Magnum opus remains a term best reserved for the crowning achievement of a scholar’s life and work, the pinnacle at the top of decades of research, writing, and sharpening arguments. These great works comprehensively examine and engage their field of work and, at their best, even redefine the field for years to come. Such is Larry W. Hurtado’s Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. 746pp.). Hurtado’s magnum opus—now approaching fifteen years old—not only transformed the field of early Christian studies, but also continues to offer insights and ways forward for contemporary scholars. Continue reading
Some time back, Joseph Torres published “30 Suggestions for Theological Students and Young Theologians” by John Frame. Below, I offer 21 suggestions for theological study, admittedly from the perspective of someone who could only be called a theological student and/or young theologian.
- Make God revealed in Christ the focus of your theological work. The fundamental work of theology is “faith seeking understanding”, to seek God and communicate His reality to humanity. If your theological project is not furthering God’s Kingdom, you’re not doing theology.
John Piper’s latest book, A Godward Heart: Treasuring the God Who Loves You, stands as the latest example of his ability to pen books worthy of being enjoyed by Christians across denominational lines. Many have long found Piper’s preaching, teaching, and writing useful, important, and worthy of reflection, and this newest offering does not disappoint. This purposefully eclectic book contains fifty meditations from Piper on a number of topics, ranging from seeking the Lord and the Grace of God to Idolatry and Racism. Piper’s back-cover “Whether you are just discovering the divine richness of Scripture or have long been a passionate student, you’ll find a deeper understanding of God and renewed insight for your journey” appropriately sums the scope of this book. Most of Piper’s reflections on these topics are very good and thought-provoking, and he blends scripture, history, and theological reflection well throughout. Going in I expected more scriptural exposition, but thought Piper did an admirable job drawing upon a variety of sources for his reflections. Continue reading
In the history of the great theological and spiritual tradition known as Christianity, there have been a plentitude of insightful and profound writings by a heterogeneous mix of individuals and communities. In the nearly two millennia since the Jesus Movement began, only a choice few of these works have risen to the become the proverbial ‘crème of the crop.’ In considering devotional literature, especially that of the European medieval period, one finds such a seminal writing in Revelations of Divine Love as recounted by St. Julian of Norwich. Long a favorite for both spiritual and academic treatment, Revelations yet provides modern readers with a wealth of insights concerning the sixteen revelatory experiences of which Julian writes and reflects. Revelations continues to demand attention and study, as it presents a clear example of fourteenth century European monastic Christian piety and additionally evidencing a rich literature for potential personal application in spiritual reflection and devotion. In this review, we will sketch the contours of Julian’s account before turning to consideration of the importance of understanding her revelations in today’s context. Though brief, we hope to demonstrate in this review that, while some of St. Julian’s showings and theological insights may seem antiquated in our postmodern context, her insights continue to provide contemporary readers with many academic and spiritual insights. Continue reading