Showing posts from December, 2009

Van Buren on Calvin on the Atonement

Here is a fine paragraph from Paul van Buren on Calvin’s understanding of the atonement, and some rather vacuous but common criticisms thereof. This is simply a very neat little paragraph, and it rewards the attention that it deserves. Paul van Buren, Christ In Our Place: The Substitutionary Character of Calvin’s Doctrine of Reconciliation (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2002): 61. “The misunderstanding that must be avoided is that the substitution of Christ in our place is somehow a trick that is played on God, or, to put it in more refined terms, that our redemption by the work of Christ in our place is a sort of fiction, whereby we are placed under a great ‘as though’, that is in fact not true. Such an error can arise only if we fail to take absolutely seriously the different elements that surround the Cross: the sin of man, the righteousness of God, the unity of the Father and the Son, and the true Incarnation of the Son of God. Sin must be seen as something so serious that ma

Torrance on Judgment and Atonement in Christ

Merry Christmas to all DET readers (and anyone else, for that matter)! Here are some christological reflections for your Christmas Eve. I’m approaching the end of chapter 4 in my reading of Torrance’s Incarnation , and this chapter has been especially rich with Torrance’s reading of the biblical text. This is a side of Torrance that I think comes to light in a unique way in these posthumous dogmatics lectures, and I find it quite fascinating to see the connections he makes between the various aspects of scriptural narrative. The following is a particularly good summary section of what he has been talking about for much of the chapter: Thomas F. Torrance, Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ (Robert T. walker, ed.; Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic and Paternoster, 2008): 152-3. “The atoning work of Christ seen at work…is no mechanical or merely forensic transaction; it is the activity of the divine person penetrating directly into the hearts of men and women and in an acute

My Most Recent Publications

Review of Daniel J. Treier, Introducing Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Recovering a Christian Practice (Baker Academic, 2008), Reviews in Religion and Theology 17.1 (2009): 24-6. Review of Neil B. MacDonald and Carl Trueman (eds), Calvin, Barth, and Reformed Theology (Paternoster, 2008), Reviews in Religion and Theology 17.1 (2009): 96-8.

Worth Remembering

"It is reasonable to expect that any theologian worth his or her salt will be able to show the difference between a mystery and a muddle." B. A. Gerrish, Grace and Gratitude: The Eucharistic Theology of John Calvin (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2002): 160.

New Center for Barth Studies Book Review

Cambria Janae Kaltwasser has reviewed Adam Neder's Participation in Christ: An Entry in Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics , Columbia Series in Reformed Theology (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009). Be sure to check it out!

The Saga Continues

Many of you know that I recently completed the exams in my doctoral program. Well, the latest news is that my dissertation proposal has been accepted by the powers that be. So, now I can start actually working on the thing – and idea at once both intimidating and freeing. In any case, here are some vital stats. Don’t try to get more out of me, because you won’t succeed – you’ll have to wait for the book! ;-) * Working Title: “The Sign of the Gospel” – Toward a Reformed and Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism After Barth * Dissertation committee: George Hunsinger (chair), Bruce McCormack, and Bryan Spinks (Yale Div School). Wish me luck!

Lynn Cohick, “Women in the World of the Earliest Christians”

In addition to reading Torrance (see last post), I am also reading Cohick. Lynn Cohick was my NT professor during my time at Wheaton – they had and still have other NT professors, and I took a course with one of them, but most of my work in the area was with Cohick – and I had the added privilege of serving as her TA. She has remained interested in my scholarly development since I left Wheaton, and has served as a mentor and collaborator (for instance, she wrote a very engaging response as part of the 2009 Karl Barth Blog Conference here at DET) as occasion presented itself. Needless to say, I am very grateful for all of this. But, I am also grateful to Lynn because she recently sent me a copy of her very recently (Amazon lists the publication date as Nov 1, 2009) published Women in the World of the Earliest Christians . Having studied with and worked for Lynn, I have a deeply ingrained curiosity about New Testament backgrounds even though I do little formal NT scholarship anymo

Torrance on Luke 2.40

I had pre-ordered my copy of Torrance’s Atonement , the second half of TF Torrance’s posthumously published dogmatics lectures from his time at New College in the University of Edinburgh, and finally received it shortly before Thanksgiving. A year or so ago the publishers generously sent me an advanced copy of the un-proofed text of the first half, Incarnation , so that I might be one of the first to review it (my review is accessible online ). While I picked-up a copy of the published volume shortly after it came out, I had been putting off returning to it until the publication of the second volume. So, once Atonement arrived on my desk I began reading Incarnation with the intention of reading the two volumes back-to-back. So, you can expect to see snippets from these two volumes posted from time to time in the near future. Here is the first: Thomas F. Torrance, Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ (Robert T. walker, ed.; Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic and Paternoster,