Leithart on Scripture, Tradition, and Reformed Catholicity

At First Things, Peter Leithart recently reflected on Scripture and Tradition in light of Michael Allen and Scott Swain’s Reformed Catholicity.

Cover Art“Allen and Swain offer an elegant, biblically grounded account of church tradition as a ‘fruit of the Spirit.’

Scripture is norm and foundation of all theology, but the Bible authorizes the Church to build on the apostolic foundation. Scripture isn’t inert but is given so that the truth of God might be internalized and embodied in the Church: ‘Scripture is a means to the end of church tradition.’

Tradition formation is the work of the Spirit, the teacher in the school of Christ, who anoints the Church and is personally active in the writing of creeds and confessions, the transmission of liturgical forms, catechetical training, and theological formulation. Though fallible and imperfect, these aren’t merely human products but ‘natural signs and instruments of the Spirit’s illuminating presence.’

Tradition signifies that the Word has been received, believed, and spoken by the Church, and it ensures that the Word continues to be received and passed on.”

You can read the rest here.

 

BA Books & Authors on the Web – January 30, 2015

Cover ArtMathew Sims, at Grace for Sinners, reviewed James K. A. Smith’s Imagining the Kingdom.

I cannot recommend Imagining the Kingdom highly enough. It’s a much needed corrective for the Church especially in our current climate where secular liturgies often are more formative. Christians have failed to tell and live our story in a way that’s believable and affective.

At Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight reflected on Engaging the Doctrine of Revelation by Matthew Levering.

Nate Claiborne reviewed Reformed Catholicity, by Michael Allen and Scott Swain.

At Books at a Glance, Adam Darbonne reviewed Reading the Historical Books by Patricia Dutcher-Walls.

Jackson Watts, at the Helwys Society Forum, reviewed Beth Felker Jones’ Practicing Christian Doctrine.

Adonis Vidu’s Atonement, Law, and Justice was review at Pastor Dave Online.

Gary Ridley, at Send U, reviewed Effective Intercultural Communication by A. Scott Moreau, Evvy Hay Campbell and Susan Greener.

Nijay Gupta, at Crux Sola, is looking forward to Mikeal Parsons’ Paideia commentary on Luke.

Justin Taylor shared Thomas Schreiner’s reflections in The King in His Beauty on seeing the Trinity in Genesis 1:26.

At Lingering in Love, Ian McConnell has been working through Andrew Root’s Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker, and Bonhoeffer’s eight theses on youth work. Read posts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

The Gospel Coalition shared 8 Lessons from the School of Prayer, an excerpt from D. A. Carson’s Praying with Paul.

 

The Rule of Faith – an Excerpt from Reformed Catholicity

The following is an excerpt from Reformed Catholicity, by Michael Allen and Scott Swain.

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The rule of faith offers a promising orientation or starting point for the reading of Scripture, an orientation within which our understanding of Scripture can grow.

Cover ArtMoreover, because it summarizes scriptural teaching on God and God’s unfolding economy of salvation, the rule of faith not only provides readers with a starting point for exegesis, it also identifies the goal of exegesis, which is to expound each particular text with an eye toward the broad horizons of scriptural teaching as a whole. In other words, the rule of faith serves as a benchmark for canonical exegesis.

In this regard, the rule of faith also helps readers guard against a theologically reductionistic exegesis which would turn every text into the occasion for teaching a favorite doctrine—or for engaging a favorite controversy.

The question for the Christian interpreter therefore is not whether or not to read Holy Scripture in light of the rule of faith. The question is whether to read Holy Scripture with a right faith (i.e., orthodoxy), oriented toward the Triune God, drawn from the main contours of biblical teaching, and confessed by Scripture’s faithful servant the church (cf. 1 Tim. 3:15), or whether to read Holy Scripture with a wrong faith (i.e., heterodoxy), drawn from some other purported source of wisdom and knowledge, and governed by the ends of some other community.

Reading Scripture in light of the rule of faith is a way of acknowledging that, when it comes to biblical interpretation, sola Scriptura (Scripture’s status as the sole supreme authority for faith and life) cannot function appropriately as an interpretive norm apart from tota Scriptura (Scripture’s teaching in its entirety). And Scripture’s teaching in its entirety includes teaching about divinely authorized, subordinate authorities that have a role to play in biblical instruction and interpretation. The sacred script not only announces the saving drama that has unfolded “behind the text,” it also directs the ecclesial drama that unfolds “in front of the text.”

©2015 by Michael Allen and Scott R. Swain. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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For more information on Reformed Catholicity, click here.

New Release: Reformed Catholicity

Cover ArtCan Christians and churches be both catholic and Reformed? Can they commit not only to the ultimate authority of apostolic Scripture but also to receiving this Bible within the context of the apostolic church?

