IVP - Addenda & Errata - Theology Archives

April 30, 2012

The Living Faith of the Dead

I don’t preach much, but recently I did—on “The Living Faith of the Dead.” The reader board in front of the church read as follows:

The Living Faith of

the Dead

Dr. Dan Reid

My wife told me that no one walking by would want to enter the church for that sermon. I rather thought it would come off as a séance, and the unchurched would flock. I was being seeker sensitive. Look, there’s a reason why I’m invited into book titling meetings.

I took my sermon title from a line by Jaroslav Pelikan in The Vindication of Tradition: “Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living” (p. 65).

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Posted by Dan Reid at 11:41 AM

October 5, 2009

Christological Gold

Here is a sulphurous discharge from the fumaroles of hell:

Infinity is all around, so wherever you are, you are in the center of the universe. Deepak Chopra

Here is fine gold, worked into a christological setting:

But following the holy Scriptures I believe that there is one God and his only-begotten Son or Word, who ever exists with the Father and has never in any sense had a beginning of existence, truly having his being from God, not created, not made, but ever being with, ever reigning with God and the Father, “of whose kingdom,” according to the testimony of the apostle, “there shall be no end.” Marcellus of Ancrya

A few months back I blogged about my reading of Ancient Christian Doctrine, Volume 1, We Believe in One God, edited by Gerald Bray. (And I’m pleased to find that David Neff also finds it good devotional reading.) Having finished reading that volume, I turned with much anticipation to Volume 2, We Believe in One Lord Jesus Christ, edited by John Anthony McGuckin. I have not been disappointed. If anything, this volume is better yet!

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Posted by Dan Reid at 8:28 AM

August 12, 2009

500th Anniversary of Calvin’s Baptism?

Friday, July 10, was the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth. We don’t know on what day young Calvin was baptized, but biographers assume it took place soon after his birth. I’ll speculate that it took place on his 8th day, since that correlation with the optimal schedule for Jewish circumcision of male babies just seems fitting for Calvin. So you heard it here first: on Saturday, July 18, we should have celebrated John Calvin’s (infant) baptism. Or should we have?

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Posted by Dan Reid at 1:34 PM

April 14, 2009

The Enigma of George Eldon Ladd

Last year I read John A. D’Elia’s A Place at the Table: George Eldon Ladd and the Rehabilitation of Evangelical Scholarship in America (Oxford University Press, 2008). I was a student of Ladd’s at Fuller Theological Seminary in the 1970s, and as a matter of fact, I even started out as his student in the Ph.D. program there. (That didn’t last long, and Ralph Martin rescued me from the situation.) I’ve long thought someone needed to write this biography. However, I also recall mentioning this thought to another Fuller faculty person of that era, who expressed the opinion that no good would come of it. He no doubt had in mind some of the personal tragedies that marred Ladd’s life and are disclosed in D’Elia’s biography.

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Posted by Dan Reid at 8:38 AM | Comments (3) are closed

March 23, 2009

Packer By Name

As Jim Packer has said about his own writing, “Packer by name. Packer by trade.” He can put a lot into a very few words. The quotable Packer was certainly in his usual fine form at Christian Book Expo in Dallas last week. Here are just a few:

“Karl Barth is an eccentric evangelical not a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as some would make him out to be.”

“I read and reread C. S. Lewis. My esteem for him goes up and up.”

“Ethics and reading a menu have much in common. Never let the good be the enemy of the best.”

Reflecting on the head injury he received as a seven-year-old when a truck hit him requiring portions of skull bone to be removed,

“I know better than most when I say, ‘I need that like a hole in the head.’”

Posted by Andy Le Peau at 12:14 PM | Comments (1) are closed

February 23, 2009

A Mountain of Theology

What is the task of theology? That’s a question I have returned to repeatedly. I like to think metaphorically, and I’ve found some help in likening the task of theology to viewing a great mountain from several angles. This works for a theological hermeneutic of Scripture too. In theology, to focus on a particular biblical text (or aspect of God) and to make it determinative of the whole is like viewing a great mountain from only one aspect, one viewpoint, and concluding that it captures Mount Rainier or Denali or Long’s Peak or the Matterhorn. Those who know mountains know how mistaken this can be in most cases.

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Posted by Dan Reid at 10:37 AM

October 29, 2008

The Global Dictionary of Theology and the Future of Global Theology, Part 2

[Continuation of previous post]

How Then Shall We Characterize the Global Dictionary of Theology?

