‘Knowledge of God in the sense of the New Testament message, the knowledge of the triune God as contrasted with the whole world of religions in the first centuries, signified, and still signifies, the most radical “twilight of the gods,” the very thing which Schiller so movingly deplored as the de-divinisation of the “lovely world.” It was no mere fabrication when the Early Church was accused by the world around it of atheism, and it would have been wiser for its apologists not to have defended themselves so keenly against this charge. There is a real basis for the feeling, current to this day, that every genuine proclamation of the Christian faith is a force disturbing to, even destructive of, the advance of religion, its life and richness and peace. It is bound to be so. Olympus and Valhalla decrease in population when the message of the God who is the one and only God is really known and believed. The figures of every religious culture are necessarily secularised and recede. They can keep themselves alive only as ideas, symbols, and ghosts, and finally as comic figures. And in the end even in this form they sink into oblivion. No sentence is more dangerous or revolutionary than that God is One and there is no other like Him. All the permanencies of the world draw their life from ideologies and mythologies, from open or disguised religions, and to this extent from all possible forms of deity and divinity. It was on the truth of the sentence that God is One that the “Third Reich” of Adolf Hitler made shipwreck. Let this sentence be uttered in such a way that it is heard and grasped, and at once 450 prophets of Baal are always in fear of their lives. There is no more room now for what the recent past called toleration. Beside God there are only His creatures or false gods, and beside faith in Him there are religions only as religions of superstition, error and finally irreligion’. – Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics II.1 (ed. G.W. Bromiley and T.F. Torrance; trans. T.H.L. Parker, et al.; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1957), 444.
‘It has often been said that the teachers of the age’s religion are to be sought rather among its poets than its preachers. But it seems as if we must look for our noblest theology also to our poets, rather than to our clerical schools … The age is deeply theological, and does not know it. It is like the man who was amazed to find that all his life he had been talking prose without being aware of it. We are theological, and don’t know it. Hence part of our unhappiness. It is like the sorrow of some young Werther who bears in his bosom the ferment of a genius not yet apprehended, and the germ of a revolution not yet realised. Our atheology belies our true deep selves, and our great poets are in this but prophets. They steal upon our less aggressive hours, and reveal our soul and future to ourselves. They fore-shadow our destiny, and they tell us that, in spite of all the savants say about the impossibility of a theology, it is the passion for a theology which is at the root of our mind’s unrest, and the possession of a theology which alone can lay our mind’s anarchy’. – PT Forsyth, ‘The Argument for Immortality Drawn from the Nature of Love: A Lecture on Lord Tennyson’s “Vastness”’. Christian World Pulpit, 2 December 1885, 360.
[Image: John Everett Millais, Alfred Tennyson 1881. Oil on canvas. Tate Gallery. Lent by National Museums Liverpool, Lady Lever Art Gallery]
‘It is not sermons we need, but a Gospel, which sermons are killing … What we require is not a race of more powerful preachers, but that which makes their capital – a new Gospel which is yet the old, the old moralised, and replaced in the conscience, and in the public conscience, from which it has been removed. We need that the Gospel we offer be moralised at the centre from the Cross, and not rationalised at the surface by thin science. We need that more people should be asking “What must I do to be saved?” rather than “What should I rationally believe?”’ – P.T. Forsyth, The Church and the Sacraments (London: Independent Press, 1947 ), 20.
In his essay, ‘Beware Tuneless Preaching‘ , Inevitably, if there is no conviction that God enables worship to happen through participation in relationships between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, preachers are likely to opt out of trinitarian language and exhort hearers “to do their thing.” In some contemporary churches preaching does seem to offer moralizing sermons that concentrate on individual needs – giving good advice instead of Good News. “Evangelical preaching is so obsessed with the need to apply everything that we are shifting into just another moral religion”’.
[The final sentence is a citation from Kevin Navarro, The Complete Worship Service – Creating a Taste of Heaven on Earth (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005), 144.]
