The United Church of Canada, doing all it can to increase the theological literacy of its membership, has put out a list of authors and books that are recommended to the laity under the title, “25 theologians to help
undermine broaden your faith.” Not all of them are, in fact, theologians, but that’s just part of the broadening process. C. S. Lewis is on the list, as are Karl Barth and N. T. Wright, but much of the list consists of the Usual Suspects:
1. Marcus J. Borg is an American theologian and a prominent voice among contemporary Jesus scholars. He is the author of 19 books.
They mean “Jesus Seminar scholars,” but what the hey.
3. John Dominic Crossan is a former Catholic priest who co-founded the Jesus Seminar, a group of 150 biblical scholars trying to establish the historicity of the deeds and sayings of Jesus.
Well, actually trying to disestablish their historicity–details, details.
5. Karen Armstrong is a former Roman Catholic nun who has written more than 20 books on faith, studying what Islam, Judaism and Christianity have in common and how they’ve shaped world history and modern culture.
7. Annie Dillard is the author of 13 books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974). Her website says she has “no religion, or many religions.”
That pretty much says it all.
10. John Shelby Spong, a retired American Episcopal bishop, is a liberal Christian theologian and author. He calls for a fundamental rethinking of Christian belief, away from theism and traditional doctrines.
What would a list like this be without the best-known apostate of our time?
13. Elizabeth Johnson is a Christian feminist theologian and a professor of theology at Fordham University, a Jesuit school in New York City.
The orthodoxy of her work has been officially questioned by many Catholic bishops.
17. Dorothee Sölle was a German liberation theologian, writer, activist and poet. She coined the term “Christofascism” to describe the Christian church’s embrace of authoritarian theology.
20. Matthew Fox, an American priest and theologian, is a proponent of Creation Spirituality. A prolific author, he joined the Episcopal Church after being expelled from the Dominican order of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Austin Powers of American theology, including him on this list is like sending your six-year-old to the corner drug dealer for candy.
There are others, but you get the point. How they could have left off Chris Hedges, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Margaret Atwood (who’s even Canadian, eh) from a list clearly designed to help the United Church to commit suicide is anybody’s guess.