Wednesday 5 January 2011

David Ford on the Future of Christian Theology

David F. Ford, The Future of Christian Theology, Blackwell Manifestos (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming 2011), 256pp., ISBN: 9781405142731.

Having profited greatly from reading some of David Ford’s work, I’m really looking forward to the publication of this volume in the Blackwell Manifestos series.

The Table of Contents is available here, and chapter 1 is available as a sample here.

The first paragraph reads as follows:

‘Christian theology is thinking about questions raised by and about Christian faith and practice. That thinking is almost unavoidable in some form by anyone who tries to live a Christian life or who for some other reason is interested in Christianity. Theology by this broad definition is open to all and is part of ordinary life whenever any of a vast range of questions is raised. It is also many other things, but this manifesto is mainly concerned with the quality of theologies that, directly or indirectly, feed the minds and hearts of millions of people and are of interest to many more. That is why its key word for the goal of theology is wisdom, which unites understanding with practice and is concerned to engage with the whole of life.’

Later in the chapter he writes of ‘Four Elements of Wise Creativity’:

1. Wise and creative retrieval – ‘Christian theology must deal with the past, discerning how best to relate to it so as to resource the present and future’.

2. Wise and creative engagement with God, church, and world – expressing ‘the most essential accompaniment of retrieval: engagement with the present. The double immersion in past and present for the sake of the future is a mark of wise and creative theologians’.

3. Wise and creative thinking – ‘thinking goes on in all four aspects of theological wisdom-seeking and creativity’.

4. Wise and creative expression – ‘theology often does not read well. This does not disqualify it as creative theology by the other three criteria, but yet its purpose is not fulfilled unless it is made as accessible as possible’.

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