Jesus Creed

What did you like most about these theologians? 

Clark Pinnock, by Doug Koop
 Clark H. Pinnock’s life journey is over. The influential and often controversial evangelical theologian died unexpectedly August 15 of a heart attack. He was 73. In March, the long-time professor of systematic theology at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario, had announced he was withdrawing from public life and revealed that he was battling Alzheimer’s disease. 
 It was a difficult admission for a man whose mercurial mind and openness to the Holy Spirit led him to stake out theological positions that challenged evangelical orthodoxies. Renowned for exploring the frontiers of biblical truth, he was reputed to study carefully, think precisely, argue forcefully, and shift his positions willingly if he discovered a more fruitful pathway of understanding. He said he preferred to be known, “not as one who has the courage of his convictions, but one who has the courage to question them and to change old opinions which need changing.” 
Donald Bloesch, by Trevor Persaud

Donald G. Bloesch, a prominent evangelical scholar in the United Church of Christ (UCC) and an advisory editor at Christianity Today, died on Tuesday in Dubuque, Iowa.

Bloesch, who was professor emeritus at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, was well known as a voice of renewal in the United Church of Christ.

“He gave us not only an understanding of the deep perversity in the mainline church, but theological skills to be effective witnesses in a difficult time,” said David Runnion-Bareford, executive director of the Biblical Witness Fellowship, a spiritual renewal group within the UCC. “It is ironic that this evangelical was the most widely read and respected UCC theologian of his generation.”

DarrenWhitehead*.jpgDarren Whitehead, one of the teaching pastors at Willow, is doing a wondrous series on kingdom of God. This weekend’s talk focused on seven themes of kingdom in the ministry of Jesus and in the church today, and I want to mention his themes. 

He showed how these themes are not just individual but are manifested in families and local churches, and so he told some stories of people’s lives being formed in community in transforming ways.
I’m so thrilled he’s pondering kingdom, and I’m so glad he’s avoiding the simplicities that we hear so much of today. He’s probed the connections of Jesus to Isaiah’s great visions to give shape to the components of kingdom:
1. Deliverance
2. Righteousness and justice
3. Peace
4. Joy
5. God’s Presence
6. Healing
7. Return from Exile (Coming Home)
Each of these themes can be found in Isaiah and in Jesus’ capturing of kingdom in the vision of Jesus — and we could chase down and quote passages all day long. 

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.


W. David O. Taylor, ed.,For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts

~Reviewed by Wes Vander Lugt, a PhD student at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts who edits and contributes to Transpositions, a new blog exploring transpositions between theology and the arts.

Whether Catholics or Protestants, Reformed or Charismatic, younger evangelicals or older evangelicals, emerging or traditional, a growing number of churches and denominations worldwide are interested in and supporting the arts. While there has been a plethora of conversations about the arts in the church, few of these conversations have been as practical and stimulating as For the Beauty of the Church, a collection of essays edited by David Taylor, originally given at the “Transforming Culture: A Vision for the Church and the Arts” conference in Austin in 2008.

In the ‘Introduction,’ David Taylor identifies two prongs of the typical ‘problem’ of the arts in the church. One prong is pragmatism, incorporating whatever art we like, makes us feel good, and works well in our worship, which usually leaves theology behind. Another prong is traditionalism, which in its Protestant variety offers little impetus for the aesthetic concerns of the gospel. How do we surmount these difficulties?