Showing posts from November, 2007

Barth and Piper on the Relation of God’s Love and Glory

Every now and then, the work of John Piper flits across my mind. I read his Desiring God (Multnomah, 1996) during the period of transition from High School to College, but I have since come to be…let’s say…‘skeptical’ about the veracity of his position. In any case, I am working on a project with a faculty member here at PTS, and Piper’s work came up briefly there. So, he has been on my mind.

At the same time, I am reading Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics 2.1 (T&T Clark, 1985) for a PhD seminar currently underway, and I came across a bit of text (reproduced below) and the contrast between Barth and Piper jumped out at me. I wanted to post about it.

So, here are quotes from both Piper and Barth on the relation between God’s love and God’s glory. As you will see, Piper makes God’s love for us subordinate to God’s glory, while Barth makes God’s glory subordinate to God’s love for us.

Piper: “God’s ultimate goal therefore is to preserve and display his inifinte and awesome great…

2008 Karl Barth Conference at Princeton Theological Seminary

Another piece of news. I'm beginning to feel like the theological Associated Press!

The Center for Barth Studies has posted an announcement of the 2008 Barth conference. Here you will find information about the date of the conference (June 22-25), the conference cost ($100 USD), and the current list of confirmed speakers (which includes Kathryn Tanner and Nigel Biggar).

The topic of the 2008 Barth conference is: “Karl Barth and Theological Ethics”

While you are surfing the Barth Center website, be sure to check out the book review section.

Warfield Lectures, 2007: Update

As faithful readers of DET are well aware, three of your dedicated theo-bloggers from Princeton Theological Seminary banded together to provide coverage of the 2007 Warfield Lectures, presented by Dr. Kathryn Tanner. An index with links to coverage of all the lectures is available in my 'Collaborative Projects' section, to which there is a link at the top of the right side-bar.

The purpose of this post is to announce that one of Dr. Tanner's Warfield Lectures has been published in the Princeton Seminary Bulletin. This lecture was #4, and - if one wanted to do some comparative analysis - you can access Chris' notes on its original presentation.

Dr. Tanner's published lecture is entitled, Kingdom Come: The Trinity an Politics.

Here are her two introductory paragraphs, which set the tone for the essay:In contemporary theology, the Trinity is often enlisted to support particular kinds of human community - say, egalitarian, inclusive communities, in which differences a…

Happy Thanksgiving, 2007

I refer you to the Thanksgiving Meditation that I posted last year.

Wolfhart Pannenberg, 'Introduction to Systematic Theology' (4)

Wolfhart Pannenberg, An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991).

Learn a little something about Pannenberg.

Chapter 4: Christology Within a Systematic Framework

Pannenberg’s short volume concludes with a consideration of Christology. I must confess that this chapter was the hardest for me to get my mind around, and I’m not entirely sure that I succeeded. This means that what follows will be more descriptive than critical.
The Church
Pannenberg gives us a tidy definition of the church in the opening sentences of this chapter:“The Christian church is the community of those who by baptism, faith, and eucharistic communion share in the ministry and death of Jesus Christ and thereupon live in the hope for the new life of his resurrection. Thus the church has been called the ‘body’ of Christ.” (53)The conviction of this community is that Jesus Christ has universal significance, and this conviction provides the community with an impetus to mission. However, this…

Scripture a Double-Edged Sword

Would that we all took the sword-like potential of Scripture as seriously as does this cartoon .

Wolfhart Pannenberg, 'Introduction to Systematic Theology' (3)

Wolfhart Pannenberg, An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991).

Learn a little something about Pannenberg.

Chapter 3: The Doctrine of Creation in an Age of Scientific Cosmology

Part of my attraction to the work of TF Torrance is his understanding of theological science and the relation of theology and science, so I very much enjoyed this chapter wherein Pannenberg engages scientific cosmology. In keeping with Pannenberg’s apologetic impulse, which we saw in the first chapter, this chapter seems to be predominantly a ground-clearing exercise, interested in suggesting ways in which Christianity can be understood in harmony with scientific cosmology. It seems to me that theology must attempt to find this harmony whenever possible, and so it was interesting to see Pannenberg engage in this task.
Mechanical Universe
Pannenberg recounts how scientific cosmology developed in the 18th and 19th centuries to view the world as a mechanical system. While God was or…

Eberhard Busch Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary

On Thursday evening, November 8, 2007, Eberhard Busch – Karl Barth’s last research assistant and Emeritus Professor of Reformed Theology at Göttingen – lectured at Princeton Theological Seminary. The title of his lecture was “A Swiss Voice: The Campaign of the Swiss Government Against the Voice of Karl Barth During the Second World War,” and this title is self-explanatory. It was a fascinating lecture that sought to dispel the myth that Barth was not politically active during World War Two, and Busch drew much upon original archival research in Swiss and German government archives that have only recently been opened for such research.

Below are my notes from the lecture. They are not well formed, nor have I gone back to edit them. Thus, they do not give a precise or comprehensive account of what was said, but they do give an indication. Undoubtedly this information will become available in traditional print form in due course.


Eberhard Busch –…

Calvin on Ordination and Pastoral Obligation

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.5.4 - Abuses in the appointment of the presbyter ("priest") and deacon.
"Here is a noble calling, by reason of which bishops boast that they are the apostles' successors. But they say that the right to create presbyters belongs to them alone. In this they very wickedly corrupt the ancient institution, because they create by their ordination not presbyters to lead and feed the people, but priests to perform sacrifices. Similarly, when they consecrate deacons, they do nothing about their true and proper office, but ordain them only for certain rites concerned with chalice and paten.

But in the Council of Chalcedon, on the contrary, it was enacted that there should be no ordinations free of pastoral obligations, that is, that a place be assigned to the person ordained where he is to exercise his office. This decree is valuable for two reasons. First, that the church may not be burdened with needless expense, and s…

Wolfhart Pannenberg, 'Introduction to Systematic Theology' (2)

Wolfhart Pannenberg, An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991).

Learn a little something about Pannenberg.

Chapter 2: Problems of a Christian Doctrine of God

I liked this chapter much more than I did the first one, so maybe my earlier distaste was simply part of my general distaste for prolegomena. In any case, I can’t deal with all the content packed into this chapter, so I’ll have to hit high points.
Theology, Philosophy, Metaphysics
Pannenberg argues that “the theologian is called to restate the doctrine of God in terms of rational argument” (23), and he makes two points related to this. First, he notes that “the concept of God which was developed by medieval and early modern theology in close contact with classical metaphysics is in need of rather radical revision” (ibid). But, he notes secondly that a significant difficulty in going about this ‘radical revision’ is “the desolate state of metaphysics in modern philosophy” (ibid). That is, the philoso…

My Most Recent Publication

A Report on the Second Annual Karl Barth Conference, Karl Barth Society Newsletter 35 (Fall, 2007), 1-4.

Regular readers of DET may remember that, coming off the success of the 2007 Karl Barth Blog Conference, things were uncharacteristically quiet here during the second annual Karl Barth conference held at Princeton Theological Seminary back in June. Well, this is why. My reporting on the conference was spoken for by the Barth Society Newsletter, the editor of which (Paul Molnar) asked me to provide such a report because of my involvement in organizing the conference.

In any case, if you are a member of the Karl Barth Society of North America, my report will show up in your mailbox in a few days (if it hasn’t already). It will also appear in due course in the digital collections of the Princeton Theological Seminary library.

This issue of the newsletter also includes information on the upcoming Barth Society meetings in conjunction with the 2007 AAR conference in San Diego, a revi…