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Showing posts from January, 2007

Like a Phoenix Rising from the Ashes…

…Shane has returned. Check him out at his new site, Scholasticus.

Requiescat In Pacem – shanewilkins.blogspot.com

Dear friends,

Today is, indeed, a sad day. After contributing significantly to the theological and philosophical blogospheres, my esteemed philosopher colleague has terminated his creative participation – at least for the time being. His absence will be sorely missed by those of us left to carry on.

Let us all observe a moment of silence for http://shanewilkins.blogspot.com

REQUIESCAT IN PACEM

Reading Scripture with John Calvin: 1 Peter 2.6-8

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1 Peter 2.6-8

[6] For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” [7] Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” [8] and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message – which is also what they were destined for.

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COMMENTARY:

Calvin’s comments on this material have to do mostly with the following notions: “Salvation in Christ,” “Ecclesiology,” and “The Rock.” Of course, the first two of these things are tied together, and this is something that Calvin clearly sees. We have evidence of this when he writes, “there is no building up of the Church without Christ; for there is no other foundation but he.” But, language being linear, we will treat them sequentially. The…

I have a neighbor...

I have a neighbor who just completed his first of six semesters in the MDiv program here at Princeton Theological Seminary. Conversely, I just finished my fifth.

On another note, I’ll be spending the weekend reading about German romanticism / idealism. If you have any insights into these matters, feel free to share!

Excepts from the Barth-Thurneysen Correspondence (2)

Revolutionary Theology in the Making: Barth-Thurneysen Correspondence, 1914-1925 (James D Smart, trans.; Richmond: John Knox Press, 1964).“What a field this is…It is astonishing, and becomes ever more so, with what unshakable confidence all these battlers, using the cleverest means, try to besiege, to ambush, to encompass, and to catch the ‘historical Jesus.’ And now with the so-called ‘form criticism’ a quite new campaign, the most cunning of all, has begun, which will probably somehow make all the early N.T. theologies and introductions out of date, but – meanwhile this historical Jesus is a phantom and these historians have little suspicion of the real and much more astonishing riddle that the New Testament embodies…The krypsis [hiddenness] and kenosis [self-emptying] are greater still by far than they imagine.” (104; Thurneysen to Barth, 6.16.1922)“In regard to Zwingli it is to be noted that the curve of reflection toward the end has bent round once more in his favor without alt…

What Am I Reading? Eberhard Jüngel

Eberhard Jüngel, God’s Being is in Becoming: The Trinitarian Being of God in the Theology of Karl Barth (John Webster, trans; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001).

It is a point of shame for me that I have only lately read this book for the first time. Jüngel is an important personage in contemporary theology, and I really should have paid him greater attention sooner (I’m still hopelessly derelict in studying Jenson). However, I procured a copy of this work from Amazon at a particularly comely price, and figured that I should give it a quick read through.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I read this book in the space of about 3 hours. That is easily 1/10 of the time that one would need to spend with this volume in order to sufficiently plumb its depths. So, while I feel as though I have a sufficient grasp of the broad movements of the argument, I am by no means an expert on Jüngel or on this volume.

If one thing can be said about Jüngel, it is that he is a careful reader…

T. F. Torrance on Baptism

The following is the "payoff paragraph" of TFT's essay entitled "The One Baptism Common to Christ and His Church," which can be found in Theology in Reconciliation. If I were granted one wish that I could spend on things of an academic nature, I would use it to find out how Barth would respond this this paragraph. I guess I'll ask once I get to the next life.
On the ground of what Christ has done for us and in accordance with his promise, we are presented before God as subjects of his saving activity, and are initiated into a mutual relation between the act of the Spirit and the response of faith. Faith arises as the gift of the Spirit, while it is through faith that we may continue to receive the Spirit, and it is in the Spirit that God continues to act creatively upon us, uniting us to Christ so that his atoning reconciliation bears fruit in us, and lifting us up to share in the very life and love of God, in the communion of the Father, the Son and th…

Excepts from the Barth-Thurneysen Correspondence (1)

