Category Archives: Quotes

Martyrdom and the “No” of Faith

“The church makes disciples in order to form a company of faith, a theater of martyrdom” (218). Kevin Vanhoozer elucidates this claim in the concluding chapter of his recent book Faith Speaking Understanding: Performing the Drama of Doctrine (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014). The chapter sparked some thoughtful discussion in my systematic theology class this past week. During the discussion it occurred to me that we privileged Western Christians are sometimes enamored with overly romantic conceptions of martyrdom. Continue reading Martyrdom and the “No” of Faith

Bonhoeffer on the Danger of Theology

In the winter of 1936, Dietrich Bonhoeffer delivered a series of lectures on the theme of pastoral care to the seminarians under his direction at the underground seminary at Finkenwalde. Bonhoeffer concluded this course of lectures by reflecting on the need for pastoral care for pastoral counselors. Interestingly, Bonhoeffer suggests that “another source of trouble for the serious pastor is his own theology” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 14, ed. H.G. Barker and M.S. Brocker (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013), 590). Continue reading Bonhoeffer on the Danger of Theology

An Overlooked Lenten Figure

I’ve been working my way through the book of Judges in anticipation of preaching at a Toronto-area church that is in the midst of working its way through the book.  The book of Judges, with its many “texts of terror” (to cite the term coined by Phyllis Trible) presents numerous hermeneutical challenges for the preacher.  Yesterday, I was confronted by the infamous, story of Jephthah’s daughter.  Continue reading An Overlooked Lenten Figure

Lewis and “Little Christs”

My systematic theology students are reading Kevin Vanhoozer’s recent work Faith Speaking Understanding:  Performing the Drama of Doctrine (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014).  In the chapter they are reading in preparation for our next class, Vanhoozer speaks of the importance of doctrine for correctly identifying Christ and allowing Christians to grow in Christ’s image.  To put it in the terms of Vanhoozer’s prevailing theatrical metaphor, the chapter is about how we learn and become our part in the great cosmic drama of salvation.  At one point Vanhoozer introduces an evocative quote from the writings of C.S. Lewis: Continue reading Lewis and “Little Christs”

The Arrogance of Ignorance (Some Thoughts on the “New Atheists”)

“Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology.” As far as opening lines of a book review go, this zinger by Terry Eagleton has to be among the best ever committed to paper. Sadly for Dawkins, it also appears to be true. Continue reading The Arrogance of Ignorance (Some Thoughts on the “New Atheists”)

The Holy Spirit and Tradition

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