The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #31: Dogma and Doctrine

This week’s theme music is “An Ecumenical Matter” by Loose Fur, from Born Again in the USA. I like instrumental themes because I don’t have to slice and dice. The clip from “Dog-Mess” Johnny Evans near the top of the show is Vigilantes of Love’s “Bethlehem Steel,” from 1995’s Blister Soul.

General Introduction

– What’s in Michial’s office?

Creeds and Confessions
– What good are they, anyway?
– The well-concealed Baptist creed
– Breaking down on the Romans Road
– That strange, strange Apostle’s Creed
– Subconscious creeds
– How denominations show their work
– No creed but Christ?
– Do creeds determine or reflect doctrine?
– Creeds as boundary lines
– The weight of the creeds

Talkin’ ‘Bout Heresy
– Connection to the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds
– Is the word too often used or not used often enough?
– Nathan’s pragmatic definition
– Historical context
– Differences of kind and degree
– The importance of heterodoxy
– Protestant problems

Biblical Demands for Doctrine
– No to Baal; yes to resurrection
– But where’s the Trinity?
– The Scriptures as correction and instruction
– The role of narrative

Jesus and Paul
– The narrative and the proposition
– Finding the balance
– Why chronology matters
– The hippie and the senator

Systematic vs. Biblical Theology
– Where do you start?
– Where inerrancy comes in
– Double corrective
– The systematic assumption of biblical theology
– A New Kind of Abraham Lincoln
– Dialectical departments
– Harmony and difference

The Post-Denominational World
– Should we just abolish them?
– The practical need for denominations
– The rise of the megachurch
– David’s favorite pope

Is Dogma a Bad Word?
– Nathan gets etymological
– Dogma without reflection
– An ownmost faith
– Why it’s still important
– This one’s for you, Wayne Peacock
– Without doctrine there can be no conversion
– Bad faith! Bad faith! Bad faith!
– Why lack of doctrine is in itself doctrine
– The anti-binary crowd as Cowardly Lion


Bowman, Robert, Jr. Orthodoxy and Heresy. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1992.

Ehrman, Bart. God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question—Why We Suffer. New York: HarperOne, 2009.

Lindbeck, George A. The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age. Philadelphia: Westminster John Knox, 1984.

Milbank, John.  Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason. Oxford: Blackwell, 1993.

Wright, N.T. The New Testament and the People of God. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1992.

Yoder, John Howard. Preface to Theology: Christology and Theological Method. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brazos, 2002.

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