It all reminds me of two words that Forsyth offered concerning pragmatism. The first, from The Soul of Prayer, is that at the end of the day that which is truly the most practical is that which contributes to the end for which creation and humanity were made. (p. 33) The second thought, from The Principle of Authority is where Forsyth speaks of ‘the appetite for success, for numbers, for effect, grows as it feeds upon the democratic philosophy of Pragmatism, with its note of American business and efficient bustle. A harder time than ever would seem to be awaiting the conscientious preacher in a popular body as the Pragmatist definition of truth comes to prevail, that it is what “works.” Our truth does work, no doubt, but in very large orbits; and not always in time, within one life, to let us make up our minds about its results with that certainty which alone enables it to “work.” The vice of Pragmatism, so understood, is that, where absolute truth, or any faith, is concerned, we must begin with a belief in the absoluteness of it before we can set it to work with its native might. We must begin working with that conviction of its absoluteness which its working is supposed to provide. We must begin producing with the product in our hands. We cannot make an absolute truth work in which we do not yet believe. The world can only be converted by a Church which believes that in Christ the world has already been won’. (pp. 341-2)
There are many kinds of preachers, just as there are many kinds of theologians or fishermen … or sausages, for that matter. While it may or may not be helpful to try and distinguish between them, I want to suggest that there are basically two kinds of Christian preachers . There are those who preach the gospel as a thing done, and there are those who preach about the gospel as a thing still to be finished, usually by way of human response other than that offered vicariously by the last Adam. [Of course there are others – many in fact – who preach neither a thing done, nor a thing to do. While some of these may be preaching Christians, they are not Christian preachers in any sense of the word! Some of these even try to hide behind the rhetoric of doing ‘expository’ preaching. Of course, all preaching worthy of the name is expository, but I have in mind here those who think that the preaching task is finished when one has explained what the text means].
Among the former, that is among those who preach the gospel as a thing done, are people like James Denney. I’ve been reading Denney today, and have been struck afresh at just how different his word is to so much of what passes for evangelical preaching today. Here’s a wee passage that struck a good chord:
The work of reconciliation, in the sense of the New Testament, is a work which is finished, and which we must conceive to be finished, before the gospel is preached. It is the good tidings of the Gospel, with which the evangelists go forth, that God has wrought in Christ a work of reconciliation which avails for no less than the world, and of which the whole world may have the benefit. The summons of the evangelist is – ‘Receive the reconciliation; consent that it become effective in your case.’ The work of reconciliation is not a work wrought upon the souls of men, though it is a work wrought in their interests, and bearing so directly upon them that we can say God has reconciled the world to Himself; it is a work – as Cromwell said of the covenant – outside of us, in which God so deals in Christ with the sin of the world, that it shall no longer be a barrier between Himself and men … Reconciliation is not something which is doing; it is something which is done. No doubt there is a work of Christ which is in process, but it has as its basis a finished work of Christ; it is in virtue of something already consummated on His cross that Christ is able to make the appeal to us which He does, and to win the response in which we receive the reconciliation. A finished work of Christ and an objective atonement – a katallagh. – in the New Testament sense – are synonymous terms; the one means exactly the same as the other; and it seems to me self-evident, as I think it did to St. Paul, that unless we can preach a finished work of Christ in relation to sin, a katallagh. or reconciliation or peace which has been achieved independently of us, at an infinite cost, and to which we are called in a word or ministry of reconciliation, we have no real gospel for sinful men at all’. – James Denney, The Death of Christ: Its Place and Interpretation in the New Testament (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1909), 144–5, 146.
To be sure, there is an appropriation that must take place – by both reconciled parties – but it is an appropriation of a finished work, the entering into what is already de facto a reconciled situation, a new creation. God’s reconciliation in Christ was not ‘a tentative, preliminary affair’ (Forsyth) but a finished one. ‘Paul did not preach a gradual reconciliation. He preached what the old divines use to call a finished work’ (Forsyth). We live in a reconciled world.
Blessed are those with eyes to see, ears to hear, and faith to proclaim …
Gareth Baudrillard-Jones writes on Forsyth:
Wandering in a second-hand bookshop the other day (won’t say it was in a state of ancient disrepair, but the graffiti in the rest room read, variously, ‘Squeaky Fromme is Innocent’, `Rousas Rushdoony is my Homeboy’ and `Tex Ritter Taught Me to Yodel’) I caught sight of an old classic: P T Forsyth, Positive Preaching and the Modern Mind. This is nearly a hundred years old but a classic of its kind (one of the things the pupils of Ritschl did well was write on preaching…). Any pastor out there who has lost sight of the romance and power of the preached word should sell all his has to get a copy of this … Don’t forget – it was reading PTF’s The Cruciality of the Cross which changed Martyn Lloyd Jones from a preacher of regeneration to a preacher of Christ.
