Something Old: While I typically try to broaden this blogs content beyond Reformed Theology at times I have to stop and make mention of things relevant to the conservative Reformed tradition. Partly because its where I confessionally stand and partly because I think having a “mere-Christianity” conversation is deepened by also having a clearly held tradition and being self-aware of that tradition. In this vien I wanted to point my readers to a new series of books called “Classical Reformed Theology.” Here’s a writeup on the series, “The design of the series is to translate and edit some of the most important, edifying,and stimulating theological literature produced by Reformed theologians of the 16th and 17th Centuries.”
This series is going to print the classical texts that have influenced and/or captured developments within the history of Reformed thought. The volume above, “A Sketch of the Christian’s Catechism“, is by the English Puritan William Ames who’s better known for his work that functioned as the systematic theology textbook for many schools during the colonial period in America, “The Marrow of Theology.” Whether you’re Reformational in your theological outlook or not this is an important volume to consider picking up. Ames is a good reminder that the doctrinalist tendency and pietist tendency can come together in one person.
Something New: “Jesus Wants to Save Christians” by Rob Bell. Bell is said to be the next Billy Graham. His popular video-short series called “Nooma” has revolutionized the way people think about using media in the church and has been preceded by a whole variety of wanna-be Bell’s. Everytime I watch a new Nooma or read a new Bell book I enjoy the creativity that oozes off the page as well as the points where there are relative or even at times considerable differences between his views and my own.
My guess is that this is going to be a big topic of discussion in the blogosphere maybe not quite as big as “The Shack” but still pretty big and worth reading. From McKnight’s review of it here, it looks like Bell readers are in for a challenge because it will be less anecdotal and more serious. It would be worth while to read Bell’s book and Driscol’s book “Vintage Jesus” or “Death by Love” side-by-side and discuss how two different mega-church postmodern pastors are seeking to engage popular culture and post-Christendom with a vision of Jesus. A friend of mine from seminary will be critiquing Rob’s book coming up. Art has had facetime with Bell and seeing that Art’s a dual enrolled student at WTS and UPENN as well as an intern in a multi-site urban church in Philadelphia that is engaging its cultural surroundings I think he’s more than capable of raising some helpful hermeneutical, pastoral, and theological criticisms. Depending on when and if I get air from my ordination process I’d like to as well move through Bell’s book…we’ll see.