296 Slices
Medium 9781442229112

RUMINATIVE OVERLAY: MATTHEW’S HAUERWAS

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Markus Bockmuehl

Stanley Hauerwas has achieved a remarkable feat: from a virtually cold start he has launched forth into a vibrant commentary on one of the longest and most influential of New Testament books.1

This is the third volume in the much-trumpeted new Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, initiated and overseen by an editorial team led by R. R. Reno of Creighton University. Interestingly, none of the eight dust jacket blurbs concern the volume now in hand, but all extol either the series in general or the first volume on Acts.2

And what we get is certainly no damp squib or tentatively pussyfooting experimentation, but a vigorous tour de force in fine Hauerwasian mettle. The commentator is predictably excellent in affirming the integration of the interpreter as both reading and read by the text, presumed to be called to faith within the peaceable kingdom that is Christ’s. Hauerwas memorably stresses the gospel call to discipleship, mercy, and holiness within the “community of the forgiven,” “the kingdom of repentance.” Indeed, the great mission of disciple-making which Jesus entrusts to the apostles is here characterized by a full-circle return to Jesus’s own opening proclamation: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is present” (249, the closing words of the commentary).

See All Chapters
Medium 9781442279346

REVIEW ESSAY

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

BUT WILL IT PREACH? ENGAGING FLEMING RUTLEDGE’S THE CRUCIFIXION

David Widdicombe

Fleming Rutledge

The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2015)1

Yes! Doctrine preaches. Anyone who has heard Fleming Rutledge expound a biblical text knows that this is true. But which doctrine exactly and how exactly does it preach? Here is the answer in a work of wide-ranging scholarship and staggering authorial stamina. As Luther said, the preacher must know his doctrine and should teach it systematically. This book is a gold mine for preachers who take Luther’s advice seriously. Everywhere in this text we see the discipline involved in setting out an argument that intends to summarize, systematically arrange, and even point beyond everything the church has so far taught about the death of Christ. The argument is objective, intensely biblical and, nothing if not thorough, the prose cool and clear. The detail necessitates slow reading, yet it reads like the hardening lava flow from a volcano of Christian imagination that never sleeps. The doctrine preaches with power because, in Fleming Rutledge’s opinion, it is the preaching. The Christian doctrine of the atonement, or better, the narrative of the crucifixion in all its horror, is the truth about the world’s salvation, and truth matters because the fate of humanity matters—the truth speaks for itself.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781442229297

Creation’s Praise: A Short Liturgical Reading of Genesis 1–2 and the Book of Revelation

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Creation’s Praise: A Short Liturgical Reading of Genesis 1–2 and the Book of Revelation

Jack Kilcrease

According to the Christian doctrine of creation ex nihilo, creation is radically dependent on God’s Word and Spirit. Seen particularly from the perspective of the New Testament, this is also true of redemption. Just as creation came through the Word and Spirit of God (Gen 1:1–3), so too redemption comes through both the Incarnation of the Word and the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost. When creation functions properly, it can only trustfully praise God for this grace. Martin Luther recognized this and claimed that the freedom of a Christian entailed the praise of God as the gracious and truthful creator and redeemer.1 For this same reason, both the creation and new creation are viewed by the biblical authors as liturgical realities.

In the following short exegetical essay, we will examine how the biblical authors illustrated the liturgical nature of creation and redemption. Just as the author of Genesis views the original creation as a great Tabernacle built for the worship of God, so too the author of Revelation understands the New Jerusalem to be a renewal and fulfillment of the original liturgy of creation. For this reason, the church’s liturgical practice as a response to God’s gifts is a true expression of the most fundamental reality of creation.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781442229068

COMMENTARY

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

R. Kendall Soulen







The nature of abortion is changing in our society and around the world. In the 1960s and 1970s, when abortion laws were liberalized in many Western countries, the issue of abortion chiefly concerned women with crisis pregnancies and dealt with whether or not to have a child. Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the issue of abortion increasingly arises outside the context of crisis pregnancies and concerns what kind of child an individual or couple wishes to have. This is a change with vast implications. If unchecked and unchallenged by church and society, it will gradually transform our culture into one of widespread eugenic selection, in which humans routinely arrogate to themselves the power to separate the fit from the unfit before birth. This is a development that all Christians, pro-life and pro-choice, should unite in deploring and opposing with active spiritual and practical measures. All Christians, pro-life and pro-choice, know clearly something that the world knows only vaguely, if at all: God loves all members of the human family irrespective of their genetic makeup. What is more, they know something that the world can scarcely be expected to know at all: God is especially zealous on behalf of those whom the world judges unfit, unwanted, and undesirable. Indeed, God upsets the standards of human wisdom by time and again preferring just these as the bearers of God’s salvation. A society that silently tolerates the routine abortion or destruction of the undesirable before birth will become ever more disfigured in its own visible makeup and ever more hardened to the wisdom of the gospel. Before we become that society, we need to pause and examine the path that we are on and earnestly ask ourselves where that path is taking us.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781442229334

Margaret O’Gara† 1947–2012

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Margaret O’Gara† 1947–2012

David M. Thompson

It is an honor to be invited to write this tribute to Dr. Margaret O’Gara. I first saw (but did not meet) her in the Basilica of San Marco, Venice, Italy, at Mass, before the opening of the second round of the Catholic-Disciples International Dialogue in 1983, without realizing the extent to which our lives would be related for almost thirty years, regardless of the North Atlantic Ocean. Our last meeting was in June last year in Toronto, a little more than six weeks before her untimely death. When we parted, we each knew, without saying so, that we would not see each other again in this life. We worked as principal co-drafters for the Catholic-Disciples International Theological Dialogue, initially under the careful tutelage of Fr. J.-M. Tillard, OP, and after his death with ourselves in the lead role. During that time I came to know and appreciate her lifelong commitment to dialogue and the search for Christian unity. Jean-Marie Tillard taught us both to emphasize points of agreement, while not disguising those where difference remained. Margaret’s thorough knowledge of the conciliar documents, principally but not exclusively those of Vatican II, could always be relied upon. As a modern church historian, I came early on to appreciate her own work on the minority French bishops at Vatican I in her book Triumph in Defeat (1988), which I was invited to review. They left Rome early, rather than stay for the final vote on Pastor Aeternus in 1870, and I had always wondered what happened to them. Similarly I delighted in her later book, The Ecumenical Gift Exchange (1998), which demonstrated the conviction of every true ecumenist that he or she has something to receive as well as to give. This was well described by another ecumenical colleague of mine, in writing about the process that drew the Churches of Christ in Great Britain (my own tradition, as Disciples in Britain were called) and the United Reformed Church into a single united church in 1981. He said that each group was able to stand back from its own position sufficiently to envisage the possibility of any of the outcomes as a theological option. Neither group was required to conceal or minimize its conviction; rather, each group was liberated “to express itself fully and freely, without pre-supposing that one of them must ‘win’”.1 Margaret was a genuine listener and possessed a remarkable capacity for seeing elements in the traditions of other churches that they had scarcely been aware of themselves. She and I were responsible for the final drafts of the reports of the second, third, and fourth rounds of our dialogue (The Church as Communion in Christ, 1992; Receiving and Handing on the Faith: The Mission and Responsibility of the Church, 2002; and The Presence of Christ in the Church, with Special Reference to the Eucharist, 2010). She was also responsible for the idea that will shape the fifth round of that dialogue, indicated by her original suggested title, “Formed and Transformed at the Table of the Lord,” and she participated in the two planning meetings of 2011 and 2012. Thanks to her I can look back upon those meetings as some of the most enjoyable of my ecumenical life.

See All Chapters

See All Slices