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Showing posts from February, 2012

Pannenberg & Barth: ST, I.1.1

Given my interest in eschatology, one of my main goals this semester is to deepen my knowledge of both Moltmann and Pannenberg. I've given significantly less attention to the latter thus far, so I thought it might be fun to bring the readers of DET along for the ride as I begin to address this deficit. Without further delay here is the first of (hopefully) many snippets of reflection on his Systematic Theology (Eerdmans, 2010).

The opening chapter of Pannenberg's ST is entitled "The Truth of Christian Doctrine as the Theme of Systematic Theology," and his initial discussion revolves around defining what the word "theology" means. While there are several points of interest in these initial pages, I want to point out how at the outset Pannenberg begins to reveal his relationship to Karl Barth, noting two instances in particular. His statement that "in the concept of theology the truth of theological discourse as discourse about God that God himself has a…

The Theologian's Almanac: February 25, 2012

As I was listening to Garrison Keillor recite The Writer's Almanac for February 24, 2012, I thought, "Hey, we could do a Theologian's Almanac!" My hope is to offer one or two posts each month in honor of the births or deaths of influential Christians, theologians or otherwise. Such figures may be well-known or relatively unknown. The purpose of these posts is not to present an expert description or analysis, but rather, to draw attention to these figures and to resources for further investigation.

To kick off this series, I searched for a figure who was born or died on today's date and came across Berchtold Haller. Variations on his first name include Berchthold, Bertold, and Berthold. His dates are c. 1492 - February 25, 1536. Haller was a German-born reformer. During his studies at Pforzheim, he met Philipp Melanchthon. He was also an associate of Huldrych Zwingli, having met him in 1521. With Zwingli, Haller took part in both the Baden and Bern Disputations, u…

New George Wishart Graduate Scholarship Strengthens Ties between Princeton and Aberdeen

The announcement of this new scholarship hit my e-mail yesterday morning, and I must say that it is happy news. Anything that promotes theological scholarship at quality institutions like those in question here is cause for celebration, indeed. So for those of you thinking of making the jump from New Jersey to Scotland, be sure to factor this into your decision-making process. I wonder: will they make it retroactively effective for those PTS transplants currently studying in Aberdeen? Perhaps that’s something folks should lobby for.

In any case, I’m also glad that they named this scholarship after George Wishart. Wishart was an important early figure in the Scottish Reformation. This is especially interesting to me at the moment because I’m doing a concurrent unit on the Scots Confession in an introductory theology class that I’m currently teaching. If not for Wishart, history likely would not have John Knox. And if not for John Knox (regardless of what you make of him, or how big of…

New Center for Barth Studies Book Review

Amy Marga reviewsBenjamin Dahlke, Die katholische Rezeption Karl Barths: Theologische Erneuerung im Vorfeld des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils (Mohr Siebeck, 2010). Here's your chance to access some of the German literature on Barth from the comfort of your Anglophone mind! Be sure to check it out!

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Hi, I'm Matt.

"I count myself one of the number of those who
write as they learn and learn as they write."

-John Calvin, quoting Augustine

From the brief introduction on the contributing authors page, you will have learned that "I'm studying systematic theology in the ThM program at Princeton Theological Seminary. I get to preach at The Well in Feasterville, PA. And I love my wife." I'd now like to go beyond this brief description and write a little about my interests and how I understand my contribution to Die Evangelischen Theologen. To do this, I too will follow Derek's lead in modelling this post on Travis's introductory post.

Who Are You?

My name is Matthew Warren. I go by both Matt and Matthew; it's your call. I grew up in South Jersey by Atlantic City and Ocean City; incidentally, I love surfing and the Phillies. I graduated from The College of New Jersey in 2008 with a BA in History and minors in Sociology and Philosophy. Last year, I graduated with an…

Augustine vs. Ambrose

I taught an intensive course on Augustine’s Confessions in January, so I read a bunch about Augustine. As part of that, I read through Peter Brown’s Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, which is still (and deservedly so) a standard text in the field.

Here is an interesting tidbit wherein Brown compares Augustine and Ambrose. I offer it because Augustine often gets described as an austere, unapproachable figure, off by himself reading and writing with precious little human contact. Indeed, this lack of contact is supposed to be the source of his less than desirable views on human sexuality (more on that in another post). The truth is quite the opposite, as we glimpse in the below.

Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, 411-12.
To an African clergyman…Augustine was not the writer whose thought had aroused admiration and concern around the Mediterranean: he was, above all, a bishop who had practiced what he preached. The Christian bishop was now an important figure throughout the Rom…

Briefly introducing...

