Showing posts from August, 2010

John Flett: Mission and Two World Wars

How many times do I have to say it? Go buy this book ! John Flett, The Witness of God: The Trinity, Missio Dei , Karl Barth, and the Nature of Christian Community (Eerdmans, 2010) : 65. The marked success of the Western missionary enterprise, coordinated with the failure of Western civilization evident in World War I, established a[n]...historical condition leading to the discovery of the church's missionary nature. Once missions had established Christian communities, what relationship did these younger churches have to the older sending churches? Complex infrastructure, paternalism, and fears concerning the leadership capacity of "native" Christians made it difficult for Western missions to relinquish governing control. World War II proved a boon in this regard. As missionaries found themselves interned, indigenous leadership assumed control over these "orphaned" missions. These historic missions became recognized as churches in their own right. The two worl

New Center for Barth Studies Book Review

Matthew J. Aragon Bruce reviews Matthias Gockel, Barth and Schleiermacher on the Doctrine of Election: A Systematic-Theological Comparison (OUP, 2006). Be sure to check it out. Coincidently, Matt Bruce is writing on Barth and Schleiermacher for the upcoming Karl Barth Blog Conference, and Matthias Gockel is serving as his respondent.

General and KBBC Blog Update

Greetings from your friendly neighborhood DET proprietor! Things are moving quickly around these parts. I’ve been holed up in my library closet the past couple of months writing this darn dissertation, except for a few days that my wife managed to drag me out for family vacations. When I’m not dissertating, I’m editing for the 2010 Karl Barth Blog Conference. Most of the plenary posts have come in (those of you outstanding, I hope you feel enough shame to motivate you, but not enough to paralyze you) and been passed on to respondents. As responses trickle in, David and I will make some decisions as to how to group the plenary posts, and when to schedule the conference weeks. Once such decisions have been made, publicity e-mails will go out, and we can all start gearing up for some good reading and discussion. Until then, you can expect another Center for Barth Studies review in the near future, and I’ll continue my usual (occasional) posting. All the best going into a new semest

Barth on (Neo?) Orthodoxy

This is the conclusion of a longish fine print section wherein Barth traces, from Calvin through the 17th century Reformed scholastics, the way in which sources (various modes of natural theology) other than the scope of Scripture (in Luther’s sense) - and, earlier, even Scripture itself when not properly related to its scope – crept into the theological undertaking, especially where the doctrine of sin (hamartiology) is concerned. The final sentence stands apart, however, as a timeless warning to theologians. It is this toward which I gesture with this post’s title. Church Dogmatics 4.1, 371-2: It must be noted that the voice which we have heard is not that of 18th century rationalism but 17th century orthodoxy. This theology had not been taught by the Reformers themselves to learn from Jesus Christ as the substance and centre of Scripture what is the will and Law of God and therefore what the sin of man is. And the theology itself obviously had no power of itself to rectify th

Bonhoeffer on the Necessity of Knowing Scripture

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Life Together” in Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works vol 5 (Fortress, MN: 2005): 63. “We must once again get to know the Scriptures as the reformers and our forebears knew them. We must not shy away from the work and the time required for this task. We must become acquainted with the Scriptures first and foremost for the sake of our salvation. But, besides this, there are enough weighty reasons to make this challenge absolutely urgent for us. For example, how are we ever to gain certainty and confidence in our personal deeds and church activity if we do not stand on solid biblical ground? It is not our heart that determines our course, but God’s Word. But who in this day has any proper awareness of the need for evidence from Scripture? How often do we hear innumerable arguments ‘from life’ and ‘from experience’ to justify the most crucial decisions? Yet the evidence of Scripture is excluded even though it would perhaps point in

New Center for Barth Studies Book Review

Kimlyn J. Bender reviews Colin E. Gunton, The Barth Lectures (London: T&T Clark, 2007). Be sure to check it out .

John Flett: Church and Mission at the Turn of the 20th Century

There are theo-bloggers with a much wider audience than I have. No one could confuse me with a theological trend-setter. I'm just not hip enough. But, if I have earned any theological capital with my work here at DET, if I have earned any respect as a thoughtful Christian, allow me to cash that in now. Go buy this book . Here is another juicy bit to wet your whistles. John Flett, The Witness of God: The Trinity, Missio Dei , Karl Barth, and the Nature of Christian Community (Eerdmans, 2010) : 61-2. The issue of the relationship between the institution of the church and missions arises at the turn of the twentieth century...Churches and missionary societies were distinctive entities. Missions occurred apart from the church. While the church could not exist without worship, the same did not hold for missionary activity. A church could exist without reference to mission. Worship was an act demanded of all the faithful; mission was the exclusive responsibility of special indiv