The bottom line: Modernity and theology meet yet ultimately, modernity triumphs over God.
From the back cover, Faith Seeking Understanding sets out to present “traditional doctrine in freshly contemporary ways” as well as to “hear and critically engage new voices in theology.”
This vision is undergirded by the notion that one of the central themes within theology is that faith and inquiry are inseparable. This is a noble idea and a task that certainly yields greater wisdom, comprehension and insight. However, in the process of inquiry and in the process of locating theology in a contemporary context, Migliore frequently invites modernity to persuade theology and seldom allows theology to persuade modernity. What the reader is left with isn’t Biblical theology at all but a watered-down version of Biblical truth filled with subjectivity and tailored to accommodate safe passage of the modern theologian who finds some areas of faith difficult to hold on to in the 21st century.
Resultantly, Faith Seeking Understanding ends up reading more like faith seeking compromise or faith seeking pluralism.
It must be mentioned that what this book does very well is introduce the reader to the wide range of people, thoughts and ideas that make up the contemporary theological landscape. If for nothing else you will step away from the book with a firm understanding of what the theological field looks like and what different voices are saying.
To elaborate on what I said in the first paragraph, consider that Migliore argues against the infallibility of the Bible. He writes that this stance “obscures the true basis of Christian confidence” (pg. 48) and alternatively puts forth the claim that the Bible has its true power as a witness and guide to Christ. While the latter statement is an often-overlooked point in the community of strict Biblicists, the former refutation gives individuals license to work from their own faculties in formulating personalized theologies. This dynamic becomes evident throughout the rest of the text as the author sometimes references the Bible to support his theological assertions but relies more heavily on human authors and other theologians to further his arguments. The problem of subjectivity becomes quickly evident and gives unsuspecting readers the subversive liberty they may desire to mold God in their own image.
Then, of course, there are simply instances where Migliore makes claims that are direct contradictions to faith and the Bible. On page 115 he writes, “There is nothing inherently inconsistent in holding both to evolutionary theory and to faith in God the creator.” Truth can only be true as a function of its mutual exclusivity. Clearly, the author has never read books such as Genesis One by Dr. Hugh Ross, who uses scientific evidence to demonstrate that everything is inherently inconsistent in holding both to evolutionary theory and creationism.
I read Faith Seeking Understanding as required by a graduate level seminary course and would not recommend it as a theology textbook. I can recommend it to someone in academia or church leadership as an introduction to divergent theological interpretations, but not as a primary source for the study of God.