Archives For Heretics
|Two New Books on Medieval History.
The Great Medieval Heretics:
I’ll be upfront, I’m not sure what I really think about heresy and orthodoxy. I find myself caught between wanting to believe what is correct, and have others do the same, and the freedom to let Jesus be, as Presbyterians might say, the “Lord of the conscience.” Even though people aren’t being killed for teaching people “wrong” Christian beliefs anymore — at least I haven’t heard or read about it — what someone believes and doesn’t believe about Jesus, God and people is still a big deal, and gets a lot of attention. Mark Driscoll, friend of Rick Warren and pastor of a mega-church in Seattle, has recently co-written a book about Christian doctrines and how every Christian should believe them. Although mostly just history for some, it seems the rage against heresies and heretics is alive and well. While religion seems to inherently draw a line somewhere in the sand, the understanding of heretical or “wrong” Christian views – or at least how one deals with them and the people who believe them – seems to be coming to a head in the post-modern world.
Michael Frassetto focuses on some of the medieval heretics and their affect on the established, and regarded as orthodox, Church in his book, The Great Medieval Heretics.
By Chris Smith
Heretics for Armchair Theologians (WJK 2008) turns what for many people would be a dry topic from the dusty pages of historical theology into a lively stroll through the heresies of the Early Christian era. Justo and Catherine Gonzalez, both eminent church historians, are our guides on this whirlwind tour and Ron Hill’s cartoon illustrations add to the levity of the book. The text is book-ended nicely by the first chapter, which defines what is meant by “heresy,” and the last chapter that examines the significance of remembering these heresies as we pursue theological inquiry today. This book is a wonderful resource that could be used in high school/college classes on church history – or for anyone in thye Church who desires to know more about the stories of the heretics and why they are still relevant to God’s people today.
Christian Community Now: Ecclesiological Investigations (T&T Clark 2008) is a wonderful collection of papers that survey the present state of ecclesiology in the theological academy. However, it is intended for academic audiences and thus is not for the faint of mind. One particular highlight here is Paul Collins’s paper “Ecclesiology: Context and Community” which explores “how the methods of contextual theology and pastoral theology may influence and change the way in which systematic theologians approach the task of reflecting upon what the church is and what it is for” (135). I pray that the fine research that undergirds this book would filter down to our church congregations and challenge us as we daily seek to be the people of God.
In Transition Handbook (Chelsea Green 2008), Rob Hopkins uses the ecological concepts of resilience and permaculture to argue for the emergence of local cultures in a world after peak oil. Hopkins is founder of the “Transition” Movement, which seeks to move communities in the direction of greater resilience. The latter chapters of the book tell the stories of “Transition towns” in the UK that have committed to moving in this direction. This book demands the attention of any church that would seek to share life together in ways that nurture creation in the places where they are. It provides language for helping us to understand where we need to go ecologically and furthermore offers us practical advice for moving in that direction.
Christian Community Now:
P. Collins, G. Mannion, G. Powell, K. Wilson, eds.
Hardcover: T&T Clark, 2008.
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