Does the Slippery Slope Always Go Left with N.T. Wright and Pete Enns

Featuring: and

In this video, Peter Enns asks author and theologian N.T. Wright to respond to a question from a BioLogos Forum reader about the implications of the relationship between politics and religion within the evangelical movement.

Video Transcription

Dr. Peter Enns, The BioLogos Foundation: Hi, I am Dr. Peter Enns. I am Senior Fellow in Biblical Studies of The Biologos Foundation. We are here today with the Rev. Dr. Tom Wright, and we have a chance to ask some questions, some of which we've gotten via Twitter and e-mails and also about a lot of topics such as his recent book, "After We Believe", and science and faith issues.

So, welcome, Tom.

Rev. Dr. N.T. Wright, Author: Thank you.

Enns: In Evangelical Christianity, this is another e-mail question that we received, there seems to be a great suspicion about becoming too liberal but not about becoming too conservative. There seems to be a slippery slope argument towards the left but not towards the right. As a result, this question states that the left side of the Evangelical spectrum may be tempted to leave or perhaps be silent and have no influence. Do you wish to comment on that?

Wright: That is very interesting because, of course, in America, the spectrum of liberal conservative theology tends often to sit rather closely with the spectrum of left and right in politics. In England and in many other parts of the world, that simply isn't the case.

In England, you will find that people who are very conservative theologically by what we normally mean conservative in other words, believing in Jesus, believing in his death and resurrection, believing in the trinity are often the ones who are in the forefront of passionate and compassionate social concern of a sort which if were you to transport it to America would say, oh, that's a bit left wing.

I think what I want to do is to uncouple some of the connections which people have routinely made, particularly in America, and to say actually the whole idea of a spectrum, whether it's theological or political, is probably very misleading because there are all sorts of insights that we need. We need to get them from bits of the Bible we don't normally expect and perhaps from people in bits of the church we don't normally expect.

That is something that a robust faith that is firmly rooted in God, in the trinity, in Jesus, in the holy spirit ought to be able to take on board. Otherwise, what we are doing is substituting our framework and then judging people, according to where they are in our framework, rather than something which is actually the given at the heart of our faith.

Elaine Howard Ecklund, Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology at Rice University

BioLogos—more than any other organization I know of—helps churches understand the beauty of science.

- Elaine Howard Ecklund, Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology at Rice University