3d Edition (2006)
(Click on link, "I want FIHP"-- above left--to order. Click on full
title--directly above--for link to FIHP reviews.)
Profiles in New Thought Christianity
from iUniverse.com and the Unity Village Bookstore
at Amazon.com, and through most quality bookstores.
Excerpt from 3rd Edition
of Friends in High Places:
Due to recent manuscript discoveries—like
the Coptic library consisting of fifty-two texts discovered in earthen jars at Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt in 1945—scholars
now have better evidence about the intriguing ideas advanced by other groups, the “heresies” who lost their bid
to become number one in the early church reality show.
Although extraordinary forces
shaped the arena in which Christianity grew to maturity—e.g., erosion of the old Roman Republic, the rise of an unchallenged
Imperial Rome with its corresponding Pax Romana which
allowed relatively safe travel on well-built roads and aboard ships in a well-policed Mediterranean Sea;
the ascending popularity of cultic mystery religions imported from the Near East
to satisfy the ubiquitous hunger for personal immortality in Hellenistic society; and two Jewish wars of rebellion and their
consequent violent suppression by Rome—nevertheless, one should not dismiss the idea that a Divine element has also
been at work in the evolutionary process.
centuries later Pierre Teilhard de Chardin will propose a direction of flow for the whole process of evolution, from nonliving
through consciousness to the Omega Point, which he identified with the Christ.
(From Introduction to Friends in High Places.)
Welcome to the Home Page of
This site is dedicated to the ongoing study and critical analysis of what has
been called New Thought Christianity, i.e., metaphysical theology.
Theology could be defined as: .
"Organized, rational reflection on ideas and practices
to the Divine, God and Ultimate Concerns, evaluated from within the boundaries
of a chosen circle of faith." (Glimpses of Truth)
To say it is reflection on "Ultimate Concerns"
and that it occurs within a "circle of faith" is to borrow a few terms from theologian Paul Tillich, who was a widely respected ontologist. That's
the academically acceptable word for metaphysician these days. This site intends to wade into the thicket of theology
and metaphysics and find common ground between mainline Christian thought and New Thought Christianity. Of course, not all
ground upon which Christians stand will be contiguous. There will be some delightful controversies and probably a little celebration
of ideas which other followers of Jesus would call flagrant heresies...just as people of His era declared heretical the New
Thoughts he brought to Hellenistic paganism and trditional Judaism.
writers and thinkers who contribute to this site will be speaking for themselves, not any institution or even any
particular religious tradition. Although Christian, we will not be so hardy as
to claim we are teaching exclusively what Jesus taught authentically; no one is capable of that, because when trying
to reconstruct objective history, Christian scripture and church traditions frequently present incomplete or contradictory
images. The goal here is an honest assessment of religious "ideas and practices" through the lenses of
Scripture (including extra-canonical and the foundational texts of other religions), tradition
(what people have said and done), experience (what people today have learned from life in communal
and personal existence), and reflection (both intellectual reason and intuitive
students of theology doubtless will recognize the four formative factors listed above (Scripture, Tradition, Experience,
and Reason/Reflection) as the well-traveled Methodist Quadrilateral. This approach is widely taught as
a systematic and non-sectarian way of looking at spiritual ideas.
An excellent book
on the subject is How to Think Theologically by Howard Stone and J.O. Duke (Fortress Press, 2006). These are a few goals and some of the tools you will find at this site.
So, welcome again to the home page of Metaphysical Theology...
Spread the word. Any number can play.
I'm the Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd. I teach in the Historical
and Theological Studies Department of Unity Institute...Well, actually, I am the whole department currently.
At this site you'll also find class information for studies in Metaphysical Theology (a portion of
which--alas--is restricted to registered students in my classes at UI), monographs and essays about delightfully provocative
topics, and assorted other information. The site will be under continuous re-construction, so bear with me as the process