Full Text for CTQ Book Review 73-3 (Text)

Book Reviews Freedom in Response-Lutheran Ethics: Sorrrres and Controversies. By Oswald Bayer. Trans. by Jeffrey F. Cayzer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.275 pages. Hardcover. $99.00. 'I'he seventeen essays in this vo lume evince the comprehensive scope of Oswald Bayer's work in the realm of theological ethics. Flis topics range from investigation of biblical texts a s represented in essays o n the Sermon o n the Mount, the renewal of the mind in I'aul, a n d the first commandment a s basis for ethics, to a variety o f essays o n ethical controversies that emerge o u t of the Enlightenment, to s o m e essays o n marriagc. Luther a n d Johann C c o r g Fiamann figure most prominently in Rayer's work, a s o n e would expect. In a n essay entitled "Nature a n d Institution: 1,utlirr's Doc-trinc i$ tht. 711rc~i~ Eshrtcs," Bayer works from Luther's 1528 treatise, "Confession of Christ's Supper" to show that the "doctrine of the three est'ites" functions a s a hermeneutic of Genesis to appropriate the social dimensions of creation a n d sin. Bayer a rgues that the three estates comprehend "the three basic forms of life which Cod's promise h a s ordained mankind" (93). A s such, they a r c perhaps even more significant than the " two kingdoms" conceptuality in Luther's ethics. "Luther's Ethics a s Pastoral Care" addresses the place of freedom in Luther's ctliics a n d its consequences for the care of sauls. Iieviewing the way that the ethics of Jesus w a s constructed a s "itinerant radicalism" by New Testament scholars such a s C. 'Theissen in contrast with the so-called Huu,sti~fclr~ of the epistles, Bayer s h o w s llow Luther set the first commandment in the context of the worldly estates s o that both f'lith a n d love a r e preserved. Bayer observes how H a m a n n carries forth key themes from Luther in his critique of the Gnlighte~imcnt. l ' h ree essays a r e devoted t o marriagc: "The Protestant Understanding of Marriage," "Luther's View of Marriage," a n d "Freedom a n d Law in Marriage.'' Writing against views of marriage s h a p ~ d by both the Enlightenment a n d Romanticism, Bayer sets o u t a n understanding of marriage a s "institution" in keeping with his work 011 Luther's usc of the three estates: "We cannot see o u r marr iagc simply a s bought about by o u r o w n decision or just a contract that can b e dissolved by mutual consent" (173). We maintains that Luther's understanding of niarridge preserves its creational character while seeing it a s the location for faith a n d love, a n d therefore the place of cross-bearing. In a n a g e where marriage is seen a s a more or less temporary arrangement entered into a n d maintained by the will of the couple, Bayer s o u n d s this salutary note: "'The quality of the marr iage union - that it is not under the control of the married couple - means that it is entered into whole heartedly a n d without reservation, a n d of course means that there can be n o term set t o the durat ion of marriage. T h u s the expressly included requirement of 'till dea th d o u s part' Conrordia Theological Quarterly 73 (2009) Insofar as 'I'lie Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod sometimes fincis itsclf on the periphery of American Evangelicalism, Wells' books hcivi~ struck CI responsive chord with those concerned about Lutheran identity in our midst. Many of his worries (i.e., loss of confessional integrity, culturnl emptiness, psychological captivity of the church, mega-church marketing and the like) 'lrC also themes familiar to thoughtful Lutheran observers. Wells critique of "consumer driven Christianity" which seeks "buyers" rather than disciples is hard-hitting. l l e faults Evangelicalism for collapsing the visible church illto an invisible church: "'The invisible church becomes everything, and thc visiblc church, in its local configuration, loses its significance and its place in tlic Christian life" (214). A bit closer to home, Wells lifts u p the 1991 book, Clrurhlc*s.s Cltrr,\trorrity by Missouri Synod missionary/professor, lIt>rbert I loefer (whose ndnic hc misspells as Hoefner) as example of a theology that is Jeficicnt from both a Christological and ecclesiolcrgical perspective because lloefer's thcology results in a disembodied church that cannot be d i s t ingu i s l~~d from thc unbelieving culture (see p. 215). The notion of "secret believers" is incongruent with the New 'Testament's call to baptism and confession. 