Book Reviews

Review of Christ and Revelatory Community in Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Hegel by David S. Robinson
Book Reviews , Featured , Philosophy , Theology / September 23, 2022

Robinson, David S. Christ and Revelatory Community in Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Hegel. Dogmatik in der Moderne 22. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018, pp. xv + 260, €69.00, paperback. David Robinson was recently appointed as the R. Paul Stevens Assistant Professor of Marketplace Theology and Leadership at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. The text under review is based on his doctoral dissertation at the University of Edinburgh. In it, Robinson seeks to recast Bonhoeffer’s reception of Hegel in a highly nuanced manner that is ultimately more positive than most previous appraisals. Rather than “demolition,” “revolt,” or “confrontation,” Bonhoeffer’s reception is seen as aiming to “repair” aspects of Hegel in “eclectic and Christologically intent” ways (pp. 11-12). For Robinson, such “intent” is especially apparent in Bonhoeffer’s transposition of Hegel’s “revelatory” notion of “God existing as community” to that of “Christ existing as community”—a significant move since this latter phrase is often a shorthand for Bonhoeffer’s overall program (p. 16). In comparison to earlier studies of the Bonhoeffer-Hegel question, Robinson’s approach differs in three ways (p. 17). First, whereas much of the previous scholarship placed inordinate attention upon Bonhoeffer’s second dissertation (Akt und Sein [1931]), Robinson’s approach is diachronic with regard to Bonhoeffer’s corpus…

Review of Theologies of Retrieval: An Exploration and Appraisal edited by Darren Sarisky
Book Reviews , Church History , Featured , Theology / September 16, 2022

Sarisky, Darren, ed. Theologies of Retrieval: An Exploration and Appraisal. T&T Clark Theology. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017, pp. ix + 359, $175, hardback ($42.95, paperback). The present anthology is an essential read for those interested in the question of how classical texts within the Christian tradition can and should be theologically “retrieved” for the contemporary theological task. The volume’s editor, Darren Sarisky, previously served as Departmental Lecturer in Modern Theology at the University of Oxford before taking up his current post of Senior Research Fellow in Religion and Theology at Australian Catholic University’s Melbourne campus. Sarisky has done readers a great service by gathering a star-studded cast of scholars to guide readers through the thicket of representative figures, movements, and types of theological retrieval that have become prominent in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In his introduction to the volume, Sarisky rightly distinguishes between correlation and retrieval theologies—the “two main ways” that Christian theologians tend to engage with the present situation (p. 1). Whereas the former seeks “to correlate elements of the Christian tradition with aspects of modern culture” in a conversational manner for sake of helping the Christian message stay intellectually relevant, the latter is “less concerned to…

Review of Understanding Old Testament Theology: Mapping the Terrain of Recent Approaches by Brittany Kim and Charlie Trimm
Book Reviews , Featured , Old Testament , Theology / August 31, 2022

Kim, Brittany, and Charlie Trimm. Understanding Old Testament Theology: Mapping the Terrain of Recent Approaches. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2020, 177 pp., $14.99, paperback. In Understanding Old Testament Theology, Brittany Kim and Charlie Trimm provide an up-to-date survey of approaches to Old Testament theology. Their volume self-consciously flows in a similar vein as Klink and Lockett’s Understanding Biblical Theology, but the latter focuses primarily on New Testament issues and scholars (p. 2). Kim serves as a professor at North Park Theological Seminary and Northeastern Seminary, and Trimm as a professor at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. Both are products of the Ph.D. program at Wheaton College. After an introduction that includes a brief history of the field (pp. 4-7), Kim and Trimm propose their cartographical metaphor of Old Testament theology as a diverse mountain range. As a mountain range has different peaks, each of which offers a unique vantage point by which someone may view the landscape, so Old Testament theology has different peaks. Among the peaks, some are closer and more alike than others. Following the mountain range metaphor, the book is divided into three main parts. Part one, History, includes Old Testament theologies grounded in “biblical…

Review of Freedom and Necessity in Modern Trinitarian Theology
Book Reviews , Philosophy , Theology / August 1, 2022

