New Group to Work through A Grammar of Christian Faith [7/21/14]


I am forming a study group to work through my widely used systematic theology, A Grammar of Christian Faith: Systematic Explorations in Christian Life and Doctrine, 2 vols., Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. The group will meet once a month on Tuesdays [ 9/9, 10/7, 11/4, 12/2; and similarly for 2015] for several hours at Southern Hills Christian Church in Edmond, OK. Clergy and laity welcome.

I know that most of you live outside of Oklahoma and would not be able to attend. But if you are interested or know of a friend that may live in Oklahoma or nearby, please let me know or forward this blog to them.

The two volumes are available in paperback and e-book at Rowman & Littlefield and at Amazon.

I am quite excited about this venture. Perhaps the opening lines of the first chapter might capture something of what the Grammar is up to:


Chapter One: The Context and Task of Christian Theology

Soren Kierkegaard: “It always holds true that a person only grasps what he has use for.”

            Christians are people of the word and the deed. They are dependent on written Scriptures, they speak and act in the light of those Scriptures, and they are shaped by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the spoken and enacted Word of God. It is a central belief of this text that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the normative self-revelation of God and as such is disarming and startling good news that convicts, liberates, and redeems human life. When this Gospel of the incarnate love of God for all humans is soundly taught and embraced in the church, then the multiple discourses and practices of the church will bristle with life, vitality, faithfulness, and veracity. This text in systematic theology pivots around the concern to see how the church's identity in the Spirit is constituted by its distinctive words or discourses and deeds or practices.

            It is essential for every generation of the church that the people learn how to speak and understand its distinctive Gospel-formed discourses and how to perform its distinctive practices. It is a constant temptation and threat to the church that the very language and practices that are intended to shape and give content to its life might fall into disarray and misuse. In the situation of the church in North America, which is the given location of this text in theology, it is especially urgent to face the disarray that threatens the church's life here at the beginning of the third millennium. Churches and individual Christians often find themselves confused about and struggling to discern the distinctive discourses and practices that ought to be forming their life in the world. But the most common misuse of Christian discourse today is the haunting spectre of hypocrisy: when the distinctive words and utterances of the faith are used without relevance to and power over the concrete life of the speakers and hearers. This is Christian discourse as empty talk unrelated to life-shaping and redeeming practices.

Let me know if you are I interested.



Read More

Responses (2)


Share Your Response


Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Reader Responses

Lisa Cressman

responded on 07/22/14

Gosh!, I wish I could be there, Joe! I will be jealous of those who get to gather with you and wrestle with this vital topic. May your conversations be blessed.

Mark Perdue

responded on 07/23/14

I live in Tulsa but hope to attend every session that my schedule permits - I am looking foreword to it !