Friday, 27 March 2015

James K.A. Smith on an Evangelical Public Theology

There’s a nice piece here on Comment from Jamie Smith, effectively providing a look at his work in progress for the third volume of his ‘Cultural Liturgies’ project.

He begins:

A lot that traffics under the banner of “Christian” public theology has little to do with the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our imaginations have been sufficiently disciplined by the assumptions of liberalism to be uncomfortable and embarrassed by forthrightly Christian hopes for temporal government.’

He looks at Oliver O’Donovan and helpfully summarises some of his key contributions – the significance of Jesus’ resurrection as ‘the confirmation of the world-order which God has made’, and the importance for evangelical public theology to be ‘nourished by the specificity of God’s revelation in Christ, which is bound up in the canonical story unfolded in the Scriptures – the story of Israel’.

Some other excerpts:

‘Because creation is reaffirmed in Christ’s resurrection, and because “nature” is only known “in Christ,” then any Christian account of even “this-worldly” life has to be unapologetically evangelical, rooted in what we know in – and because of – the Gospel.’

‘[P]olitical theology is unashamedly rooted in the specificity and particularity of God’s self-revelation in Christ and the equally particular history of his covenant with his people Israel and the new covenant people that are the church. The body of Christ is that polis in which we participate in Christ, in which our perception is sanctified by the Spirit so that we might be able to discern the reign of God and thus be equipped for public proclamation of good but disconcerting news that submission to Yhwh’s reign is the way humanity is liberated.’

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