'l'll~' Cotrm~c fo bin Prc~t~,sfut~f also advances the case against both the so-called "emerging church" and "'The New Perspective on Paul" started in Wells' 2005 book, Al~oz~rj All Eorflrl!/ Po7o'rs: Cltrist it! 17 Postrrrotit~rtr Worlti. Wells is no mere naysayer, hurling piercing jeremiads from tlic si.curity of a protected academic environment. Through this book as in his previous works, he shows himself to be a thinker concerned with the h c ~ l t h of tlic church and the vitality of its mission. tlence he argues that mission suffers where the truth claims of orthodox Christianity are minimizixi. Thur Wells calls for the reclaiming of lileformation theology as the remedy for a fcitigueci and listless Christianity infected with viruses of pragmatism and postmodernism. It is obvious that Wells tilts tow'lrd Geneva rathcr than Wittenberg in his understanding of what constitutes Reformation theology. For example, he fails to grasp the connection between baptismal regeneration and justification by faith in Luther (see p. 219). Nevertheless, Well's book morc generally displays an appreciative use of Luther over and against tepid streams of contemporary theological adaptations of therapeutic and managerial paradigms for church and mission. 'Tlrc Courop fo bc Protestant is a welcome contribution that deserves a thoughtful and critical reading by those who struggle to be faithful in a climate marked by plur a I ' ~ s m . John 'I'. Pless Book Reviews A Moilelfor Marria,yr: Cot)~ttat t t , G r a ~ i : Etnporu~rtn~ti t and Intimar!!. B y Jack 0. Halswick and Judith K. Balewick. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity I'ress, 2006.211 pages. Paperback. $19.95, Jack .lnll Judith Ualswick arc. both professors of family development and thi~riipy xprcssing thrir hc.1ic.f that C;odls icieal for marriage is found in a "clifSc*r~~liti,itc~l unity" in niarriagc.. 'l'liey define diffr?rentiatcd unity as "the inlcrncil tillility to liiivo a scrurc! senst? of self (differentiation) in rclation to signifivant otllvrs," anti ". . . that proccss o f finding balance, harmony, and i n t i * r d t ~ ~ ~ o ~ ~ ~ i ~ ~ t i c y " (35). In marriage then, diFft.rentiation is seen a s the rlegree to wliirh ii spouse. has devrlope~d a solid self in relation to family of origin. L)t*vcloping il hcaltliy degrcp of differentiation from family of origin, the H,ilswicks bclicvi~, is il crucial step in t!stablishing a solid marital union. 'l'hey go on to dclfinc- diffilrcntiation as "drvt~loping and defining a secure self, villidatt>J in Christ" (13). 'I'hr Uiilswic~ks ilrc3 wliolcli~artc~dly romniitted to thc premise of thtlir book th,il "two rirts Llcttcr than c~nc." CIliapter one explains the dilcmnia of marriage: thv clasli he-lwccn the primary value of sclf-fulfillment and marital fulfillment it1 n.l.itionship. 'l'liu lofty goal of rlinpter two is to prcscnt n solution to the ~lilornl~ia by offtlring ii w)cial tlisology of the niarri i l~c relationship. t ]ere, the ~~iilhwicks attcmpt to nlclcl biblical thcology with a social ~ ~ i c n t i f i c i~n i i~ r s t a~ i~ l i l i f i of ~narriagc. 'They draw iln analogy from trinitarian theology to sc>rvv as th i~ foundation for this integrative social theology. Simply put, trinitiiriiin thcology Ji~filic~s (;od as 'l'hrcc in One, a unity of three distinct ciiviiic l'crsons in relationship. In like manner, a social scientific. undcrstanrfing of miirritip~ is sect1 as a unity formed by two distinctly differentiated spouses. 'lhcl Hiilswic-ks rontc~ici that "C;od has created us to be in a mutually rrc.iprm-'iting rel'itionship as two unique ~ ~ 1 v c . s in relation to God and to each othrr. In this wily marriage is meant to mirror the trinitarian rcliitionships of holy lovitig bt.twi.t:n tht? Father, Son ancl t-laly Spiritf' (12-13). Building oti this tr~nitdridn foundation, In chapters three to six, the f3alswicks cdaborate on four guiding principles that would contribute to a derply fulfilling marriage: coven~int (commitmetlt and unconditional love), grace (acceptance and forgiveness), empowerment (mutuality and interdependency) and intimacy (knowing and being known). Their summary thesis is simply stated; "we believe the trinitarian model of relationality - that two become one without absorption - is God's ideal for marriage" (83). 