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Showing posts from April, 2008

In Honor of Nazianzen's Poetry: A Reflection in Verse

The following was written by Chris, a friend of mine for many years – spanning from when he moving onto my floor of Fischer dormitory at Wheaton College as a freshman during my second year, up to the present time, which finds him finishing his MDiv middle year here at PTS. Chris has been spending time this semester in a PhD seminar of which I am a part, studying the Cappadocian theologians under the direction of Dr. Ellen Charry. One of Dr. Charry’s pedagogical strategies is to have her students prepare a short reflection before each class to help prime the pump for discussion. This is what Chris wrote for the last meeting of our class, which occurred on April 21st. I post it today in memoriam for that lively, engaging, informative, and always fun class.

In Honor of Gregory Nazianzen's Poetry: A Reflection in Verse
Ignoring these poems might prove detrimental,

'Cause it seems that their content is not incidental,

But rather expresses some critical stuff—

So let's show so…

A Beginner’s Foray into Barth’s Ecclesiology, With Response

My neighbor, Martin, is a bit of an odd duck here at Princeton Theological Seminary for two reasons: first, he is a Lutheran; and second, he holds a terminal degree in chemistry. Now, however, he is living the life of a diligent Masters of Divinity student and, at least at PTS, that means an introduction to Karl Barth. Knowing that I dabble in Barth, Martin sent me a few short comments that he had prepared for class to see what I thought of it. He has kindly granted me permission to reproduce his comments here, along with my response. Coincidentally, and for anyone who is following along at home, Martin’s comments arise from reading Church Dogmatics 4.2, 693-5.

Martin's Comments:In 1 Peter 5:1-4, Barth’s statement that the “unity and universality of the Church’s ministry will always be, not a beautiful ideal, but the absolute law of the community, and therefore that which must be maintained as the conditio sine qua non of its life” (695) is best supported by 1 Peter 5:3, where …

Barth’s “Rules for Older People in Relation to Younger”

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A Late Friendship: The Letters of Karl Barth and Carl Zuckmayer (Translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982), 45.

Realize that younger people of both sexes, whether relatives or close in other ways, have a right to go their own ways according to their own (and not your) principles, ideas, and desires, to gain their own experiences, and to find happiness in their own (and not your) fashion.Do not force upon them, then, your own example or wisdom or inclinations or favors.Do not bind them in any way to yourself or put them under any obligation.Do not be surprised or annoyed or upset if you necessarily find that they have no time, or little time, for you, that no matter how well-intentioned you may be toward them, or sure of your cause, you sometimes inconvenience and bore them, and they casually ignore you and your counsel.When they act in this way, remember penitently that in your own youth you, too, perhaps (or probably) acted in …

Word and Spirit: Yves Congar’s Account of Church and Eucharist – Part 5

Critical Engagement

Congar’s understanding of the relation of Word and Spirit in church and Eucharist is certainly both intricate and perceptive. It especially bears fruit in the multifaceted if fragmentary way in which Congar thinks of the Eucharist. Congar certainly has much to teach on these matters. However, there are also certain deficiencies in Congar’s work, especially when considered from a reformational point of view. By way of conclusion, a number of internal and external critiques of Congar’s treatment are offered below.

First, Congar’s treatment of the role of the Holy Spirit in Christology raises some interesting questions. As was seen above, Congar understands Jesus Christ to be the Son of God objectively on the basis of the hypostatic union and subjectively or for us and our salvation on the basis of the Holy Spirit’s actualization and realization of that objective reality in different ways and at different stages in Jesus’ earthly life. The two primary events that …