If you’re not following the American Theology Inquiry journal (ATI), you really should. It’s a free online journal that just seems to be getting better with each issue. The latest issue of the journal just came out and it looks great. I’ll definitely be digging into some of these as soon as I get the chance.
Here are the articles in this issue:
- “Reassessing the Relation of Reformation and Orthodoxy: A Methodological Rejoinder”, Richard A. Mueller
- Discovering the Sacred in Secular Art: An Aesthetic Modality that ‘Speaks of God'”, Christopher Evan Longhurst
- A Match Made in Munich: The Origin of Grenz’s Trinitarian Theology,” Jason S. Sexton
- “The Best Man Is Only a Man: Reflections on Some Enchantments and Disenchantments of the Grail,” Charles M. Natoli
- “There Is No Sex in the Church,” Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov
- “The Parable of the Budding Fig Tree,” J. Lyle Story
Which systematic theologies are beginning to show a little wear around the edges because they’re the ones that you constantly pull off the shelves when you need to wrestle with some theological question?
Earlier today, Michael Patton posted his Top Ten Systematic Theologies. Clearly not impressed, Nick Norelli quickly labelled this Maybe the Worst Top 10 List Ever. Obviously, the question of what qualifies as a “top” systematic theology is rather contentious.
I’m curious. What are your “go to” systematic theologies? I’m thinking about posting my own list of top systematic theologies, but I’d like to hear your thoughts first.
So, let us know. What are your favorite systematic theologies?
- The Perspectives in Translation blog has started its series on translating 1 Tim 2:12 and the question of “authority”. Denny Burk is first up with his argument that the NIV 2011 gets it badly wrong.
One cannot underestimate the importance of 1 Timothy 2:12 in the intra-evangelical debate over gender roles and women in ministry. There is a reason why countless articles and even an entire book have been written on the interpretation of this single verse. In many ways, this verse is the most disputed text in the debate. It is clear that Paul is prohibiting something, but just what he prohibits has been fiercely contested.
- Sarah Flashing has an excellent post on the subculture of women’s ministry.
The women’s ministry paradigm has been undergoing a subtle but important shift over the last few years. Many evangelical women are now discussing and operating according to an alternative to the emotional, therapeutic, and pretty-in-pink cliché that has dominated for so long, encouraging women to think beyond the contours of the current paradigm and develop a vision for women’s ministry that more actively and intentionally involves the life of the mind. They are identifying and rejecting the experience-driven model as insufficient because without theological substance any impact is merely temporary.
- Allen Yeh comments on Kevlar Theology: or, the Difference between Essentials and Nonessentials.
The solution, as I see it, is what I call “Kevlar theology,” that our theology should be as unbreakable and as elastic as a bulletproof vest.
- Grateful to the Dead has a very helpful post on the sacraments and scaramentality in the Middle Ages.
Sacramentality is the concept that the outward and visible can convey the inward and spiritual. Physical matters and actions can become transparent vehicles of divine activity and presence. In short, sacraments can be God’s love made visible.
In two earlier posts (see here and here), I discussed what it means to say that a theologian is a “must read.” And, I argued that we should primarily reserve such a label for people who are historical must-reads, those whose theology decisively influenced particular streams or eras. But, I also argued that we can legitimately use the label to describe people whose theology we find personally compelling or inherently valuable as well.
In the next two posts, I’m going to start a list of theologians that I think are must-reads. I’m not going to set these up as exhaustive or definitive lists, but more as works in progress. Today’s list will offer the (hopefully) less debated list of historical must-reads, and tomorrow’s will enter the fuzzy world of personal must-reads.
First, here are the principles that I will use to set up my list.
- I’m not including the Bible or anyone in the Bible. Those are must-reads for everyone, not just students of theology.
- A must-read must have decisively shaped a theological tradition, not just a particular era.
- The theological tradition they shaped must be one of the major traditions. (It’s hard to call someone a theological must-read for everyone if the tradition that they decisively shaped has not been terribly influential itself.)
- I will focus exclusively on “theological” must reads, rather than those important for other fields of study (Bible, philosophy, etc.).
- And, since I live and teach in America, my primary focus will be on what qualifies as a must-read for theology students in America. I’m open to the possibility that, particularly in the modern era, even the historical must-reads might begin to vary depending on one’s context. (Tomorrow’s list of must-reads will be much more obviously contextual.)
