Skip to main content

Commanding Grace: Studies in Karl Barth's Ethics

The quality of recent books on Barth's moral theology, as I have indicated elsehwere with reference to Gerald McKenny's latest offering, is high. As well as McKenny, I have been occupying myself with a new volume of collected essays, edited by Daniel Migliore, entitled Commanding Grace: Studies in Karl Barth's Ethics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010). The volume is the published papers of the 2008 Karl Barth Conference, held at Princeton Theological Seminary, USA. I have so far only given light reading to several of the chapters, and must return to them in coming weeks with a more serious eye to the detail of the arguments presented (not least because I'm reviewing it for Theology journal), but thus far I have been enlivened by what I've read and the quality of engagement (positive and negative) with Barth's thought.

The papers are offered by a host of international scholars, from across theological disciplines, both male and female, and are equally varied in their approaches to Barth's moral theology. Standard issues such as interpretation and reception are addressed before the volume moves to consider issues for ethical reflection including war and democracy, justice, economics, and human agency and freedom. The essays are largely paired around these themes. The essays are topped and tailed by helpful contributions from the Editor.

The contributors are: Nigel Biggar; John R Bowlin; Todd V Cioffi; Jesse Couenhoven; Timothy Gorringe; Eric Gregory; David Haddorff; Christopher RJ Holmes; Danile Migliore; Paul T Nimmo; Katherine Sonderegger; Kathryn Tanner; and William Werpehowski.

As time goes by I hope to comment further. For now I'll just encourage you to get a copy and read it if you can.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

There's No Theology Without Prayer

It’s about fifteen years since I first read Helmut Thielicke’s masterful work “A Little Exercise for Young Theologians” (first English publication was 1962). I have read it at least biannually ever since: it usually takes an afternoon to get through, followed by a week or two for recovery and application! His wisdom is at once simple and profound; his manner simultaneously pastoral and commanding. Thielicke was a churchly theologian who knew the power and responsibility of theological study. It is not something to be undertaken lightly — for it trains those who are called to serve the people of God; nor should it be worn too heavily — for its speech about God is contingent.

This time in reading it I have been struck by Thielicke’s remarks about prayer as the proper context for theological study. It’s not a new idea, and is certainly something we pursue at St Mellitus College. But there’s a freshness in the way Thielicke expresses himself:

“Faith must mean more to us than a mere commodi…

My new book! Faithful Living: Discipleship, Creed, and Ethics

I’m a little late flagging this up here, but my book Faithful Living: Discipleship, Creed, and Ethics was released by SCM Press in December 2019 — a little bit earlier than expected (and hopefully in time for a few last-minute Christmas presents!). The basic premise of the book is a bit of a thought-experiment: I am interested in the kinds of decisions and actions that may be inferred or implied for those who believe and regularly recite the Nicene Creed. I don’t pretend this is an exhaustive moral commentary, nor that the basic approach isn’t without some qualification, but I do try and join the dots between the confessional substance of the Christian faith (with which many worshipers are familiar because of liturgical confession) and the every-day choices that most Christians are required to make. It comes from the conviction that doctrinal commitments implicate our moral lives. The blurb summarises it as follows:
How can the things we do and say in Church impact our lives and shape …

John Webster: Preacher *and* Theologian

It's not at all intended as a snide remark when I emphasise the *and* in the post-title: not all theologians are good preachers, and anybody who has been to church regularly for any length of time can tell you that not all preachers are competent theologians. John Webster, Professor of Systematic Theology at Aberdeen University (formerly Lady Margaret Professor at Oxford), is genuinely both. So I'm really excited about the arrival of this book with the postman this morning:


The Grace of Truth (Farmington Hills, Michigan: Oil Lamp Book, 2011) is a collection of 26 of Webster's sermons, mostly delivered when he was Canon of Christ Church, Oxford. Having only so far read the first couple I can't say too much with authority yet, but what I have seen is a rigorous attentiveness to the scriptural texts, and a keen eye for their application in human lives. There's also a great deal of creativity on display here too, which is as refreshing as it is intriguing: so, for examp…