Overview A world-renowned theologian here offers a succinct account of a central yet neglected theme in Christian teaching the holiness of God. Integrating biblical studies, theology, and practical application, John Webster provides a thoroughgoing trinitarian understanding of God's holiness with highly relevant results. According to Webster, God's holiness is known not in his simple transcendence but in his gracious and free relationship to his people. Such holiness finds an echo in the holiness of the Christian community, especially in worship and witness, and in the life of the individual disciple. Profound yet readily accessible to a wide range of readers, Webster's "Holiness" offers an ideal entry into reflection on the Christian God.
Publishers Description A masterful account of God's holiness. A world-renowned theologian here offers a succinct account of a central yet neglected theme in Christian teaching--the holiness of God. Integrating biblical studies, theology, and practical application, John Webster provides a thoroughgoing trinitarian understanding of God's holiness with highly relevant results. According to Webster, God's holiness is known not in his simple transcendence but in his gracious and free relationship to his people. Such holiness finds an echo in the holiness of the Christian community, especially in worship and witness, and in the life of the individual disciple. Profound yet readily accessible to a wide range of readers, Holiness offers an ideal entry into reflection on the Christian God.
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.66" Width: 5.44" Height: 0.37" Weight: 0.34 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 2003
Publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN 0802822150 ISBN13 9780802822154
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More About John Webster
John Webster is Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Aberdeen, UK. His published work includes a number of books on the theology of Karl Barth, on the nature and interpretation of Scripture, and on Christian dogmatics, including Confessing God. He edited The Oxford Handbook to Systematic Theology, and is an editor of The International Journal of Systematic Theology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
John Webster has published or released items in the following series...
John Webster believes that theology is an office of the church. Theology is not, for Webster as for many modern theologians, a dispassionate and removed intellectual exercise; it is also not merely descriptive and emotive statements without reasonable methodology and content. Theology's task is to understand God's creation in certain contexts for certain purposes, and for that reason, it belongs to the people of God.
However, Webster sets himself apart from much of current theological processes by focusing not on the conversational/correlative or the comparative, but on the dogmatic development within the guidelines of the church and the church's text, the Bible. To this extent, some theologians and Christians in the mainline may find the text difficult and narrow. On the other hand, it is worthwhile to follow the development, as Webster describes, more intensive before it becomes extensive. (One might say here it gets deeper rather than wider.)
The main task for this short series of essays is to look at the ideas of holiness at relating to God, church, Christians, and the theological task itself. It starts off with certain presumptions which it takes as axioms and does not try to prove -- God exists, the Bible is the word of God, God's being is Trinitarian, etc. This is a fairly standard litany of orthodox Christian beliefs, so there is not a great stretch. Webster looks at the dogmatic content -- this is not metaphysics or pastoral, mystical or moralistic (although at certain points in any theology, and this is no different, there will be points that touch on these aspects).
Webster begins with a chapter on method, looking at the different aspects and relationships of Christian theology. Perhaps in his most telling statement, Webster sets the theological stage as the place where reason is called before God, rather than the other way round. Theology is communal, prayerful, and above all confessional. Webster also has at the conclusion of this chapter a litany of that which theology is not: it is not a means of grace, it is not a sacrament, etc. There is much to argue against here, in the final paragraph of this section -- he makes the statement that 'Theology is not inspired', which I would argue strongly against; not knowing his operative definitions, however, I hesitate to offer a criticism, as we might be talking at cross-purposes.
The following chapters look at content -- the holiness of God, Church, and the Christian. Using the ideas developed in the first chapter, and drawing on material from the Bible and the church, Webster sets out ways to consider holiness. Holiness is a relationship with God that can be communal or individual. In his conclusion, Webster looks at different theories of identity and self, and draws the conclusion that both the church and society need conversion that is unlikely to come through any form of rational, intellectual efforts, but through prayer and the type of conversion of life more akin to monastic visions.
Those who appreciate Karl Barth will likely find things of interest and value here. There are portions of this text that go beyond 'easy' theology -- there is a presumption of a high degree of theological and philosophical sophistication (digressions about Schleiermacher's heirs going from the 'cautiously referential' to 'nominalist' and 'sceptical', among other sidelines, references and digressions, show this). This is also a topic for a narrow audience; the development of the theme is interesting and useful, but given its limitations, will likely not be useful outside formal theological circles.
Still, for this audience, it is a worthwhile development in an interesting way of a topic often overlooked.