Book Review: ‘Did The Reformers Misread Paul: A Historicacal Critique of the New Perspective’, by Aaron O’Kelley

Did The Reformers Misread Paul: A Historicacal Critique of the New Perspective‘, by Aaron O’Kelley, Paternoster, 188 pp. $20.00

 

Did the Reformers Misread Paul? The debate(s) over the new perspective(s) on Paul have largely cooled, replaced by debates over the apocalyptic Paul or the covenental Paul. This cooling has, however, allowed for a bit more breathing room and flexibility when it comes to engaging with the central ideas of the NPP, and the present work is a much calmer examination of these central ideas. The answer to the initial question and title of the book is, as I see it, is twofold: yes, and no. But first, I’ll attend to the book itself and then to its main ideas. Continue reading

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Book Review: ‘Flesh and Blood: A Dogmatic Sketch Concerning the Fallen Nature View of Christ’s Human Nature’, by Daniel J. Cameron

Flesh and Blood: A Dogmatic Sketch Concerning the Fallen Nature View of Christ’s Human Nature‘, by Daniel J. Cameron, Wipf and Stock, 116 pp. $17.00

There is something of a resurgence of interest in the theology of Thomas F. Torrance happening in contemporary theology. A number of books and articles have been written on various aspects of his thought, from his eucharistic theology to his use of the patristic tradition to his influence within the context of ecumenical dialogue to his understanding of Christ’s assumption of a fallen human nature. This last point is probably the most controversial aspect of Torrance’s theology which he defended quite seriously, and is the subject of the present book under review. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Engaging Luther: A (New) Theological Assessment’, edited by Olli-Pekka Vainio

Engaging Luther: A (New) Theological Assessment‘, edited by Olli-Pekka Vainio, Cascade Books, 272 pp. $32.00

This was a very enjoyable collection of essays, centered around a broad engagement with Martin Luther. Each of the 12 essays in this volume survey Luther’s thought on a given theological topic, and each can be read on its own – this isn’t a systematic presentation or harmonization. What unifies the essays is the perspective of Finnish Lutheranism, which is the topic of the introductory article by Risto Saarinen. This essay serves as a primer on Finnish Lutheranism, which, as Saarinen puts it, ‘sets out to prove that, first, Luther’s theology is ontologically richer and contains an effective view of justification as the presence of things hoped for, and, second, that the subjectivist picture of Luther to a great extent stems from the anti-Catholic prejudices of modern Protestantism’ (p. 15). This serves as the unifying theme of all the various engagements with Luther here. Since there are 12 essays I won’t summarize each here, but instead I’ll note the ones I found to be exceptional. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Barth and Rationality: Critical Realism in Theology’, by D. Paul La Montagne

Barth and Rationality: Critical Realism in Theology‘, by D. Paul La Montagne,  Cascade Books, 248 pp.  $29.00

First and foremost, this is a good book. There is a lot that is offered here, and anyone remotely interested in Barth, theological epistemology, theological method and any number of related fields will find this a valuable contribution. There are a number of creative angles on Barth, stemming from D. Paul La Montagne’s familiarity with the philosophy of science and philosophy of mathematics. These are approaches to Barth that are not often taken, and if they are taken, are not often fleshed out to the degree they ought to be. La Montagne fleshes this out at length, and the result is an interpretation of Barth’s theology, methodology and epistemology that is in conversation with contemporary developments in philosophy of science and mathematics. This is not a common combination.

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Book Review: ‘The Anointed Son: A Trinitarian Spirit Christology’, by Myk Habets

The Anointed Son: A Trinitarian Spirit Christology‘, by Myk Habets, Pickwick Publications, 340 pp. $39.00

In this constructive volume, Myk Habets seeks to rehabilitate an aspect of christology that has long been overlooked and overshadowed: pneumatology. The role of the Spirit, Habets argues, ought to be fundamental in christology, and thinking pneumatologically in christology will enrich and even correct Christian thinking on this topic. The sparring-partner (and, at times, almost-bogeyman) of Spirit christology is classical orthodox Logos christology, though Habets does not seek to remove or replace Logos christology so much as supplement and augment it with a dynamic theology of the Spirit. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘The Apathetic God: Exploring the Contemporary Relevance of Divine Impassibility’, by Daniel Castelo

The Apathetic God: Exploring the Contemporary Relevance of Divine Impassibility‘, by Daniel Castelo, Wipf and Stock, 172 pp. $17.60

Impassibility is something of a perennial topic for me. I can generally read just about anything on it and come away feeling that the time spent reading was time well-spent, and Daniel Castelo’s short but sweet little volume is definitely time well-spent.

One of the strengths of this book is that it’s not merely a historical study or a survey of the doctrine of impassibility – though both of these things do comprise part of the book – but it is also a sustained interaction with contemporary theology of a passibilist persuasion. Castelo spends the bulk of the interaction with Moltmann (who seems to function as something like an archetype for modern theology), and this interaction, as I’ll note below, is both appreciative and critical. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Evangelical, Catholic and Reformed: Doctrinal Essays on Barth and Related Themes’ by George Hunsinger

Evangelical, Catholic and Reformed: Doctrinal Essays on Barth and Related Themes by George Hunsinger, Eerdmans, 331 pp. $34.00

 

Evangelical, Catholic and Reformed has fast become one of my favourite collections of theological essays, for a couple of reasons. First, as you may have guessed from the title, the focus is on broad, ecumenical themes in a Barth-ian key, meaning that Barth is at the center of most of the various discussions. Hunsingers exposition of Barth in relation to these topics is masterful, and shows just how Barth can contribute to matters of ecumenical and catholic theology today, and this is no easy task. Second, the essays very rigorous (but quite readable). Hunsinger has a real familiarity and mastery of his sources and conversation partners, and reads them in a charitable but critical manner. Since there are a large number of essays, I won’t review each one, but focus on those that stood out to me. Continue reading