Between Doubt and Dogmatism – Joshua McNall
Episode: Tired of gurus that have all the answers? Or those so zealous for deconstruction that they have none? We need a recalibrated theological imagination that can fuel faithful loyalty. In this wide-ranging interview featuring his new book Perhaps, Joshua McNall shows us that when Scripture and great literature are allowed to resonate, we are able to move beyond rigid dogmatism and endless doubt. Co-hosted by Matt Bates.
The Book: Joshua M. McNall, Perhaps: Reclaiming the Space between Doubt and Dogmatism (IVP Academic, 2021). The Christian life requires faith. That means that believers are sometimes faced with uncertainty. But is all uncertainty bad? Theologian Joshua McNall encourages readers to reclaim the little word “perhaps” as a sacred space between the warring extremes of unchecked doubt and zealous dogmatism. To say “perhaps” on certain contested topics means exercising a hopeful imagination, asking hard questions, returning once again to Scripture, and reclaiming the place of holy speculation as we cling to a faith that stands distinct from both pervasive skepticism and abrasive certainty. In this day especially, it’s time Christians learned to say “perhaps.” (publisher’s description).
Guest: Joshua McNall is Ambassador of Church Relations and Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, where he directs the honors program. After planting a Wesleyan church near Grand Rapids, Michigan, Josh completed his PhD at the University of Manchester (UK). Since then, he has published several books, including A Free Corrector: Colin Gunton and the Legacy of Augustine (Fortress, 2015), the popular-level, Long Story Short: The Bible in Six Simple Movements (Seedbed, 2018), and The Mosaic of Atonement: An Integrated Approach to Christ’s Work (Zondervan Academic, 2019). He and his wife Brianna have four small children and he blogs regularly on issues of theology and culture at www.joshuamcnall.com.
OnScript’s Review: “Perhaps a meadow exists between dogmatism and skepticism, a fruitful space for cultivating beautiful truth. Perhaps Origen, Augustine, and Edwards can converse there with Flannery O’Connor and Cormac McCarthy. Perhaps instead of rehearsing or debunking information, we can foster theological imagination. Perhaps Joshua McNall’s wit and wisdom has pointed the church toward a better future. Perhaps we should listen.” — Matthew W. Bates, author of Gospel Allegiance and associate professor of theology at Quincy University