280 Concordia Theological Qicarterl!y 73 (2009) While the Balswicks are mindful of the limits of using the trinitarian analogy in human relationships (29, 182), they fail to define those limits. 'l'lie relationship between tliv threc I'ersons in the Godhtaad remains a profound mystery to us falliblc human brings. 7'~) use the relationship between Pathrr, Son, and kloly Spirit as the model for the rclationship between husband and wife takes a mental i f not a spiritual leap of faith and understanding (Phil. 2 5 - 7). Besides, masculinity remains a characteristic of the three I'rrsons of thc Trinity. Their book really describes the relationality of people of tlie same gender, age, or position and not necessarily of the relationship of tnen and women in a Christian marriage. It docs not revcal the true dynamics of husband and wife as "male and fenialr" or what tlic "two shall becomc one flesh" (absorption) really means. 'l'lie better model for the nlarriiige relationship has always bren Ephesians 521-33, Christ's rrlationship to I fis Church-which is also a mystery, but can be more easily graspcxi by our finite minds as the roles of man anei woman comc into clearer focus. As couples seek to be Christlike, the Balswicks speak of "mutual self-sacrifice" (70) in equal terms for both husband and wife when clearly, following the example of Christ, husbands are calleci to I i ~ d by their primary submission. In short, they push the gender neutrality button on numerous pages ancl in so doing ncglwt ancl elisregard the scriptural teaching on "headship" and the order of crration. In rejecting any "traditionalist" views of marital roles, they would prilfer tlie negotiation of sl-rousal rolcs (53). Despite this flaw, the Bcilswicks make many useful points. 'T'liey pursue genuine "balance" and "harmony" for thc marriage relationship. liven though the biblical concept of grace is never fully defined, cliaptrr 4 on "'The Gracing Marriage" keeps forgivcntass at thc center of the r~~lationsliip. Chapter 9 o n "Communication, Connection, Communion" was plirticularly excell~~nt '1s it dealt with tlie realities of being married to the3 same person for lite, with tlic goal being enrichment anel greater depth over the scasons of marriage. And even though the role o f the pastor is negated (confession is mvntiontd without absolution, and the term "thrrapist" is preferred), they point couples to the church (of wlicitevcr confrssion) ,is the "liaaling community" (1 90-1 9 1). Perhaps it is the church then and not Christ t h ~ t fills out the trinitarian concept of equality with ciifferentiation that the B,llswicks hope to achieve? Jack and Judith Ralswick construct a theological niociel from Kirrl HirrHr'.s '1'1irol1~,q1/ oflirlr~fio~rrs dncl integrate it with the Bowcn Natural Systems 'l'heory. They also thoughtfully integrate their own marital journey in this monograph. They are plainly egalitarian in their view of marriage. I would reconimend this book tc) seminarians and pastors for its practical guidanct. and not so much for its theological insights. Gary W. Zieroth St. Paul Lutheran Church Kingsville, Maryland Book Reviews 28 I A Cosll!/ Fr~~r*dom: A Tlrcnlpyic.ul Kl~udirr,q Mrtrk's Gospal. By Brendan Hyrne. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2008.304 pages. Paperback. $26.95. I;or the pist severill ywrs, I havc* had tlic great plcasurt. of teaching a cqoursc or1 the1 C;ospcl ol' Mark. Lloing so has proven both frustrating and e~l i i l~ i r~ t ing . 'l'he frustration conics froni twrl sources. First c)f all, most c*otnnicntaries do not take, Miirk's theology scric>usly. For niany, Mark is simply ~i "rough draft" tliat nctdvd to be smootlicd out and enhanct~d by the likes of M~ttI1i.w and I.ukc. 'file second source of frustration hits closer to Iionic. Nanicly, the churcli has long neglvctcd the sccond gospc~l. 'Thc church filthcrs show littlc cvidvncc of rcading Mark, atici the historic Iectic~nary almost cc1mplctc.ly ignorcs tlic second gospel. I lowivc.r, as of lak, therc arc signs of Iifc on both thc scholarly and the churchly front. Joel Marcus' scholarly Milrk I - 8 (Anchor Bibltl Srrics) takils Mark scriclusly, arid cirmon~trat~s tlic cvangclist's suhtlt> and tiiiist(~rful usc of thc Old 'l'estilriient. Anti, now, wi, hnvc froni Ijri~ndan Ilyrni> '1 most cxci~llcnt cliurc.lily commentary. 