Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Part One: The Drama:
In this section, Vanhoozer develops his controlling idea that doctrine is best viewed as theo-drama. He quotes Dorothy Sayers to the effect that the gospel is “the greatest drama ever staged…a terrifying drama of which God is the victim and the hero.” (p. 39). Theology must be faithful to the good news of the gospel that proclaims what God has done on the stage of world history. There is more to theology than restating underlying Biblical propositions. This does not mean that propositions are unimportant. The gospel is premised on propositions such as “Jesus is risen”. But Biblical propositions must not be dedramatised, abstracted from the theo-drama and forced to fit into an “epic” system. The danger of such an approach is that theology is distanced both from God’s communicative acts in Scripture and the life of the Church.
A vital task for theology is to identify the dramatis personae of the theo-drama. This is why the doctrine of the Trinity is so important. The theo-drama of salvation from sin is only effective if God is truly revealed in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To be unorthodox at this point is to be cut off from saving participation in the drama of redemption.
Theology deals with the entrances and exits of this Triune God. The climatic entrance of God is the incarnation of Jesus Christ as “God with us”. Christ has exited our world via his atoning death, resurrection and ascension.
“Evangelical theology deals not with disparate bits of ideas and information but with divine doings – with the all embracing cosmic drama that displays the entrances and exoduses of God”. (p. 39).
The supreme authority for theology is God’s communicative action in Scripture. The Bible does not simply describe the theo-drama. God uses Scripture to enable his people to participate fittingly in the drama. Vanhoozer draws on speech act theory at this point. The Bible contains more than “just words” because words are speech acts – they do something. In Scripture we have God’s illocutions – what God does with his words. For example, he makes promises and reveals his purposes. But God also ensures that his word has a perlocutionary is effect. By the Spirit, God’s word is believed, understood, received and obeyed.
The people of God have been swept up into the theo-drama by the communicative acts of the Triune God. We have our roles to play in the great drama of redemption. The purpose of doctrine is to direct us to perform our Biblically scripted roles faithfully in the present day. Doctrine must always be related to the mission of the church, especially the tasks of evangelising the world and building up the people of God. “The mission of the church, and therefore of theology, is to participate in and continue the joint mission of Word and Spirit.” (p. 71).
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
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.
Click on the Drama of Doctrine label below for rest of review posts.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Penknap Providence Church,
Tower Hill, Dilton Marsh.
Monday October 23rd 7.30pm
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981)
“1966 & Today”
In October 1966 “The Doctor” gave his historic address, Evangelical Unity: An Appeal. This was a watershed moment for Evangelicals in the UK. Forty years on, we consider the challenge of Lloyd-Jones’ message and what it means for us today.
(D. M. Lloyd-Jones, October 1966)