A Fuller Flashback to 1960
Imagine yourself as a Fuller student forty-eight years ago, in 1960, with Fuller profs Everett Harrison, Geoffrey Bromiley and Carl Henry (the latter now departed to Christianity Today) celebrating the publication of Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, a home-grown Fuller Seminary project. That 566-page dictionary seems to have well represented the vibrant new evangelicalism of Fuller Seminary in that day. There you will find quality material written by the brightest lights of that generation (names such as Ladd, Bromiley, Bruce, Carnell, Clark, Packer, Grounds, Guthrie, Morris, Kantzer, Young, Van Til—and one could go on). The topics of the articles are predominantly classic ones, reflecting traditional loci of theology and Scriptural themes. And thus it is quite predictable (though some interesting surprises, e.g., “Hospitality”). But from my browsing, I think a full-on search for a “global perspective” would turn up hardly a thing. And the breadth of evangelical perspective, though robust for its day, seems quite narrow and cramped when viewed from our perspective nearly fifty years later. The contributors, from my scan on the list, seem to be exclusively White males situated in trans-Atlantic evangelicalism.

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Posted by Dan Reid at 9:42 AM

October 27, 2008

The Global Dictionary of Theology and the Future of Global Theology, Part I

The following is an adaptation of a talk I gave at The Future of Global Theology colloquium at Fuller Seminary, October 23, 2008. I was asked to give an introduction to the Global Dictionary of Theology. (The main plenary speakers were Ogbu Kalu of McCormick and Simon Chan of Trinity, Singapore, and both were very interesting.) I will publish it in two parts. So here goes: The Global Dictionary of Theology and the Future of Global Theology, Part 1.

It’s a pleasure to participate in this event at Fuller, where as a student I sat in awe of a great reference book editor and translator of such works, Geoffrey Bromiley, as well as Colin Brown, Everett Harrison and William La Sor. The danger of inviting a reference book editor like me to speak on this topic is that I might dive into topics of intense interest to only a handful of editors of my ilk and of no interest to anyone else. Things could get very geeky very quickly! Pray that they don’t.

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Posted by Dan Reid at 9:32 AM

September 24, 2008

Bad Day in Basel

Talking about baptism can make theologians grumpy. Here's Karl Barth, after an extensive argument against the baptism of infants:

Enough of this tiresome matter! Theology can and should do no more than advise the Church. It would be as well for the Church, of course, if it would occasionally ask seriously for the advice of theologians, and if it would then listen to it no less seriously. In this matter of infant baptism, our advice has not been sought, and there is only the faintest hope that it will be heeded. (CD IV.4, p. 194)

I've had this quote on my blogging "idea sheet" for at least eighteen months, and I recently reread CD IV.4, where it appears. I was hoping to provide some wise or witty commentary on it. But all I can come up with is, "Karl, I feel your frustration. And as an editor I've felt it repeatedly as I've sent 'my' books into the world. But sometimes I am surprised when the church does listen! And I think you underestimated the effectiveness of your arguments regarding baptism and the hearing they would receive. The church heard you, in some quarters at least."

Posted by Dan Reid at 4:08 PM

July 16, 2008

What Is Theology?

I often get the impression that Christians—maybe evangelicals in particular—think that theology is a comprehensive and timeless summary, or distillation, of biblical truths. And systematic theology is organizing these truths in one of a handful of established patterns. So real theology is what comes out of the Western, Eurocentric tradition. All the other theology is contextualized—that is, probably a contextualized version of Western theology, or else it’s a case of assembling theological data around a cultural bias. If there is one thing I hope the Global Dictionary of Theology will overturn, or at least undermine, it is this notion. For one thing—which should be enough—it’s just not true.

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Posted by Dan Reid at 3:52 PM | Comments (2) are closed

May 13, 2008

You Can Change the World!

A few weeks ago Bob Fryling, IVP’s Publisher, was telling me about Andy Crouch’s talk at the recent Q conference. Crouch dug up statistics on book titles with “change the world” (or similar) in them:

pre-1900—0
1900-1950—6
1950s—4
1960s—8
1970s—4
1980s—18
1990s—101
2000-2010—on track for 220

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Posted by Dan Reid at 5:51 PM | Comments (1) are closed

February 19, 2008

On Reading Karl Barth

For the past sixteen months or so, I’ve been reading Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics. I set for myself the minimal goal of five pages a day, which I enjoy with my morning cup of coffee. I seldom exceed the “morning five,” though I’m often tempted. In fact, I tell myself that I’m not really committed to achieving my long-term desire of reading the entire CD—I’m just reading five pages a day to see where it takes me. Funny how these mental tricks work sometimes.

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Posted by Dan Reid at 10:37 AM | Comments (3) are closed