5 Things I Learned About Kierkegaard’s Life from Stephen Backhouse
I hate to admit it, but not only did I skimp on Kierkegaard during my ThM in historical theology, Robert Bretall’s anthology of Kierkegaard’s works about did me in. Thankfully, I’m not alone in my struggle to grasp and appreciate the man and his ideas.
In his new book Kierkegaard: A Single Life Stephen Backhouse says, “It is not just theologians who find the influence of Kierkegaard hovering behind much of their work, only to find the life and thought of the man himself hard to get to know” (11)
Backhouse was spurred to write this book after a learned friend said the Kierkegaard he met in a book on his life and thought “seemed dense, distant, and unappealing.” (11) So he wanted to introduce this towering cultural influence in prose so compelling…
What is Historical Theology?
What is historical theology?
Historical theology is the discipline that studies the interpretation of Scripture and the theological formulation of the church in the past.
In other words, it asks: how has the church in the past interpreted the Bible? How has the church formulated and expressed its theology?
So, think of historical theology as wisdom from the past. It is wisdom about what constitutes the valid interpretation of the Bible and what constitutes sound theology. It’s the theological tradition that guides us.
This is fairly straightforward definition. But it raises some important questions, such as:
What is tradition? How does wisdom from the past relate to the authority of Scripture? If Scripture is primary, then how does tradition guide…
[Common Places] Pro-Nicene Theology: Entryways and Ineffability (Part 2)
Our current series, Pro-Nicene Theology, offers doctrinal and exegetical entries to the key tenets of basic Trinitarian orthodoxy as developed in the early centuries of the church. For introduction to the series, see the first part of this post.
Our entryway to this series should begin where Gregory Nazianzus started his theological orations on God and Christ. In Oration 27, Gregory does not cut right to the issue of deity or number, of unity or essence. Rather, he introduces this cycle of theological homilies by attending to fundamental matters of divine self-revelation and, correspondingly, of human knowledge of the true God. He observes that theology, the knowledge of God, is the greatest need for everyone, for all need…
[Common Places] Pro-Nicene Theology: Entryways and Ineffability (Part 1)
The doctrine of the Trinity serves as the fundamental lodestar of all Christian belief, the shining center of all Christian truth and the focal point of every instance of our trust and hope. God is. More particularly, God—the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit—is, and in, through, and to this one are all things. What light is shed upon life and being, then, flows forth from this fiery being. It must be admitted, however, that the Trinity has overwhelmed due to the power of its beam. Its very brilliance is the source of its difficulty. Theologians from Anselm to Sonderegger have reminded us that the divine mystery is not owing to a lack of revelation but a preponderance of it. This the hymn-writer attested so…
Who Has God Made You to Be? Visually Explore a Theology of Vocation
How do you discover who God has made you to be, what gifts and skills he’s given you, and what responsibilities he’s entrusted to you?
Tim Challies and Josh Byers are here to help.
In their new book Visual Theology, they plumb the depths of a theology of vocation in a way that’s both engaging and informative to help believers live out “whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.” (1 Corinthians 7:17)
Below we’ve briefly engaged their four aspects of vocation to provide insight into our probing questions about calling. Here’s what you’ll discover:
What we do is closely related to who we are. And as a Christian, you are responsible to give all of who…
Karl Barth on Mind, Body, and a Christological Anthropology
Two theories have generally explained our ontological construction: one argues we are dually composed of separate “body” and “soul” pieces; the other says the person is strictly a material unity. Theologians of all stripes have offered similar theories, yet one stands above the fold given his decidedly christological orientation.
“Few thinkers in the history of the church have pursued a christological anthropology with greater rigor than displayed in Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics,” Marc Cortez explains in his new book Christological Anthropology in Historical Perspective. “Barth demonstrates how this christological orientation reshapes how we understand specific issues like relationality, ontology, and temporality.” (141)
In his approach to the body/mind relationship, Barth argued they “can only be rightly understood from…
[Common Places] Reading Notes: The Soul
While Christianity is by no means the only faith—nor theology the only discipline—concerned to know the soul, it is because the Christian church confesses the goodness of creation, the incarnation, and the resurrection of the dead that her enquiry is vitally concerned to know the soul as the soul of the embodied saint seeking eternal communion with God as part of the body of Christ. Much of the church’s discussion takes the form of critiques of Greek and Hellenistic conceptions of the soul, though these critiques often remain appreciative in their dissents, recognizing their debts to the Greek and Hellenistic conceptions at a number of points. Here are some key sources for entering into the…
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi Surpasses 250,000 Copies Sold
We’re pleased to announce that Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi has sold more than 250,000 copies since its release in February 2014. With the publication of No God but One: Allah or Jesus?, in August 2016, Qureshi continues his story and work as a leading authority on the relationship between Christianity and Islam.
In Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity. The book has been a consistent bestseller since its release. An expanded edition was released in April 2016 with an updated epilogue and new bonus content. A video study and a study guide are also available as of this summer. In addition to being a…
What Does it Mean to “Believe”? Here are 5 Aspects of Christian Faith
That’s how one of the most important creeds of Christ’s Church begins. And it’s no surprise that it does. Because as Michael Bird explains in his new book What Christians Ought to Believe, not only is “the Christian life a story of faith: of coming to faith, of keeping the faith, and of finishing the faith.” (43) Life itself is a life of faith:
Faith, believe, trust and hope—whatever you like—these emerge from a deeply human experience full of dualities; experiences of life and loss, fidelity and failures, joy and grief, as well as trust and betrayal…The reality is that faith is an inalienable feature of human existence. (44)
What this opening salvo of our cornerstone creed is inviting those who recite…
A Three-Point Framework for an Evangelical Theology of Animal Care
Recently, there has been a heightened sense of justice within the evangelical community for the welfare of various “others”. Yet one group within creation has often received little attention:
Admittedly, though I adore my spunky Terrier-Boxer-Pug dog Zoe, I haven’t much considered how caring for animals connects to my faith. But Christian activist Sarah Withrow King has caused me to rethink how animals fit into God’s broader creation plan and re-creation initiative through Christ.
King’s new book is called Vegangelical “because caring for animals has helped me appreciate the Good News in deeper and wider ways, and though the work is often heartbreaking, I have hope in a resurrected Christ, who is calling his whole creation home.” (16)
She opens her book…
4 Reasons Why Every Christian Ought to Know the Traditional Creeds
In the last several years, there has been a resurgent interest in rediscovering the historic Christian faith. Among others, we have Michael Bird to thank.
In his new book What Christians Ought to Believe, Bird follows up his magnum opus on evangelical theology with a sturdy guide to the bedrock of Christian doctrine: the Apostles’ Creed. It summarizes and explains the basic tenets of the Christian faith using this theological bulwark, in order to reverse a trend he calls a “theological travesty”:
Sadly, I know many churches that make no effort to recite, teach, and confess the Apostles’ Creed or any creed for that matter…By ignoring the creeds those who consider themselves to be orthodox are effectively sawing off the theological…
[Common Places]: Reading Notes: Christological Anthropology
Trying to identify the most significant works on christological anthropology can be a little tricky. On the one hand, since incarnation and atonement both involve some connection between Christology and anthropology, we should not be surprised to discover an almost countless number of works on the relationship between these two loci. Nearly all theological anthropologies draw on Christology at some point in their discussion of what it means to be human. If that’s all we mean by a christological anthropology, then it would seem that the following list should just include a few of the more influential theological anthropologies.
But that’s not quite what I have in mind when talking about specifically christological anthropologies. Instead,…