What I read in 2022

There are 10 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Great post! The short take on each format is helpful.

I didn't keep a good list for 2022... and it's a bit difficult to reconstruct.

But I started writing some thoughts on what stands out in my mind, and it grew to close to article length. So I think I might post that instead.

On the whole, I did not read for intellectual benefit in '22. I always read with learning at least partly in mind, but I haven't been pursuing that kind of learning very actively. Tired mind. I read mostly to relax.

One question: As an Emil Brunner fan, what do you see in his work that redeems it from his belief that revelation can't be a book but can only be God Himself--and other neoorthodox notions? In general, though I accept that Bart et al. weren't wrong about everything, I see the whole neo-orthodox movement as fraught. I have to admit I don't remember any of the details now, though, other than they seemed so fond of taking formerly clear language and vagueing it up a whole lot.

... also, what did you think of Roger Olson's views on inerrancy?

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I see Brunner reacting largely against the cold state church context of Europe, which accounts for much of his remarks against "dead orthodoxy" as a substitute for spiritual life. He speaks so often of vital relationship that he sounds proto seeker-sensitive!

His position is that the Scriptures are a finger always pointing to Christ. He wanted people to value relationship with Christ, not with their bible. Another neo-orthodox author, Hordern, likened Scripture to a telescope that allows us to see and experience God. The focus is not on a scholastic "what does this text mean," but a step further to "how do I experience God thru this text?" I've read his three volume Dogmatics, and he is very, very strong on justification, on repentance, on a living faith. His model for salvation is "truth as an encounter" with Jesus, which accounts for his disdain for a version of Christianity that is all didactic = believe these five things, and you're in.

Olson (and most folks beyond the American orbit) don't speak of inerrancy. The Lausanne Covenant, for example, only speaks of infallibility. Michael Bird took this position in the Zondervan "four views" book. I'm saying that the Chicago Statement, and the ecosystem it represents, is but one small tributary feeding the larger stream of faithful Christianity. Olson might not agree with certain conservative evangelicals, but he's no liberal (his latest book shows that!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I can appreciate that Bart, Brunner, and Neibhur et al. moved away from theological liberalism toward orthdoxy. I'm not able to cite sources, but there seems to be a consensus that they didn't get all the way there. But then, neither did C.S. Lewis, the argument could be made.

Seems like a lot of thinkers are best for what they deconstruct rather than for what they build in its place (though I would give Lewis more credit than that).

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I can't claim to be an expert on neo-orthodoxy, but its doctrine of scripture (from what I've read) doesn't alarm me. I appreciate what it's saying. I liken the mid-century controversy over the issue to "wokeness," today = a whole lot of talking past one another. Perhaps I'm being simplistic, but that's my assessment right now. I have a mid-century book edited by Henry wherein he and others weigh in about the alleged dangers of neo-orthodox bibliology, and I'm not persuaded. 

All I know is that Brunner and Bloesch (to name just two) seem to have been very good men.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

It's one of those things that is hard to evaluate because a) controversial, b) the time it would take to fully research first-hand.  So we end up going with some combination of personal research and the word of others we respect who have done the research.

I know that there used to be quite a few leaders I respected who pronounced anathema on all things neo-orthodox on an almost daily basis. But that was 30 yrs ago in college. If I could even recall "who said so" at this point, I don't know that I would attach as much weight to their evaluation. There was an enormous amount of guilt by association in those days. In seminary, criticism was more measured and nuanced, but still negative--and from guys I still respect.

I doubt I've personally read more than half a dozen paragraphs from any of the NeoOrth guys.  If I were to get around to it, I think I'm more interested in Neibuhr than the others because his work on church vs. culture interests me.

(Edit: or I may be thinking of the wrong Neibuhr)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Found this interesting...

Emil Brunner and the Bible    Can't be dismissed as reactionary raving, but some cautionary context for reading Brunner.  (Clearing cookies may be necessary for full access)

Apparently, Alister McGrath is a bit of a Brunner fan also, though Needham has some cautions on Brunner's unorthodox view of Scripture.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

TylerR's picture

Editor

It's ironic that Jewett is the one who wrote that. He made a big alleged left turn, later in life.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Tyler, I noticed you seemed to really like Jesus and John Wayne. Did you get the indication at all that she was cherry-picking mid to late 20th century evangelical history to support her thesis? Roger Olson, who leans  a little left-mainstream as an evangelical, although agreeing in some areas, had several points where he differed with her historical analysis.  Here's a quote from his reaction to the 1st chapter of the book.  https://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2022/05/jesus-and-roy-rogers/

it seems to me Du Mez is building a story that serves her personal perspective about white American evangelicalism which, I argue, was and is much, much more diverse than her portrait of it suggests. “My evangelicalism” was mainstream in many respects.   

 

TylerR's picture

Editor

I think there are lots of "evangelicalisms." I think DuMez accurately captured the generally non-Pietistic brand of white evangelicalism post-1950 quite well (I use "white evangelicalism" as a sociological category). I read Olson's remarks when he published them. Olson doesn't come from the flavor of evangelicalism about which DuMez is writing--something Olson admits.    

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

JD Miller's picture

In 2022 I read Dangerous Calling, Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry, by Paul Tripp.  The book has been out for a while, but I had not read it yet.  It is worth the read.  I am currently listening to the book,  The Honest Guide to Church Planting, What No One Ever Tells You about Planting and Leading a New Church, by Tom Bennardo.  It is quite refreshing and should be read not just by church planters, but by anyone in ministry- whether vocational or not.  I found myself cheering quite often.  I did order a book on Typology after seeing it recommended on an end of the year list (I think it might have been the link listed above) but after skimming it, I an not real intrigued.  Perhaps I just haven't gotten to the meat yet.