2007 Volume 34

Issue 01 -- Spring 2007

The Bible and Disability Studies: An Editorial Introduction: pg 3-6
Rebecca Raphael
Texas State University-San Marcos
San Marcos TX 78666

Madly Disobedient: The Representation of Madness in Handel's Oratorio Saul: pg 7-22
Rebecca Raphael
Texas State University-San Marcos
San Marcos, TX 78666

The ANE Legal Origins of Impairment as Theological Disability and the Book of Job: pg 23-60

F. Rachel Magdalene
Augusta College
Rock Island, IL 61201

Johannine Healings and the Otherness of Disability: pg 61-76
Kerry H. Wynn
Southeast Missouri State University
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

The Theological Significance of Physical Deformity in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies: pg 77-90
Nicole Kelley
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306

Redemptionism, Rejectionism, and Historicism as Emerging Approaches in Disability Studies: pg 91-100
Hector Avalos
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011

Issue 02 -- Summer 2007

Baptists and Open Theism: An Editorial Introduction: pg 129-31
Roger Olson
George W. Truett Theological Seminary
Waco, TX 76798

Is God Limited? A Reply from a Baptist with Reformed Convictions: pg 133-48

Bruce A. Ware
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, KY 40280
Is God limited? Absolutely not (quite literally). Rightly understood, since God is self-existent and self-sufficient, there literally are no limitations on the qualities of his being, the divine attributes or divine perfections that are possessed by him essentially, infinitely, and eternally. Even if self-limitations "improperly so-called" may be ascribed to God, owing to his plans and purposes to accomplish his will by certain means and not others, it is clear that God is unlimited in his own existence, his being, his character, his nature, and in his sovereign rulership over the world he has made. He alone is perfect in the infinite fullness of his eternal nature, and he alone designs and carries out his perfect will with no limitation or failure. Further, God's limitlessness continues in his creation of human beings in his own image. While he grants them moral freedom for which they are responsible, he retains complete sovereign control over their lives, choices and actions, so his own plans and purposes are never frustrated or thwarted by human agency. In summary, although God limits himself in some meaningful sense, as he chooses certain ways of working over others, he is fully unlimited both in his nature and in the certainty and exactness of the completion of his perfectly wise and good divine will. To the limitless God, then, belongs all glory, honor, and praise, and before this limitless God, we find our rightful place of humility, dependence, trust, peace, and rest.

Constrained by Love: Divine Self-Restraint according to Open Theism: pg 149-60
Clark H. Pinnock
McMaster Divinity College
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L8
God is engaged in a project of freedom, the nature of which calls for divine self-restraint. This is because God has decided to enter into give-and-take relations with human beings accepts the vulnerability which goes with that. This does not signify ontological diminishment in God but rather, constrained by love for the creatures with which he wishes to have personal fellowship, God engages in self-restraint such that the integrity of the creatures might be respected.

The Self-Limitation of God: pg 161-91
E. Frank Tupper
Wake Forest University Divinity School
Winston-Salem, NC 27106
The self-limitation of God for authentic personal relationships with finite human beings undergirds the essay, but it concentrates on a redefinition of omnipotence on the basis of “the power of love,” of omniscience in terms of God's radical freedom in the openness of the future, and of omnipresence, preliminarily, through the laments in the Psalms. Reconceptualization occurs in dialogue with the Scriptures, especially on the “retrospective presentation” of Jesus in the Gospels to provide a place for his genuine humanness in relation to the divinity of the Incarnation of God. Divine faithfulness replaces immutability, and God's empathy displaces impassibility. The conclusion accentuates the importance of discipleship in the present.

Risking Love and the Divine “Perhaps”: Postmodern Poetics of a Vulnerable God: pg 193-214
B. Keith Putt
Samford University
Birmingham, AL 35229
John D. Caputo and Richard Kearney maintain a vigilant incredulity toward the more extreme pretensions of ontotheology, that illegitimate offspring of the miscegenation between Hellenistic, metaphysical categories and Hebraic/Christian, biblical symbolism. This essay examines how each thinker develops out of that incredulity different, albeit complementary, postmodern perspectives on open theism through their respective theologies of the weakness of the event of God and of the divine potentiality of the God Who May Be.