HT: Reformation 21
Mark Johnson has written a delightful piece on PT Forsyth: Preaching the Centrality of the Cross. It is an adaptation from his PhD Dissertation, ‘Christological Preaching for the Post-Modern Era’ (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1994). Because of a focus on this blog regarding Forsyth and his work, I reproduce it here:
Peter Taylor Forsyth was born May 12, 1848 in Aberdeen, Scotland. The son of a postal worker and a maid, he was raised as a member of the Black-friars Street Congregational Church. His family was devout, if not affluent. In spite of his family’s modest means, he was able to attend the university where he achieved an enviable reputation as a student.
In young adulthood, Forsyth was greatly influenced by the thought and writings of both F. D. Maurice and Albrecht Ritschl. He would have opportunity to study under Ritschl for a term at Gottingen. In his early ministry, he gained notoriety for his liberal theological views and his “‘loud’ dress and unpredictable pulpit utterances.”After serving in several pastorates, he was named principal of Hackney College in London in 1901, a position that allowed time for extensive writing. At least part of the reason for this move was the belief that the academic lifestyle would place less strenuous demands on his frail health than the pastorate.
I first became acquainted with Forsyth reviewing Positive Preaching and the Modern Mind during my first semester in Ph.D. studies. I delved deeper into Forsyth’s thought when writing a dissertation dealing with preaching Christ in the Postmodern era. The one contribution that sticks out above all others is his insistence that one remains relevant to his times by keeping his focus on the unchanging Christ. He urged preachers to “preach to their age without preaching their age.”In Christology he sides neither with those who quested after a historical Jesus nor with the idealists who heavily emphasized the divinity of Christ. Neither adequately expressed Christ’s dual nature as both God and Man. In Forsyth’s earlier writings, he placed Christ at the center of his theology. In his later development, he sees Christ’s ministry on the cross as the central focus for theology.
Perhaps it is this focus on the person and work of Christ that causes him to write with a warmth of devotion and piety, causing one writer to say in appreciation of his writings, “To read these lines is to be challenged to think theologically, but it is also to be brought into a reflective and devotional mood.” That devotional style, as well as some insight into Forsyth’s reaction to modernity, can be seen in the following words of testimony:
‘Our method to proclaim salvation is this: to point out to every heart the loving Lamb (das herzliche Lamm) which died for us, and although he was the Son of God, offered himself for our sins, – as his God, his Mediator between God and man, his preacher of the law, his Confessor, his Comforter, his Saviour, his throne of grace, his example, his brother, in short his all and in all, by the preaching of his blood, and of his love unto death, even the death on the cross; never, either in the discourse or in argument, to digress even for a quarter of an hour from the loving Lamb; to name no virtue, except in Him and from Him and on His account; to preach no commandment except faith in him; no other justification but that he atoned for us; no other sanctification but the privilege to sin no more; no other happiness, but to be around him, to think of him and do his pleasure; no other self-denial, but to be deprived of him and his blessings; no other calamity, but to displease him; no other life, but in him’. – Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, in ‘Home Missionary Operations of the Brethren in the United States, 1742–1752: Home Mission Sermon preached by Br. Levin T. Reichel’, in The Moravian Church Miscellany (Bethlehem: The Church of the United Brethren, 1852), 234–5.
Kevin has a nice post on Barth’s ongoing legacy, including a quote from Neuhaus in which he recalls Jarislav Pelikan’s identification of ‘the most influential theological mind of the past two hundred years’ as John Henry Newman. Why? ‘Newman’s thought has been received into the tradition of the Catholic Church, whereas Schleiermacher and Harnack, brilliant though they were, wrote against the tradition, and Barth was, as he claimed to be, a “church theologian” but a church theologian without a church capable of bearing his contribution through successive generations. Pelikan understood, as Wilken said at Yale, that it is orthodoxy that is the most consequential, the most adaptable, the most enduring.”‘ Read the full post here.
Byron notes some great words from C.S. Lewis on forgiveness.