Second, even though this list should be less debatable than tomorrow’s list, I know there will still be some disagreement on people I’ve included (e.g. Barth) and probably people I’ve excluded. Again, this is a work in progress, so feel free to comment and let me know where I’ve gone wrong with the criteria or the particular individuals.
Historical Must-Reads in Theology
In the Early Church (up to AD 500)
- Basil the Great
- Gregory Nazianzus
In the Early Middle Ages (500-1000)
- Gregory the Great
- John of Damascus
In the High and Late Middle Ages (up to AD 1000-1500)
- Gregory Palamas
In the Early Modern Era (AD 1500-1800)
- Ignatius of Loyola
In the Modern Era (1800-present)
Okay, let me know what you think.
- William Black reflects on his experience of teaching systematic theology in Africa.
The theology that is taught in almost all theological institutions around here is an ill-fitting version of Christianity that simply does not work here. The Christianity that results is not transforming lives or churches or communities or cultures or nations. In that sense, rather than reflecting what is happening theologically, these Western theologies may actually be erecting barriers preventing people here from experiencing the transforming power of the risen Christ.
- Louis McBride comments on the incarnation as an analogy for understanding inerrancy. Citing Kevin Vanhoozer,
“I cannot help thinking that the incarnational analogy may be more trouble than it is worth. Chalcedon was designed to clarify the being of Jesus Christ, not Scripture. Please do not misunderstand: there is nothing wrong with Chalcedon, just as there was nothing wrong with the paper clip I used so cleverly in my skateboard to replace a screw. However, that improvisation ended with a broken arm. I wonder, then, about the wisdom of using language formulated for one truth to express another.”
- Scott Bailey argues that David’s “naked dancing” is not normative for modern worship.
Here’s our context: they are bringing the ark to the house of Obed-edom, the future site of the Temple, and they are sacrificing. The context is cultic. The modern correlation to worship (i.e., singing) is false.
- Joel Watts offers some thoughts on different views of the atonement.
- I forgot to mention earlier, but James McGrath has posted a link to what looks like a really useful set of resources from the Wabash Center for evaluating online resources. If you’re a teacher or student, check these out.
- Brian LePort would like some help figuring out if he’s human. At least, that’s what I think he’s asking for.
- Koinonia is giving away two copies of Four Views on Moving Beyond the Bible to Theology.
- And, Mashable points out a recent study by Facebook which suggests a very strong correlation between Facebook popularity and recent election results.
- Andrew Perriman explains why he doesn’t like systematic theologies, and he makes a great point about the failure of many theologians to look closely at the text in their theological endeavors.
- Stuart comments on a report that there are 38,000 Christian denominations. Since this information was on a Wikipedia page, I did some digging and it looks like this statistic actually comes from the 2001 edition of the World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford University Press). But, according to About.com, the actual number reported in that work was only 33,830. So, that’s much better.
- In case you’re still on the fence regarding Bible software, here are some more reviews of Logos 4 and Bible Works 8.
- The finalists for the National Book Awards have been announced. Similarly, here’s a list from Metafilter on the The Best American Essays of 2010.
- And, here’s a list from Mashable of the Ten Memorable Viral Videos of 2010.
- iMonk brings together an interesting group of Christian leaders to discuss pastoral care and visitation.
- Grateful to the Dead comments on a few universities that are doing historical theology well.
- P.ost engages an article from Pyromaniacs on engaging culture. The comments are culture and the Gospel are worth reading, but I particularly liked an opening comment on the difficulty of entering a blogging world very different from your own: “I don’t go there very often – it’s the other side of town, it’s unfamiliar territory, I sense that I don’t belong there, I don’t understand the language, and frankly I’m afraid of being mugged.”
- Roger Olson wants every just to admit that all theologies are flawed. I think we can push harder. I think everyone already admits this. The harder part is getting people to act like it.
- Kevin DeYoung points out an interesting panel discussion on the Bible involving Brian McLaren, Tim Keller, and Alistair McGrath.
- Ben Witherington discusses what sola scriptura really means.
- And, Mashable has a list of 11 astounding sci-fi predictions that came true.