Thursday, 4 September 2008

Go to Halden's blog

I've found myself linking to inhabitatio dei so much recently that I think I might as well tell people straight out to subscribe to him in a reader and keep up to date yourselves. I'm not a systematic theologian at all - though I yearn to be - so a lot of what Halden writes just goes over my head. But when I do grasp where he's coming from I see flickerings of light that not only point the way I want to be going but also warm up the dark recesses of a soul hungering for a bit of quality in its walk with God. Sounds pretentious, I know, but we're holistic, integrated beings so I don't think one can look down too much on the cerebral athletics that these systematic types spend their time practising.

If there's one thing I'd like to see more of on his blog it would be exegesis. Isn't it the case that whatever one holds concerning the "divine reality," the "substance" of faith, it is mediated through Scripture as a vehicle? Sometimes I wish that the intricate contours of Scripture could play a more substantive role in his theorizing about protology and eschatology, Hebraic and Greek ontology, the function of gender in the ministry, or the correct stance of the church vis-á-vis the world. Perhaps this is the place to cite a criticism Brevard Childs made of T.F. Torrance concerning his work on the relation between faith and science:

Although I have tried reading several of his learned books on this subject, I do not feel that I understand him well enough to offer a critical assessment and I shall leave this tasks to others. My disappointment in his writings in this area is that whatever I do understand of his approach does not cause me to return to scripture with a fresh illumination of the biblical text, which in my judgement, is a crucial task of dogmatics.
Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments, 406.

And while I'm on the topic of polemics, here's Halden's latest goody:

I’ve written quite a few polemical sort of pieces on this blog, some of which, in retrospect, end up being quite bitting [sic]at points. More often than not I think this is warranted and appropriate. Christian love should never come to be equated with rhetorical nicety or saccharine friendliness. Too often, I think, our attempts at caution, precision, and measuredness reflect a sort of false humility that refuses to allow theological subject matter to obviously matter to us in our disagreements with one another. If I and someone else can utterly disagree about certain fundamental implications of the gospel and carry on as if our disagreement is no big deal, what does that say about how seriously we take the gospel? How often does our politeness really just indicate the degree to which we view theology as a role-playing game rather than a life and death endeavor. There’s far too little fear and anger in theology. And far too much etiquette.


Halden said...

Thanks for the glowing words, Phil. And I actually agree with you, my blog does need more exegesis. I'm hoping to do some of that this Fall while I'm teaching a class on the Johannine Epistles.

Phil Sumpter said...

I look forward to it. I was secretly hoping for some Old Testament, but hey, I can't have everything. I was interested in the points you made concerning a christological interpretation of the Psalms a while back, for example.

Keep up the good work.