Travis generously shares with us his notes from Eberhard Busch’s fascinating lecture at Princeton entitled, ‘A Swiss Voice: The Campaign of the Swiss Government Against the Voice of Karl Barth During the Second World War’. In the lecture, Busch introduces us to some largely ignored documentation from the Swiss and German governments during WWII. He writes,
‘The Swiss government slowly began tightening its grip on critical publication, classifying some of Barth’s lectures as political instigation. Organs of the Swiss government even described Barth as a ‘theologian of hate,’ and he was accused of political agitation against Germany under the cover of religion. The two kingdoms doctrine was even marshaled against Barth, and he was told that he could say whatever he wanted about theology but that he couldn’t give political lectures under the guise of ecclesial style. The publication of certain of Barth’s published lectures and booklets was forbidden. Barth contested these things, arguing that the theologians of the Reformed church in the tradition of Calvin and Zwingli have not only the right but the duty to speak politically. When his appeal failed, Barth was unable to publish or lecture on the political situation in Switzerland. Barth’s phone was tapped, and his correspondence was monitored and censured. In one instance, one of Barth’s letters, including a picture of him in his military uniform bearing the caption ‘Resist the evil with all means,’ was confiscated’.
After spending an afternoon sifting through an ‘impressive pile’ of his old sermons (30 worth worth!), Jim asks ‘When is a sermon past its use by date?‘ After reminding us that his hero James Denney claimed to have burned all his sermons when he left Broughty Ferry in 1897 (‘but fortunately there’s still a few hundred of them so he must only have burned the ones he thought unpreachable elsewhere’), Jim invites us to reflect on two fair questions: 1. What criteria should be used to decide if a sermon preached in the past is worth keeping now? And 2. Should an old sermon ever be re-cycled?
Employing Barth’s help, Michael encourages us to see things differently.
Scott announces the start of a mini-series on the Trinitarian thought of Henry of Ghent. He asks, somewhat provocatively, ‘We know there are three persons, and one ‘substance’/’ousia’ from Scripture and our orthodox Creeds, but is there anything that we could say that might account for why there are three, and not say five divine persons? Or even, why not say there is a potential infinity of divine persons (on some contestable account of the deification of believers)? You get my point. Why three divine persons and what makes it that there are three, no more and no less?’
The ABC’s ‘Religion Report’ makes available via podcast a recent discussion on the Australian Christian Lobby’s invitation to election candidates to justify why they are ‘worthy of the “so-called” Christian vote’.
Eugene Peterson, in Eat This Book, reminds us that Scripture is for feeding on. Holy Scripture nurtures the holy community as food nurtures the human body. Christians don’t simply learn or study or use Scripture; we assimilate it, take it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolised into acts of love, cups of cold water, missions into all the world, healing and evangelism and justice in Jesus’ name, hands raised in adoration of the Father, feet washed in company with the Son. It is for this reason (though not this reason alone) that we ought to be committed to expository preaching. It is the faithful exposition of Scripture – week by week, year by year – that is the God-ordained means of feeding the Father’s family. Of course, preaching does not automatically metabolise us into acts of love, but as the proper exposition of Scripture repeatedly points to the Bible’s own source, end and exegete – Jesus Christ – we are given every reason for why the truth must come home to us and others in acts of love, missions, healing, evangelism and justice in Jesus’ name.
This is part of the reason that PT Forsyth, who could never be accused of not preaching Jesus Christ as the centre of all things, once urged a group of budding preachers to restrain themselves in the ‘fanciful use of texts at the cost of the historic revelation which the whole context gives’. These practices, he contended, have a show of honouring the Bible, but they really treat it with the disrespect that is always there when we presume people to mean another thing than they say. If we feel, on a particular occasion, that we must treat a text differently than the context allows, we ought to make it clear that we are taking a liberty in doing so. ‘Preach more expository sermons’, Forsyth said. ‘Take long passages for texts. Perhaps you have no idea how eager people are to have the Bible expounded, and how much they prefer you to unriddle what the Bible says, with its large utterance, than to confuse them with what you can make it say by some ingenuity. It is thus you will get real preaching in the sense of preaching from the real situation of the Bible to the real situation of the time. It is thus you make history preach to history, the past to the present, and not merely a text to a soul’.
