FAITH SEEKING UNDERSTANDING by DANIEL L. MIGLIORE

2.0 of 5.0

 

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.

 

Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal

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2 comments on “FAITH SEEKING UNDERSTANDING by DANIEL L. MIGLIORE
  1. michael says:

    I am in the middle of reading this book for seminary graduate course. I appreciate your perspective, as I have been finding it a bit off putting from time to time. His reasoning especially around biblical infallibility didn’t seem to be reinforced very well. I do not appreciate his “straw man” of people who hold to biblical infallibility either… didn’t really make balanced case for why they think the way that they do.

    • CHE Sadaphal says:

      Michael,

      Your conscience is nudging you in the right direction. When I was required to read this in seminary, I as well was confused as to what validation existed for the non-infallibility of the Bible. The short of the matter is, there is none, and human preference fuels the engine that assaults God’s Word. What you may come to discover is that (especially in liberal theological circles) people demote the infalliability of the Bible so that they have room to carve out their own doctrines. (An example is morality, so that if ‘God got it wrong’ it opens the door for modernity’s morality to supplant God’s commandments). People search endlessly for a novel interpretation of God’s Word for a modern context, but the only thing that clarifies God’s Word is more thorough study of God’s Word. In the end, when you know the truth, it makes it much easier to recognize non-truth.

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