Showing posts from 2023

Do We Need A Pentagon? Reconsidering the Wesleyan Quadrilateral

If one spends enough time in the United Methodist Church, they’ll eventually hear something about the “Wesleyan Quadrilateral”—a four-fold hermeneutic of authority John Wesley utilized in his development of the movement that would later become known as “Methodism.” The four components of Wesley’s quadrilateral are 1) scripture, 2) tradition, 3) reason, and 4) experience. These, for Wesley, were the authoritative lenses through which the Christian faith is fostered in each person. And while he engaged extensively with each of these components in his writings and sermons, he never explicitly laid out the organized concept of the quadrilateral as we know it today. That language came much later from American theologian, Albert Outler. [1]    However, while for many Methodists the quadrilateral feels relatively specific to our tradition, it’s actually not something unique to Wesley. Coming from an Anglican context, Wesley would have been more than familiar with the “Anglican Triad.” This

§1 Approaching Galatians (session 4, part 1)—Paul’s Letter to the Galatians: A Presbyterian Adult Spiritual Formation Series

[The series continues and now commences the fourth in-person session.  Find the last post here .]   McMaken : Welcome, faithful remnant of our study together. We are fewer today—thanks to all the ice, I'm sure. I’d like to begin with a quick recap.  We’ve talked about the date of the writing and the audience to whom Paul was writing. We also worked our way through some key sources that I'm using to fuel reflection. We talked about Luther: his two kinds of righteousness, his two kingdoms, his two uses of the law, and his ideas about justification by faith. We talked about Calvin: his work on his biblical commentaries and how he has similar but different focuses from Luther. Then, last time, we talked about J. Louis Martyn—who has done a lot of work on reading Paul through an apocalyptic lens—as well as some of the history of scholarship around research into Jesus and Paul. Today, we have one last book to talk about before we get into the text! e. Nancy Bedford and Galati

Two Recent Podcast Appearances

Dear Gentle Readers, I would usually save this sort of news for the next updates post, but an updates post was literally the last post and I wanted to share this with you sooner rather than later. I was privileged to appear on two podcasts recently. First, Quique Autrey was kind enough to have me on his Psyche podcast to talk about Karl Barth and politics . Along the way he induced me to tell a bit of my own story as well as Barth's story, and we even squeezed some Helmut Gollwitzer in there before we were done. Second, Corey Tuttle, Ash Cocksworth, and I got together to talk Karl Barth's Spiritual Writings on Corey's The Karl Barth Podcast . It's always a pleasure to chat about how Ash and I connected around this project, as well as the ostensible oddity of putting together a book on Barth's spirituality. My conviction that this is the way to introduce Barth to church folks and seminarians continues to grow. And to all my professorial colleagues out th

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… (2023.08.05 ed.)

…or, Something to keep you busy over the weekend… …or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere. Ok, ok – so it’s been more like five months since the last updates post . I think I’ll finally go ahead and update the standard preamble on these post. They will become more strictly update posts with less of a focus on curated sets of links. In any case, I hear you, gentle readers, asking within your hearts: “But, what are the updates?!” Well, I’ll tell you! First , I appeared on an episode of the Bad Calvinists podcast to teach those bad Calvinist something about Calvin. It was time. Overdue, in fact. And we had a lot of fun talking about Calvin in general but also his theology of the Lord’s Supper / Eucharist / Communion and his pastoral side. I hope you check it out. Second , I published a review in Interpretation on Paul J. DeHart’s book, Unspeakable Cults: An Essay in Christology (Baylor, 2021) . It’s an interesting book. I hope you check it out along with my review.

The Fault Not in Our Stars: Berrigan on the Mystery of Evil

"NASA/Crew of STS-132, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons “I haven’t even said anything yet!” quipped Capt. Scott Kelly, striding onto stage, bedecked in his NASA jacket, as he greeted a crowd of hundreds, standing and applauding. The retired astronaut, who spent nearly a year aboard the International Space Station in 2015-2016, recounted his past life as the underachiever who, through pluck and persistence, aimed high – literally – overcoming inertia and self-doubt to obtain his dream job. The talk, sponsored by the Springfield (Massachusetts) Forum, was winsome, wise, witty, and well-received. Space travel, it so happens, is a life-long obsession of mine, and I’ve been known to drag my hapless teenage son out on cold, clear nights to glimpse the ISS zipping by, 248 miles overhead at 18,000 miles per hour. So all this stuff is grist for my mill. Capt. Kelly’s speech – though engaging – was, in many ways, a conventional motivational talk, lauding the rewards of working hard

§1 Approaching Galatians (session 3, part 2)—Paul’s Letter to the Galatians: A Presbyterian Adult Spiritual Formation Series

[The series continues and now concludes the third in-person session.  Find the last post here .] d. J. Louis Martyn, Apocalyptic, and 20 th c. Historical Scholarship   McMaken : Now that we’ve had a chance to look at Luther and Calvin, let’s talk a bit about more recent trends in New Testament interpretation and, especially, how it comes together in J. Louis Martyn’s commentary on Galatians. This will give us a sense of how we interpret Paul today differently than our forebears did during the Reformation. My own way of reading is decisively shaped by the Reformation, and I find many important theological connections there. But there are also some very important corrections that we need to keep in mind that more recent historical scholarship has made to those Reformation approaches. For example, we’ve already tried to be very aware of the supersessionism embedded in how the Reformation read Galatians and how it developed into antisemitism. That is part of this story of more recent crit