Theological Re-test

by Joel on April 20, 2006

Following the lead of John of Locusts and Honey, I have re-taken the “What’s Your Theological Worldview” test from quizfarm.com.

There isn’t a lot of change except something of a drop in the Roman Catholic score and a significant increase in the Charismatic/Pentecostal score. I think the test is useful for one’s positioning relative to others, but there are several of the questions that seem to present false choices. My differing scores could as easily be related to the ambiguity I feel about some of the questions as to any real change in my theology.

For example, question 10, which states “Liberalism was a disaster for theology because it leads to atheism” can be considered either too leading or incomplete. It might be too leading by prejudicing someone against liberalism simply because they oppose atheism, as I certainly do. With respect to incompleteness of the question, a person could believe that liberalism is a disaster for theology without believing it leads to atheism. They could simply think that such theology is insufficiently dedicated to evangelism, leads to dry worship, proclaims cheap grace, or is insufficiently confessional. There are a lot of people who disdain liberal theology but don’t go so far as to proclaim liberal Christians as non-believers. I don’t believe that Jerry Falwell has been a particularly positive influence for the church, but neither do I consider him an atheist.

Question 12 seems rather vague to me in saying, “we cannot understand God without first looking at humanity.” One could assume that the question is calling for some type of secular humanist outlook, or they could approach it, as I did, with the idea that because we are entirely human we must view even the divine through the lens of human understanding and knowledge, which powered by God’s grace, is nevertheless limited in scope. (”We see in as in a mirror dimly.”)

Question 13 reads, “We are called to pure holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” On the one hand,we can’t ignore the call to pure holiness. However, if pure holiness is regarded as “perfection” then John Wesley, while regarding that as the goal, wasn’t sure that he had been by God’s grace perfected in love. If the question means that we are in grave peril if we ignore God’s call to pure holiness, I would agree. Being satisfied with one’s relationship with God is different than “assurance” in that satisfaction can lead to pride which in turn can lead to disbelief and the consequent falling from grace. If the question is meant to state that pure holiness is required for salvation (justification), then I’d disagree. I effectively answered the question that I neither agree nor disagree. What camp would that put me in?

On Question 46, I would have agreed if it had simply read, “God said it, that settles it and now we must respond, individually and in community through faith, study, worship and prayer to discern what God settled.” I believe that God’s word is authoritative but not inerrant. Others, of course, believe those terms are mutually exclusive.

Regarding Question 50, “Social action is important, but not as important as saving souls,” I think the question presents an entirely false choice. Not even my answer that I neither agree nor disagree was an adequate response because such wouldn’t necessarily imply that the two are inseparable, which is what I in fact believe. Social action simply can’t be regarded apart from saving souls any more than evangelism can be separated from mission.

Nevertheless, here are my scores, before (June 19, 2005) and after (April 19, 2006):

Emergent/Postmodern 79-79
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 75-79
Neo-orthodox 71-68
Roman Catholic 68-57
Charismatic/Pentecostal 43-64
Reformed Evangelical 61-61
Classical Liberal 50-50
Modern Liberal 43-36
Fundamentalist 18-14

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1

BD 04.20.06 at 5:54 am

Emergent/Postmodern 71%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 68%
Roman Catholic 46%
Neo orthodox 32%
Reformed Evangelical 29%
Modern Liberal 21%
Classical Liberal 21%
Charismatic/Pentecostal14%
Fundamentalist 4%

First time I’ve tried this one. Some of the questions were vague.

2

Richard 04.20.06 at 6:45 am

My scores have changed since we last took it. (my old scores are in brackets

Neo orthodox 79% (64%)

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 75% (75%)

Roman Catholic 61% (57%)

Emergent/Postmodern 57% (68%)

Classical Liberal 43% (50%)

Reformed Evangelical 43%

Modern Liberal 43% (46%)

Charismatic/Pentecostal 36% (29%)

Fundamentalist 21% (11%)

So I’m more neo-orthodox, more catholic and more fundamentalist than I was. Maybe those conversations with dh are wearing me down! ;) Or maybe I’m feeling grumpier this morning than when I last took the test!
Pleased to see that I’m as Wesleyan as ever!

3

Wood 04.20.06 at 8:08 am

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 79%

Emergent/Postmodern 75%

Neo orthodox 71%

Modern Liberal 50%

Classical Liberal 46%

Roman Catholic 46%

Charismatic/Pentecostal 18%

Reformed Evangelical 18%

Fundamentalist 0%

Yes, that’s right. I got 0% fundamentalist. I feel good about that.