"'God with us' is the centre of the Christian message - and always in such a way that it is primarily a statement about God and only then and for that reason a statement about us men."

- Karl Barth, CD IV.1, 5.


"But with all my education,
I can't seem to commend it,
And the words are all escaping me,
And coming back all damaged,
And I would put them back in poetry,
If I only knew how,
I can't seem to understand it,

And I would give all this and heaven too,
I would give it all if only for a moment,
That I could just understand the meaning of the word you see,
'Cause I've been scrawling it forever,
But it never makes sense to me at all."

- Florence and the Machine, "All This and Heaven Too"


If you know anything about me, you'll know that I love the theology of Karl Barth. While I find various aspects of his theology to be quite problematic (his views of women in volume III for starters), I completely affirm his central convictio…

A Brief Introduction

Hello! I am Scott Rice. As I mentioned in my blurb on the contributing authors page, I'm a husband and a student currently in my last semester of the MDiv program at Princeton Seminary. I hope to pursue further theological studies with aspirations to teach down the road. My main interests pertain to the disciplines of systematic theology and the history of christian doctrine. Below are some of my research foci and what you can expect from my contributions here at DET.

At the beginning of my seminary studies a mentor gave me one simple piece of advice: use this period to read broadly. As time has progressed that same advice was supplemented by the admonition to dig deep into one or two thinkers/doctrines. I am hopeful in making the former a lifelong practice. The latter has meant a more particular investment in the doctrines of God and christologies of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Karl Barth. These two theologians have, thus far, most peaked my interest into issues such as (1) the re…

New Center for Barth Studies Book Review

Melanie Webb reviewsDavid Gibson and Daniel Strange (eds.), Engaging with Barth: Contemporary Evangelical Critiques (Apollos, 2008). I think that I would have been a bit harsher had I written the review, but Webb does a judicious job...and to be honest, that's why it's much better than she's the one who actually wrote the review! Be sure to check it out!

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On the Lordly Bishops

By. Rev. Jason T. Ingalls

The Nicodemist posted an article the other day entitled, "The Bishops March on Westminster." It described the stand Church of England bishops took in their position as "Lord's Spiritual" in the English Parliament. At issue was a controversial bill that threatened to cap welfare benefits per household, a move that many believed and some research suggested would lead to even more poverty and homelessness, especially for children. The English bishops used their influence to add wording to the bill that exempted children from capped benefits.

The Nicodemist attacks the privileged place of the Church of England in the English government. As an American, I don't have a problem with that attack. It's interesting to me that there are Lord's Spiritual, and I more or less support the move to either remove their voices from Parliament or to make the Lord's Spiritual more representative of the faiths present in England. But, this is…

"Why I Support #OWS as a Reformed Theologian": My Most Recent Publication

Maybe some of you remember Occupy Wall Street (#OWS), that big news story of last Fall. Did you know it's still going? Approximately 400 folks were recently arrested during a protest action in Oakland, CA, in an incident where some reports say police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at crowds of protesters composed primarily of families (yes, including children).

Maybe some of you may remember my "Nein!" to Robert Grow concerning #OWS.

Those of you who DO remember may be interested in hearing that thinking on these matters has continued, and that it has born fruit in an article published recently in Unbound: An Interactive Journal of Christian Social Justice, a publication maintained by the PC(USA). The article is entitled, "Why I Support #OWS as a Reformed Theologian", and while some of the material from my response to Grow found its way into this article, there are significant amounts of new material as well.

In my estimation, #OWS raises profound questi…

An Introduction...

“Like most North Americans of his generation, Hal tends to know way less about why he feels certain ways about the objects and pursuits he’s devoted to than he does about the objects and pursuits themselves.” –David Foster Wallace, in Infinite Jest
If my life had a narrator in the Fall months of 2008 (spoken in a sullen British accent as in Stranger than Fiction), I am sure that narrator would have to steal Wallace’s quote. At that time, I worked in a mission that housed the homeless, addicted, and paroled in Anderson, Indiana. My job description was diverse and continually inflated, but one of my duties was to provide Christian nurture in this context. Much of this was in prayer, counseling, and bible studies. The Christian Center hired me when my degree in print journalism was still hot in my hands. I took a few introductory courses in Christian history, theology, and ethics at my alma mater, Anderson University. Yet these courses mainly served to stir a deep skepticism of my fundam…