Sunday, December 30, 2007

What's your theological worldview?
created with
You scored as Emergent/Postmodern



Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal


Roman Catholic


Reformed Evangelical


Neo orthodox






This is for Molly and Peter who also also scored emergent/postmodern.

Here is the definition of postmodernism from
    A general and wide-ranging term which is applied to literature, art, philosophy, architecture, fiction, and cultural and literary criticism, among others. Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. In essence, it stems from a recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal.

    Postmodernism is "post" because it is denies the existence of any ultimate principles, and it lacks the optimism of there being a scientific, philosophical, or religious truth which will explain everything for everybody - a characterisitic of the so-called "modern" mind. The paradox of the postmodern position is that, in placing all principles under the scrutiny of its skepticism, it must realize that even its own principles are not beyond questioning. As the philospher Richard Tarnas states, postmodernism "cannot on its own principles ultimately justify itself any more than can the various metaphysical overviews against which the postmodern mind has defined itself."

And here is the emerging church,

    The emerging church (also known as the emerging church movement) is a controversial 21st-century Protestant Christian movement whose participants seek to engage postmodern people, especially the unchurched and post-churched. To accomplish this, "emerging Christians" (also known as "emergents") deconstruct and reconstruct Christian beliefs, standards, and methods. This accommodation is found largely in this movement's embrace of postmodernism's postfoundational epistemology, and pluralistic approach to religion and spirituality. Proponents of this movement call it a "conversation" to emphasize its developing and decentralized nature as well as its emphasis on interfaith dialog rather than verbal evangelism. The predominantly young participants in this movement prefer narrative presentations drawn from their own experiences and biblical narratives over propositional, biblicist exposition. Emergents echo the postmodern rejection of absolutes and metanarratives. They emphasize the subjective over the objective since postmodern epistemology is ultimately destructive of certainty in objective propositions.

    Emerging church methodology includes frequent use of new technologies such as multimedia and the Internet. Emergent blogs are quite numerous. They have not neglected more traditional means of communicating their ideas, however. Many emergent books and articles have been written, and leaders in the movement often conduct seminars.

    Critics of the movement are found in academic and evangelical circles. Academics critique the movement for being without legitimate theological, historical and philosophical roots. Conservative, evangelical theologians and pastors believe the movement's embrace of a postmodernist philosophy leads emergents to unorthodox theology, relativism, antinomianism, universalism, and syncretism. These critics frequently equate emerging church theology with the liberal theology that has historically been at odds with Christian fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, and other selective-literalist interpretation of the Bible.

Update: Here is a quick interpretation of the results.

First, these results represent how I scored on this particular assessment tool. They do not represent my actual beliefs.

I have noticed that all the results that I have seen have above 50% for emergent/postmodern, so I assume that this label represents all of us in some basic way because of our culture and generation. I do not think that Christian belief can ever be extracted from the cultural matrix, and those who think of themselves as basic bible-believing Christians are as influenced by culture as anyone else although it manifests itself in a different way.

My opinion is that there is a bias that the majority will score emergent/postmodern and it is not terribly significant.

Next, we are most of us evangelical or we wouldn't have Bible blogs, I assume.

My results also demonstrate a bias for classic liberal which reflects a course I took this fall which encompassed this viewpoint. It was a first introduction for me and I appreciated reading many of the original documents for the first time. It doesn't necessarily mean that I will retain these views but they did interest me.

The Roman Catholic element is problematic since it reflects Roman, Anglican and Orthodox all rolled into one. Read that as Anglican in my case.

I scored higher in the modern liberal and lower in the reformed tradition. I have come from a very fundamentalist brethren setting and skipped the reformed tradition altogether in a cultural sense. So probably modern liberal reflects an absence of high scoring in the reformed and fundamentalist areas.

Finally, since I come from a very explicitly fundamentalist background, I think it is clear that I am rejecting this in many ways. However, I would like to add that even in my most fundamentalist days, there was absolutely no room for a 6 day creation. That kind of Christianity is foreign to me.

No doubt, overall, my results are also swayed by the fact that I am west coast Canadian, I do not live in a Bible belt area, and I am in personal transitional space.

Is this an accurate representation of my beliefs. Not really, but it does reflect a couple of areas reasonably well and some not at all.

The best way to assess this is to try the test yourself and see how you think the test represents your own beliefs.

Am I conservative? In some ways very much so and in other ways not at all.


Bryan L said...

I'm honestly quite surprised to see this. I honestly thought you were a lot more conservative than you seem to be from this quiz. Interesting : )
Would you say it is an accurate assessment of you?

Bryan L

Doug said...

So am I the only 0% fundamentalist I know?

Doug said...

Oh, no, I see Bryan L is also

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I hadn't noticed Bryan's - careless of me. I guess 7% fundamentalist isn't so bad afterall. I am quite happy to keep a token amount.

