Thanks to all of the people who made the trek to Scarborough last week to celebrate the launch of my new book, For the Life of the World: Jesus Christ and the Church in the Theologies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Stanley Hauerwas. It was a great encouragement to see so many people whose lives have intersected with mine in so many different contexts. A special thank you to the congregation of Good Shepherd Community Church for their generous hospitality in hosting the event and to Pastor Steve Tu for so ably moderating the event.
The evening featured three very different, yet richly rewarding engagements with the book by three of my friends who are theologically-inclined, missional practitioners. I hope that in due course the “professional” theologians will take the opportunity to engage with the book in the appropriate academic forums. However, since I am convinced that theology is first and foremost for the church, I was delighted that three committed servants of the church of Jesus Christ could be the book’s first interlocutors.
In the days ahead, I will be posting audio recordings of the various presentations on the Book Launch Celebration page of the site. The audio for the first presentation of the evening on Chapter 2: “This Man is God!”: The Person of Jesus Christ by David Schuchardt, lead pastor of Northview Community Church (Regina, SK) can be found here. What follows is a brief synopsis of the chapter, for listeners who would like some additional context before listening to David’s address.
Synopsis of Chapter 2: “This Man is God!”: The Person of Jesus Christ
Under the influence of Karl Barth, both Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Stanley Hauerwas recognize that any attempt to address the question of the relationship between church and world must begin with the person of Jesus Christ. While deeply indebted to Barth’s formal recovery of the Christological center of the Christian faith, both thinkers are also influenced by other figures whose influence allows them to maintain Barth’s apocalyptic stance while, at the same time, opening the door to a more catholic conception of the church. This chapter seeks to demonstrate how the person of Jesus Christ, fully divine and fully human, stands at the center of each theologian’s work, resulting in distinctly evangelical theologies whose Christologies are both apocalyptic and participatory in character. Bonhoeffer’s Christology lectures of 1933 serve as the prism through which Bonhoeffer’s Christology is considered. The material development of Hauerwas’s Christology is traced through engagement with a very early essay (“The Humanity of the Divine”), two definitive essays from the early 80s (“Jesus: The Story of the Kingdom” and “Jesus: The Presence of the Peaceable Kingdom”), and finally, Hauerwas’s recent sermons on the seven last words of Christ (Cross-Shattered Christ) and his commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. The ancient Christian confession “Jesus is Lord!” serves as the organizing principle for the final summary section which presents a summary of the major Christological themes shared between the two theologians and brings their theologies into dialogue around potential areas of divergence.