This volume argues that to be Reformed means to go deeper into true catholicity rather than away from it. Michael Allen and Scott Swain offer a manifesto for a catholic and Reformed approach to dogmatics that seeks theological renewal through retrieval of the rich resources of the historic Christian tradition.

The book includes a substantive afterword by J. Todd Billings and will appeal to professors and students of theology or Christian doctrine.

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“Intellectually alert and edifying Christian theology will be attentive to divine instruction in Holy Scripture and to its reception, transmission, and explanation in the writings of the apostolic church in time. This fine book explains why, with clarity, grace, and dedication.” – John Webster, University of St. Andrews

“Allen and Swain here blaze an old trail in helpful new ways, correcting misinterpretations of what it means to be Reformed and in the process indicating a vital way forward for biblical interpretation and theology. I particularly appreciate the way they appeal to properly Protestant principles, like sola Scriptura, even as they urge us to thoughtfully retrieve and appropriate catholic tradition.” – Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Scott Swain and Michael Allen demonstrate that classic Reformed Protestantism has an understanding of Scripture, of tradition, and of ecclesiology that anchors the Christian faith in biblical exegesis and at the same time provides the framework and the classical categories for avoiding both the Roman and biblicist options. Drawing on recent historical scholarship and engaging with contemporary Christian thought across the confessional spectrum, this is a bracing manifesto that sets out a clear pathway for the future of Protestantism.” – Carl R. Trueman, Westminster Theological Seminary

“To anyone familiar with recent initiatives in Protestant life and thought, it is no surprise that Allen and Swain would coauthor such a stirring summons to embrace the fullness of historic Christian catholicity….Here is Protestant theology that understands itself, its source, and its context with refreshing clarity.” – Fred Sanders, Biola University

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Michael AllenMichael Allen (PhD, Wheaton College) is associate professor of systematic and historical theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He is the author of several books, including Justification and the Gospel, Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics: An Introduction and Reader, Reformed Theology, and The Christ’s Faith: A Dogmatic Account. He also serves as book review editor for the International Journal of Systematic Theology.

Scott R. Swain Scott R. Swain (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate professor of systematic theology and academic dean at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He is the author of The God of the Gospel: Robert Jenson’s Trinitarian Theology and Trinity, Revelation, and Reading: A Theological Introduction to the Bible and Its Interpretation.

For more information on Reformed Catholicity, click here.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – January 16, 2015

Cover ArtByron Borger, at Hearts & Minds Books, named J. Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth as 2014’s Best Book Of Biblical Studies.

“What a book!…There is no doubt in my mind that this book is urgently needed — among evangelicals and mainline folks alike — to be fully clear about God’s promises of new creation, and how this vision of a restored Earth can animate and sustain our efforts for cultural reform now. Richard is an excellent Biblical scholar and has worked on this serious volume for years; the endorsements have been robust and exceptional, and early readers report it is nearly life-changing.”

Also in his Best Books of 2014 post, Borger gave a double award (Best New Contribution to Bonhoeffer Studies and Best Youth Ministry Book) to Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker by Andrew Root, and an honorable mention to From Every Tribe and Nation by Mark Noll and Reading a Different Story by Susan VanZanten.

At The Hump of the Camel, Jon Garvey reviewed A New Heaven and a New Earth.

RJS continued to discuss Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth in the post “The End of the World” at Jesus Creed.

J. Richard Middleton wrote “God’s Bringing Creation to Its Glorious Destiny” for The High Calling.

Chris Woznicki reviewed Reformed Catholicity, by Michael Allen and Scott Swain.

At First Things, Peter Leithart reflected on the discussion of Reinhold Hutter in Reformed Catholicity.

Reformed Catholicity was listed in The Aquila Report’s New & Noteworthy Books in 2015.

At Panorama of a Book Saint, Conrade Yap reviewed Effective Intercultural Communication by A. Scott Moreau, Evvy Hay Campbell, and Susan Greener.

Christopher Skinner, at Crux Sola, reviewed Chris Keith’s Jesus against the Scribal Elite.

Daniel Gullotta reviewed Ancient Christian Worship by Andrew McGowan.

Elodie Ballantine Emig reviewed Rodney Decker’s Reading Koine Greek for the Denver Journal.

At Theosblog, Lawrence Osborn reviewed Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology by Daniel Brunner, Jennifer Butler, and A. J. Swoboda.

At The Jesus Blog, Anthony LeDonne named Dale Allison’s Constructing Jesus as the best Jesus book of the 2010’s.

Robert Johnston, author of God’s Wider Presence, was interviewed in Tehelka Magazine.

 

BA Books & Authors on the Web – January 9, 2015

Cover ArtDerek Rishmawy, at The Gospel Coalition, explains “Why You Should Read Bavinck.”

