[Common Places] New Studies in Dogmatics: Sanctification

Michael Allen on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,.


Writing invariably involves paths both foreseen and surprising. Preparing this volume on sanctification has involved both experiences.

Previous work on soteriology more broadly (The Christ’s Faith: A Dogmatic Account) and justification specifically (Justification and the Gospel: Understanding the Contexts and Controversies) led me to believe that writing a volume on sanctification would be a logical next step for me personally. Furthermore, controversies and debates regarding sanctification have grown increasingly feisty in recent years: they involve not only Christian conversation with non-Christian ideologies regarding morality and ethics (most blatantly evident in disagreements over sexuality and gender), but they also regard internecine discussions amongst evangelicals and even, specifically, between persons in my own Reformed tradition (regarding, e.g., the third use of the law in gospel ministry). For personal and public reasons, then, this writing project appeared needful and…

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[Common Places] New Studies in Dogmatics: Election

Oliver Crisp on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,.


When thinking about the doctrine of election is it impossible not to stand in the shadow of great thinkers that have gone before. Aside from the biblical witness (where the name of St. Paul looms large), there are figures like St. Augustine of Hippo, John Calvin, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and Karl Barth. Of these, Calvin and Barth are the ones with whom I have found the most fruitful dialogue. There is debate about Calvin’s position, of course, but not really about the nature of the view he espoused, but more about the implications and consequences of the doctrine of double predestination he avowed. (This is the notion that God predestines some, the elect, to salvation and in some sense predestines the rest of humanity to perdition as the reprobate.) But debate about the shape of Barth’s view as well as…

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[Common Places] New Studies in Dogmatics: The Holy Spirit

Christopher Holmes on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,.


So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

Psalm 63:3-4

I am grateful for the opportunity to have written The Holy Spirit. It was a wonderful learning exercise because it brought me face-to-face with important tracts of the Christian tradition to which I had become indifferent.

First, in the book I engage a great deal with the Fourth Gospel. The most metaphysical of the Gospels, the Gospel of John encourages us to consider the first principles of our Lord’s own person and the Spirit whom the Father sends in his name. Up until this study, I had embraced a rather negative view of the long and distinguished tradition of theological metaphysics in Christian theology. Caught as…

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[Common Places] New Studies in Dogmatics: Christology

Daniel J. Treier on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.


Christology is an area of particular dogmatic weakness for evangelical theology. So, when I signed up to write the Christology volume for New Studies in Dogmatics, what did I get myself into? After all, plausible reasons for this evangelical weakness are not hard to generate. For one factor, Christology does not readily provide incentives for dogmatic creativity, at least among those for whom orthodoxy is a priority. For another factor, Christology does not readily generate the kind of widespread, primary disagreement that elicits intra-evangelical dialogue or polemics. Alternatively, for a third factor, evangelical Christology has been externally preoccupied with defending the historicity of miraculous events and appealing to those events for apologetic and evangelistic purposes. Until recently, we have tended to focus on defending the truth, more than exploring the meaning, of such foundational events as the resurrection.

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[Common Places] New Studies in Dogmatics: The Triune God

Fred Sanders on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.


When I was invited to write The Triune God for the New Studies in Dogmatics series, I knew what my basic approach to the doctrine would be, what I wanted to say, and how many chapters I was going to try to fit it into. None of that has changed much, nor have I deviated from the outline I started with. But in the process of writing, two major surprises have come up for me. In retrospect, I can see that they flowed naturally from the initial plan, and are consequences of the big decision I made in framing the book. So first I’ll name the big decision, and second I’ll share the surprises that emerged as I carried out the plan.

Big Decision

The most important decision I made in framing the book was to devote about…

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[Common Places] Introduction to New Studies in Dogmatics

Michael Allen and Scott Swain, editors of Common Places on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

New Studies in Dogmatics Series

Over the next few weeks and months, Common Places will be introducing a new series to be published by Zondervan Academic entitled New Studies in Dogmatics. The vision of the series flows from judgments about the past practices of theology, the current state of the discipline, and the hoped for future conversations that we wish to see occurring amongst Christians and churches. The specific vision of the series can be seen in the series preface:

New Studies in Dogmatics follows in the tradition of G. C. Berkouwer’s classic series, Studies in Dogmatics, in seeking to offer concise, focused treatments of major topics in dogmatic theology that fill the gap between introductory theology textbooks and   advanced theological monographs. Dogmatic theology, as understood by editors and contributors to the series, is a conceptual representation of scriptural teaching about God and all…

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[Common Places] New Voices for Theology: Taylor Ruiz-Jones’s “From Siesta to Sabbath”

Franz Bibfeldt on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

A2-finalIn a world of contemporary systematic theologies so often dominated by approaches committed to retrieval, Taylor Ruiz-Jones steps into the fray and signals a critical path forward. I use the word “critical” in its fulsome sense: gesturing toward its methodological approach and noting its contextual significance. My remarks will be brief, but I trust illumining in leading into this work.