God’s Self-Conditioned Relations according to Karl Barth: pg 215-25
Kurt Anders Richardson
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L8
In addressing the question of divine limitation, Karl Barth’s theology offers a Reformed perspective that goes beyond both traditional predestinarian and complementarian views. Although Barth certainly did not address the recent phenomenon of “Open Theism,” his concern for modeling the realities of divine and human freedom was extensive.

Transformative Presence: God´s Accomodation for our Salvation: pg 227-39
Samuel E. Ewell, III
C. Rosalee Velloso Ewell
South American Theological Seminary
Londrina, Brazil 86061-680
This essay approaches the question, “Is God limited?” through the lens of so-called contextual theology. The authors use Lamin Sanneh and James Cone as types that exemplify unhelpful answers to the question. Drawing on the theologies of John Yoder, Orlando Costas, and Elsa Tamez they argue for a christological understanding of God´s presence in Israel, thus showing that God's participation in creation through Jesus does not imply a lack or limitation of God, but points to the loving way through which God redeems the world.

Issue 03 -- Fall 2007

Roger Williams, American Democracy, and the Baptists: pg 267-86
Curtis W. Freeman
Duke University Divinity School
Durham, NC 27708
This essay investigates the question of how Roger Williams came to be viewed as a hero of civil libertarians and Baptists alike, and whether this interpretation requires qualification or reassessment. It also attempts to discern what Williams's work might have to contribute to the growing challenge of living as Christians today in a world characterized by pluralism. The conclusion reached is that Williams anticipated that the establishment and maintenance of the church through coercive practices would ultimately prove to be unsuccessful. Rather, Williams was open to a more radical understanding of how the church related to the world through a rigorous biblicist hermeneutic, including an eschatological reading of the parable of the weeds and the wheat. Equally as important, Williams was influenced by his friendship with the Narragansett people, which caused him to read the Bible from their perspective. Through Williams's example, the paper concludes that it may be possible to envision an alternative story to the conquest narrative that has become synonymous with Christianity in today's world.

A Shape for Old Testament Theology: A Lost Cause?: pg 287-95

William H. Bellinger
Baylor University, Waco TX 76798
In this essay, Bellinger first assesses the current state of Old Testament theology, generally agreeing with Leo Perdue's evaluation, namely that the field of Old Testament theology is a “shattered spectrum.” However, Bellinger sees a way forward in the recent work of Walter Brueggemann, albeit with some limitations. Bellinger’s own suggestion is that the Psalter represents a framework through which one can develop a theology of the Old Testament. Rather than being a center, a la Eichrodt, the Psalter should be considered a guide to considering the theology of the Old Testament. When one uses the Psalter as such a guide, the result is a framework for a theology consisting of three parts: covenant theology in which God delivers and the avenue of human response is torah; creation theology in which God blesses and the avenue of response is wisdom; and prophetic theology in which God speaks and the way of response is repentance.

Miracles in Mark: A Study in Markan Theology and Its Implications for Modern Religious Thought: pg 297-313
Charles W. Hedrick
Missouri State University
Springfield, MO 65804
In the Hellenistic period people negotiated risk and safety between benevolent and malevolent spiritual forces. Describing Jesus as anything less than a divine force would have ensured his insignificance. Mark describes Jesus performing: healings exorcizing, and nature manipulation. Unlike John, human faith plays a significant role in the accomplishment of human healing in Mark but not in exorcizing and nature manipulation. According to Mark the mighty deeds were connected to the dawning of God’s domain; they did not to prove his messianic character. In the twenty-first century the mighty deeds of Jesus are as much obstacle as facilitator of faith.

Racial Bias in the Academy . . . Still?: pg 315-29
J. Daniel Hays
Ouachita Baptist University
Arkadelphia, AR 71998
In this article Hays seeks to point out lingering racial bias within the academy of biblical scholarship. He explores the following: the continuing influence of older racist biblical/historical scholarship; the haphazard manner in which the term “Cush” has been translated in contemporary English Bibles; the frequency with which Cush is omitted from reference maps; the unbalanced amount of coverage given in reference works regarding Semitic and Indo-European peoples in comparison with the Black Cushites; the strange absence of Cush in the historical background discussions of commentaries on Isaiah 1-39; the tendency of White scholars frequently to assume that any Cushite who appears in the biblical story must be a slave; and the continuing citation of flimsy arguments by commentaries that try to identify the ethnicity of Moses’ wife in Num 12:1 as other than Black African.

