Working Toward a Consistent Model of Theological Integration at Biola
What are we hoping to model regarding theological integration at Biola? We desire an approach to biblical integration that is:
1) Authentically biblical—our integration assumes the uniqueness (in the sense that it is not just one more religious book among many) and authority of Scripture (that its teaching is binding for Christians and ultimately decisive for this world).
2) Authentically bi-directional—both general and special revelation count (when we talk of doing integration, one good way to formulate this is simply to integrate these two sources of truth that come to us from different perspectives. Some complain that we shouldn’t use the term integration because that implies a distinction that shouldn’t be there in the first place. But this is far more true if we are integrating “faith and learning” than “general and special revelation.” There is certainly a question as to whether faith and learning should be separated; the separation of general and special revelation is simply a reflection of two authentically separate streams of revelation that spring from a single source in God).
3) Authentically dialogical (goal of the bi-directional interaction is learning and not always or necessarily resolution—dialog means neither mutual accommodation (shying away from all difference and embracing a mealy-mouthed compatibilism where “we are all really saying the same thing”) nor conquest of the stronger (allowing only one message to be said)).
4) Positive, not merely critical. We acknowledge the goodness of creation and the value of human culture (for all of the fallenness of the world, we believe the creation is good, and we need to have a vision for using it well for its God intended purposes). God has given us every good thing for enjoyment. We seek to redeem dysfunctional aspects of human life and culture, not simply shun them.
5) Critical, not merely positive. The reality of the fall, the pervasiveness of the fall, the gravity of the fall—these all combine to clothe the goodness of creation in the agony of this present world. Since this makes us look with a critical eye on what issues from our own heart at our best moments, we must also look with a critical eye at what issues from human culture.