Gallaher, Brandon. Freedom and Necessity in Modern Trinitarian Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016, pp.318, £98, hardback. Brandon Gallaher is senior lecturer at the University of Exeter, specializing in twentieth century Orthodox theology and modern theology more broadly. The breadth of Gallaher’s interests are on display in this fine monograph. Freedom and Necessity in Modern Trinitarian Theology dialogues with three generative modern theologians each representing a distinct tradition: Sergei Bulgakov, Karl Barth, and Hans Urs von Balthasar. The book is organized round a set of questions related to the form of modality applicable to God’s immanent and transitive acts, but these particular issues offer an entryway into some of the most pressing debates in contemporary theology related to divine aseity, divine freedom, the reliability of our knowledge of God, and the relation between God in Godself and God’s acts in the world. Gallaher begins outlining three sorts of freedom and three corresponding forms of necessity. These versions of freedom and necessity provide an interpretive grid according to which his three dialogue partners are interpreted and then critically assessed and evaluated. In view of space constraints, I will move directly to summarize the dogmatic conclusions for which Gallaher advocates throughout the…

Review of Being Saved: Explorations in Human Salvation edited by Marc Cortez, Joshua R. Farris, and S. Mark Hamilton

Cortez, Marc, Joshua R. Farris, and S. Mark Hamilton, eds. Being Saved: Explorations in Human Salvation. London: SCM, 2018, pp. 361, $56, paperback. Being Saved is a collection of essays circling around the twin topics of “theological anthropology and soteriology” (p. xiii). The essays explore classic systematic theological categories while also engaging with other disciplines of enquiry about the human condition. The editors acknowledge that this creates a wide variety in the essays, but they seek to avoid “a homogenous approach to this multi-levelled discussion” (p. xv). This approach makes clear several different modes of theological enquiry for Christian theology. By juxtaposing them in one volume, it serves as a sourcebook for contemporary questions about soteriology and about the interaction between soteriology and philosophy. Although a four-part division provides structure to the book, some essays fall more neatly into the given categories than others. The first section, “Sin, Evil and Salvation,” centers on cosmic issues, or those outside the individual person. After initial forays into God and time (“Identity through Time,” R. T. Mullins) and idealism (“Divine Hiddenness,” Trickett and Taber), there are three essays on sin and atonement. Jonathan Rutledge rejects “Retributivism”, defined as the claim that “the punishment…

Review of Baptism: Zwingli or the Bible? by Jack Cottrell

Cottrell, Jack. Baptism: Zwingli or the Bible? Mason, OH: The Christian Restoration Association, 2022, 163pp, $14.99, paperback. Jack Cottrell, arguably the most prolific writer and influential theologian of the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, tackles the topic of baptism in yet another accessible book, Baptism: Zwingli or the Bible? This text incorporates Cottrell’s primary insights on how the Protestant Reformer Huldreich Zwingli (1484-1531) changed the course of church history by creating a new view of the meaning of baptism from salvific to merely symbolic. Although this concise book contains previously published material by Cottrell, it is good to have an overview and summary of Cottrell’s critique of Zwingli’s view of baptism in one small volume. It is certainly handy for the student as well as the scholar and teacher. Cottrell divides this work into three parts: (1) a review of his Princeton dissertation on Zwingli, (2) his personal views on “Zwinglianism,” and (3) a reproduction of “Connection of Baptism with Remission of Sins.” (Part Three is the work of the nineteenth century Christian Church theologian J. W. McGarvey which was originally included in his New Commentary on Acts of the Apostles [1892] but omitted from later editions.) Part One is divided…

Review of The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God by David S. Schrock

Schrock, David S. The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God. Short Studies in Biblical Theology. Edited by Dane C. Ortlund and Miles V. Van Pelt. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022, pp. 199, $14.99, paperback. David Schrock is the Pastor of Preaching and Theology at Occoquan Bible Church in Woodbridge, Virginia. Dr. Schrock earned both his MDiv and PhD in systematic theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His dissertation is titled, “A Biblical-Theological Investigation of Christ’s Priesthood and Covenant Mediation with Respect to the Extent of the Atonement.” He is an Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Indianapolis Theological Seminary, Boyce College, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and, formerly, Crossroads Bible College. Dr. Schrock is also an Associate Fellow for the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God by David S. Schrock is a modest monograph about how the glory of God is fully revealed in the royal priesthood of Christ. This abbreviated work of biblical theology focuses on the biblical theme of priesthood to demonstrate how God’s glory is revealed in Christ’s righteousness expressed through the biblical concept of the priesthood. In an introduction, six chapters, and an…

