Archives For Nathan Kerr

 

“The Active and Persistent Pursuit
of Ecumenical Reconciliation

Part Two of a Two-Part
Review of
Radical Ecumenicity:
Pursuing Unity and Continuity after
John Howard Yoder
.

John Nugent, Editor.

Reviewed by Stephen Lawson, Chris Smith and Nate Kerr.

[ Read this Book’s Intro Here… ]


Radical Ecumenicity:
Pursuing Unity and Continuity after
John Howard Yoder
.

John Nugent, Editor.
Paperback: Abilene Christian UP, 2010.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]

[ Editor’s note:  This review of Radical Ecumenicity, edited by John Nugent is blazing new trails in its format for us here at The Englewood Review.  First, this review represents the first time that we’ve had several reviewers do a part-by-part review of a single book.  It is also the first time we have had a review that spanned two issues.  We reviewed the first half of the book last week and the second in this Friday’s issue.  We welcome your feedback on these new experiments with format. ]

Chapter Six, “John Howard Yoder’s Reading of the Old Testament and the Stone-Campbell Tradition,” by Paul Kissling attempts to appropriate Yoder’s reading of the Old Testament in the Stone-Campbell Movement (SCM). For those familiar with the SCM, it is no surprise to hear that Kissling finds the traditional postures of the SCM in regard to the Old Testament as problematic and short-sighted. Early leaders of the SCM felt the need to affirm the Old Testament as inspired Scripture, but struggled with how to conceive of that inspiration in light of the witness of the New Testament. Most of these founders leaned on doctrines of differentiation and dispensationalism (e.g., the idea that the Abrahamic covenant was starlight, the Mosaic covenant was moonlight, while the Christian covenant is sunlight). Others attempted to demarcate the progress of revelation in ways that hindsight tells us were ill-conceived. These muddled views can often result in a ‘practical marcionism.’

Kissling offers Yoder’s emphasis on the macro-narrative of the Old Testament as a corrective to this tendency. He posits that Yoder’s inclination to read the Old Testament as a whole corrects some of the struggles that readers of the Old Testament have (e.g. ,the monarchy, holy war, etc). As such, Yoder’s posture offers some real insight and a viable alternative to those who implicitly divide between the God of Abraham and the God of Jesus. Furthermore, this narrative reading of the Old Testament prevents the abuses that can arise when the ethics of the church are formed more by the conquest of the first Joshua than by the sermon of the second Joshua (i.e. Matthew 5-7). Yoder “helps those of us in the Stone-Campbell tradition to see that the narrative trajectory of the Old Testament leads us to reject violence and trust in the Lord to secure our future” (133).

Continue Reading…

 

“Applying Yoder’s Theo-political
Thought to the Question of History”

A Review of
Christ, History and Apocalyptic:
The Politics of Christian Mission.

by Nathan Kerr.

 Reviewed by Chase Roden.

 

Christ, History and Apocalyptic:
The Politics of Christian Mission.

Nathan Kerr.
Paperback: Cascade Books, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

 

How does the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord affect a Christian’s view of history?  Professor of theology and philosophy Nathan Kerr begins his recent book with this deceptively simple question.  And although it may seem esoteric, in the course of under 200 pages Kerr makes the case that the role of history should be a central question for 21st-century Christians.  Kerr believes that modernism has made an idol of historical processes, and therefore even the concept of “history” is a hindrance to the true confession of Christ’s lordship.  Kerr lays out the key features of an alternative, “apocalyptic” vision of history — one that places God’s interruptive action in the person of Jesus of Nazareth at the center of all historical interpretation.

 

At this point, you may be wondering how our concept of history can be so harmful as to be considered idolatrous.  The answer to that involves the issues of the book’s subtitle: politics and Christian mission.  Following John Howard Yoder, Kerr sees Jesus’s work on earth and the continued action of the Holy Spirit as inherently political; Kerr has an Anabaptist’s earthy, “real” concept of Jesus’s mission as involving not primarily the heart or mind, but the everyday lives and actions of individuals and communities with regard to one another.  For Kerr and Yoder, the events of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus inaugurate the reign of God, in which the Church doesn’t just carry out the mission of God, but in which the Church is God’s mission.  Continue Reading…