Peter Adam offers us a helpful list of 15 arguments for Expository Preaching (read the full article here):
(1) Preaching through the books of the Bible, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, respects and reflects God’s authorship. God did not gives us a book of quotable quotes, nor a dictionary of useful texts, nor an anthology of inspiring ideas. When God caused the Scriptures to be written the medium that he used was that of books of the Bible. If that was good enough for the author it should be good enough for the preacher.
(2) Expository Preaching reflects God’s respect for human authors. One of the most beautiful features of the Bible is the way in which God causes his truth to be written and yet does not over-ride the individual writer, but respects their place in history, their vocabulary, their spoken and literary style. If God is so careful to respect the human authors of the Scriptures we should endeavour to do the same by reading, studying, preaching and teaching their books in the order in the way in they wrote them.
(3) Expository Preaching respects the historical context of each part of the Bible. The Bible is not a set of timeless truths removed from historical context, but each book of the Bible is firmly rooted in history, and the perspective of its human author. We do most justice to this historical context when we preach texts in their context, that is in the writing in which they occur.
(4) Expository Preaching respects the context of salvation history. The unfolding drama of salvation is brought to us within salvation history; and each text, verse, chapter and book has its place within that salvation history. The best way to preach these books is to link them to their place in salvation history, not to extract from them trans-historical, theological, pastoral or devotional themes.
(5) Expository Preaching should help us to unfold the deep Biblical Theology of the Bible, the content and message of God’s unfolding revelation, and seeing every part of the Bible in the light of the gospel of Christ, and the message of the whole Bible.
(6) Expository Preaching preserves Biblical shape and balance. It gives the same focus and concentration that God gives in the Bible. Other people’s topical preaching inevitably misses this balance. It is more difficult to see the same imbalance in our own topical preaching!
(7) Expository Preaching ensures that we preach on difficult topics, verses and books. I would not choose to preach from the text ‘I hate divorce’ unless forced to do so by a sermon series on Malachi. I would not choose to preach on Romans 9-11, but preaching my way right through Romans forces me to do so. Lectionaries are no help, because modern lectionaries seem to go out of their way to avoid difficult topics, even cutting poems and stories in half to avoid embarrassment. Expository Preaching will at least make us preach on the difficult parts of the Bible.
(8) Expository Preaching saves time in preparation and presentation. Preachers need to do a lot of work in preparing their sermons and finding the historical context, and need to convey the context of verses in which they preach in the sermon as well. If we move from text to text as we move from sermon to sermon, or if we move from text to text within sermons, we will be less and less inclined to give the context of those texts and more and more inclined to take them out of context. [Of course ‘the text’ is actually the whole book: only preachers think of ’the text’ as a short extract!]
(9) Expository Preaching provides a good model of exegesis. We ought to preach and teach the Bible in a way in which we hope people will read it. People should pick up good models of using the Scripture from us. We do not want to encourage people to flip through the Bible, picking out verses that look encouraging or inviting. If we want people to read the Bible as it is written, that’s the way we should preach it.
(10) In Expository Preaching each sermon forms part of a divine sequence. The sequence is that of the writer of the book of the Bible. Following this sequence means that our teaching and their learning is cumulative as each sermon prepares the way for the next, and each sermon summarises the message of the last and shows its sequence in biblical thought.
(11) Expository Preaching makes sense! Even the most convinced post-modernists among us still read books from beginning to end. This is because it’s a remarkably sensible way of reading a book. Why would we adopt a different model in our reading and teaching of the Scriptures?
(12) Expository Preaching teaches people the Bible. Its assumption is that the Bible is relevant and effective as it comes from the mouth of God. It assumes that the information in the Bible is important for us; that these things were ‘written for our learning’.
(13) Expository Preaching provides an accessible, useable and safe model of Bible teaching and preaching. If one of our tasks is to encourage lay people in ministry, then the best thing to do is to provide them with a model of teaching which they can use at any level. It is not good to encourage people to flip through the Bible, taking their favourite verses out of context. It is a good work to show the people a model of Bible teaching that they can use to their benefit and the benefit of those who learn from them.
(14) Expository Preaching helps people to avoid repeating their ten favourite themes. Every preacher has ten sermons. The difficulty comes for the preacher and the congregation when they are repeated for the tenth time. Of course, no method can stop the determined preacher from mounting a hobby horse and riding it to death!
