Fabulous Timing

Just in time for a celebration of the birth of Christ. I don’t want to get into a debate about whether Christmas is a service that we can celebrate or not! I just remark that for those who do celebrate advent season, this book is very timely. Something tells me that this fabulous timing was not accidental…

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1 Comment

  1. E.C. Hock said,

    September 29, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    As I read in the preface of this new and timely book, I find this paragraph interesting (below) in light of discussions over what is the task or function of theology today as preached in and for the church:

    “In every generation there is a fresh need for the faithful exposition
    of God’s Word in the church, for the world. At the same time, the
    church must understand the comprehensive teaching of the whole
    Bible, which is the task of theology. The conviction underlying the
    Reformed Expository Commentary is that these two tasks—the
    expositional and the theological—are interdependent. Our doctrine
    must derive from biblical text, and our understanding of any particular
    passage of Scripture must arise from the doctrine of the whole.
    We further believe that these interdependent tasks of biblical exposition
    and doctrinal reflection are best undertaken in the church, and
    most specifically in the pulpits of the church. Our desire, then, is to
    inspire a renewed commitment to the Bible in the church, including
    the Bible’s careful interpretation and fervent application for our
    times, and to serve as a resource for others who desire the same.”

    My general point is that much discussion over the task of theology of late rotates around how to be theologically fresh and current, yet remain faithful within confessional boundaries. How we do this is a matter of tension and debate. Some might say that because we are a confessional church, we principally, or only, do theology in a confessional manner. All the best observations and statements are in the past. No doubt, we are confessional, but is that the only way today to describe our task in theological terms?

    It appears this book is trying to locate the task of theology as first bringing us back to the biblical text as expressed and applied in and for our preaching. Of course, the authors want to also be faithful to our confessional tradition in its classical Reformed framework. But I find the way the task of theology is expressed important, lest we come to think of the task of theology too rigidly, as if in this generation there is nothing more to mine from the riches of God’s word.

    So J. Frame will say this about the task of theology, as taken from his comments responding to the recent theological renewal conference:

    “Let me suggest instead that the work of theology is the work of application. It takes the Scriptures and uses them to answer our present questions and to meet present needs.”

    I see the book’s description of the theological task as encorporating more of what Frame wants to express. The book then promises not merely to be a repristination of a “golden age” model of theology, as if nothing more needs to be said, but an exegetical review of the word that looks for refreshing ways to express key theological truths (and perhaps by doing so, will also highlight neglected tenets or previously unobserved implications of Christmas and the incarnation). I look forward to how this topic especially is presented by three able and scholarly churchmen of the Reformed faith.


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