Item description for Always Reforming: Explorations in Systematic Theology by A. T. B. McGowan...
Overview IVP Print On Demand Title Finding a balance between a departure from orthodoxy and adherence to rigid confessionalism, the church needs to be always reforming. This collection of essays practices what it preaches, mining the whole terrain of systematic theology to refresh, renew and yes, even reform the church for its next season.
Publishers Description The Reformed churches of the sixteenth century affirmed the need to be semper reformanda--always reforming. But in the ensuing centuries, some have taken this conviction as a mandate to abandon the departure from received orthodoxy, while others have progressed toward a rigid confessionalism that cements the Reformation itself as a final codification of truth. Between these extremes is the ongoing need of the church to be always reforming--subjecting its beliefs and practices to the renewed scrutiny of Holy Scripture and restating the truth of Scriptures in ways that faithfully communicate the gospel, advance the mission of the church and empower the people of God. This collection of essays by senior theologians and edited by A. T. B. McGowan practices what it preaches, mining the whole terrain of systematic theology to refresh, renew and yes, even reform the church for its next season.
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The Blessedness Of Theological Deliberations Oct 25, 2007
I recommend it in all confidence. Flawless theology.
The authors, wise theologians in the Reformed tradition, have surely touched on an epistemological truth: they should always seek to uphold the normative nature of truth, yet as theologians, they need to be able to explore and develop Reformed assertions within parameters respectful of their commitment to Reformational principles. To this end, these seminary theologians are continuing the effective pastoring of ordained graduates by giving sagacious theological 'new wine skins', which suggests a heartwarming herald of the full scope of their abilities and calling. Their corporate intent is accurately summed up by Derek Thomas: 'Understanding of truth develops, but not to the point where the Church declares apostolic truth a falsehood.' p 338
Chapter 2, Observations On The Future Of System by Stephen Williams: 'But the development of analytical philosophy in the English-speaking world, including its use in Reformed circles, has resulted in the heightened SUBJECTION OF THEOLOGICAL TRUTH to technical, logical treatment. Theologically, there is a very severely limited gain to this. More, it is foolish to make anything religiously significant hang on the precision of analytic reasoning at this level, for one false step in logic ruins everything and it is only the arrogant or the ignorant who will be confident that such a step is being avoided.' p 48 'Where we are trying to interrelate particular truths systematically, Scripture relates them severally and particularly to life...Obedient response to the Word of God is not contingent on systematic explication.' pp. 49-50
Chapter 3, Classical Christology's Future by Robert L Reymond: 'Christological orthodoxy, represented by the Definition of Chalcedon, maintains that in the Incarnation the Son of God, the Second Person of the Godhead, already a self-conscious, self-determining person within the Godhead, took into union with Himself not a human person but only a human nature...as a person the Son of God gave personal identity to the human nature He had assumed without losing or compromising His divine nature. Never for a moment did Jesus exist for a moment apart from the union of natures in the one divine Person.' p 104 TRUE!
'Another type of kenosis is a more serious deviation from classical Christology, because it pertains to Christ's divine nature, asserting that God the Son 'emptied', that is, divested, Himself of one or more of His divine attributes...or the use of these attributes when He assumed human flesh...and it has been perpetuated with variations to this day. But in my 'A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith', I demonstrate exegetically that there is no basis in Philippians 2:6-7 for thinking that in the act of Incarnation, Christ 'emptied' Himself of anything. The 'emptying' referred to there refers, NOT to His Incarnation, but to His 'pouring Himself out' in death in His role as our heavenly High Priest (Isa 53:12).' p 107
'Divine attributes are not characteristics that are separate and distinct from the divine essence so that God can set them aside...Rather, the divine essence is expressed precisely in the sum total of its attributes...To hold that God the Son actually divested Himself in His state of humiliation of even one divine attribute or of His use of one of His essential attributes is tantamount to saying that He..while perhaps more than man, is not quite God either.' p 108
Quoting Calvin, 'Another absurdity...namely, that if the Word of God became Incarnate, He must have been confined within the narrow prison of an earthly body, is sheer impudence! For even if the Word in His immeasurable essence united with the nature of man into one person, we do not imagine that He was confined therein...' p 109
Chapter 5, The Atonement As Penal Substitution by ATB McGowan: 'In pressing for the reality of the Father's punishing of the Son, however, one important qualification has to be made. Even in the midst of that great transaction on the Cross, the Father never ceased to love the Son and to be well pleased with Him. This is a point Calvin stressed: "Yet we do not suggest that God was ever inimical or angry toward Him. How could He be angry toward His beloved Son, in whom His heart reposed? Matt 3:17 How could Christ by His intercession appease the Father toward others, if He were Himself hateful to God?"' p 198 DEFENDED ABLY !!!
Chapter 6, Biblical And Systematic Theology by Richard C Gamble: 'Redemptive acts NEVER occur separated from God's verbal communication of truth.' p 217 'One of the means...is called a covenant...the covenant is the God-chosen form of God's progressive self-communication to His people.' p 218
Chapter 8, Union With Christ by Richard Gaffin: '...from its eternal design to its eschatological consummation.' p 272 'Certainly, in its full dimensions, this mystery is beyond the believer's comprehension.' p 273
Chapter 9, Justification by Cornelis P Venema: 'Full acceptance with God does not wait for the transformation of believers into righteous people. Full acceptance with God is found in Christ whose righteousness is perfectly adequate to the need of believers. Grace triumphs in the gospel of free justification, even in the face of continued human sinfulness and unworthiness.' p 296
Venema's Declaration of Justification holds theological water. His critical view of the New Perspective is admirably achieved without rancor, whilst clearly targeting those from the Isle of Pelagius. 'Nor does the new perspective's explanation of "the righteousness of God" explain why Paul insists that, were righteousness to come thru the Law, Christ would have died in vain (Gal 2:21).' p 323
Chapter 10, The Church In The 21st Century by Derek W.H. Thomas: 'Those who have rejected and continue to reject, such subjectivism and anthropocentrism, have not always returned to a more theologically driven and biblically expressed formulation of what the Church is.' p 330 'Not without importance has been a century of suggestion that the Church is essentially 'charismatic' - in the sense that it is made up of...differently gifted men and women.' p 330 '...suggesting the need for more authoritative leadership, downplaying if not altogether denying 'the priesthood of the believer' so beloved of the Reformation.' p 332 'A Church that is wedded to Jesus Christ necessarily produces cultural and methodological alienation.' p 346