(15) Expository Preaching follows God’s syllabus for us. One helpful way of viewing the Bible is to see it as God’s syllabus. In it God lays out the way of salvation and what human beings need to learn in order to turn to Jesus Christ in faith and obedience. The Bible is the syllabus that God has provided – why would we replace it with another of our own invention?
This is the last of a wee series of posts (here, here, here and here) that have been written in an effort to put together some sort of a reading list for various areas of systematic and pastoral theology. The fact that it is listed here does not mean that I endorse any or all of the theology expressed by the various individuals.
This post is concerned with books on Pastoral Ministry, Preaching, Theology and the Arts (BEWARE: a long list), and Eschatology.
Remember, the kind of thing I have in mind is developing a reading list and resource for English-speaking undergraduate theology students – a kind of answer to the ‘where should I start?’ question. What books have you found helpful as either a teacher or a student that ought to be on such suggested a reading list?
Many thanks to those who have made suggestions.
Reading List: 17. Pastoral Ministry:
Christian D Kettler and Todd H. Speidell (eds.), Incarnational Ministry: The Presence of Christ in Church, Society, and Family: Essays in Honor of Ray S. Anderson
Eduard Thurneysen, A Theology of Pastoral Care
Eugene H. Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction
Eugene H. Peterson, Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work
Eugene H. Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness
Eugene H. Peterson, Working The Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity
Henri J. M. Nouwen, Creative Ministry
Nicholas P. Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son
Ray S. Anderson, The Shape of Practical Theology: Empowering Ministry With Theological Praxis
Ray S. Anderson, The Soul of Ministry: Forming Leaders for God’s People
Ray S. Anderson (ed.), Theological Foundations for Ministry
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor
Thomas Oden, Pastoral Theology
Walter C. Wright, Relational Leadership: A Biblical Model for Influence and Service
Reading List: 18. Preaching:
Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon
Charles H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers
Deane Meatheringham, Gospel Incandescent
Dietrich Ritschl, A Theology of Proclamation
Geoffrey C. Bingham, The Preacher and the Parrot
Geoffrey C. Bingham, True Preaching: the Agony and the Ecstasy
Gerhard O. Forde, Theology is for Proclamation
Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Expository Preaching
Gustaf Wingren, The Living Word
Helmut Thielicke, How to Believe Again
Helmut Thielicke, What’s Wrong with the Church?
James Denney, ‘Preaching Christ’, in Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels (ed. J. Hastings), 393-403.
John Stott, I Believe in Preaching
Karl Barth, Homiletics
Peter Adam, Speaking God’s Words: A Practical Theology of Preaching
Peter T. Forsyth, Positive Preaching and the Modern Mind
Sidney Greidanus, The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text
Sidney Greidanus, Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: A Contemporary Hermeneutical Method
Thomas F. Torrance, Preaching Christ Today: The Gospel and Scientific Thinking
Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination
William Perkins, The Art of Prophesying
Reading List: 19. Theology and the Arts
Aidan Nichols, The Art of God Incarnate, Theology and Symbol from Genesis to the 20th Century
Bridget Nichols. Literature in Christian Perspective: Becoming Faithful Readers
Calvin Seerveld, Bearing Fresh Olive Leaves
Calvin Seerveld, Rainbows for a Fallen World
Calvin Seerveld, Voicing God’s Psalms
Christopher Deacy, Screen Christologies: Redemption and the Medium of Film
David Bailey Harned, Theology and the Arts
David Thistlethwaite, The Art of God and the Religions of Art
Dorothy L. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker
E. John Walford, Jacob van Ruisdael and the perception of landscape
Edward Farley, Faith and Beauty: A Theological Aesthetic
Flannery O’Connor, Flannery O’Connor: Collected Works
Frank Burch Brown, Good Taste, Bad Taste, and Christian Taste
Frank Burch Brown, Religious Aesthetics: A Theological Study of Making and Meaning
Gabriele Finaldi, The Image of Christ
Gaye W. Oritz and Clive Marsh (eds.), Explorations in Theology and Film
Gene Edward Veith, Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture
Gene Edward Veith, Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature
Georg W. F. Hegel, Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Art
George Pattison, Art, Modernity and Faith
George Steiner, Grammars of Creation
George Steiner, Real Presences
Gesa Elsbeth Thiessen, Theological Aesthetics: A Reader
Hans R. Rookmaaker, Modern Art and the Death of a Culture
Hans Rookmaaker, The Creative Gift
Henri Nouwen, Behold the Beauty of the Lord
Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming
Hilary Brand & Adrienne Chaplin, Art and Soul: Signposts for Christians in the Arts
Jaroslav Pelikan, Bach Among the Theologians
Jeremy Begbie, ‘Christ and the Cultures: Christianity and the Arts,’ in Companion to Christian Doctrine, ed. Colin Gunton
Jeremy Begbie, ‘The Gospel, the Arts and Our Culture,’ in The Gospel and Contemporary Culture, ed. Hugh Montefiore, 1992, 58–83.
