Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On Not Having to Rescue God

"The best evangelical theological work emerges from delight in the Christian gospel, for the gospel announces a reality which is in itself luminous, persuasive, and infinitely satisfying. That reality is Jesus Christ as he gives himself to be an object of creaturely knowledge, love, and praise. To think evangelically about this one is to think in his presence, under the instruction of Word and Spirit, and in the fellowship of the saints. And it is to do so with cheerful confidence that his own witness to himself is unimaginably more potent than any theological attempts to run to his defense."

John Webster
from "Jesus Christ," in The Cambridge Companion to Evangelical Theology

I owe a great debt to thinkers like my own NT professor Dr. Craig Blomberg who have rigorously defended the intellectual credibility of Christian faith. I might not have made it through high school as a Christian without their hard work. Yet at the same time I am refreshed by Webster's words. There is a sense of rest in knowing that the Triune God does not need my theological work to present himself to men and women in need of his gospel as the gracious Lord of the universe. Perhaps I should address positions with which I disagree with a greater sense of confidence in the (ultimately) uncontradictable character of the truth of God.

Any thoughts?

Good Blog and Justification in Current Discussions

My friend Clint Wilson (see his blog Summa Philosophiae on my blog roll) has been talking quite a bit about Michael Bird's (NT scholar based in Scotland) blog called Euangelion and I've finally wised up and checked it out. Bird is posting quality stuff on a regular basis and I recommend paying him a visit.

I've been working on a paper on justification and the new perspective on Paul and Bird's book (The Saving Righteousness of God) has been quite helpful to me. He addresses James Dunn and N. T. Wright in a charitable manner without leaving behind the important features of the more traditional take on justification. I hope to post more on justification and the new perspective in the near future!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Joy and Holiness of Theology

“Evangelical theology is concerned with Immanuel, God with us! Having this God for its object, it can be nothing else but the most thankful and happy science.”

Karl Barth
from Evangelical Theology

“No less than any other Christian practice, Christian theology is governed by the commanding, revelatory summons of God’s presence. It takes place within the sphere marked out by that presence; and, if it withdraws from that presence or falls into an attitude of anything less than fear of the holy God, then it has simply stumbled into absurdity….As holy reason at work, Christian theology can never escape the sober realization that we talk in the terrifying presence of the God from whom we cannot flee (Ps. 139.7)….When we begin to talk theologically about the holiness of God, we soon enough discover that the tables have been reversed; it is no longer we who summon God before our minds to make him a matter for clever discourse, but the opposite: the holy God shows himself and summons us before him to give an account of our thinking.”

John Webster
from Holiness