Reason for Hope: The Systematic Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg

Reason for Hope: The Systematic Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg

Reason for Hope: The Systematic Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg

Reason for Hope: The Systematic Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg

Synopsis

First associated in the 1960s with the "theology of hope," German scholar Wolfhart Pannenberg has since become a major interdisciplinary thinker and a highly respected voice in the theological community. In "Reason for Hope" Stanley Grenz, a former student of Pannenberg and a noted theologian himself, provides a valuable, complete exposition of Pannenberg's "Systematic Theology." The book examines Pannenberg's dogmatics in the context of his other works, particularly those in English, while also providing an up-to-date overview of the ongoing debate over his writings. Following the flow of Pannenberg's "Systematic Theology," it devotes a chapter each to his theological approach, doctrine of God, doctrine of creation and humanity, Christology, ecclesiology, and eschatology, showing why Pannenberg's theology may be seen as a grand attempt "to give reason for the hope" that he has in Christ (1 Peter 3:15). Those wishing to become acquainted with Pannenberg's magisterial work will find no better place to start than Grenz's "Reason for Hope."

Excerpt

In the last half of the twentieth century North America was a net importer of theology. From mid-century to the century’s end, the theological climate on this continent was influenced by currents from various parts of the world. The Barthianism of the 1950s gave way to the pop theology of the 1960s as theological catchphrases, such as “the death of God,” “secular Christianity,” and “being honest to God,” were marketed to a “world come of age.” Later, the liberation theme, first introduced by spokespersons for the economically marginalized as a gift from the Third World to the theologically impoverished North, was coopted by the establishment and made, together with “process,” into a shibboleth for all truly relevant theology. At about the same time, narrative theology’s call to storytelling began to vie for the attention of the theological community.

Yet the classical quest focusing on the systematic presentation of Christian doctrine, pushed aside in the era following the writing of Barth’s Church Dogmatics by the call for relevancy, refused to be expunged from the Western theological consciousness. This was evidenced by the renewed interest that began in the 1980s to delineate theological systems, a task that had been all but buried in the previous two decades. The impulse in this direction was especially strong in North America. But given the European roots of this endeavor, it is not surprising that the foremost voices in the renewed emphasis on systematic theology would be found on the Continent, especially in Germany.

German theology, which has always enjoyed great influence this . . .

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