J. K. Gayle said...

Thanks for posting the definitions of postmodernism and emergent church (as part of the subset) and for suggesting (a) "that the majority will score emergent/postmodern and it is not terribly significant" but (b) "that Christian belief can [n]ever be extracted from the cultural matrix."

Most of us in the West today, whether Christian or post-Christian, are decidedly post-Enlightenment, which is not to say we are all post-Reformation. I don't know of anyone who's better documented our contemporary trend towards separating fundamentalistic certainty (whether religious or scientific) from personal significance (whether religious or nihilistic) than Francis A. Schaeffer. Schaeffer, of course, was distressed by the trend; but most Christians, and some of us readers of Schaeffer now, see the trend as most positive. (Ironically, Schaeffer helped me escape fundamentalism).

Doug, No wonder you are glad to be purely without fundamentalism according to Sven's quiz and how you answered it. In your Dec 20 post, you give that interesting contrast between the certain dogma of the lectionary and the incomprehensible mystery of what we mean by the incarnation if we must mean shocking and disturbing things such as baby Jesus did do projectile vomit.

I think our next trend culturally (and maybe both in the church and beyond the church in the West we're already there), is considering our epistemologies with respect to our bodies. Feminisms (vs sexisms), abolitionisms (vs racisms and tribal supremacies), addiction recoveries (vs alcoholism and so forth) start with the body. So does Christianity from its (pardon the pun) infancy. But I think there's much more than meta-physics / physics in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, even in a Virgin birth. Sven's quiz doesn't get there yet. Which is why, I suppose, I'm so far still equally and predominantly only postmodern/emergent AND evangelical holiness/wesleyan; lesser and nearly equally neoortho AND reformed evang; lesser and nearly equally fundy AND classical lib AND charismatic/pentecostal; but more roman catholic than mod lib. I ask your question, Suzanne: "Am I conservative? In some ways very much so and in other ways not at all."

Matthew Celestine said...

I did that test a while ago and it said I am 99% fundamentalist.

Suzanne McCarthy said...


I grew up in the most exclusive of the exclusives, but in those days, long ago, when I was young, ;-) we had freedom to interpret the geological record as we saw it.

I deeply respect my parents who were able to hold to their very fundamentalist views and still be open in welcoming so many to their home. They opened their home to many foster children and adults in need of respite, some experiencing depression, others were homosexual.

For me - learning Hebrew at age 17, I felt that many certainties we hold in regards to scripture are overdone.

I especially experienced this when studying Psalm 68 which has in it 13 words which do not occur elsewhere in Hebrew literature and are therefore unknown. The mystery of the text, and the subjectivity which we have in regards to the text was impressed on me again.

Anonymous said...

I find a lot that resonates with me in both the post and the comments here.

I am encouraged by the illustration of your parents holding strongly to their fundamentalists beliefs and opening their home to so many people.

I agree that Christian belief can never be extracted from the cultural matrix it is being lived out in. I suppose God is using this reality to chip away at some of my arrogance towards believers in the fundamental theology tradition. Because when I can back up and see it as a cultural matrix where God can be at work, He surprises me. And I find myself loved by and even taught by people who I disagree with in many areas and who I otherwise would have written off totally.

I agree with the comment that "many certainties we hold in regards to scripture are overdone." I don't think any less highly of scripture because of that. I suppose my view of Scripture has even gone up in proportion to my uncertainty about what it all means. I hold more tightly to scripture and to the God I know through it and less tightly to certainties in my understanding of God and the Bible.

Suzanne McCarthy said...


Thanks for these thoughts. I regret that I did not respond to your earlier comment on divorce and children. I am working through these things myself at present and am rather at a loss as to what to do over some of them.

Eventually children need to know the whole story and I sincerely hope that they can look forward to a more whole relationship for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm more fundamentalist than you, but you are probably not surprised. Curiously enough, I'm also significantly more Roman Catholic than you are (in fact, I'm as Catholic as I am fundamentalist) - that probably wouldn't have been the case if I had taken the quiz a year ago.

Results from my quiz:
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan - 96%
Reformed Evangelical - 71%
Neo orthodox - 64%
Fundamentalist - 61%
Roman Catholic - 61%
Emergent/Postmodern - 57%
Charismatic/Pentecostal - 54%
Classical Liberal - 50%
Modern Liberal - 11%

I think this would be about right in terms of my influences if instead of Roman Catholic it said Catholic/Anglican/Orthodox, except that I think you're right that the Emergent/Postmodern is ranking unduly high. I wonder which questions that is due to?

Unknown said...

I want to use this quiz as a conversation starter this week in a program I lead in my church.

So far, I have not been able to find the definitions of all the categories.

Could someone help me find them, please?