Archive for the ‘Systematic Theology’ Tag

Theology of Mediation

I’ll be writing some posts in the weeks to come on a theology of mediation. Many are familiar with the need for Christ to mediate redemption to sinful humanity in order to reconcile us to God, but what of Christ’s mediation of creation? It is only with the development of the NT that we get a clear theology of mediation, particularly Christ’s role in creating all things. If Christ mediates creation for the good of all humanity, then doesn’t it follow that he would mediate redemption for the good of all humanity? If not, what is the difference between Christ’s mediating creation and redemption? J. van Genderen and W. H. Velema in their forthcoming Concise Reformed Dogmatics state:

Without knowledge of Christ, who is the Word made flesh, and without considering his glory, the evangelist would not have thus referred to the Word in the beginning. But this does not mean that creation by the Word and redemption through the Word incarnate should be identified with each other or thought to coincide in principle. Then there would be no distinction between creation and re-creation. Salvation in Christ would already be implicit in creation. In believing this, one would open the door to the “monism of grace” with far-reaching consequences in the direction of universalism.

Do you agree? Is there a distinction to be made between Christ’s mediating of creation and redemption? What is this distinction? How does his agency differ between the two? What difference does this make for our engagement with culture and people? Contra Barth et. al, van Genderen and Velema respond:

The Bible teaches us to retain the distinction between creation and redemption. Creation is theocentric; redemption, which was necessary on account of sin and made reality through grace, may be called christocentric. Creation does not rest on redemption or on the plan for redemption, but redemption presupposes creation and the fall into sin. Ontologically, creation has priority.

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Richard Lints and Theology

Dr. Richard Lints has assumed David Wells’ Andrew Mutch Chair of Theology at Gordon Conwell theological Seminary. Some may know of Lints’ impressive work The Fabric of Theology. In addition to being a fine theologian, Lints is a very winsome man. I recently learned of two new writing projects he is finishing up.

The first is provisionally called image and idol and deals with human identity and idolatry. The second is deals with religious pluralism and democracy. Keep your eyes out for those.

Lints has also announced a 2009 conference devoted to the life and legacy of David Wells. This will be held in October of 09 at Gordon Conwell. Seems like some great things are coming from Gordon Conwell in the months to come, including three new professors: Peter Anders, Patrick Smith, & Adonis Vidu.

Suggested Systematic & Biblical Theologies

Here are some recommendations on Systematic and Biblical Theologies:

Systematic Theologies

  • Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology – Berkhof offers a classic Reformed systematic. His older language is worth the wade, as he addresses the attributes of God with a sense of reverence that is often missing from contemporary systematics. His section on the immensity of God is especially good.
  • Lewis & Demarest, Integrative Theology– This theology integrates historical, systematic, biblical theologies and apologetics all in one volume. The strength is its well rounded approach; however, at times it is too scientific in methodology and explanation.
  • John Frame, Theology of Lordship series – Frame is among the most cogent and clear systematicians. His triperspectival lens offers a unique perspective on systematic theology.
  • Tim Tennent, Theology in the Context of World Christianity– Tennent offers a global perspective on systematic theology, presenting various systematic doctrines from diverse cultural voices, i.e. Christology from an African perspective. Tennent is a consummate missionary-theologian.
  • Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology – lucid, readable, accessible, worshipful. Contains hymns and questions and a glossary at the end of each section. Contains a rare systematic treatment of Prayer, Spiritual Warfare.

Biblical Theology

  • N.T. Wright, History of Christian Origins Series, – an incomplete, multivolume work of remarkable scholarship, both in theological depth and historical breadth. Though demanding, these books are very rewarding.
  • Charles Scobie, The Ways of Our Goda massive treatment of major biblical themes gathered around four primary concepts (God’s Order, Servant, People, & Way) and one primary methodology (promise-fulfillment-consummation).
  • Hafemann & House, Central Themes in Biblical Theologyan oustanding collection of essays that offer various thematic studies as well as two excellent essays on overarching frameworks for BT by Hafemann and Ciampa.
  • Marvin Pate, The Story of Israel – traces the story and reconfiguration of Israel around Jesus throughout the whole Bible, paying particular attention to the role of covenant blessings and curses.

Theology: in a global perspective

Tim Tennent’s second major book, Theology in the Context of World Christianity explores Systematic Theology from a Global perspective. Tennent takes an interdisciplinary approach, relying on biblical exegesis and contextual theologies to present the various doctrines that comprise systematic theology in a global perspective. Here are the table of contents:

1. The Emergence of a Global Theological Discourse

2. Theology: Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad?

3. Bibliology: Hindu Sacred Texts in Pre-Christian Past

4. Anthropology: Human Identity in Shame-Based Cultures of the Far East

5. Christology: Christ as Healer and Ancestor in Africa

6. Soteriology: Is “Salvation by Grace through Faith” Unique to Christianity?

7. Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit in Latin American Pentecostalism

8. Ecclesiology: Followers of Jesus in Islamic Mosques

9. Eschatology: Jonathan Edwards and the Chinese Back to Jerusalem Movement

10. The Emerging Contours of Global Theology