DET (Die Evangelischen Theologen) is the theological version of a digital news magazine. The DET authorial team provides insightful, thought-provoking content on a wide range of theological, religious, and even political subjects from current events and culture as well as from the Christian and other religious traditions.
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David Kelsey’s 2011 Warfield Lectures: Lecture 2, "In Praise of the Uselessness of God"
Nathan Maddox has posted on Dr Kelsey’s 2nd Warfield Lecture, delivered on Tuesday, March 29th, at 3pm in the Main Lounge of Mackey Hall, Princeton Theological Seminary. The lecture's title is: "In Praise of the Uselessness of God." Head on over and check it out
I was kickin' it on Twitter last Wednesday night while doing some grading and then some editing, and I caught a Twitter essay from Christopher Stroop in my feed that leaped off the screen at me. It pulls together a number of issues that have been bouncing around in my head, many of which I fit in the title. Stroop's reflections merge political and psychological analysis, and helps us understand how there could have been "good Germans" and how we might end op with "good Americans." Let us hope that we do not, and work to make that hope a reality.
Anyway, I wanted to share this Twitter essay with you, gentle readers, because there are enough people who read DET or follow me and DET on social media who are within or close to evangelicalism and will be aided by this analysis. Stroop was gracious enough to allow me to collect his tweets and make them available. If you've made your way here on a mobile device, however, you would probably prefer to read this …
A pastor of a large Presbyterian Church (USA) congregation killed himself on Friday, August 26, 2016. He left behind a wife and two teenage children. Left in the wake of his death is also a grieving congregation. A google search will turn up more details, but I am choosing to omit the dead man's name.
You go on the Facebook page of the church he served, and you can feel the anguish of his sheep. The questions, the fear, the doubt, the shock, all apparent. Why did this happen? Who could see this coming? Author David Sedaris once wrote, in the aftermath of his sister's suicide, "Doesn't the blood of every suicide splash back on our faces?"
Before he died, this man posted on Facebook a quote from Christian writer Christine Caine, "Sometimes when you're in a dark place you think you've been buried, but you've actually been planted." Shortly after beginning his pastoral call at his Arizonian Presbyterian Church, this man told a local reporter that…
Marilynne Robinson, novelist and essayist, is one of my literary heroes. She is witty, wise, and unabashedly Reformed. In April 2016, Robinson was in Princeton, NJ, giving a lecture as part of the University’s Comparative Literature lecture series. In her lecture, titled “Beauty and Grace,” Robinson made this elusive comment regarding her theological commitments:
“I hold to theology because only theology embraces the true, tenable, and flawed as reality holds them.”
Naturally, this statement shocked me, as I have never in my seven years of theological inquiry heard theology defined as such. Theology, as it has classically been construed, is systematic, ordered, and dogmatic. Mashing together the true and the flawed is a systematic theologian’s worst nightmare. Shocking as her statement may be, I think Robinson is on to something profoundly relevant for the current state of theology, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about its ramifications. What if Robinson is right? What if theo…
In the coffee shop recently, I noticed that an older man was staring at me. I tried to ignore him and took a restroom break. When I came back to the bar-style table, I noticed he was thumbing through the 1928 Book of Common Prayer I had been reading. Slightly creeped out, I decided I should make verbal contact with this interloper (stalker?). We exchanged greetings. He asked me if my book was a Bible. I explained it was a prayer book, but it contained selections from scripture (As the cliche goes: The Bible quotes The Book of Common Prayer...bada bing).
"Do you believe in God," he asked me. "Yes," I said, without hesitation. "But it's hard sometimes." And indeed it is. Nonetheless, I didn't balk at answering affirmatively. That's not to say I don't struggle with doubts, for certainly I do. Rather, though, I have to admit the question of whether God exists simply doesn't interest me. Maybe that's because, by temperament and training…
I’ve always been drawn to biography. It combines my interest in and fascination by history on the one hand with my interest in ideas on the other. To top it off, it can give one a new perspective on one’s own struggles and location in one’s own story, and this perspective can be encouraging (it can also be depressing, but we’ll leave that to one side). And autobiography is a particularly enjoyable species of biography. Perhaps the most interesting knowledge that I have gleaned thus far from Moltmann's autobiography was that Ernst Wolf was seriously hardcore: “He smoked black cigars, drank strong coffee in the evenings, and often worked right through the night” (Broad Place, 49)!
But what I really want to highlight today are some of Moltmann’s discussions of his earliest teaching at the seminary in Wuppertal. To begin, here is how he describes lecture preparation:
For me, work on the Sunday sermon now gave way to work for four hours of lectures every week. I remembered what Ernst K…