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Reading Scripture with John Calvin: 1 Peter 3.15-18

1 Peter 3.15-18

[15] …Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, [16] keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. [17] It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. [18] For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

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COMMENTARY: To begin, I should note that I have (again) combined two of Calvin’s sections into one for the sake of having more material to work with. Calvin’s avowed pursuit of exegetical brevity is often my cross to bear, although it makes reading his commentaries a rather pleasant exercise – and one which I commend to all of you who are following this series.

Calvin begins by noticing that “Peter does …

Happy 2nd Birthday, DET!

That is right! DET is now entering into its third year. This blog was born with something of an introduction and manifesto, and last year I elaborated on my vision for DET. These documents still accurately represent what DET is about, so I am content to simply refer to them here.

Thinking back over the last year, I must admit that my enthusiasm for blogging has flagged a bit. This is primarily due to the increased academic demands that a PhD program brings. Quite simply put, I simply have had less time to devote to blogging, and I think that has shown. However, I did spend considerable time and energy on the second annual Karl Barth blog conference, which turned out very well. Watch for the third installment next year. It is increasingly true that what goes on here at DET throughout the year is undertaken in service of this annual event, and this event is reason enough to keep soldiering on in the theo-blogosphere.

In any event, I hope that you will all stay tuned for anothe…

New Center for Barth Studies Book Review

Reading Scripture with John Calvin: 1 Peter 3.10-15

1 Peter 3.10-15

[10] For, “Whoever among you would love life and see good days must keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceitful speech. [11] Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. [12] For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”* [13] Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? [14] But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”* [15] But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.

* Psalm 34.12-16 and Isaiah 8.12, respectively.

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COMMENTARY:

Calvin gave me much more to work with in this section with reference to sheer volume of words, but for some reason I’ve come up a bit dry. One interesting point is that Calvin quotes from Plato’s Republic in the course of his exposition, something you don’t see too much of anymore. Below are short quotations from …

The Church According to Donald Bloesch

Donald G. Bloesch, The Church: Sacraments, Worship, Ministry, Mission, Christian Foundations (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2002).Now that both the Barth blog conference and the Princeton Seminary Barth conference are concluded, I have had some time to do some wider theological reading. I have spent a number of hours over the past few days sitting on my porch with this volume by Donald Bloesch. Bloesch has an eight part series entitled “Christian Foundations,” and this is the portion dedicated to ecclesiology. While it is true that Bloesch is not a very creative thinker in his own right, he is interesting – at least to me – as one who is an evangelical and has learned from Barth, but who does not follow Barth whole hog.

Before I get on to a few thoughts on this volume, however, I want to plug another of Bloesch’s works - Essentials of Evangelical Theology - which makes, in my humble opinion, a great volume (actually, two volumes now bound in one) for introductory theology cla…

H. Richard Niebuhr on Culture-Protestantism and Fundamentalism

So, this year I have been reading H. Richard Niebuhr for the first time, and I have been finding him very interesting. While I often disagree with him, he is a great writer (as I have mentioned before) and he has a way of making one – or at least me – think about things in new ways. It could just be because he is so foreign to me, in which case I have been engaged in broadening my horizons.

In any case, here is a particularly provocative, insightful, and ponderous piece on the relation of fundamentalism, Roman Catholicism, and Culture-Protestantism. As usual, at least in my experience, he is an equal-opportunity offender. This passage comes from the chapter “The Christ of Culture” from his well-known volume, Christ and Culture (New York: Harper and Row, 1951), and emphasis has been imported by myself:The widespread reaction against cultural Protestantism in our time tends to obscure the importance of answer of this type to the Christ-and-culture problem. But we are warned against…