Thinking with the Church: Essays in Historical Theology

By Hege, Brent A. R. | Interpretation, October 2011 | Go to article overview

Thinking with the Church: Essays in Historical Theology


Hege, Brent A. R., Interpretation


Thinking with the Church: Essays in Historical Theology by B. A. Gerrish Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 2010. 287 pp. $25.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-6452-9.

IN HIS MOST RECENT collection of essays (three of which are published here for the first time), B. A. Gerrish continues to set the standard for the discipline of historical theology. Combining the historian's attention to context and development with the systematician's concern for the appropriateness and relevance of Christian claims in the present, Gerrish offers twelve essays on such diverse figures as J. G. Fichte, Charles Hodge, and, of course, John Calvin and Friedrich Schleiermacher. This is the ktest of an impressive list of publications urging theologians and pastors to do the necessary and highly rewarding work of thinking critically with the church.

In a particularly illuminating reference to Calvin's understanding of tradition, Gerrish summarizes the thesis of the entire collection in a way that is particularly instructive for anyone wishing to delve into the riches of the Christian tradition in order to speak meaningfully and faithfully to their own time and pkce. Quoting Calvin, "our constant endeavor, day and night, is to form in the manner we think will be best whatever is faithfully handed on by us." And perhaps even more illuminating is a reference immediately following this quotation: "as [Calvin] sometimes puts it less technically, there is a difference between a disciple and an ape" (p. …

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