Taylor Ruiz-Jones’s From Siesta to Sabbath: A Theology of Pause and Play follows an orderly sequence with a playful tone. First, it addresses the analytics of pause and play, and in so doing it engages in philosophical discussion regarding the appropriate foundations to a Christian and critical approach to dialectic. An excursus reorients the modern documentary hypothesis along Sabbatological lines by tracing redactional layers related to evolving thoughts…

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[Common Places] New Voices for Theology: Jonathan Linebaugh’s God, Grace, and Righteousness in Wisdom of Solomon and Paul’s Letter to the Romans

John M. G. Barclay on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

limbaughGood theology has a shape, a structure: a way of connecting its various themes and motifs via one or more anchor points that fix the framework of the whole.  Hence the most profound attempts at theological comparison dig deeper than the similarity or difference between theologians on this or that motif, and attempt to unearth their respective foundational structures (or discursive grammars).  And sometimes, by digging this deep, the best and most illuminating conclusion is that two different theological structures are simply incommensurable, even if they share on the surface a number of points in common.

Jonathan Linebaugh’s God, Grace, and Righteousness in Wisdom of Solomon and Paul’s Letter to the Romans is a book that with rare acumen digs this deep.  Paul’s theology has often, and…

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[Common Places] New Voices for Theology: Michael Legaspi’s The Death of Scripture and the Rise of Biblical Studies

Gary Anderson on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

legaspi_imgA conventional account of the history of modern biblical scholarship will often begin by looking at some of the great Medieval pashtanim—that is, the pursuers of the literal sense.  Among these is the brilliant Spanish thinker of the twelfth century, ibn Ezra who pointed out that Gen 13:7b (“At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites dwelt in the land”) could not have been written by Moses because it presumes the vantage point of someone living in the post-conquest period.  By making such observation, Ibn Ezra had already taken the first step toward what became the revolutionary Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis of four sources represented by the sigla J, E, P, and D.  Ibn Ezra also posited two authors for the book of Isaiah,…

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[Common Places] New Voices for Theology: Wesley Hill’s “Paul and the Trinity”

Fred Sanders on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

paul_trinityTaking the long view of things, the Christian doctrine of God has had a strange career.

It took its classic, trinitarian form as the early church’s interpretation of Scripture, with theologians intentionally developing hermeneutical constructions and elaborating reading strategies that would do justice to the things they read in the apostolic texts. It was a Bible doctrine. Sure, it was sharpened against the whetstone of heresy, and partly paraphrased into an eclectic philosophical vocabulary, but fundamentally it was an effort to say what was known about God from Scripture.

But over the past few centuries the field of biblical studies has won independence from other theological disciplines, and along the way it has carefully developed its own methods and…

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[Common Places] New Voices for Theology: Jeremy R. Treat’s “The Crucified King”

Kevin Vanhoozer on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.” —William B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”

Yeats probably did not have the academy and church in mind when he penned these lines in 1919, but he could have, for theological things, and the gospel itself, have been coming apart for centuries. Theology itself has come apart: what God joined together—doctrine and life—has been cast asunder, into the academy and church respectively. And, within the academy, the disciplines of biblical theology and systematic theology go their separate ways, speaking different languages. Even worse, the story and logic of the gospel have come apart in both the church and the academy, with some Christians focusing on the significance of Jesus’ death with its promise of heaven (cross) and others on Jesus’ message about the reign of God with its promise of justice…

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[Common Places] New Voices for Theology: Stephen T. Pardue’s “The Mind of Christ”

Daniel J. Treier on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

May the mind of Christ my Savior Live in me from day to day, By his love and pow’r controlling All I do and say.

So many of us have sung—but can this be a realistic and appropriate prayer for the Christian “theologian,” broadly defined?

Two potential problems confront us. (1) Is this prayer consistent with the biblical and contemporary emphases upon virtue? Virtues are habitual dispositions expressed in characteristic patterns of godly action: But does the prayer emphasize unilateral divine action so strongly that human virtue is precluded or uninteresting? (2) Does this prayer particularize the Christian intellectual life too exclusively in terms of participation in Jesus Christ? Intellectual virtues treat epistemology in moral terms: But does praying for such virtues—assuming it is appropriate to do so—emphasize spiritual dimensions of Christian intellectual life so strongly that civic and academic…

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