Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thoughts on Ordination from Robert Jenson

The short Spring term has ended here at PTS, and commencement was held last weekend. While all those who I knew while an MDiv student here are long gone, I have enjoyed getting to know some of the students that have followed through my teaching responsibilities. A number of these have now graduated, and are taking up ecclesial responsibilities. When I cam across the below passage from Jenson, I felt compelled to post it for their benefit, and for the benefit of any others who might wander through.

Robert W. Jenson, Visible Words: The Interpretation and Practice of Christian Sacraments (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1978): 200.
Specifically ministerial freedom is freedom to speak and act upon God’s word not only as a member and servant of the community, entrusted like all members with the community’s mission, but also independently of the community, over against the community. The community’s own proper life necessarily draws it away from the gospel. The community is called to do works, and the gospel is a message of hope beyond our works; the community is called to live now, and Jesus was a long time ago. By very fidelity to its mission, the community is exposed to temptation to bowdlerize the gospel on both of its essential sides: to proclaim in Jesus’ name a hope less than eschatological, or to proclaim hope in some other name than Jesus. The ministerium is those God and the community set free to worry about this, to take the authenticity and vivacity of the gospel as their special responsibility against all comers. The ministry’s charism is the gospel’s freedom from the community for the community.
And then from the next page...
[E]very actual exercize of ministerial freedom proves its authenticity only by unanimity with the real apostles: the ordination promise to preach and teach in accord with the gospel is concretely and historically a promise to preach and teach in accord with apostolic Scripture.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Paul Jones on Christology in Barth’s “CD” 3.2

Paul Dafydd Jones, The Humanity of Christ: Christology in Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics (London: T&T Clark, 2008): 118-9.
“In spite of its often-startling conceptual richness and brilliance (I think here especially of §44.3 and §47), there are moments in this part volume at which Barth’s ‘christological concentration’ drifts from its moorings, caught in the swell of philosophical, social-scientific and cultural discourses. The programmatic christological sections are sometimes curiously brief, even out of joint with the anthropological reflections that follow. Consequently, Barth’s most vital insights, which surely not drowned out by waves of appropriated resources, sometimes grasp for air. Barth himself suffers the fault he finds with Schleiermacher’s Glaubenslehre: unduly preoccupied by the intellectual trends of his day, ad hoc annexations of philosophical and cultural claims distract from his engagement with scriptural particulars.”
This is quite the claim. My independent knowledge of CD 3.4 is not sufficient for passing any kind of judgment on Jones’ reading here. Perhaps some of you, gentle readers, have an informed opinion on the matter?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blog Silence Explained

Sorry for the sudden blog silence. I've been helping teach a short term course here at PTS, and that has been keeping me very busy. The time I have left over from work on this course has been spent eating and sleeping, and there hasn't been enough time available to even do those things properly. But, the course will conclude next week, so you can expect a return to DET normality soon (for those of you who want it; for those of you who want this blog to disappear, well, you'll have to wait a bit longer at least).