Item description for Bridging the Gap by Charles J. Scalise...
Overview Looking for practical ways to hold your head and heart together as you integrate theology and ministry? Encouraging a "blended approach," Scalise offers a detailed description of a case congregation, showing how its pastors utilize the insights and compensate for the deficiencies of five communication models as they preach, lead worship, and offer pastoral care.
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Studio: Abingdon Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.46" Width: 5.6" Height: 0.68" Weight: 0.77 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 2003
Publisher Abingdon Church Supplies
ISBN 0687045649 ISBN13 9780687045648
Availability 0 units.
More About Charles J. Scalise
CHARLES J. SCALISE is Professor of Church History, Fuller Theological Seminary, Northwest.
Reviews - What do customers think about Bridging the Gap?
Reasonably Good Roadmap of Approaches to Practical Theology Oct 3, 2003
Charles Scalise's Bridging the Gap seeks to connect the sometimes-abstract field of theology with the practice of ministry. He describes and applies five theological models: correlational, contextual, narrative, performance, and regulative. The way Scalise maps out the field of practical theology is similar to Mary Boys' Educating in Faith in the field of religious education and Richard Eslinger's A New Hearing and The Web of Preaching in the field of homiletics. Despite its practical focus, the tone is quite scholarly (37 pages of notes for 165 pages of text).
Each model is examined on its own terms and then applied to a master case study of "nontraditional families" in the fictional Valleywood Presbyterian Church. The case study includes challenges the married co-ministers find in three families: a lesbian couple with two children, an unmarried cohabitating couple, and a woman with a non-Christian husband.
Scalise is a professor of church history at Fuller Theological Seminary Northwest and describes himself as a "card-carrying evangelical." However, Scalise tries to maintain a neutral stance regarding the subjects of the case study. "Given the controversial nature" of the subjects of his study, he writes, "I want to emphasize my intention to avoid any appearance of advocacy." Anyone searching for a single-minded defense of a conservative or liberal position will be disappointed.
The real strength of this book is Scalise's ability to summarize complex theological ideas. If you want a quick comparison of Tillich, Lindbeck, and liberation theology, for example, Bridging the Gap is the book for you. Also helpful were the applications of each theological model to real-world ministry issues of the case study.
However, I also found Bridging the Gap to be flawed in several respects. In his attempts to avoid advocacy, Scalise seemed to favor a smoked-but-didn't-inhale sort of fence-sitting. He clearly admires Stanley Grenz's "welcoming but not affirming" approach to homosexuality. I would have greatly preferred that Scalise clearly explain how he would apply each theological model to the case study and then describe how others might apply the model differently. Instead, I wonder how Scalise's analysis of the theological models might have been colored by his own (hidden) opinions.
There are other, less-serious problems. Rather than the discussion of several authors found in other chapters, the chapter on narrative theology is dominated by the description of Teresa of Avila's appeal for evangelical women (a subject Scalise covered previously in a journal article). The final chapter comparing models and describing a method for blending models is far too short, almost perfunctory. Finally, the documentation is somewhat sloppy for such a scholarly work. Without looking for them, I noticed at least one reference omitted from the bibliography and the reversal of one book's title and subtitle.
Overall, I would like to rate Bridging the Gap with 3.5 stars, but the rating system does not allow such fine distinctions. I have a somewhat positive opinion of the book, but it is not as good as other works I have rated with 4 stars. Bridging the Gap takes on an expansive subject and accomplishes its task reasonably well.
I expect some readers will have mixed reaction to the book as I did, and they would find the book helpful but not essential. Readers who do not mind the flaws I identified might easily rate this book with 4 or 5 stars, and they should certainly read it. Readers who are highly concerned by the flaws I have mentioned would probably rate this book with 1 or 2 stars, and they should probably skip it.