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Showing posts from July, 2016

"Christians are people who say, 'Black lives matter'": A sermon on Jonah 1

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[Ed. note: We interrupt our regularly scheduled hiatus to bring you this timely sermon from DET contributor Hank Coates.]

Dearly beloved,

I thought long and hard about what I was going to preach on this morning. I’ve been planning this sermon series on Jonah, but in light of events of last week, 300 killed in a bombing in Iraq, two black men seemingly executed for no good reason other than being black in the wrong place at the wrong time, revenge violence of the worst kind in Dallas which left five dutiful public servants, officers of the law, killed while defending people who were exercising their constitutional right to protest, well, I had to think long and hard about what text to craft my sermon around. And that’s just last week, we are less than one month out from the largest mass shooting in modern American history at a night club in Orlando, Florida. Throw in the most bizarre, toxic, and downright frightening election season in my lifetime at least, and you know, it can hones…

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

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…or, Something to keep you busy over the weekend…

…or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere.

Amazingly, it actually has only been a fortnight since the last link post. But I wanted to get this post out to you, gentle readers, in part so I could share a piece of news: DET is shuttering the windows, locking the door, and turning off the lights for a lengthy summer hiatus. This is the last post that we will bring to you until August 16th (at least that’s the current plan).

So sit back and relax on whatever beach, sky-scraper rooftop, tube in a river, or wherever you like to kick it in the summer, and enjoy some good theology reading. In addition to the links below, there’s always the rather robust (that’s an understatement at this point…) DET archives – things like the Karl Barth Blog conferences, our collection of book reviews, the various serials, and should all that fail, the month-by-month archive in the right sidebar.

And while you’re reading through the archives, look at th…

Is the Church Apostolic? David Congdon Interviews John Flett

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[Ed. note: John Flett is a long-time friend of the blog (see these posts on his earlier book: one, two, three, four, five), and David Congdon needs no introduction to DET readers. Flett very recently published a second monograph: Apostolicity: The Ecumenical Question in World Christian Perspective (use code 404-18 at check-out for a 40% discount - limited time only). How could I say “No” when David came to me with the idea to post an interview with Flett on the subject of apostolicity?]

1. For most people the language of apostolicity brings to mind the end of the Nicene Creed or the idea of apostolic succession. What do you mean by the word and why is it such an important issue today?
To be sure, some link the term apostolicity to apostolic succession and bishops, perhaps even increasingly so. It is, however, by no means the only approach. Apostolicity within the Reformed tradition looks first at the Bible as the basis of the church’s historical continuity. Still other groups, notably…

The Sinful Incurvature of American Whiteness (Part 2)

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According to Ta-Nehisi Coates, “‘good intention’ is a hall pass through history.”[1]

Intention is something we white Americans tend to focus on in an attempt to wash our hands of black suffering. So long as we “mean well,” we suppose, there is no blood on our hands. But to our black brothers and sisters who are still bleeding, the cleanliness of white hands is quite beside the point.

In my first post, I showed how this white American tendency to reduce the problem of racism to a matter of our intentions is a manifestation of our sinful condition as homo incurvatus in se—as human beings curved in on ourselves. We are so self-absorbed that we encounter our history and our present with black Americans as, above all, a threat to our own self-respect. In our sinful incurvature we have taken it upon ourselves to judge ourselves, and we are desperate for some ground on which to proclaim ourselves free and righteous. We are so consumed, so enslaved, by this task that we are not free for God a…

Restless, Reformed, Revisionist? An Entree into Barth's Book on Calvin's Catechism

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Within the sprawling smorgasbord that is Karl Barth's oeurve, lesser feasts abound. One such is his lectures, in the early 1940s, on the Apostle's Creed portion of Calvin's Geneva Catechism. (Here I cite the recent reprint, for your purchasing convenience, but my copy is the Meridian paperback edition from 1958).

Karl Barth. The Faith of the Church: A Commentary on the Apostles' Creed According to Calvin's Catechism, trans. Gabriel Vahanian (Wipf & Stock, 2006).

Several things about this fascinating little book stand out.
The lectures were addressed to pastors in the francophone region of Switzerland (canton Neuchâtel) and, consequently, were delivered in French. As Jean-Louis Leuba notes in his preface, the text was compiled, with Barth's approval, not from an original manuscript but from notes taken during the lectures, and this fact makes the text a bit quirky.

In his introduction, translator Gabriel Vahanian cites another French Barth text, an introducti…