Thursday, 9 July 2015

Foundations 68 (Spring 2015)

Issue 68 of Foundations: An International Journal of Evangelical Theology, published by Affinity, is now available (here in its entirety as a pdf). This issue looks at the Lord’s Supper from several perspectives within evangelicalism, with the following contributions:

Ralph Cunnington

William B. Evans
Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper and its Relevance for Today
Calvin’s approach to the Lord’s Supper, which sought to mediate between the local-presence theologies of Rome and Luther on the one hand and Zwinglian memorialism on the other, is closely connected with his soteriology, eschatology, and ecclesiology. In the Supper, the incarnate humanity of Christ is objectively offered and subjectively received by faith and by the power of the Holy Spirit, and through this union with Christ’s “flesh” both the power of his deity and the forensic benefits of salvation are received. However, subsequent developments in Reformed theology rendered Calvin’s formulations implausible to some, such that by the nineteenth century outright opposition to Calvin’s doctrine of the Supper was being expressed by Reformed luminaries such as Charles Hodge, William Cunningham, and R.L. Dabney. Others, such as J.W. Nevin and J.B. Adger, vigorously supported Calvin’s intentions. Nevertheless, Calvin’s doctrine of the Supper is rooted in Scripture and in the great tradition of the church, and it offers important resources for the renewal of Reformed and Evangelical theology and practice.

John Stevens
Not Reformed Enough: Critiquing Contemporary Practice of the Lord’s Supper
The celebration of the Lord’s Supper is central to the life and worship of most evangelical churches. However contemporary practice of the Lord’s Supper is far removed from that described in the New Testament. Whilst the magisterial reformers overturned the theology of the Roman Catholic Mass they retained its essential shape and failed to introduce a truly biblical pattern to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The contention of this article is that we need to recover the New Testament practice of the Lord’s Supper as a community celebration meal of the New Covenant, eaten in the presence of the Lord Jesus as he dwells with his people by his Spirit in the new temple that is his church. A carefully reading of the key New Testament texts demands a reform that goes beyond resolving the well-trodden differences between a Calvinist and Zwinglian understanding of the Lord’s Supper to a practice that embeds the identity-shaping, assurance-building and community-forming functions of the Lord’s Supper.

Richard Wardman
The Lord’s Supper in England: Then and Now – A Look at How Thomas Cranmer’s Eucharistic Theology Compares with Today
What happens in the Lord’s Supper? To answer that question this article critically explores the mature Eucharistic theology of Thomas Cranmer. Cranmer’s theology is then used as a point of reference for discussing the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper in contemporary English Evangelicalism. The relevant scriptural passages are also explored when discussing both Cranmer and contemporary Evangelicalism. The conclusion seeks to offer comparative remarks and also provide a basis for further discussion.

Ian Hugh Clary
Throwing Away the Guns: Andrew Fuller, William Ward and the Communion Controversy in the Baptist Missionary Fellowship
Since the Baptists first emerged in seventeenth-century England the question of open vs. closed communion has been strongly debated. The majority of Baptists in history were closed communion, believing that only those who have been baptised by immersion on profession of faith should be admitted to the table. This debate had the potential to ruin the Baptist Missionary Society in the eighteenth century. Were it not for the friendship of men like Andrew Fuller and William Ward, who were on opposing ends of the controversy, and their shared sense of mission, the society may have been derailed. This essay traces the history of the debate in early Baptist history and pays particular attention to the BMS. It concludes with brief thoughts on how differences over important doctrines can be handled in the church today.

Oliver Gross
Review Article: Messy Church Theology (ed. George Lings)

Martin Salter
Book Review: Sanctification: Explorations in Theology and Practice (ed. Kelly M. Kapic)

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