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Showing posts from October, 2017

Reformation Women (part 1: wives): #Refo500atDET

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The #Refo500atDET series (introduction and schedule here) intends to deliver posts on many of the important Reformation figures that we all know and love. And that, coincidentally, I’m sure you’ll be able to read about on many other blogs and websites during this period of festivity. However, we here at DET want to take a different tack here at the beginning of our celebration by highlighting the contributions of women to the Reformation. Although they are, traditionally, much less of a focus in recounting of the Reformation, those events would never have occurred if it had not been for courageous women of deep conviction working tirelessly and – far too often, thanklessly – in the background. And sometimes the foreground, too.

So let’s kick off our celebrations by remembering and honoring some of their contributions!

I have to stress that I know much more about some of these figures than others. Indeed, I know very little about some of them. Hopefully collecting their names here wil…

#Refo500atDET: Introduction & Schedule

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Five hundred years ago tomorrow, so the story goes, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg castle church and inadvertently started the Protestant Reformation. Then the Swiss Reformers perfected it.


Well, I’m as much for ecumenism and everything as the next Protestant systematic theologian, but – in my book - that right there is a reason to celebrate.

And so we will! Over the next two weeks, DET’s contributors will treat you, gentle readers, to a series of posts celebrating the lives and achievements of important figures from the Reformation. We’ll be bringing all the best Reformation-historical goodness to you right through your favorite digital screen.

I’m excited about our line-up. It’s impossible to cover all the bases with events like these, but I think we’ve got a good combination that includes the stuff that long-time DET readers would expect, some stuff that they wouldn’t, and some stuff that I think its vitally important to hear and think about more…

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.

Should we just give up on the whole “fortnight” thing? I mean, it’s been one week shy of two months since the last link post. What’s happened since then?

First, my book on Helmut Gollwitzer’s political theology has come out! It is attractively priced with a retail hit of just south of $30 USD. But Book Depository has been selling it at a discount (21% as of when I’m writing this) and also providing free shipping worldwide. So, what are you waiting for?!?! Order your copy now!

Second, DET contributor, Kathryn Heidelberger, published a review essay with The Christian Century entitled, Are Wendell Berry’s Port William stories about racism?

Third, friend of the blog, David Congdon, appeared on the Love—Rinse/Repeat podcast to talk about his book, The God Who Saves, one year after publication. It has some good biographical content if you’re wondering about some of the story behind the book. A…

Does It Liberate? Kaufman Addresses the Praxis Question

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The relationship between academic theological method and practical political commitment is a vexed one. Latin American liberation theologians, in particular, have called out Western academic traditions as being insufficiently nourishing of the kind of engaged resistance movement that befits the Jesus movement. (It's a complicated issue, especially given the fact that many of these same theologians, especially in earlier years, fed pretty directly on these same traditions -- humanist Marxism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, etc. See, for example, Clodovis Boff's massive work from three decades ago, Theology and Praxis: Epistemological Foundations; Juan Luis Segundo and Jon Sobrino, among others, shows a similar dependence upon Western theory.)

I recently ran across a striking challenge lobbed by Gustavo Gutierrez, arguably the dean of Latin American liberationists, toward North American academic theologians. Gordon Kaufman, a leading light of constructive theology in recent decade…

Neither Metaphysics Nor Anthropology: More from Kaufman on Theology

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What is theology even about? What is the telos of this intellectual practice? In the first chapter of his distinguished work of systematics, Gordon Kaufman succinctly situates his approach to theological method -- distinguishing it from three other common views of the discipline.

In the Face of Mystery: A Constructive Theology, By Gordon F. Kaufman (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993).

In traditional dogmatics, theology has been conceived as the science of God -- or, to expand that, the explication of Christian truths about God, world, and self that are given through divine revelation. Conversely, many theologians of the Protestant West, in the wake of Kant and Schleiermacher especially, have reconceived the theological task (or reduced it, as critics like Karl Barth would say) in terms of an anthropology of religious experience. To be sure, Kaufman in significant respects is heir to that latter tradition, but his own proposal qualifies and complicates that approach:

The cen…

Francis Turretin’s Ecclesiology, 18.19: Primacy of the Pope

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Nineteenth Question: Is the Roman pope the successor of Peter in a monarchy or ecumenical pontificate? We deny.

At every turn, we’ve seen Turretin leave open the theoretical possibility that Peter was accorded certain honors or excellences. But he has also consistently maintained that such things don’t translate into the sort of position and authority claimed by and for the pope in the early modern period. Here Turretin clarifies the logic that governs his thinking on this: “the pope cannot be the successor of Peter, whatever privilege he [Peter] may have obtained, because it was extraordinary and special (which could not pass over to others)” (18.19.1). In other words, positions or offices are the sort of thing that can be handed to successors, while personal excellences are not—they pertain to the individual only. Of course, no point is properly made unless Turretin can show that Bellarmine is confused and self-contradictory on the matter (18.19.2).

Turretin isn’t done making this p…