Jeremy S. Begbie (ed.), Beholding the Glory: Incarnation through the Arts
Jeremy S. Begbie, Theology, Music and Time
Jeremy S. Begbie, Voicing Creations Praise: Towards a Theology of the Arts
John De Gruchy, Christianity, Art and Social Transformation: Theological Aesthetics in the Struggle for Justice
John Dillenberger, A Theology of Artistic Sensibilities
John Drury, Painting the Word: Christian Pictures and Their Meaning
John Newport, Christianity and Contemporary Art Forms
Karl Barth, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Larry J Kreitzer, Pauline Images in Fiction and Film
Larry J Kreitzer, The New Testament in Fiction and Film
Larry J Kreitzer, The Old Testament in Fiction and Film
Leland Ryken, Culture in Christian Perspective: A Door to Understanding and Enjoying the Arts
Leland Ryken, The Liberated Imagination: Thinking Critically about the Arts
Leonid Ouspensky & Vladimir Lossky, The Meaning of Icon
Margaret Miles, Image as Insight
Ned Bustard, It was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God
Nicholas P. Wolterstorff, Art in Action: Towards a Christian Aesthetic
Nigel Forde, The Lantern and the Looking-Glass: Literature and Christian Belief
Patrick Sherry, Spirit and Beauty: An Introduction to Theological Aesthetics
Paul Corby Finney, Seeing Beyond the Word: Visual Arts and the Calvinist Tradition
Paul Corby Finney, The Invisible God
Paul Fiddes (ed.), The Novel, Spirituality and Modern Culture
Paul Fiddes, Freedom and Limit: A Dialogue between Literature and Christian Doctrine
Paul S. Fiddes, The Promised End: Eschatology in Theology and Literature
Peter Fuller, Theoria: Art and the Absence of Grace
Peter T. Forsyth, Christ on Parnassus: Lectures on Art, Ethic, and Theology
Peter T. Forsyth, Religion in Recent Art: Expository Lectures on Rossetti, Burne Jones Watts, Holman Hunt and Wagner
Richard Harries, Art and the Beauty of God: A Christian Understandin
Richard Harries, The Passion in Art
Richard Viladesau, Theological Aesthetics: God in Imagination, Beauty, and Art
Robert Jewett, Saint Paul at the Movies: The Apostle’s Dialogue with American Culture
Robert Johnston, Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue
Roger Lundin, The Culture of Interpretation
Roland Delattre, Beauty and Sensibility in the Thought of Jonathan Edwards: An essay in aesthetics and theological ethics
Rowan Williams, Grace and Necessity: Reflections on Art and Love
Roy Kinnard & Tim Davis, Divine Images: A History of Jesus on the Screen
Simon Jenkins, Windows into Heaven
St John of Damascus, On the Divine Images
Stanley Porter et al, eds., Images of Christ, Ancient and Modern
Stephen May, Stardust and Ashes: Science Fiction in Christian Perspective
Steve Scott, Like a House on Fire: Renewal of the Arts in a Postmodern Culture
T. R Wright, Theology and Literature
Trevor A. Hart and Steven R. Guthrie (eds.), Faithful Performances
Trevor A. Hart, A Poetics of Redemption Volume 1: Creation, Creatureliness and Artistry (forthcoming)
Trevor A. Hart, A Poetics of Redemption Volume 2: Incarnation, Embodiment, and Art (forthcoming)
Trevor A. Hart, A Poetics of Redemption Volume 3: Holy Spirit, Imagination and the Salvation of Humanity (forthcoming)
William Dyrness, Reformed Theology and Visual Culture: The Protestant Imagination from Calvin to Edwards
William Dyrness, Rouault: A Vision of Suffering and Salvatio
William Dyrness, The Earth is God’s: A Theology of American Culture
William Dyrness, Visual Faith: Art, Theology, and Worship in Dialogue
Reading List: 20. Eschatology:
Adrio König, The Eclipse of Christ in Eschatology: Toward a Christ-Centered Approach
Anthony Hoekema, Bible and the Future,
Alister McGrath, A Brief History of Heaven
Ben Witherington III, Jesus, Paul & the End of the World
David Powys, ‘Hell’: A Hard Look at a Hard Question
Donald G. Bloesch, The Last Things: Resurrection, Judgment, Glory
Edward Fudge, The Fire That Consumes: The Biblical Case for Conditional Immortality