13yrncfs G~sfl,t/ F ~ [ * L ~ I ~ I I ) ~ I is pcrhaps tlic best work on Mark tliat I have cvcr rc,id. I t is clear that Byrne, an Australian Jesuit, writcs with an exycricnced liiln~i, drawing from his years of tclaching and pr~~acliitig for thc~ church. Hyrnc introduces us to what l ic~ calls "the scarirst" gospc.I, a world inhabited by demons, and plagued by niisun~lcrstii~iding anci conflict (x). 'She gospel of M,irk, as llyrlic ncltcs, offers no comforting visiori of the risen I,orrl. Mark portrays tlir cliurch not in its idyllic statc', P u t froni ii very clarthly perspective, with c i I I trf its hlt~niislit~s. As 13yrtic writcs, "Mark secms p,irticularly designed to iidtlri*ss foilurv i n community Icadcrsliip, and wicicr disillusionnii~nt and liopclcssn~~ss to which tliat Failurc can give rist." (xi). <;ivtxn our world, much of i t svcmingly "burnt out" by c-lay-foottd cli~~rc~li Ivadcrs, this mcssagc is timely indclcd. 12cfrcshingly, Byrne offc-rs n truly thcologicc1l rending of Mark. 'l'cl hc. sure, lic knows the ins and outs of the cxcgctical trade, but he dr1e.s not burdew thc ~.<.i\d~r witli tiit\ ~ivtails. t lc describes the Markan narrative as onr in which the Iifc t ~ f Jc~sus is "plnying out on for the benefit of humanity, of the c<~mni~rnion of love that is tlitl 'Sri~iity" (xi). Structurally, Ryrne d~viiles tlic second gospel into tlirec htnrics, having to do witli I ) Jc.sus as C;o~i's Son, 2) who is destined to suffer and d ~ e in Jerusalem, 3) but w~ll conic again in glory to judge tlic world. What i s most interesting is the way that the rcsurrt~ction is downplayed in Byrne's reading. Ycs, Mark would have us know, Jesus is risen. But, no, the church should not expect the glvry here anri now. lnstead, we muddle through this world clinging tv Christ and praying tor faith. Mark's gospel, perhaps more than any other, is a theology of the cross. For example, the Baptism of Jesus leads directly to a time with the "wild beasts" in the desert. So, also the Christian life is baptismal, and often leads to hardship, danger, and isolation. The reference 282 Concordia Theological Quarterly 73 (2009) to wild beasts, Byrne notes, would have been especially poignant given Nero's practice of throwing Christians to the lions (35). After introducing us to his overall schcnie, Byrne procet*cis to w ~ l k us through the Gospel of Mark pericope by pericope. In the liedling ot I'ctcr's mother-in-law (1:29-34), Byrne introduces us to life in the house church, and paints a portrait of the newly emerging Christian family (47). In the healing of the paralytic (2:l-12), the author speaks movingly about the relationship between healing and forgiveness, between sickness and sin (56-58). 'l'hc author repeatedly speaks about the ways in which Jesus' ministry of touch hris ~i sacramental dimension. So also in the feeding of the 5000, Byrnc shows how Mark points both backward to Moses, David and Elisha, and '~lso forward to the Supper that he will soon provide for the church. In words that should resonate with I,utherans, he describes the feeding in which there "now unfolds a 'worrl and sacrament duality' prefiguring the later ministry of the church" (115). I f you are not yet convinced about the benefits of the three-year Icctionnry, Byrne may very well change your mind. t-lis work shows again and awin thrit Mark's voice is not only distinctive and compelling, but also necessary. 'l'liis book would be excellent for any preacher working his way through Scrivs 13, or for anyone offering a Bible study on the second gospel. All of this is not to say that the careful reader will not find weaknesses her(. or thcre. As fLir as writings on Mark go, though, I can think of no better. Hyrnc's book is an exhilarating commentary on an exhilarating gospel. 1'ett.r 1. Scaer Christ in the Gospels of the Liturgical Year. By Raymond E. Brown. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2008.435 pages. Paperback. $29.95. Raymond E. Brown passed away in August 19C)8 shortly s judgn~cnt on this long-sta~~ding sclf-m'icit* ttlniplc, in genuine love for its wayward builders." It is especially for this reason, Moshcr suggests, that Jesus is relevant to philosophy. Bcfori. going 'iny further, though, the first chapter written by Craig A. Evans rxaniines a11 the possibltl historical sources far our knowledge of Jcsus. His conclusion is perhaps predictable but nonetheless (considering theorit..; advanced by others) refreshing. 