Contemporary theology is unquestionably in a state of crisis for multiple reasons. One of them is the relationship of dogmatic theology to its biblical ground. We know that the Bible was written in and from a view of the world that was reflective of its particular culture and time. Scientific knowledge and sociocultural evolution has rightfully dropped those outdated views. It has opened up a different understanding of the Bible altogether from being some sort of theological treatise for carving out an orthodoxy about God to a story of humankind’s relationship to the divine from which we must each work out it’s meaning and significance for our own lives.
The world of the 21st Century is very different from the world of the 1st Century and even of the 19th Century. Yet, too often Christian understandings are still based on the worldviews of those antiquated time periods. For example, we no longer accept that there is a religious explanation of natural events and processes. We understand a great deal about life and cells, about the laws of physics and of the atom, the origin of the universe and the movement of the stars, about space and time, about the evolution of life forms and the earth’s geological formations, about forces and matter, about causation and result.
Christianity has yet to come to terms with the world of the 21st Century and as a result has lost what is central and essential in Christianity. When the Christian church is faced with the fact and implications of 21st Century thought, it panics and retreats backward into a theological fortress where it has tried unsuccessfully to defend an outdated world view that is incomprehensible to many of us. By failing to interpret Christianity to our generation in terms and concepts that this generation could understand, Christianity has lost its power to speak authoritatively and meaningfully to us, and that has resulted in a Christianity that is increasingly seen by many as irrelevant.
Meanwhile, the life and teachings of Jesus are relevant for all humankind in every generation. There was never any conflict between scientific knowledge and the the truth of Jesus. Too often the Christian church is busy perpetuating antiquated social conventions that have nothing to do with Jesus.