The question of the existence of the devil is a notoriously difficult theological problem. On the one hand, as Carl Braaten has observed, “True Christianity is stuck with the Devil, like it or not” (“Powers in Conflict: Christ and the Devil,” in Sin, Death, and the Devil, ed. Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 96). The devil is a recurring character in the narrative of Scripture. He is described in the New Testament as, among other things, the “prince of this world” (John 12:31), as one who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8), and as “the strong man” whose house Jesus has come to plunder (Mark 3:27). To excise all of the references to the devil from Scripture would leave many holes in the pages of our Bibles. Continue reading The Devil Goes Prime Time
Christopher R.J. Holmes, a graduate of Wycliffe College and senior lecturer in Systematic Theology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, has penned the first volume in Zondervan’s new series New Studies in Dogmatics. The goal of the series, inspired by G.C. Berkouwer’s series Studies in Dogmatics, is “to offer concise, focused treatments of major topics in dogmatic theology that fill the gap between introductory theology textbooks and advanced theological monographs” (15). Holmes contribution, The Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), certainly fits the bill and will therefore be of interest to those with some theological education who are looking to delve deeper into the area of pneumatology. Continue reading The Holy Spirit and Tradition
A recurrent theme which came up in the discussions surrounding my previous postings on John Howard Yoder’s Theology of Mission was the integral connection in Yoder’s thought between the medium and the message. This connection is made explicit in a couple of chapters where Yoder explores under the heading “Message and Medium” what could be described as the fundamental stance or posture of the missionary community. Yoder’s thoughts at this point are not simply for “professional missionaries” in faraway places, but for the people of God who are always in mission wherever they find themselves. Continue reading Presence and Servanthood
Yesterday I received the electronic issue of Didaskalia‘s forthcoming issue on the theme of political theology. From scanning the table of contents, it looks like it could be quite an interesting issue. It includes engagements by established and emerging Canadian theologians with Žižek, Barth, Bonhoeffer, Cavanaugh, and Newbigin, among others. Appearing in the issue is my essay, “Unapologetically (A)Political: Stanley Hauerwas and the Practice of Preaching.” Rather than summarize my own work, here’s how the editor of the issue, H.C. Hillier, introduces my essay in his preface to the issue: Continue reading The Politics of Preaching
For those in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), Tyndale University College and Seminary is hosting what promises to be an interesting public lecture on the subject of climate change by leading climatologist Katharine Hayhoe. Hayhoe, a self-identified evangelical Christian, was recently named to Time Magazine’s list of “The 100 Most Influential People.” The title of her talk is: “A Climate for Change: Paris and Beyond – A Christian Response to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.”
The event is this coming Saturday, January 16 beginning at 6:00 pm. More information about the event and about purchasing tickets can be found here.
In his posthumously published collection of lectures, Theology of Mission, John Howard Yoder introduces an interesting analogy to differentiate between communication that is truly evangelical, as opposed to that which is simply manipulative. The former, which he describes as proclamation, begins from a theological starting point. The latter, which he describes as persuasion, starts from an anthropological starting point. Yoder introduces the analogy of a train compared to a taxi in an attempt to introduce the difference between these two modes of speech. As someone raised on the music of Johnny Cash, I’m probably partial to the suggestion that “the kingdom is more like a train,” but I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions. Here’s the quote: Continue reading Persuasion vs. Proclamation