Showing posts from December, 2014

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

…or, Something to keep you busy over the weekend… …or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere. Ok, honestly…it’s been over a month since the last link post . What can I say? It’s been busy! AAR, Thanksgiving, giving finals, grading finals , and now we’re staring down the barrel of Christmas and New Year. I’m hard at work preparing syllabi for coming semesters and fulfilling other bureaucratic responsibilities, and I know that the other DET contributors are in similar situations. For that reason, I’d like to announce that DET will be on hiatus until after Epiphany . We’re going to have some good stuff for you once we resume, so mark your calendars and stay tuned! In the meantime, why not revisit some of the more recent DET posts listed below, or catch up on your reading from the wider theo-blogosphere. If all else fails, dig into the DET serials collection , or the Karl Barth Blog Conference archives . There’s more than enough kicking around to keep you busy. We’ll see you

Jesus and the Kingdom: Three Paradigms (Part 4)

Paradigm 3. Jesus himself incarnates the kingdom in person. "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:20b-21, NASB). "[S]trait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life," (Matt. 7:14, AV). “I am the way," (John 14:6, NRSV). If we take the passages above -- and others from the New Testament -- and read them together, in a canonical conversation, something interesting emerges: Despite the diversity among the individual canonical writings, when the texts are read together a certain blurring or interpenetration seems to occur between the goal of salvation (e.g., the kingdom of God or eternal life) and the pathway to that goal. In both the passages from Luke and from Matthew above, the Greek work translated as "way" is ὁδός, which can also be translated as "road", "path" or "trac

My Book on Barth and Baptism is now available with Logos Bible Software

I was very happy to learn yesterday that the folks over at Logos Bible Software are selling my book on Barth and baptism - The Sign of the Gospel - as part of a package deal whereby you can get 15 volumes from Fortress Press’s Emerging Scholars series . So if you use Logos you can now read some fresh, top-notch scholarship. Here is a link to the Logos site . My volume is at the bottom. That’s what I get for starting the title with an ‘S’… ================================== Follow @WTravisMcMaken

Reading Scripture with John Calvin: Malachi 2:13–16

Malachi 2.13–16 [13] Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. [14] You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. [15] Has not the LORD made the two of you one? You belong to him in body and spirit. And why has he made you one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. [16] “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate it when people clothe themselves with injustice,” says the LORD Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful. ========================== COMMENTARY: Calvin continues his hammering on the priests. Although vs. 13 seems to have the whole people in view, Calvin nonetheless blames the priests bec

David Fergusson on Science and Religion

Reading through David Fergusson’s new book on the doctrine of creation, I was pleased with how he handled the doctrine of providence especially as it relates to evolutionary science. It seems to me that he strikes a good balance in stressing the importance for Christian theology in allowing science to be science, while also registering gentle warnings against what increasingly gets labelled as “scientism” – that is, a reductionist scientific materialism. So, without further ado, here’s Fergusson. David Fergusson, Creation , Guides to Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2014), 88–89. Even after science has done all its work, there will be ways of understanding and describing phenomena that draw upon different conceptual resources. There are questions, commitments, and insights that by their nature require description in terms not reducible to the methods of the natural sciences. No single discipline has an exhaustive or totalizing role to play. If the engagement with Darwinism h

Announcing the 2015 Karl Barth Pastor’s Conference

Dear Gentle Readers, I have been asked to inform you of an exciting new development in the world of North American Barth Studies, namely, the inaugural convening of a “Pastors Conference” in conjunction with the usual Princeton Seminary Barth conference. The conference theme is “Karl Barth and the Mission of the Church.” The conference will be held at Princeton Theological Seminary on June 24-26. The conference website is here . Make your plans! Sincerely, Mgmt. P.S. Today is the anniversary of Barth's death in 1968. ================================== Follow @WTravisMcMaken

DET Contributor Scott Jackson to Chat with "Barth for Dummies"

You're no dummy. You track the theological and ecclesiastical scenes. As a faithful DET reader, you've probably read some Karl Barth and some modern theologians -- at least a little, probably a whole lot more. You go to church from time to time, maybe a lot, or at least have seen churches depicted on TV. Nonetheless, you might want to head on over to the "Karl Barth for Dummies" page on Facebook this Thursday, December 11th (9 p.m. CST) , where I will be holding forth on the topic of ... well, whatever page admin wants to ask me. And I believe you also will have the opportunity to lob thoughtful and courteous questions or adulatory comments at me. Be sure to "like" the FB page -- it's a nice one, replete with humorous memes and pithy quotation (or paraphrases) from Barth's sprawling oeuvre. Our intrepid DET founder, W. Travis McMaken, has led the way with a fine interview on this page ( read the transcript at here ), and he assures me the subsequ

Peter Martyr Vermigli on the Holy Spirit

I’ve enjoyed occasional dips into Peter Martyr Vermigli’s writings over the years (if you don’t know anything about Vermigli, I recommend this recent blog post that tells the story of the Reformation through Vermigli’s biography), and I have been doing so again lately. This was occasioned by my leafing through the first volume of the Peter Martyr Library and discovering that he had written an exposition of the Apostles’ Creed within a year after leaving Italy (he wrote it in Italian) and establishing himself as an important intellectual contributor to the Protestant cause. While reading tonight, I came upon this paragraph where Vermigli disambiguates the term “spirit” and explains how it is used with reference to the third divine mode of being, and I thought that it deserved to be shared. Bold is mine. Peter Martyr Vermigli, Early Witings: Creed, Scripture, Church , The Peter Martyr Library, vol. 1 (Di Gangi and McLelland, trans.; McLelland, ed.; Kirksville, MO: Sixteenth Century

Why the Niebuhrs Still Matter (Part 3)

"Christendom has often achieved apparent success by ignoring the precepts of its founder." ~ H. Richard Niebuhr ( Social Sources , p. 3). "I hate, I despise your religious festivals; I cannot stand your assemblies." ~ Amos 5:21 (NIV). "All theology really begins with Amos." ~ Reinhold Niebuhr (quoted in Paeth, p. 4). In the eighth century BCE, the prophet Amos, herdsman and pruner of sycamores, left the comfort of his day jobs in the southern kingdom to deliver urgent oracles of judgment to the northern Kingdom of Israel. We might well think of him as the first "crisis" theologian. Israel was enjoying unprecedented prosperity while the Assyrian threat was held at bay by infighting within the empire. Amos' message was stark: The nation had squandered the spoils of its covenant with God, despoiled its cultic purity through religious syncretism and, amid great abundance, had exploited the poorest and the weakest members of society. &quo