“Bavinck’s accomplishment in the Dogmatics is nothing short of jaw-dropping. The expansive, nuanced, and deeply trinitarian theological vision is both intellectually challenging and spiritually nourishing. I anticipate turning to these volumes regularly in the years to come.”

Reviews

Walter Moberly’s Old Testament Theology was reviewed at Euangelion.

Craig Blomberg reviewed A Peaceable Hope by David Neville, as well as The King in His Beauty by Thomas Schreiner, for the Denver Journal here and here.

Nate Claiborne reviewed Exploring Psychology and Christian Faith, by Paul Moes and Donald Tellinghuisen.

Chris Keith’s Jesus against the Scribal Elite was reviewed at CHOICE connect.

At Discovering the Mission of God, Ed reviewed Understanding Christian Mission by Scott Sunquist.

Andrew Root’s Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker was reviewed at Diglotting.

Michael Philliber, at Deus Misereatur, reviewed The Holy Trinity in the Life of the Church, edited by Khaled Anatolios.

Best Of

As 2014 came to a close, quite a number of Baker Academic titles were featured in “Best of” posts.

Galatians and Christian Theology, edited by Mark Elliott, John Frederick, Scott Hafemann and N.T. Wright, was named as one of “The Top (Mockingbird) Theology Books of 2014.”

At Crux Sola, Nijay Gupta listed Chris Keith’s Jesus Against the Scribal Elite, Galatians and Christian Theology, Jeffrey Weima’s 1-2 Thessalonians, and Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth among the “Best New Testament Academic Books of 2014.”

Women in the World of the Earliest Christians by Lynn Cohick, Wealth and Poverty in Early Church and Society edited by Susan Holman, Scripture and Tradition by Edith Humphrey, The Economy of Desire by Daniel Bell, and Loving the Poor, Saving the Rich by Helen Rhee were all in Alvin Rapien’s “Top 10 Books of 2014.”

The Missio Alliance Essential Reading List of 2014” featured Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology, by Daniel Brunner, Jennifer Butler, and A. J. Swoboda.

At Reformation 21, Michael Allen and Scott Swain’s Reformed Catholicity, Simon Gathercole’s Defending Substitution, Kevin Vanhoozer and Owen Strachan’s The Pastor as Public Theologian, and Richard Bauckham’s Gospel of Glory were noted as “New & Noteworthy Books in 2015.”

Elsewhere

Scot McKnight reflected on Alistair Stewart’s The Original Bishops in the post “Paul and the Economic Justice Vision of Jesus“, and Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth led to his discussion “Revolution in Eschatology Today?

Andrew McGowan, author of Ancient Christian Worship, wrote “Incarnation and Epiphany: How Christmas became a Christian Feast” for ABC Religion and Ethics.

 

BA Books & Authors on the Web – September 12, 2014

Cover ArtFaith & Leadership featured Take it from Bonhoeffer — there is no ‘Christian youth’, from Andrew Root’s forthcoming Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker.

“To label the young ‘Christian youth,’ Bonhoeffer believes, is to make faith bound not in their humanity and the eschatological work of Christ, not in the wrestling of their being, but in this episodic time of ‘special privilege’ created by culture. Faith becomes a fashion, a particular, distinct period during which you are loyal to something before moving on to something else.

Your ‘Christian-ness’ is bound in your ‘youthfulness.’ Once youthfulness fades with age or new lifestyle commitments, so too can ‘Christian.’ ‘Christian’ was an adjective you used to describe your high school days. As you outgrow the privileged space (especially the youth group), as you outgrow your youth, you outgrow ‘Christian.’”

Also, I Read Too Much shared a pre-release review of Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker.

Jarvis Williams reviewed Douglas Moo’s Galatians BECNT volume for Books at a Glance.

Dennis Hamm, S.J, author of the Philippians, Colossians, Philemon volume in the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (CCSS), was interviewed by the Center for Catholic Thought.

Daniel Keating’s CCSS volume on First and Second Peter, Jude was reviewed at RBL by Abson Joseph.

Antonius, at Stages of Prayer, reviewed the Acts of the Apostles volume of the CCSS, by William Kurz, SJ.

Adam Kurihara reflected on the mall and Apple in light of James K. A. Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom.

Nick Nowalk, at The Strange Triumph of the Lamb, shared a quote on holiness and mission from The Drama of Scripture, by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen.

At The Gospel Coalition, Gavin Ortlund interviewed Bryan Chapell, author of Christ-Centered Preaching.

Chris Woznicki, at Think Out Loud, is looking forward to forthcoming Baker Academic titles from Michael Allen and Scott Swain, Matthew Levering, Simon Gathercole, and Christopher Seitz.