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It’s a short book and chapter three is not a long chapter but it may prove to be one of the most enduring chapters one can read.
It’s flat-out that significant, or provocative — it depends where you stand.
Book - Chapter
Buy the book just to read this chapter over and over.
Miroslav Volf and Matthew Croasmun, in For the Life of the World, contend for the following major ideas when it comes to what theology is or what it ought to be doing today:
Heart - Proposal - Purpose - Theology - Visions
The heart of our proposal concerns the purpose of theology. It is to discern, articulate, and commend visions of and paths to flourishing life in light of the self-revelation of God in the life, death, resurrection, exaltation, and coming in glory of Jesus Christ, with this entire story, its lows and its highs, bearing witness to a truly flourishing life.
They recognize that how one articulates the flourishing life is diverse in church history and in the Bible itself. They are not seeking the one language that says it all. But here is a bold and powerful claim:
Matter - Theology - Character - Life
The subject matter of theology will depend on the basic character of flourishing life.
Until we comprehend what God’s design is we can’t know God or God’s redemptive work in Christ as we ought. Therefore, articulating the flourishing life shapes theology itself.
Theology - God - Redemption - God - Redemption
Which means theology is not first about God or first about redemption! It’s about what God wants to do through that redemption.
First, though we are theologians for God’s sake, Christian theology shouldn’t be mainly about God because the mission of God isn’t mainly about God—neither about God apart from the world (theologia in the patristic sense) nor about God in God’s relation to the world (oikonomia in the patristic sense).
Theology - Relation - God - World
Second, Christian theology shouldn’t be primarily about the redeeming relation of God to the world, whether...
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