'I'hc New 'I'cstament, he 'irgues, pr(~vidcs the clearest and niost prrcise cvidcnce for Jesus' teachings and understatidinl; of himself. I'aul W. C;oochls "l'aul, the Mind of Christ, and I'hilosopliy" will surely challenge conventional theological thinking. t-le clcals, in particular, with ast~ccts of the Pauline e p i ~ t l ~ s that arc oftentimes interpreted as a blanket dil;niissal of philosophical endeavors, atid concludes that, while Paul criticized IiumL~n wisdonl when it either wittingly or unwittingly t r ~ l ~ l p ~ d kn~wledgc of C;od rVvwled by Cod, lie certainly saw philosophy as d useful epistemological dnd evangelistic tool. Following along these lines, Williani Abraham's "'l'lic lipistemology of Jc,sus" is also quite intriguing. 1-le suggests, from a Wesleyan p~rspective, tlic various ways thrl prson and work of Christ might aid thr Cliri.stian in phtlosopliic,il reflection ~ n d ethical action. A variety of other essays in the book will ~ l s o be of intcvest to tlicologiaris. Chi~~.~tcrs on Augustinr and 'flionias Aquin;is dncl tlic rolc. Jesus playcd in the dcvclopmrnt of what might be callerl their philosophical theology are must reads for the historical theologian. Essays on Jesus and forgiveness and the "meaning of life" by Nicholas Woltcrstorff and Charlcs 'I'aliaferro, resprrtively, will give pastoral theologians as well as university chaplains somv food for thought. On the other hand, I,uke 'l'imothy jnhnson's cssay on Jcsus from the perspective of philosophy anti Ilavid 1:. Ford's explanation of the Prt~nch phenomenologist Paul Kicclcur's "biblical philosophy" arc probably more geared towards those whose interests arc purely philosophical. r 3 I here are sonic challenging ideas throughout this book. tiowever, some issues are raised that are not normally considered by pastors and tht.ologians. As such, this book has some utility. It will undoubtedly provoke some serious reflection and perhaps open up some new lines of theological inquiry. Adam S. Francisco 286 Concordia Theological Qrrartcrly73 (2009) Believing in Preaching: Wlrat Listeners Hear in Scrfnons. By M . Mulligan, D. Turner-Sharazz, D. Wilhelm and R. Allen. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2005. 216 pages. Paperback. $24.99. Preachers preach every Sunclay-ancl cvcry Sunday congrc~g~~tions listcn. Works to assist preachers preach abound, but fc.w offer critical insiglit into this minds of those who listen to sermons. B[~lirrritr,y irr Prc~rc~lrirrx offclrs acaclomir research into the act of preaching from the hearer's perspective. 'I'wcwty-c>iglit varying denominations supplied one hunclreci and twenty-ciglit c.liurcIigoc~rs for interview on how they listen to sermons. I'articipants answc.reci cluvstions varying from the naming of a particular sermon that affc.ctc.d tlic~ii to tlic hearer's perceived role of what Gocl could clo through a sernion. 'I'hc r e s ~ ~ l t s of these interviews were then compileel into ten chapters covering such nrcas as: the purpose of preaching, the hearer's relationship witli thr k-rrcaclic~r, shaping of community, etc. The chapters discuss rclevant intervic~w~~c rcqsponscs and conclude by offering recommendations for preachers to consicier wlii~ri preaching. As helpful as the approach is, for those with cvcln a basic. undc~rstiinciing of social statistics, the research design of this tx~ok may Icavc. t1ic.m unsatisficci. There is no fullness of questionnaire listed, the intcrvicws cc~nnot bc> lound in their entirety, and a discussion is larking as to why ccrtain cluc~stiotis were. asked and others were not. However, the greater difficulty might bc witli this work's central premise: that, to a certain extent, preachers can and shoulci subject the preached Word to the whims, or at least the dc~sircs of, tlicir congregations. Still, there are many other works in the fitM of I lomil~tics that commit the sin of overindulgence to a congregation fur more thiln I ~ i ~ l i i ~ r ~ i t ~ g irr P r c a d l i n ~ does. That said, the majority of chapters in this work do offer insights that niiglil be quite fruitful for preachers to consider. The stated goal of proviciing preachers with an insight into the mentality of those who listcri to sermons stands well intact and profitable. The summation of tlic~ologic-al intc~rvicws was done well and packaged nicely. Overall, this work clocs allow the. preacher who preaches every week the ability to peck into t h ~ l mind ,ind soul of the faithful listener who listens every weck. Eclwarci 0. C;rimcnstcin 25111 Signal Battcilion Bagram, Afghanistan