Your support is helping expand Progressive Christianity. We are one of the largest sources for progressive theological perspectives, as well as our thousands of resources. It is hard to overstate their value – every time you donate it expands our ability to do all those essential offerings even better. DONATE NOW!

Christian Theology and Contemporary Knowledge


Question & Answer

Q: By A Reader
Can Christian Theology once again be enabled to interact with contemporary knowledge?

A: By Rev. Brandan Robertson


Dear Reader,

My answer to this question is a complex one. On one hand, I believe there are tremendous riches in the Christian tradition. It’s a 4,000+ year theological lineage which contains endless metaphors, parables, and doctrines which have helped foster human evolution and have sparked some of the greatest social reform movements in history. That must be acknowledged and celebrated.

On the other hand, there are spiritual and theological traditions that predate Christianity and that happened geographically around Christianity that have been buried beneath Christianity’s dominance that I believe might speak even more profoundly to our world today, simply because most of them have not be usurped by empires like Christianity and thus require a lot less deconstructing and decoding to get to the heart of.

So, to be brief, I will say that of course, Christian theology can evolve and interact with contemporary knowledge. It will certainly require us to step outside of traditional “orthodoxy”, but that has happened in every new era of human thought for the past 2,000 years. The Christian tradition is rich and enduring, and because of its nearly universal reach, it will remain a helpful way for talking and explaining new knowledge.

However, we should also be looking to indigenous theologies and traditions- Celtic, African, American, and Asian spiritual ties- that have a lot more to say (and a lot more credibility to speak) about humanities current crises with tribalism, environmentalism, and colonialism than Christianity. The images, traditions, and deep perennial wisdom that they can teach us will be much more potent in the coming era and we would be wise to harken to the voices of our pre-Christian ancestors. In fact, I would suggest that this is precisely what Rabbi Yeshua would have wanted us to do.

~ Rev. Brandan Robertson

This Q&A was originally published on Progressing Spirit – As a member of this online community, you’ll receive insightful weekly essays, access to all of the essay archives (including all of Bishop John Shelby Spong), and answers to your questions in our free weekly Q&A. Click here to see free sample essays.

About the Author
Rev. Brandan Robertson is a noted spiritual thought-leader, contemplative activist, and commentator, working at the intersections of spirituality, sexuality, and social renewal and the author of Nomad: A Spirituality For Travelling Light and writes regularly for Patheos, Beliefnet, and The Huffington Post. He has published countless articles in respected outlets such as TIME, NBC, The Washington Post, Religion News Service, and Dallas Morning News. As sought out commentator of faith, culture, and public life, he is a regular contributor to national media outlets and has been interviewed by outlets such as MSNBC, NPR, SiriusXM, TIME Magazine, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Associated Press.

Review & Commentary