A Wholistic Theology: The Both/And: The Best View of Objective Reality
R. Alan Woods
San Diego: Rhema Rising Press
Why is theology important? Well-defined questions more nearly always produce the most useful answers. I propose that a better question could be asked: What "kind" of theology is important. In the context of the history of the Vineyard I understand that "experiential theology" or real theology ("the attitude which maintains that this kind of theology can only be developed by men who know these realities from personal experience"- Morton Kelsey in his work, Encounter With God: A Theology of Christian Experience) was and is the desperately needed counter-balance to the "intellectual theology" born out of the philosophy of knowing and knowledge developed by Aristotle and promoted within the "Church" by Thomas Aquinas and further ensconced by the worldview produced by Newton's understanding of the material universe. Plato would have been startled and amazed by such a one-sided worldview where Nature is the only experiential reality! Where's the Super Nature? What place has the Archetype? Where the dreams, visions, and auditions just a "figment" of man's imagination? Was sixty-five years of pioneering work by Carl Jung that produced real and tangible results in the healing and wholeness of human beings’ psyches and bodies for naught? Thank God for Jesus of Nazareth! The Numinous made Matter! The God-man. What comes to my mind and memory here is something I remember John Wimber say, "Just be naturally supernatural when you're doing the ‘Stuff’." Both economies/realities are operationally co-existent. As C. S. Lewis has said, "When men adhere to one side of a paradoxical truth and ignore the other, then they go into error." It is the both/and, not the either/or mentality that gives us a view of "objective reality".
. I'm quite sure our call in the Vineyard to "cultural'" relevancy is predicated upon Paul's statement implying that we be all things to all men so that we may win some to Christ. Paul learned quickly through trial and error that men were more likely to be won to Christ when they had a direct, powerful (dunamis) numinous experience with God. In other words he failed in Athens when he used just the intellectual theological approach! It seems to me that regardless of the cultural context in which God makes direct contact with men, it is of more importance that these men have a framework or worldview as it were in which to know that it is possible. In Christ, we as Christians become neither Jew nor Greek nor anything else other than a “new creature” in Christ Jesus that produces or manifests the complementary new culture of Christian community (I refer you to Robert Banks work, “Paul’s’ Idea of Community” as a general theoretical orientation to my meaning here). Paul was adamant about keeping the Gospel pure as it was delivered to him by Christ. In so far as it was possible within that framework, Paul became all things to all men. Once they became "enlightened" or "En-Godded" (a word used often by Leanne Payne, "Listening Prayer"), they were reoriented to a new reality and a lifestyle reflected in Christian community as their newly acquired identity as a unique cultural base.