A critique of emergent theologies

Zygon 51 (4):867-882 (2016)
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Abstract

This article is an analysis and critique of emergent theologies, focusing on areas of Christology and pneumatology. An increasing number of Christian theologians are integrating emergence theory into their work. I argue that, despite the range of theological commitments and methodological approaches represented by these scholars, each faces similar problematic tendencies when their Christian doctrines are combined with emergence theory. It is concluded that the basic logic of emergence theory, whereby matter is seen to precede mind, makes it difficult for emergent theologies to offer an account of salvation, avoid significant issues regarding God's involvement with evil, and maintain divine transcendence. It is concluded, therefore, that Christian theology should look elsewhere for a complementary metaphysical framework with which to bridge scientific and theological discourse.

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Joanna Margaret Leidenhag
University of Leeds