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Not Every Spirit: A Dogmatics of Christian Disbelief [Paperback]

By Christopher Morse (Author)
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Item description for Not Every Spirit: A Dogmatics of Christian Disbelief by Christopher Morse...

This book is an introduction to Christian theology and utilizes a non-conventional approach to the discussion of theology. By exploring the DISBELIEFS that lie at the heart of Christian faith in accessible, concise, and original ways, Morse attempts to prove his own maxim - that a good dogmatic is the best antidote to dogmatism about both faith and morals. Creatively illuminating a wide range of crucial contemporary issues, he argues that Christian faith entails not only beliefs, but also disbeliefs. Morse shows the theoretical and practical significance of these disbeliefs, resulting in a theology that is both critical and affir mative. Christopher Morse is Dietrich Bonhoeffer Professor of Theology and Ethics at Union Seminary, New York, and is also the author of THE LOGIC OF PROMISE IN MOLTMANN'S THEOLOGY.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Trinity Press
Pages   432
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   1.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 1994
Publisher   Trinity Press
ISBN  1563380870  
ISBN13  9781563380877  

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More About Christopher Morse

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Christopher Morse holds the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair in Theology and Ethics at Union Seminary, New York, and is the author of The Logic of Promise in Moltmann's Theology.

Christopher Morse was born in 1935.

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1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Religious Studies > Christianity
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

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Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Not Every Spirit: A Dogmatics of Christian Disbelief?

What to believe, what to disbelieve...  May 23, 2003
One of the important elements of my theological education, and something that most every religious and non-religious person knows implicitly without realising explicitly, is that to believe anything carries with it the corollary that one does not believe the opposite. To believe that God exists, for example, precludes the belief that there is no God. To believe in one God precludes the belief in many gods and in no God. And so on...

`To believe in God is not to believe everything. To trust everything without awareness of what is trustworthy is not the faith in God to which one is called by the gospel.'

Christopher Morse, in his book `Not Every Spirit: A Dogmatics of Christian Disbelief', examines various elements of Christian faith and theology by approaching what it means not to believe certain things. Approaching theology as a practice of faithful disbelief, he examines the relationship of faith, theology, church, scholarship, and every-day life.

`The earliest Christians were persecuted not for what they professed to believe, but for their disbeliefs. Their refusal to worship at the imperial shrines is what identified them to the governing authorities.... Only Caesar preeminently could be Lord. The loyalty oath, the pledge of allegiance, throughout the empire was expressed in the words 'Kyrios Kaisar' (Caesar is Lord).... The confession 'Jesus Christ is Lord' represented a subversive claim. Entailed in the faith that Jesus was Lord was the disbelief of Caesar as Lord. The disbelief is what gave the confession concrete meaning and timeliness in that social context.'

In separating the wheat from the chaff (to use a biblical image), one can collect the wheat or the chaff, and through either process the two are separated. By taking a 'negative' approach, Morse enables the theological explorer a unique way of constructing a positive, meaningful theological framework.

Morse examines the topics of the Word of God, the Being of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Creation, Salvation, Humanity, the Church, and the Life to Come, each in turn systematically, and for each in turn proposing disbeliefs that will help make the structure of Christian beliefs more solid. Taking the first item (the Word of God) as example, Morse proposes the following:

`Christian faith as affirmed in the doctrine of the Word of God refuses to believe:

- all spirits or teachings that either deny God's otherness, or that interpret God's otherness as noncommunicative.

- any claim that God from the beginning has withheld from the church truth that is essential to saving faith.

- any claim that God's Word can be confined and is not now free to speak wherever and as God chooses.'

...and many more -- in this particular example, Morse comes up with 17 proposed disbeliefs, and examines each in turn to better enable the reader/student to gain a firmer grasp on what positive beliefs mean.

Morse's book was used as a recommended text for the systematic theology course at my seminary, and a great many students used it as their primary secondary theology source. It incorporates a wide range of contemporary issues and historical ideas that impact theology, and presents them in a systematic approach.

Basics of the Christian Faith  Feb 7, 2001
This is one of those books that could start real, honest dialogue between those Christians who are the buckles of the Bible Belt, and those Christians who believe in God in Her infinite Wisdom. Morse, working with a Thomist (read Aquinas)model, outlines those things which he believes to be central to Christianity, outside of which things there is no Christianity. You may think he draws the boundary too far out, or too narrowly, but he is clear, concise, and a challenging read. What do you refuse to disbelieve?

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