4

Richard 04.20.06 at 8:26 am

As well you might, Wood.
What would your pastor make of your scores? More Wesleyan and liberal than your local Methodist Superintendent, less reformed and fundamentalist?! i find it strangely disturbing…

5

Kim 04.20.06 at 9:39 am

Neo-orthodox 93%

Roman Catholic 82%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 82%

Emergent/Postmodern 75%

Reformed Evangelical 46%

Modern Liberal 43%

Classical Liberal 43%

Charismatic/Pentcostal 32%

Fundamentalist 0%

My first time too. Should I feel guilty at having surrendered my theology-test virginty? (Check my score for “Roman Catholic”!). Notwithstanding the wisdom of “labels are libels” - and the urgent need for some fine-tuning to several of the questions - not inaccuracte, I reckon.

Richard:

Too much dh for sure (Fundamentalist 21% - for shame!), but you’re learning from my Barthianism (Neo-orthodox - up 15%) - while observe that I am both more Catholic (by 21%) and more Wesleyan (by 7%) than you!

6

Eugene McKinnon 04.20.06 at 2:26 pm

Well no surprises here for me.

I scored as Reformed Evangelical. I had to do a tie breaker over whether I liked preaching as the central act of worship or if Karl Barth was a great theologian. Oh my it’s a three way tie between Reformed Evangelical/Neo-Orthodox/Wesleyan. No surprise there. I come from an Evangelical Wesleyan background, converted to the Presbyterian church, and study at a seminary in which one of the principals held Barth in high regard.

Peace out,

Eugene

Neo orthodox

68%
Reformed Evangelical

68%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

64%
Roman Catholic

57%
Emergent/Postmodern

50%
Fundamentalist

39%
Charismatic/Pentecostal

36%
Modern Liberal

21%
Classical Liberal

18%

7

DH 04.20.06 at 5:07 pm

Sorry folks Kim you are wrong fundamentalism was fifth in the list Reformed Evanelical 68%, Evangelical/Holiness 65%, Charismatic 63% and Neo-Orthodox 61%. Okay you guys are pressing me andwant me to share what fundamentalist came out at 57%. The key factor in the questions was that while I believe the Bible is incredibly important the most important thing is revelation of God trrough Christ within the Trinity and the unification within seperate natures. That is what made my neo-orthodox surprisingly high. They also said I valued Barth when I never heard of him.

Kim, can you give me an understanding of Barth? I would be very interested in hearing your understanding of Barth.

P.S. On the Bishop Spong thing I defeinitely had an answer that placed him in the most negative light.

P.P.S. I was 43% Emergent. Maybe the fact I enjoy discussing with you guys even if I’m not 100% agreement accounts for that. I will say that I probably agree about 60% of the time with you guys but that isn’t negative. Especially in an absolute value sense. :) All of these percentages remind me of weather forcasters. :) :)

8

Beth 04.20.06 at 5:47 pm

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 75%
Neo orthodox 71%
Emergent/Postmodern 68%
Roman Catholic 61%
Modern Liberal 57%
Classical Liberal 50%
Charismatic/Pentecostal 50%
Reformed Evangelical 36%
Fundamentalist 4%

How did this happen? How can an Anglo-Catholic be less Catholic than Kim, for heavens’ sakes? And I’m a bit annoyed that my top score was only 75%. Seems I’m not much of anything!

Try Belief-o-Matic for a non-Christian-specific test. I’m 100% Quaker, 94% Mahayana Buddhist and so on.

9

Kim 04.20.06 at 6:37 pm

Hi dh,

Glad to hear of your interest in Barth, who, when asked towards the end of his life about his greatest theological insight, simply replied:

Jesus loves me, this I know,
for the Bible tells me so.

The Trinity’s inexhaustible beauty, God’s triumphant grace, the deity-disclosing humanity of Jesus, a Spirit-filled people, the church, responding in grateful faith and joyful obedience and service (including political witness) in the world God loves - these are Barth’s themes. His theology has been aptly described by his student, assistant, friend and biographer Eberhard Busch as “worship in the field of thought”: “To come upon it is like entering a light and roomy and beautiful church with wide-open windows and open doors that invite an entrance and welcome the everyday world.”

The finest and, for the foreseeable future, unsurpassable introduction to Barth’s theology, is Busch’s The Great Passion (2004), but even this fine cotton is no substitute for the silk of Barth himself. As a way into Barth’s theology, try:

Dogmatics in Outline (1949): on the Apostles’ Creed.

