking at Scripture afresh to see whether it does really support giving my life to environmental responsibility - Wow! it doesn't just support this but makes it central and mandatory. What this means is that we are disobedient to God if we fail to give our lives to environmental responsibility. This seems to be a new approach, not found in the many books by Christians on environmental responsibility. It also underlined the importance, to God, of the everyday activities of work and leisure. From looking at history, I also wonder whether something like a New View might be a key to Holy-Spirit-led revival.

What I have found I have made public in the hope that it might useful might be useful to others. It's still developing.

Our Approach: Cautious yet Bold

Am I just trying to 'justify' my own agenda from Scripture? I try to avoid that. It may be new, but is it true? Some new things mislead. Some distract. Some may even be heresy.

Someone said: the truth has no name. Whenever we put a name to a system of thought, we acknowledge it is not the whole truth. So this 'New View' is only part of the truth (if it is even that!), but I believe it is that part that is valid and useful for today.

On the other hand, Jesus warned us against burying our 'talent' in the soil for fear of doing something wrong. So the fact that it is new - and many will reject the new thing - should not deter us from trying to develop it. This site reflects a theology that is still in development. In developing this new view, I try to be cautious and yet bold.

Materials of the New View

The following is a list of materials that might help in understanding and discussing and refining the New View.

Terms of reference


Acknowledgements

Andrew Watson has gone through the site and posed some very useful questions about whether what compels me will compel others, and in response I made some significant changes.

Colin Bell, of Faraday Institute, has given very useful indicators of what is and is not new here: "I haven't seen anything which I've describe as 'novel', but this is perhaps a good thing in that you're in line with what the professionals are coming up with! But you've put a few combinations of ideas together in a different way which stimulates some different thinking". In response, I made some modifications to its claims.


This page is offered to God as on-going work in developing a 'New View' in theology that is appropriate to the days that are coming upon us. Comments, queries welcome.

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2013. But you may use this material subject to certain conditions.

Written on the Amiga with Protext. Number of visitors to these pages: Counter.

Created: 31 December 2003. Last updated: 11 January 2004, 18 January 2004 intro, 8 February 2004 .nav., 5 March 2004 pdl. 14 March 2004 better overview. 28 March 2004 not whole truth. 27 June 2004 rewrote intro; link to books. 18 July 2004 new link Worship. 11 June 2005 'for its sake'; some corrections. 14 June 2005 how diffnt. 15 June 2005 heaven. 3 August 2005 rewrote intro a bit, with headings; key to evangelism, china. 7 August 2005 yun, caution. 14 October 2005 +ve vision. 28 January 2006 New intro para: why site came about. 7 February 2006 lord's prayer link. 6 April 2006 examples.html. 3 December 2006 Phil Sampson's story; rearranged. 6 January 2008 men.women. 15 March 2008 revival link. 8 June 2008 rearranged, so 'why new' leads; link to new page evangelism. 23 June 2008 roots unsust. 24 July 2008 links corrected. 10 August 2008 kenya. 28 September 2008 perplexing questions. 17 October 2008 new Rs, 'new sit' link. 25 October 2008 diversity and movements. 16 November 2008 some rewords, times link. 23 November 2008 engaging. 18 December 2008 'smy' added. 1 January 2009 link to compelling, new .nav, .end., rearranged sections and added role for non-xns, contents list of 'why new' links. 3 January 2009 children role. 6 January 2009 evang persp. 7 January 2009 intro paras. 20 January 2009 GWBush. 25 January 2009 slight changes to GWB. 8 March 2009 new shorter intro, better 'wny new'. 12 March 2009 'Why new' redone as 'why do we need a new view'. 13 April 2009 corrected a bad error by removing 'don't'! 31 May 2009 link to af, and to ccge mfst. 22 June 2009 removed af link. 30 August 2009 rewrite intro and owt else; link to scripture. 2 September 2009 power. 6 September 2009 Intro: 'wider'; also reordered, with contents first. 30 September 2009 Obama disappointment. 1 October 2009 sin. 11 October 2009 biblestudy, sermon. 1 November 2009 anti-cc. 23 December 2009 Proverbs; new format to start. 25 January 2010 bush moved to bush.obama.html. 2 May 2010 changes to intro; economics; some 'worth visiting' gone. 16 May 2010 a few bits. 19 September 2010 split up Intro; terms of reference. 9 January 2011 link hs. 17 January 2011 ssd. 23 January 2011 better Intro (brisker and more visual). 20 February 2011 better wording of intro; about academic habits of innovating; slogan. 15 April 2011 new cos link things together in new ways; ackn of Andrew Watson and Colin Bell. 28 April 2011 link to problems. 1 May 2011 Christ & Culture. 10 July 2011 prayer, and rearranged a few links. 27 November 2011 link to engage.secular and cfr; removed 'new pages' and distributed to Relevance etc. 11 December 2011 church. 16 December 2011 link to Bruce Wearne's Nurturing Justice. 21 December 2011 miracles. 5 November 2012 3ds.literature, 3ds and materials. 23 December 2012 improved Introduction and list. 3 February 2013 salt.light. 24 March 2013 faith.scholarship. 7 April 2013 rewrote brief intro; brought contents first. 16 April 2013 christian.scholarship. 18 August 2013 better 'Results'. 2 February 2014 God as active, in strapline. 27 February 2014 rearranged, so boxes come before 'how NV came about', new straplines, Habermas, Taylor, Stackhouse. 13 May 2014 env.thgy. 15 June 2014 interconnectedness. 17 June 2014 benefits, and moved context para later.