Monday, July 23, 2012

The Theology of Colin Gunton now out in paperback!

Good to see The Theology of Colin Gunton (edited by Lincoln Harvey, my incredibly gifted colleague at St Mellitus College) is now available in paperback from all good bookstores! Lincoln managed to gather together a quite astonishingly stellar cast: Robert W. Jenson, John Webster, Stephen R. Holmes, Christoph Schwöbel, Alan Spence and others, with a great foreword by Douglas Farrow. Here's what Bruce McCormack had to say about the book:

"These essays are intended to honour the legacy of Colin Gunton. They succeed admirably in that - but they do so much more. Written by a group of close friends, professional colleagues and former students, the writers are united in applauding Gunton’s theological style while (in some cases) registering quite fundamental reservations with regard to his theology itself. The result is a work that evidences a profound respect and gratitude for the honouree while thinking with and beyond him. To do theology with Gunton’s friends is to be drawn, once again, back into the warm fellowship that was King’s College in the 1980s and 90s - while looking forward to new challenges. This is a book to be cherished."

Colin Gunton made an enormous contribution to the revitalisation of theology here in England. These essays show just how theological his thinking was. He is still sadly missed.
Lincoln Harvey (ed.), The Theology of Colin Gunton (London and New York: T&T Clark, 2012)

Oh, and just noted that blogging Terry Wright also has written a chapter! No reason not to get this one now.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Go forth and baptise...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

From shagging, via Blackadder, to Jesus mythicism

Reading Rachel Held’s superblificatious blog today, I came across this quite astonishing “Gospel Coalition” post. Of course, the internet is a flurry with responses ranging from angry to supportive, hence I won’t go into details here as I doubt I am heading for a scoop (but for my money, one of the best and to-the-point has been penned by Daniel Kirk). And I struggle to understand why anyone takes this stuff seriously, “why get so flustered?”, I think and I smile as a scene from Blackadder II flashes through my mind, where our hero is asked by a sailor “Now, how much do you charge for good hard shag?”!

get_it_hereBut then I remember that thousands of well-intentioned Christians read and believe this stuff. Boy oh boy.

Am I wrong to think the same about the internet phenomenon of Jesus mythicism? I admire those who have the patience to engage in debate with the mythicist crowd (I nod in the direction of Dr James McGrath and Dale Allison), but for me it seems as ludicrous as top scientists taking time out of their important research into, say, the Higgs boson, to engage in controversy with “intelligent designers” or creationists. Why bother?

Well, perhaps Daniel Kirk, James McGrath and others of their worthy tribe have something to teach some of us.

For what it is worth, here is the aforementioned Blackadder scene!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A home video of my talk: On Rudolf Bultmann – encountering Jesus today

I'm giving a fairly straightforward talk on Rudolf Bultmann in a couple of weeks at our church week away (Focus), in a stream called "Theologians You Should Know About", so I recorded this today to time myself. I quickly realised that it was going to be too long, so I have now trimmed it down and reshaped parts. Either way, here is the first version, door-knocks and phone call interruptions and all! I do hope it inspires some to give Bultmann another read.

The pdf handout, which will probably be useful, can be downloaded here. I have added some captions so you don't get too lost in my long-winded rambling!

By the way, Father Raniero Cantalamessa is doing a talk in this stream on Athanasius, which will definitely be worth downloading when it is available.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Power Evangelism


Monday, July 02, 2012

Election is the Gospel

Robert Jenson, in speaking of Barth's doctrine of election as the "election of grace", writes:

"That grace is God's completely free act of choice means that it is not caused or motivated by anything other than itself. Therefore there is nothing that can undo it, nothing that can call it into question. When God's election of grace is proclaimed to me the grace which it contains is absolutely dependable. Therefore it is Gospel" (Alpha and Omega – thanks for this wonderful book recommendation, Lincoln!)

Jenson’s little book, written back in 1963, is a model of clarity; he has a wonderful turn of phrase, not for its own sake, but it such a way that really helps you “get it”. One of the difficulties I have with modern (usually north American) neo-Calvinist theologies concerns their understanding of election (or at least the way they dogmatically locate election). And though the Barthian “electing God” and “elected Man” business does bewilder some, the word that sums it up for me is “beautiful”. There is much beauty to enjoy in Jenson’s little book.