Recently in these pages I made the following claim: "A God of most radical grace must be a God of wrath—not the kind of wrath that burns against evildoers until they prove worthy of being loved, but the kind that resists evildoers because they are unconditionally loved" ("Washing away, washing up," Aug. 25-Sept. 1). A reader was puzzled.
Academic theology can have a future only if theologians themselves are interested in it. Why should anybody else read it if theologians are so caught up in experimenting with every philosophical movement and political program that they ignore their own field? If this volume is any indication, theology seems to have rediscovered itself as a tradition with its own resources and issues.
As the end of the millennium approaches, many Christians are preoccupied with questions that concern the end of the world. Here is one important eschatological theme on which you are unlikely to have heard a single word.
"We would like to have you speak in your own voice about what you believe as a Jew or Christian," wrote the editors inviting me to contribute to a volume in which Jews and Christians were to engage each other's traditions. I accepted the invitation, but the more I thought about "in your own voice," the more ambivalent I felt about it. I knew, of course, what the editors meant.
Reenvisioning Theological Education: Exploring a Missional Alternative to Current Models, by Robert Banks
Toward the end of this critique of the theory and practice of theological education Robert Banks provides his readers with an extended quotation from Karl Barth. In a speech, Barth said this of theological institutions:
Many of us feel a little silly if we react strongly to the death of a pet or the plight of an animal. “Well, it was just a cat,” we say, embarrassed by our grief. Where does this attitude come from? It’s certainly not biblical.
If there was one intellectual development in living memory that separates the “grandparent” from the “parent” generation of British theology, it was the rise of logical positivism and analytical philosophy.
Brother to a Dragonfly, by Will D. Campbell (Continuum). Will Campbell distrusts institutions, the religious enterprise, and faith that is too settled. He’s often irreverent, finds church in a tavern, and will offer visitors a sip of whiskey and call it communion (so I hear).
In addition to its roundup of book reviews, the Century's fall books issue features works that guest critics consider to be essential reading on three topics: John Calvin, Paul and preaching. A. Katherine Grieb's essential books on Paul are: Paul and His Letters (second edition), The Writings of St. Paul, Our Mother Saint Paul, Rereading Paul Together: Protestant and Catholic Perspectives on Justification, and A Shorter Commentary on Romans. Read her comments here.