Evangelical Theology: An Introduction (1963): lectures drawing together his life’s work - delivered on his only visit to the USA, which he described as “fantastic”!

Spong. Hmmm. Spent a few days with him once at a theological summer school. Nice guy, courageous defender of the outsider, but a theological menace and wastrel, so focussed on the fundamentalists that he’s forgotten the riches of the mainline Christian traditions.

10

Kim 04.20.06 at 6:40 pm

Beth,

It is because I am so Reformed that I am also so Catholic. :)

11

Funky Dung 04.20.06 at 7:19 pm

Roman Catholic 96%
Neo orthodox 86%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 75%
Emergent/Postmodern 57%
Classical Liberal 43%
Charismatic/Pentecostal 43%
Fundamentalist 39%
Reformed Evangelical 36%
Modern Liberal 32%

12

DH 04.20.06 at 10:21 pm

Spong, His view on Scripture and God are soooo way off that even mainline Christians can’t agree with him. Barth sounds good but somehow I wonder if there are somethings I would disagree with him on. Maybe you like him and are giving me a sugarcoat. :) What are his views on specific theology? Just wondering. I’m a big Dr. Stroble, Dr. Zacharias, etc. type guy so maybe the semantics of Barth is hardfor me to understand as compared to the phrasiology of the Stroble and Zacharias.

13

Joel 04.20.06 at 10:47 pm

From the increase in my Charismatic/Pentecostal score, it seems that maybe I need to take a refresher course in speaking in tongues. (I hope this is taken in humor and not found offensive.)

14

Kim 04.21.06 at 4:45 am

Joel -

or perhaps a refresher course in preaching - I Corinthians 14:4! :)

15

John 04.22.06 at 10:22 pm

Joel — skip the speaking in tongues and go straight to the snake handling.

16

Joel 04.23.06 at 2:49 am

Here’s a passage from the “testing information” section of the summary evaluation of my candidacy psychological assessment:

“He tends to value breadth and variety of experience, including openness to different ideas, people or situations. When approaching problems, he may focus on subjective or emotional considerations rather than cold, hard facts. [Correlates to my Charismatic/Pentecostal score? (But no snakes, John).] He can get absorbed in ideas and thoughts and he is very open to change, pursuing new ideas, opinions, and experiences. He is extroverted, warm and forthright. He is somewhat less anxious than most people and tends to be trusting. At times he harbors some feelings of self-doubt. [Any minister who doesn't harbor some self-doubt is probably delusional, instead.] He tends to be expedient and hold unconventional values. In interpersonal relationships he tends to defer rather than exert his own opinions or needs. He is likely to avoid conflict and may need to work on his assertiveness skills in ministry. [I am; I discovered blogging. :-) ] Because he has an experimenting, inquiring mind, he tends to question traditional methods and press for new approaches. [Post-emergent?]

He shows little social anxiety, is probably effective in social situations, and tends to be persuasive in dealing with others. [Some people I know might dispute that!] There are some scores on his MMPI-II that suggest the need to rule out problems with addictive behavior, [Too late; I'm addicted to reading blogs], but he denies any problems with alcohol or drugs.”

17

Joel 04.23.06 at 2:56 am

And, also, my testing revealed my introversion score as fairly high, just not as high as the extroversion score. On Miers-Briggs, I am an ENFP. (Extrovert, intuitive, feeling and perceiving.)

18

Eugene McKinnon 04.23.06 at 6:57 pm

Joel,

As a candidate for ministry myself in the Presbyterian Church in Canada, don’t air your psych report on a blog. It could be detrimental to your future. Just a word to the wise.

Eugene

19

Joel 04.23.06 at 9:31 pm

Eugene,

I greatly and sincerely appreciate your advice, but I’m not a candidate for ordination and I retain my sanity by no longer worrying about my future. If I can partially de-mystify the assessment process for those who are candidates, all the better. :-)

This is the bottom line for candidates: you are only normal if you are abnormal in at least a couple of areas. The key is to make sure you aren’t totally abnormal. That is frowned on. :-(

In other words, you should be a little neurotic, but not overly so.

20

Eugene McKinnon 04.24.06 at 7:04 pm

Joel,

I can empathise with what you been through. I was not recertified in my second year and the psych report was one of the three deal breakers. Good idea on warning future candidates in the UMC.

For me the term ‘defensive’ was the major concern. Can’t lay my heart out on the table all the time.

Eugene

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