What’s Shaping Bobby’s Thinking Right Now?

July 13, 2011 § 4 Comments

I am still going to continue that series on “Letters To My Friend,” but as of late it has been “Phone Calls To My Friend,” and so the urgency for the posts is quickly loosing its luster; nevertheless, I plan on still completing what I started in that regard. But this post is not that.

This post is simply going to be a quick report on what I am currently reading, and what I just finished reading. I like to do this sometimes so that you all will be prepared to hear from certain theologians, and such, as I cyber-ink my ongoing posts here at the blog. Without further ado:

Book 1: God’s Being Is In Becoming: The Trinitarian Being of God in the Theology of Karl Barth by Eberhard Jüngel translated with a new introduction by John Webster. Here is an excerpt from John Webster about Eberhard Jüngel’s interpretation of Barth’s Doctrine of God:

[I]f, as Barth — and much of the rest of modern trinitarian theology — insists, God’s immanent being is inseparable from his economic being, then theology is not required to choose between an objective and a subjective orientation, or between dogmatics and hermeneutics. God is the event of his radical historical presence in Jesus Christ. [Webster, Introduction, xii]

Jüngel is a personal student of both Barth and Bultmann, and thus his theological project works constructively from within (and then, beyond) the strictures presented by these two monumental Modern and post-Kantian theologians/exegetes. If you are interested in understanding Barth, and his trinitarian theology; then Jüngel seeks to aide, at least in this book. I look forward to reading it (it is rather short in length), and I may or may not report to you on it.

Book 2: Reformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena, Volume One by Herman Bavinck edited by John Bolt and translated by John Vriend. I have long heard of this Dutch guy named, Bavinck. He has intrigued me ever since I have heard of him. I know of some theobloggers who are intrigued by him as well, and even one who is working with him for his PhD research over in Scotland. I am not sure I will make it all the way through this book, at this time, (we will see); but I at least intend to spot read Bavinck to get a better idea of the man and his massive theological work. I feel like I can identify with him a little (not in theological capacity, per se), in the sense that he was a man somewhat torn between two worlds (the modern and the traditional). Here is how the editor introduces us to Herman Bavinck (Born, December 13th, 1854):

[I]t is thus not unfair to characterize Bavinck as a man between two worlds. . . . [A] certain tension in Bavinck’s thought between the claims of modernity, particularly its this-worldly, scientific orientation, and Reformed pietist orthodoxy’s tendency to stand aloof from modern culture, continues to play a role even in his mature theology expressed in the Reformed Dogmatics. [RD, 13, 14]

Again, I may or may not be reporting on what I find with Bavinck; I hope to, it all depends on time constraints. If you are into Reformed theology at all, then reading some Bavinck probably is a good idea; at least if you are interested in how a man of his stature sought to navigate the choppy waters that trying to live in an orthodox and modern world inevitably presents.

Book 3: Justification in Perspective: Historical Developments and Contemporary Challenges edited by Bruce L. McCormack. I usually benefit from anything Bruce McCormack edits or authors, and so this book should prove to be fruitful–since he does both, with a host of other important authors. This just seems like a book I should read, so I am.

[Just completed] Book 4: The Theology Of The Book Of Revelation by Richard Bauckham. This particular book made me uncomfortable, for all the right reasons! In fact it had the affect of substantially changing my paradigm (although that has been a long time in coming), and providing a significantly rich way for understanding the context and trajectory of the often (no longer) enigmatic book of Revelation. I will simply say here, that if the genre of Epistle is allowed to have its necessary force; then this emphasis–along with its other genres of Prophetic & Apocalyptic–reifies this book in ways that I believe reflect its original intention. Consequently, through this understanding, given its proper contextual placement, the book of Revelation takes on a whole new flavor in its value for the Church’s life and mission to fulfill the ‘Great Commission’. You should really read this book! (I am not sure I am willing to elaborate any further on this book, and its impact on me, in the comment section; you can email on this if you want).

Alright, you are all up to date then.

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§ 4 Responses to What’s Shaping Bobby’s Thinking Right Now?

  • The first part of Bavinck’s RD Vol. One is rather laborious and to some degree dated. I read it awhile ago and if I had it to do over, I think I might read Bolt’s opening summaries instead. The ending on Scripture is great and for me much more important than Warfield’s writings on Scripture. If only the rest of evangelicalism thought so..

  • Bobby Grow says:

    Randy,

    Thanks. That helps me know how to navigate my reading then. I know Bavinck had “some” impact on Barth.

  • wtm says:

    Good list – I approve. ;-P

  • Bobby Grow says:

    Thanks, WTM, my pillow just got that much softer ;-)

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