The Drama of Doctrine by Kevin Vanhoozer, 2005, 488pp, Westminster John Knox Press
This book is an attempt to view Christian doctrine as “theo-drama”. The focus of the theo-drama is the communicative saving acts of the Triune God. Vanhoozer writes, “the gospel – God’s gracious self revelation in Jesus Christ - is intrinsically dramatic. Why is it then, that Christian doctrine so often appears strikingly dull by way of contrast?” (p. xi. ) In our postmodern age where “feeling is believing”, doctrine is dismissed as divisive and irrelevant. Part of the problem is that theology often seems to be remote from the Christian life. Vanhoozer proposes to bridge the gap between doctrine and practice by insisting that the purpose of theology is to help believers to participate fittingly in the theo-drama. Developing the metaphor of drama, Vanhoozer proposes that we view Scripture as the script of the play, theological understanding as performance, the church as the company of players and the pastor as director.
“Thinking of doctrine in dramatic rather than theoretical terms provides a wonderfully engaging and in integrative model for understanding what it means to follow – with all our mind, heart, soul and strength – the way, truth and life embodied and enacted in Jesus Christ.” (p. 16.)
Throughout the book, Vanhoozer draws on drama theory in order to set the whole field of Christian doctrine in a dramatic context. This can be helpful and illuminating. But sometimes, too much space is given to the details of drama theory to the detriment of Biblical exposition.
Vanhoozer writes from the standpoint of Reformed Theology, but he is not afraid to question the methodology of 19th Century Reformed Theologians such as Charles Hodge and B. B. Warfield. (See here & here). His canonical linguistic approach to Christian Theology seeks to address postmodern concerns without surrendering the authority of Scripture as the divinely authorised script that the Church is to follow.
See here to "Experience the Drama" of Vanhoozer being interviewed on his book.
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