Paul Molnar

Paul Molnar & Douglas Campbell interviews

Grace Communion International has recently uploaded the following two interviews:

1. Paul Molnar talking about the importance of keeping Christ at the center of our thoughts about God.

2. Douglas Campbell talks about our participation with Christ and with each other in communion with God.

Coleridge on the ‘Ground’ of God

After re-reading McCormack and Molnar recently, I began to make my way through Berkeley’s fascinating essay on Coleridge, where I was struck by this claim:

‘The most radical element of Coleridge’s account of the Trinity is the inclusion of a fourth term: the “Prothesis” or “Ground” of God. [Coleridge] insists that this ground be conceived as will, and bases his claims of the personality of God on this subtlety’. – Richard Berkeley, Coleridge and the Crisis of Reason (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 46.

Now I’m no Coleridge scholar (Steve Holmes is my Coleridge man), but might it be that good ol’ uncle Samuel has something to contribute to this debate among Barth’s interpreters?

SJT is out

The latest edition of the Scottish Journal of Theology (Volume 61 – Issue 01 – February 2008) is out and comprises the following articles, including a timely essay by Dr Ben:

Abstract: T. F. Torrance has made a significant contribution to theological method with his model of the stratified structure of theological knowledge. According to this model, which is grounded in Torrance’s realist epistemology, the knowledge of God takes place at three distinctive levels of increasing conceptual refinement. First, at the level of tacit theology, we intuitively grasp God’s trinitarian reality through personal experience, without yet understanding that reality conceptually. Second, at the level of formalised theology, we develop an understanding of the economic trinitarian structure which underlies our personal experience. Finally, at the meta-theological level, we penetrate more deeply into the structure of God’s self-revelation in order to develop a refined conceptualisation of the perichoretic relations immanent in God’s eternal being. The conceptuality achieved at this meta-theological level constitutes the ultimate grammar and the unitary basis of all theological knowledge; and a concentration of thought at this level offers the promise both of thoroughgoing theological simplification and of a shared ecumenical vision of the essential content of theological knowledge. Central to Torrance’s entire model is the homoousial union of Jesus Christ with God: the homoousion enables a movement from a personal encounter with Jesus Christ to a knowledge of the economic Trinity, just as it further enables a movement from the economic to the ontological Trinity. Although our theological thought thus moves towards increasingly refined concepts and relations, it remains always grounded in and coordinated with our personal knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie

The latest edition of Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie is out and includes two articles of interest to me:

‘Can the Electing God be God without us? Some Implications of Bruce McCormack’s Understanding of Barth’s Doctrine of Election for the Doctrine of the Trinity’, by Paul D Molnar (pp. 199-222)


This article is the attempt at a dialogue with Bruce McCormack about the position he espoused in The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth concerning the relation between God’s Election of grace and God’s Triunity. I had criticized McCormack’s position in my book, Divine Freedom and the Doctrine of the Immanent Trinity (2002), but I did not elaborate on it in great detail. To develop the dialogue I will: 1) consider McCormack’s claim that in CD II/2 Barth made Jesus Christ “rather than” the Eternal Logos the subject of election; 2) consider what Barth means when he speaks of Jesus Christ “in the beginning”; 3) compare McCormack’s thesis that the Father never had regard for the Son, apart from the humanity to be assumed, with Barth’s belief that we must not dispute the eternal will of God which “precedes even predestination”; 4) analyze in detail McCormack’s rejection of Barth’s belief that the logos asarkos in distinction from the logos incarnandus is a necessary concept in trinitarian theology; 5) discuss Barth’s concept of the divine will in relation to the concept advanced by McCormack and suggest that McCormack has fallen into the error of Hermann Schell by thinking that God in some sense takes his origin from himself, so that God would only be triune if he elected us; 6) explain why it is a problem to hold, as McCormack does, that God’s self-determination to be triune and his election of us should be considered one and the same act; and finally 7) explain McCormack’s confusion of time and eternity in his latest article on the subject in the February, 2007 issue of the Scottish Journal of Theology, and his own espousal of a kind of indeterminacy on God’s part (which he theoretically rejects).

‘The Difference Totality Makes. Reconsidering Pannenberg’s Eschatological Ontology’, by Benjamin Myers (pp. 141-155)


Summary Wolfhart Pannenberg’s eschatological ontology has been criticised for undermining the goodness and reality of finite creaturely differentiation. Drawing on David Bentley Hart’s recent ontological proposal, this article explores the critique of Pannenberg’s ontology, and offers a defence of Pannenberg’s depiction of the relationship between difference and totality, especially as it is presented in his 1988 work, Metaphysics and the Idea of God. In this work, Pannenberg articulates a structured relationship between difference and totality in which individual finite particularities are preserved and affirmed within a coherent semantic whole. Creaturely differences are not sublated or eliminated in the eschatological totality, but they are integrated into a harmonious totality of meaning. This view of the semantic function of totality can be further clarified by drawing an analogy between Pannenberg’s ontological vision and Robert W. Jenson’s model of the eschatological consummation as a narrative conclusion to the drama of finite reality.