Revolutionary Theology in the Making: Barth-Thurneysen Correspondence, 1914-1925 (James D Smart, trans.; Richmond: John Knox Press, 1964).“What have you to say concerning Peace Sunday and the fine prayers? The prayer by the Pope is really just as good. Yesterday, I had a great snowball fight with the boys of my confirmation class. I do that for them every year in order to improve the general joyousness.” (28; Barth to Thurneysen, 2.5.1915)“The idea of reading the Bible together had already occurred to me, too. Could not something of the kind be done in the Aargau? But Bader is right: one must regularly, and indeed frequently and preferably for a whole morning, make oneself available for it. At least that would be a way in which one could get ahead, and almost certainly there would be something in it for everyone.” (31-2; Barth to Thurneysen, 9.8.1915)“If this were ‘pietism,’ we would never again believe that there was even the slightest point of contact between us and the pieti…

The Wanderer: U2 / Johnny Cash

This song has been inescapable for me over the past few days. I have known of its existence for some time, I have heard it before, but for some reason when it popped up in my mp3 player the other day (set to "random") it made an impact. Since then I have listened to it probably 40 or more times, and I still haven’t made total sense out of it. In any case, I thought I should share the lyrics and recommend that you get a hold of a copy for yourself and give it a listen. For those who don’t know such things, its on U2’s Zooropa (and shame on you for not knowing that!). I went out walking through the streets paved with gold
Lifted some stones
Saw the skin and bones
Of a city without a soul
I went out walking under an atomic sky
Where the ground wont turn
And the rain it burns
Like the tears when I said goodbye

Yeah I went with nothing
Nothing but the thought of you
I went wandering

I went drifting through the capitals of tin
Where men cant walk
Or freely talk
And sons turn their fathers i…

Link: N.T. Wright, “Mere Mission”

Lately I have tried to avoid posting links simply for the sake of posting links. This has brought down the volume of posts here at DET quite a bit. But, I believe that it has raise the quality of what I do post. In any case, I’m assuming that most blog readers out there have hopped on the Web 2.0 bandwagon, and are therefore not dependent upon stopping by every day to see what is new. In any case, all that is neither here nor there.

The purpose of this post is to alert you all to an interview with N.T. Wright recently published in Christianity Today (they have an RSS feed, which is how I found this). It is called “Mere Mission,” and deals with Wright’s recent book, Simply Christian. There is the usual discussion of how to present the gospel to a postmodern culture, etc., and there are some interesting moments concerning the parallels between Wright’s work and C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, for any of you who are interested in the Oxford don (me, not so much).

But, in the course …

Ethics, a la Calvin, Augustine and Shane

For the background to this post, please see the comments thread in my most recent edition of Reading Scripture with John Calvin and Shane’s post, The mendacious moral pessimism of John Calvin.

In his post, Shane suggested that I try out the phrase, “You know what I love about you babe? Jesus” on my dear wife. Of course, he anticipates “that her reaction will not be gratitude for his piety.” Of course, I don’t need to merely “anticipate” her reaction; I know what it will be (of course, not in the sense of JTB; see Shane’s twoposts and my own) My wife would say: “Um…ok….,” all the while thinking, “What the h*ll is wrong with this guy? Why did I marry him?”

But, all joking aside, my saving grace is that my (and I would argue, Calvin’s) position does not necessitate that I make such a move. But, before I get into that, I just want to be clear about who bears the burden of proof in this discussion. I would argue at length and in great detail that my position is in keeping not only with…

Reading Scripture with John Calvin: 1 Peter 2.1-5

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1 Peter 2.1-5

(1) Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. (2) Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, (3) now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. (4) As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by human beings, but chosen by God and precious to him – (5) you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

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COMMENTARY:

This section was not quite as interwoven with interesting themes, at least to my eyes, as the last few section have been. But, there are quite a few intriguing tidbits that I want to place before us. We have seen some of them before, but it is good to get a sense of how different ideas in Calvin keep popping up. Here is what we will cover: Ethics Follows Regeneration, Got Milk?, Mirr…