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Showing posts from October, 2009

T.F. Torrance on Evangelistic Preaching

***For those of you who care, I'm sitting my last qualifying exam today - systematic theology. While I'm slaving away, enjoy some good ol' TFT.***

Thomas F. Torrance, When Christ Comes and Comes Again (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1957): 8-9.There are aspects of modern preaching which give rise to great anxiety, the temptation of the popular preacher to build the faith of the congregation on his own personality, to parade his knowledge of modern literature, to feed his people with constant diagnosis of the various maladies of our time instead of with the substance of the Gospel, to allow an existentialist decision to oust from their central place in the Gospel the mighty acts of God in Christ, and so to give the people anthropology instead of Christology, or to preach the Church instead of Christ in His Church and so to give the congregation the traditions of men instead of Incarnation, Atonement, Resurrection, Ascension, and Advent. A sheep lo…

New Center for Barth Studies Book Review

Matthias Gockel reviews Bruce McCormack's Orthodox and Modern. Be sure to check it out!

Kathryn Tanner on “whether” and “how” God can be said to respond to our prayers

*****For those few of you who care or might minutely be interested, I'm sitting my qualifying exam in philosophy this morning. I know it sounds like lots of fun, but its not really. Take my word on it. Anyway, enjoy this from Tanner while I slave away.*****

Kathryn Tanner, God and Creation in Christian Theology: Tyranny or Empowerment? (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2005): 97-8.

“Christians do say…that God responds to the prayers of the faithful. Are there not, then, exceptional cases where God’s agency for created effects is determined by what the creature does? We have to say that a statement like ‘God grants petitions’ holds, not because God’s agency is itself altered by prayer, but because prayer is according to God’s will a necessary created condition in particular cases for a created effect or for the alteration of the usual order of created cause and effect. To say that God makes up for the deficiency of created causes to produce the effect for which a person prays i…

New Music from 'The McMakens'

It seems that it is family promotion month here at DET. You may remember that I recently posted about an article that my brother and his wife wrote for Relevant magazine. Well, as it turns out, they have just released their first album, entitled Sleep Easy They have been working on it a long time, and it is sure to be well put together (I haven't heard it all yet - maybe I'll get a free copy for writing this notice! :-P ) In any case, if you'd like to listen to "nine original songs and two folk arrangements [that] capture this duo's timeless songwriting, lush instrumentation, and evocative vocals: (copy from their website), you can order now. And, if you live in the Chicago-land area, think about dropping by one of their shows.

How do worship and mission relate?

No, I'm not tipping my hand just yet. But, my brother and his wife have recently published a short piece on the topic that is worth a read over at Relevant Magazine - "Your Worship Isn't Enough". Those of tired of the rather dry and rationalist approach taken here at DET may find their more evocative and conversational tone refreshing.

Frei on Barth, Theological Method, and CD 2.2 (?)

The following few paragraphs are taken from Frei’s Types of Christian Theology (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992). They deal with Barth and the way in which Barth deployed philosophical, or non-Christian modes of inquiry in general, to the task of theology or, more specifically, to the task of reading Scripture. I present it here not only because I think Frei gets a number of things right about Barth in this passage, but because the third paragraph is – I think; it isn’t explicitly stated – a methodological gloss on Church Dogmatics 2.2, which is very illuminating on its own. Of course, you will have to make your own judgments, and I would be very interested in hearing your impressions. Pages 87-8:

“Barth…suggests that some biblical texts have been more crucial than others in the history of Christian reading [of Scripture], largely because they are more perspicuous and therefore more conductive to agreed-upon interpretation—or “plain” reading. And chief among these, so t…

Kaufman on how Luther gave us the likes of Feuerbach and Nietzsche

To set the stage, Kaufman is talking about the conceptual difficulties involved in conceiving of God as objective to us in a way broadly similar to how any other object with which we interact is objective to us. He is definitely pursuing an agenda with this analysis – as far as I can tell, he doesn’t want anything like a personal God in the traditional sense – but that doesn’t mean he isn’t illuminating. For instance, he has this nice bit about how Luther gave us the likes of Feuerbach and Nietzsche. To set the stage, he understands Luther’s notion of simul iustus et peccator as driving such a wedge between us and God – God is righteous, we are not, and we never actually possess righteousness as saved and so remain utterly distinct from God – as to undermine knowledge of God. Below are some extracts that draw some of these strands together.
“Luther’s position…is a reductio ad absurdum, I suggest, becomes it makes the distinction so sharp that even my consciousness of God—my ideas …