Despite knowing better, I do tend to divide theologians into those I like and those I don’t. Those I listen to, those I don’t. Alas, I even apply this to theologians I don’t really know, the ones I only know by association. I only really know Thomas Oden by association. A friend of Richard Foster’s, right? A good guy, right? Evangelicals need to be a bit more catholic, need to listen more to the early church fathers!
Then on the way to work on Tuesday listening to ABC Radio National’s Religion Report, Stephen Crittenden (who I like for non-theological reasons) tells me that Oden is the former chairman of the apparently sinister and ultraconservative Institute for Religion and Democracy. Set up, Crittenden said, to support Reagan’s foreign policy agenda in Central America. (I can’t think of many things more evil than Reagan’s foreign policy in Central America, from the little I know.)
Crittenden replayed a snippet of an interview with Oden, and Oden sounded warm, articulate and intelligent as he explained his use of the term ‘confessing’. But I am in some turmoil about the man now. Do you know anything about what Oden’s doing in the IRD?