Dogmatic Theology has its place, to be sure. Clear and exact writing befits that genre. But we should not say that metaphor or story or parable should be excluded from it. These not only teach the truth, but engage the moral imagination. And so Bunyan defended his Pilgrim's Progress in his preceding "Author's Apology to the Reader":

Be not too forward therefore to conclude
That I want solidness, that I am rude:
All things solid in shew not solid be;
All things in parables despise not we;
Lest things most hurtful lightly we receive,
And things that good are, of our souls bereave.
My dark and cloudy words they do but hold
The Truth, as Cabinets inclose the Gold.
The Prophets used much by Metaphors
To set forth Truth; yea, whoso considers
Christ, his Apostles too, shall plainly see,
That Truths to this day in such Mantles be.
Am I afraid to say that Holy Writ,
Which for its Stile and Phrase puts down all Wit,
Is everywhere so full of all these things,
Dark Figures, Allegories? Yet there springs
From that same Book that lustre, and those rays
Of light, that turns our darkest nights to days.

Later Bunyan continues,

Come, Truth, although in Swaddling-clouts, I find,
Informs the Judgment, rectifies the Mind,
Pleases the Understanding, makes the Will
Submit; the Memory too it doth fill
With what doth our Imagination please;
Likewise it tends our troubles to appease.

I am a bit suspicious of the appeals of the post-moderns to story and image on two accounts:

1) the advocates of post-modern thought who confess that this is the sole means of communicating to the present generation do so in a way wholly void of imagery or story or narrative, but in the manner of dry and witless prose.

2) Their appeal is nothing novel! All men everywhere have enjoyed stories and imagination and narrative. When "doing theology" (if I may use this phrase), imagination is vital, but must still be accompianed by reason. We must always speak clearly with specific terms and language. In addition, it seems to me that any story or narrative must usually build upon knowledge already present. Theology first demands precision in thought and language. But I believe it to be a universal trait among men, even among the most "modern" of moderns and scientific of scientists to delight in imagery and story and narrative. This is part of what it means to be human. Although bygone eras, thanks to the inhumanity of science, may have emphasized such evocative manners of speaking to a lesser degree, the desire for man for imagination has always been present to some degree. This is not a product of television or the theater or anything else. This is part of what it means to be human.

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