296 Chapters
Medium 9781442229181

Being and Bearing the Witness of the Spirit: Toward a Postcolonial Missional Politics

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Being and Bearing the Witness of the Spirit: Toward a Postcolonial Missional Politics

Derek Alan Woodard-Lehmann

One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church

The Third Article of the creed affirms belief in the Holy Spirit, and correlatively asserts that there is but one church. Responding to the incommensurability between this creedal affirmation and the historical existence of many churches, Lesslie Newbigin and John Howard Yoder stand out as towering exemplars of the twentieth-century ecumenical movement’s attempt to recover the visible unity of the church. Perhaps an odd pairing, Yoder and Newbigin were contemporaries who emerged in the years surrounding the Second World War as prolific writers on the margins of the theological mainstream. Yoder, a Mennonite theologian, wrote as a professor within a tradition richer in activists and martyrs than academics. Newbigin, a Reformed missionary, wrote as a pastor and bishop of the Church of South India on the edge of a waning empire. Though rooted in their respective particularities, each offers the resources of his tradition as practically oriented theology refusing to divorce faith and action—orthodoxy and orthopraxy. They do so by employing an ad hoc occasional style responsive to immediate contextual exigencies, eschewing systematization.1 And despite their somewhat marginal positions and relative obscurity, both maintain the ecumenical and catholic purchase of their work, especially in their insistence that the absence of visible unity imperils the intelligibility of Christ’s gospel of reconciliation and impairs the visibility of the church.

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Medium 9781442229242

From the Hidden God to the God of Glory: Barth, Balthasar, and Nominalism

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

From the Hidden God to the God of Glory: Barth, Balthasar, and Nominalism

D. Stephen Long

An empty bottle of “Duck Rabbit Beer” sits on my office desk, given to me by a doctoral student. The bottle’s logo is Jastrow’s duck-rabbit, which looked at in one perspective is a duck and in another a rabbit.1 From the exact same shape, a duck or a rabbit can be seen, but not both at the same time. I leave the bottle on my desk as a fitting symbol of my reading of Karl Barth’s theology. The student who gave it to me previously studied at Princeton and was deeply influenced by Bruce McCormack’s interpretation of Barth. I had read McCormack’s Karl Barth’s Critically Realistic Dialectical Theology and like many others appreciated its careful and convincing historical periodization of Barth’s work, but I didn’t understand the radically innovative doctrine of God McCormack found in Barth until this student explained McCormack’s reading of Church Dogmatics II.2. Once I had that image of Barth’s doctrine of God in mind, I could no longer read II.2 or Barth the same. Where before I had seen a “duck,” now I primarily saw a “rabbit,” even when I wanted to see the duck. This essay attempts to regain the vision of the “duck.”

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Medium 9781442229075

WHAT IS A THEOLOGICAL COMMENTARY?

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

A Book Symposium on Jaroslav Pelikan, Acts, Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2005)

C. Kavin Rowe and Richard B. Hays

Jaroslav Pelikan, the longtime Sterling Professor of History at Yale University, will be well known to readers of Pro Ecclesia for his many scholarly contributions, including his magisterial five-volume work The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine. The editors of the new Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible could not have found a more distinguished and erudite author for the initial volume in this ambitious new series. Alas, this first Brazos commentary was to be Pelikan's last work, as he succumbed to lung cancer in May 2006. In this final work, Pelikan seeks to heed the advice of Adolf von Harnack, that past master of Dogmengeschichte, who declared that a historian of the early church "must always be ready ... to take on the exposition of a book of the New Testament."1

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Medium 9781442247789

Hans Frei’s Deflation of Revelation

Mangina, Joseph Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Hans Frei’s Deflation of Revelation

James J. Buckley

I was honored when George Hunsinger asked me to offer some reflections on Hans Frei’s theology for this symposium.1 My own thinking has been deeply influenced by Mr. Frei—his story of modern Protestant theology in England and Germany, his work in contemporary hermeneutics, his reading of Karl Barth, and in other ways. But I also hesitated to take up George’s invitation for two reasons relevant to what I have to say.

First, although I continue to be deeply influenced by several strands of Frei’s project or projects, I have not until now dared any analysis of his development in any way near the way others have—some of whom are here this morning. I feel very much the amateur. But there is a second reason I hesitated to take up George’s invitation. As I reread Frei over the last couple of months, it struck me how much over the years I have thought about Frei’s project specifically as a Catholic theologian dissatisfied with what Frei and Barth taught me to call conservative, liberal, and mediating options in modern (Catholic or evangelical) theology. With regard to Revelation, Catholics like myself have been concerned with the sort of things one finds in Vatican II’s Dei Verbum (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation) as an ecumenically Catholic proposal or perhaps individual theologians like John Henry Newman’s work on “the grammar of assent.” These concerns will only emerge marginally (and cryptically) at the very end of my remarks. In any case, I finally decided that, even if I could not avoid making a fool of myself in what I say about Frei, this would be a perfect group to help me and perhaps others think about the role of a doctrine of revelation in theology.

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Medium 9781442255128

Clarifying the Doctrine of Sister Churches: Subsistence and Interdependence in Catholic-Orthodox Relations

Mangina, Joseph Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Clarifying the Doctrine of Sister Churches: Subsistence and Interdependence in Catholic-Orthodox Relations

Will Cohen

Introduction

The phrase “sister churches,” much-used in Catholic-Orthodox relations after Vatican II, has scarcely been heard since the turn of the century. At the height of its usage it was often dissociated from a positive appraisal of the Roman primacy as something essential for the life of the church. The phrase therefore came to be viewed with suspicion in more conservative Catholic circles. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in its 2000 “Note on the Expression ‘Sister Churches’”1 prohibited what had been the most prevalent usages—(1) to refer to the whole Catholic Church and the whole Orthodox Church, and (2) to refer to the church of Rome and one or another Eastern Orthodox patriarchate. The CDF meanwhile permitted its use to speak of Catholic and Orthodox particular—that is, diocesan—churches, and although this usage had been rare even prior to the 2000 directive, its importance should not be dismissed altogether, since it does provide a solid, if bare, minimum in terms of the Catholic recognition of true churches, and hence sister churches, outside the Catholic Church.

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