By book 10 of his Confessions, Augustine has completed the narration of his long, often tortuous spiritual journey from paganism to Christianity. He has not, however, found a resting place. Having gone through a cathartic conversion, Augustine might now be expected to provide his readers with insights into the nature of the Christian faith and the meaning of life.
Retrieving Nicaea: The Development and Meaning of Trinitarian Doctrine, by Khaled Anatolios. This book makes for challenging reading, but its ambition of retrieving the systematic scope of Nicene trinitarianism for contemporary theology rewards the effort.
The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins, by Peter Enns. On the basis of what is known about Genesis, its origins and its subsequent interpretation, Enns argues in this sensitive and highly readable book that modern evolutionary science can coexist with the scriptural account of creation in Christian understanding.
At a conference on theology and politics at Wheaton College earlier this month, a speaker described a world run by economic elites who pursue their own interests. These elites dominate both political parties in the United States, he noted.
In the question-and-answer period, a student at the evangelical college asked what then should be done, given such an oppressive system. The speaker advised the student not to put much hope in electoral politics.
Nothing outrages students in Jonathan Sheehan’s course on the history of Christianity at the University of California at Berkeley more than the writings of John Calvin. What kind of God is it who would predetermine the ultimate destiny of all humans before the creation of the world? students wonder. Reading Calvin, he says, helps students see the power of an argument and consider the consequences of their own beliefs and commitments. Sheehan wants students to wrestle with Calvin with “integrity, reason, creativity, and charity . . . intellectual virtues that we need in our modern world” (New York Times, September 12).