Clarity in the Midst of Confusion: Defining Mysticism: pg 331-45

Daniel E. Wigner
Wayland Baptist University
Plainview, TX 79072

Issue 04 -- Winter 2007

Editorial Introduction: pg 357-63
Doug Weaver
Baylor University
Waco, TX 76798

Forming Baptist Identity(ies) in American Higher Education: pg 365-75
E. Glenn Hinson
Baptist Seminary of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40508
Baptist identity (or identities) is to be formed in students within our society because the essence of Baptist tradition is vital for transforming the culture of today. In doing so, Baptists are called on to be more open to the culture of which they are a part and world cultures with which they interact and to be willing to influence other cultures through open dialogue. In order to do so, Baptist institutions of higher education should neither succumb to creedalism nor separate themselves from all Baptist ties; rather, institutions should embrace a Baptist/Christian ethos, which extends from trustees, to faculty, and ultimately, to students.

On Dissent and Fidelity in Higher Education: Or What I Learned about Education from Growing up Baptist: pg 377-83
Dianne L. Oliver
University of Evansville, Evansville IN 47722
Baptist tradition has a place in higher education through the encouragement of the positive tension between dissent and fidelity. Dissent is to be promoted when one encounters powers which have the potential to marginalize groups or individuals, including other Baptists. However, one must also remain faithful to those ideas to which Baptists have traditionally considered foundational, such as Scripture, liberty, conscience, and God. The role of higher education in developing this tension is twofold: first, conscience must be formed and developed so that there is space for both dissent and fidelity; second, higher education should foster the responsible engagement and ultimately the transformation of culture.

An Alternative Vision for the Christian University: pg 385-403

Ralph C. Wood
Baylor University
Waco, TX 76798
Churches and educational institutions should mutually enhance each other. The role of educational institutions in this arrangement must be that of training men and women to do the work of ministry carried out by the church. To do so, the modern Christian university must reject the labels of liberal-moderate and fundamentalist-conservative and embrace a threefold strategy to fulfill its mission of serving the church. This strategy includes a refusal to participate in the current left vs. right culture war, the development of a faculty which integrates faith and learning rather than separates them, and a commitment to the education of students for moral virtue and religious formation.
The Very Idea of a “Baptist University”: pg 405-13
William H. Brackney
Acadia Divinity College
Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6
To understand the idea of a “Baptist University,” one must consider what Baptist educational institutions were like in the past as well as reflect on what is constitutive for a modern Baptist university. Historically, Baptist colleges were founded to train ministers and missionaries and to train students to be citizens who were exemplars of Baptist ideals. Gradually, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, many Baptist colleges grew into full-scale research institutions, while others remained committed to undergraduate education. By the twentieth century, Baptist universities had slowly begun to sever their ties to with Baptist conventions in order to maintain their academic freedom. This is a trend which continues today, while some institutions strengthening those ties. Today, a Baptist university should reflect historic Baptist ideals while maintaining a predominately Baptist leadership. It should be a community of international Christian scholars devoted to academic freedom, the promotion of Christian ideals, and welcoming of those of other religious traditions.

A Strategy for Baptist Higher Education: pg 415-27
William E. Hull
Samford University
Birmingham, AL 35229
In two previous essays, the author describes the need for a shared vision between church and school in the area of Baptist higher education. This, the third essay in the series, describes how that vision should be implemented. To do so, three suggestions are offered. First, the institution should show true humility in seeking the best of Baptist tradition to offer to its students. These traditions must be subjected to critical scrutiny before being presented to learners. Second, these traditions should be presented as a narrative, rather than as a theology or an ideology to which one must adhere. Finally, the core of the teaching/learning process should be thoroughly examined and influenced by a key group of six to twelve faculty members whose task is to attempt to promote the Baptist perspective in all areas of the teaching and learning process.