Showing posts from August, 2012

Calvin to Bullinger on Luther

Continuing with excerpts from Calvin’s correspondence, today’s tidbit comes from a letter that he wrote to Heinrich Bullinger in 1544. For those of you who don’t know, Bulliner was the chief pastor at Zurich, taking over after Zwingli’s death in the battle of Kappel in 1531. Bullinger was about 5 years older than Calvin, and he outlived Calvin by about a decade. He was the more established and influential during their lifetimes, although Calvin has eclipsed Bullinger in the most recent centuries.  In any case, in this letter Calvin writes to Bullinger in an attempt to sooth the Zurich pastors. Why are they upset? Because Luther was being himself. Luther had written another treatise on the Lord’s Supper, criticizing Zwingli severely post mortem . The Zurichers took this as quite the insult, as one might expect given that their church’s faith and order was built on Zwingli’s foundation (although, we must remember that Bullinger and Calvin managed to get the Consensus Tigurinus togethe

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

…or, Something to keep you busy over the weekend… …or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere. Hang on, this is a long one. With my academic duties resuming next week, it may become more difficult to keep this segment regular and thereby cover all the good stuff out there. So I’ll see how much I can squeeze into this one. Of course, we’ve had 4 posts here at DET since the last link post, and all of them are significant. First, we had a post from DET contributors Scott Rice and Matt Warren. They added to the reading guide series with their post, So, You Want to Read John Mackay? Then, just a few days ago, contributor Derek Maris posted about Moltmann's “Political Hermeneutics” . Finally, I posted two things. The first is a Defense of Theological Blogging and Belligerence wherein I attempt to stoke the theo-blogging fires for all of our continued betterment. The second is a brief post highlighting a Q&A session that David Congdon and I did with and for a particula

Moltmann's "Political Hermeneutics"

My upcoming fall classes will be my final ones. With my official coursework finished in January I will completely turn towards the final major pieces of my program; language and comp work, with the dissertation looming. One of my final two classes is a seminar in theological hermeneutics. Since I work at the campus bookstore I have been able to sneak a peek at the booklist, and when compared with my other doctoral seminars, I have to admit that the course looks particularly "ambitious." I’m actually looking forward to the challenge though, in part because it is already evident that some readings will fit nicely within potential areas of dissertation interest. For example, I will be reading a “healthy” amount of Anthony Thiselton, and in his 2007 book The Hermeneutics of Doctrine he acknowledges at the outset how important Moltmann and Pannenberg are for his work (see xxi). Furthermore, in more than one of his works he engages frequently with Bultmann, another thinker who has

/r/Catacombs Q&A w/ Travis McMaken & David Congdon

So apparently there's this thing called "Reddit" , which is a big forum / discussion site. Anyway, one of the moderators for the /r/Catacombs Christian sub-directory / -community (a relatively heavily moderated one at that, I'm told) asked my old friend, colleague, theologically conjoined twin, and all things co-belligerent, David Congdon , to do this little Q&A type thing over there. Anyway, we're doing it tomorrow so if you have some time on your hands, surf on over to /r/Catacombs and join the conversation. See you there! UPDATE (08.15.2012, 10:17AM CST) : This whole thing is currently getting underway, so surf over and say hi! ================================== Follow @WTravisMcMaken

In Defense of Theological Blogging and Belligerence, with Christopher Hitchens

And now, for something a little odd… I mean, of course, the very idea that one might defend the practice of theology blogging by recourse to a self-avowed atheist like Hitch. But perhaps DET readers are not surprised that I, in particular, might do so. After all, I posted about Hitchens previously , even defending his position (to a limited extent) in the comments thread, and I made some suggestive comments about “practical atheism” or “functional secularism” in a post on Dan Migliore and fideism . To take up another angle: there are theologians, and there are theological belligerents. The former go about their work in a peaceful manner, the latter go about it with, let us say, a polemical horizon. Where I come from, the latter tend to be looked down upon. One hears all sorts of things about how Christians shouldn’t “fight” amongst themselves, etc. I have even heard variations on these sentiments to the effect that blogging about theology is inherently destructive because it so eas

So, You Want to Read John Mackay?

By DET contributors Scott Rice and Matt Warren Born in the highlands of Scotland, ecumenist, missionary to Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, and Mexico, and ecclesiastical leader in the United States, John Mackay has left a legacy for the church that compares to a figure like Leslie Newbigin. Last fall, we (i.e., Scott Rice and Matt Warren) participated in a doctoral seminar that assessed the missional and ecumenical legacy of Mackay. Mackay is probably most well known for his The Other Spanish Christ . It has been said that this book, published in the 1930’s, very well might become standard reading in American seminaries as the church comes to grips with how the gospel translates into other cultures, a thrice-over task for Mackay. What we have put together below is a list of resources for anyone interested in investigating the work of this key ecumenical figure. John Mackay Metzger’s The Hand and the Road: The Life and Times of John A. Mackay . This book was just recently published and i

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

…or, Something to keep you busy over the weekend… …or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere. I don’t know about you, but this fortnight felt like it flew by! Maybe it’s a result of how busy I am. At least I am finally beginning to feel like my busyness is turning productive. But more on that later. In the meantime, here are some links! To begin, here are some DET related links: I’m sure you are all aware of the recent Chick-fil-a fracas. My various aggregators have been full of related tirades. DET contributor Brandy Daniels posted a lengthy piece on her personal blog dealing with all this that is more than worth your time: Longing for More than Middle Ground: A response to Rachel Held Evans’ reflections on “Christians on both sides of the Chik-fil-A war.” While we’re on the subject of what’s going on at contributor personal blogs, DET contributor Kait Dugan put a piece up just the other day on preaching in the context of her summer internship. Check it out: Solidarity

August Book O’ the Month - "Prayer" by Hans Urs von Balthasar

Immediately following my last semester at Princeton Theological Seminary, I read Eugene H. Peterson’s The Pastor with a local PC(USA) pastor. Reflecting on his pastoral development, Peterson writes “I still had a great deal to learn about the vocation of pastor, but I knew one thing for sure: the work of prayer was at the heart of everything” (150). I underlined and starred the sentence, knowing that this is true—at least in theory. Having been schooled in the theology of Karl Barth, I could support Peterson’s recognition with theological depth. (For, as Barth states in Evangelical Theology ,*** “The first and basic act of theological work is prayer ” [160].) Theoretical assent notwithstanding, I knew that the work of prayer was not exactly the heart or the basic act of my daily life. During my attempt to make Peterson and Barth’s propositions truer in practice, I stumbled upon Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Prayer . In the course of a month, I spent a small amount of time reading Balthas