Review of God’s Mediators: A Biblical Theology of Priesthood by Andrew S. Malone

Andrew S. Malone. God’s Mediators: A Biblical Theology of Priesthood. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2017, pp. 230, $25.00, paperback. Andrew S. Malone serves as Lecturer in Biblical Studies and Dean of Ridley Online at Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia. In God’s Mediators, Malone develops an expositional and synthetic biblical theology of the theme of priesthood, studying both individual and corporate priestly identities and work across the canon so as to “augment and refine our existing knowledge, reinforce or reshape our theological framework, and make us better expositors of the texts and their consequences for God’s holy people” (p. 10). He contends, specifically, that Christians struggle to define priests and priesthood in a manner following the patterns of the biblical witness (pp. 8–9; 186–187). Malone descriptively surveys, therefore, the biblical landscape for individual priests, starting with Aaron’s and his sons’ mediation at Sinai with an important focus on “the kingdom of priests” found in Exodus 19:5–6 as a royal priesthood (pp. 16–17, 126). His survey of the Aaronic priesthood, ultimately, establishes a baseline to consider implications for 1) Israel’s corporate priesthood, 2) Jesus’ priesthood, and 3) the nature of the church’s corporate priesthood. He labels the Aaronic priesthood by its status of…

Review of Inward Baptism: The Theological Origins of Evangelicalism by Baird Tipson

Tipson, Baird. Inward Baptism: The Theological Origins of Evangelicalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020, hardcover, $79. It is safe to say that within the conservative Protestantism of the last hundred years, there has been no common understanding of the relation in which the modern movement stands to earlier Protestantism. In the Victorian era, conservative Protestants saw things differently. With a sense of urgency provided by a resurgent Papacy bent on re-exerting international influence and by movements within Protestantism, such as the nineteenth-century Oxford Movement – which aimed at the re-Romanization of Anglicanism, Protestant historians tended to maximize the continuity of Protestant movements from one era to the next. Born in the age of Reformation, Protestantism was understood to have been reinvigorated in the age of Puritans and Pietists and enlivened in the era of transatlantic awakenings, but still been a constant. This broad-brush approach was in need of refinement and it has come about, beginning with the 1988 release of David W. Bebbington’s Evangelicalism in Modern Britain. While chiefly about developments within the United Kingdom, Bebbington’s work suggested elements of discontinuity between the transatlantic and trans-denominational evangelical movements arising in the 1730’s and what had gone before. Meanwhile, a…

Review of Trinitarian Theology: Theological Models and Doctrinal Application edited by Keith S. Whitfield

Whitfield, Keith S. ed. Trinitarian Theology: Theological Models and Doctrinal Application. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2019, pp. 197, $19.99, soft cover. Trinitarian Theology presents three theological models from scholars of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest U.S. Protestant denomination. The editor Keith S. Whitfield is associate professor of Christian theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Between Whitfield’s introduction and conclusion, six chapters follow a multi-perspectives pattern: opening arguments lead to responsive rebuttals. The authors provide a general defense of their Trinitarian models and specifically address the question of eternal relational authority and submission (ERAS). First, Bruce Ware, author of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (2005) and editor of One God in Three Persons (2015), presents ERAS as biblically necessary and historically defensible. Second, Malcolm B. Yarnell, author of God the Trinity (2016), conditions ERAS theologically. Third, Matthew Y. Emerson, Christ and the New Creation (2013) and The Story of Scripture (2017), and Luke Stamps, Thy Will Be Done (to be published by Fortress Press) criticize ERAS as contradicting the pro-Nicene tradition. These models differ regarding their grounding. Ware surveys Scripture guided by Hebrews 1-2 to ground ERAS directly, while also providing historical and philosophical support. He states that “since the Bible…