Geerhardus Vos, Pauline Eschatology
Geerhardus Vos, Eschatology of the Old Testament
Hans Schwarz, ‘Eschatology’, in Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson (eds.), Christian Dogmatics, Volume 2
Hans Urs von Balthasar, Theo-Drama, Vol. 5
Helmut Thielicke, The Evangelical Faith, Volume 3: The Holy Spirit, the Church, Eschatology
Herman Ridderbos, Coming of the Kingdom
James Wm. McClendon, Jr., Doctrine: Systematic Theology, Vol. 2
John F. Walvoord, Zachary J. Hayes, and Clark H. Pinnock, Four Views on Hell
Jürgen Moltmann, The Coming of God: Christian Eschatology
Jürgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope
Jürgen Moltmann, In the End – The Beginning: The Life of Hope
John Polkinghorne, The God of Hope and the End of the World
Michael S. Horton, Covenant and Eschatology: The Divine Drama
Peter T. Forsyth, This Life and the Next
Richard Bauckham, God Will Be All in All: The Eschatology of Jürgen Moltmann
Robert A. Peterson, Hell on Trial: The Case for Eternal Punishment
Wayne Martindale, Beyond the Shadowlands: C.S. Lewis on Heaven and Hell
William H. Katerberg and Miroslav Volf (eds.), The Future of Hope: Christian Tradition amid Modernity and Postmodernity
“Given the importance of the Word of God, the quality of homilies needs to be improved … Generic and abstract homilies should be avoided.” — Pope Benedict XVI, in Sacramentum Caritatis, a 130-plus-page apostolic exhortation on liturgy released in March. (Source: Vatican.va)
What is Benedict really calling for here?
One of the highlights of the recent SST Conference was Hans Ulrich‘s paper on preaching. Here’s how he started:
Preaching is one of the significant and constitutive practices of the Christian Church. Where there is preaching, there is the church, and vice versa. Otherwise there would be no church at all. This is the key to ecclesiology as we find it in the theologies of the Reformation, at least in its Lutheran shape. It is an ecclesiology which is related to the political character of God’s economy, to God’s cosmic, global and particular regimen as it is always related to His word. To think about preaching is therefore finally not to think about the church or (in a different perspective) about Christianity and its place or conditions in this world, rather it is to think about God’s very own way of being and becoming present for us human beings. The church and Christian practices are not what we have to reflect upon; rather, we have to reflect upon what happens with the Church, why these practices are given – and this is a theo-logical question, a question about God. To talk about God means to talk about a God who has decided to communicate with somebody, with his Son, the Spirit and – included in this communication – with us human beings, his creatures. He is the God who therefore has to be encountered, not imagined; he is the God who has to be heard and listened to.’
For the first time in as many years as I’ve got toes, I didn’t preach this Good Friday. I did however engage in worship of the ‘combined service’ type. Why do churches just do at C & E times? Anyway, for those who want a homily worth reading, I found Peter Leithart’s word great. Here’s a snippert: ‘The cross is the crux, the crossroads, the twisted knot at the center of reality, to which all previous history led and from which all subsequent history flows. By it we know all reality is cruciform – the love of God, the shape of creation, the labyrinth of human history.’ For the rest, click here.
And after you’ve read that, check out his latest input on paedocommunion here. I really enjoyed this later piece. Chatting to a pastor mate about it, he said ‘What perplexes me more is whether there’s an age I should stop offering it to them, and then only re-start after baptism’. Now there’s an interesting thought. On what basis such a decision could be made however, could invite a shift in the goal posts.