2004 Volume 31

Issue 01 -- Spring 2004

Editorial Introduction: Christian Spirituality in the Age of Growing Secularity: pg. 5-6
Wm. Lloyd Allen
McAfee School of Theology
Atlanta, Georgia 31207

A Crafty Historian: A Glenn Hinson Primer: pg. 7-12
Bill J. Leonard
Wake Forest Divinity School
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27109
Vocation, spiritual formation, and calling are words that pilgrims like E. Glenn Hinson explore in ways that help the rest of us along the way. His gifts of scholarship, churchmanship, and spiritual exploration have kept many of us believing, praying, hoping, and learning. He is ever the crafty historian, teaching us what it means to be catholic, to be Baptist, to seek the Spirit, and, most of all, what it means to be free.

Glenn Hinson: Extraordinary “Ordinary Saint”: pg. 13-20

Wm. Lloyd Allen
McAfee School of Theology
Atlanta, Georgia 31207
Drawing from an oral history interview recorded on September 20, 2003, this article examines what Glenn Hinson believes to be the sources of his own spiritual formation and his understanding of his vocation as scholar and teacher in the area of Christian spirituality.  The article covers the time span from Hinson’s childhood to his current vision for the future of Christian spiritual formation.  It includes his friendships with such notables as Thomas Merton and Douglas Steere, and his associations with various groups and educational institutions.

Thomas Merton’s Inclusive and Engaged Spirituality: pg. 21-36
George A. Kilcourse, Jr.
Bellarmine University
Louisville, Kentucky 40205
Entering the third millennium of Christian history, a third and fourth generation of spiritual seekers now encounter Thomas Merton’s urgent paragraphs that breathe hope and awaken one’s soul to liberation. The combination of Merton’s rooted yet restless personality uniquely equipped him to speak to the profound questions and longings of an age quaking with cultural and social upheaval. His influence, both within and beyond the Roman Catholic tradition and Christianity, galvanized the renewed understanding of spirituality as inherently engaged in defending the dignity of all human persons through justice and peacemaking. The contemplative basis of Merton’s contribution to Christian spirituality and to interreligious dialogue offers wisdom for contemporary and future encounters with the “religious other.” This contemplative basis also expressed itself in Merton’s religious ethic. The monk and hermit of rural Kentucky’s Abbey of Gethsemani declined the privileged title of “innocent bystander” and dared to imagine prophetic alternatives to racism, war and violence, the inertia and abuse of authority within the church, nationalism, social injustice, and America’s dominant consumer culture.

Douglas V. Steere: Quaker Prayer and Christian Action: pg. 37-46
Gary Poe
Palm Beach Atlantic University
Palm Beach, Florida 33416
Douglas Steere was the greatest Quaker spiritual writer of the twentieth century. He is remembered especially for his writings on prayer. In the tradition of Quaker John Woolman, Douglas Steere’s spirituality was not limited to the interior life, but also manifested itself in outward endeavors. Steere’s influence went well beyond a Quaker audience. A humble, pious Quaker, Douglas Steere was also a Christian activist who made an impact worldwide. This paper will introduce Steere’s life and spiritual teachings and then demonstrate some of his contributions to the world at large.

A Spiritual Master: Dom Thomas Keating o.c.s.o.: pg. 47-54
Basil Pennington
St. Joseph’s Abbey
Spencer, Massachusetts 01562
Today the Contemplative Outreach in the United States and Canada has associated networks in the British Isles, Philippines, South Africa, and Malaysia, as well as the Extension Contemplativa Internacionale, while groups are found in Australia, Bahamas, Brazil, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France, Guam, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and other countries. It is undoubtedly through these lay networks that the vision of Dom Thomas Keating will be carried forth through the twenty-first century, ever advancing the evolution of human consciousness, forwarding the unity from the churches and the world religions, filling ordinary life with extraordinary love.

The Spirituality of Martin Luther King Jr.: pg. 55-70
C. Douglas Weaver
Baylor University
Waco, Texas 76798
The outer piety of Martin Luther King Jr.’s spirituality was social action manifested in the Civil Rights Movement. He also called the Civil Rights Movement “a spiritual movement,” and knew it was a part of the prophetic spirituality of the African-American church. The organizational center of the movement, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, was defined by the motto, to “save the soul of America.” The Civil Rights Movement’s method of non-violence, King’s contribution to America’s civil spirituality, was “non-aggressive physically but dynamically aggressive spiritually.” King’s spirituality was, in essence, a spirituality of radical inclusiveness for all people, African-American or white, rich or poor, American or Vietnamese.

Dorothy Day: An Ordinary Saint?: pg. 71-82
Karen Smith
Cardiff University
Cardiff Wales CF10 3XQ
Day described her restlessness as a “long loneliness.” “We have all known the long loneliness,” she wrote, “and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community." Some might argue that Day’s restless longing was not a quality of sainthood, but a characteristic that often led her to radical action which cut across traditional Christian views. Yet her desire for God may have reflected, in part, God’s own desire for her and for the whole world. It was a longing for a new world, which made it impossible to be satisfied with a community, which reflected inequality and inequity. Indeed, Day’s life reminds us that sainthood is about our restlessness meeting the restlessness of God and discovering that in the end the only answer is love.

He Was Ancientfuture Before Ancientfuture Was Cool: pg. 83-98
Phyllis Rodgerson Pleasants
Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond
Richmond, Virginia 23227
Indeed, before Leonard Sweet was even born let along describing what an ancientfuture faith would look like in the 21st century, George MacLeod was recovering tradition to energize moving into the future in a faith that was Experiential, Participatory, Image-driven, and Connectional. MacLeod's biographer said that what Christian spiritual leadership will look like in the future in unknown. “But those searching for a whole vision rooted in history yet alive with mystery, wishing to integrate the personal, the political and the communal, and above all, wishing to try it out in the flesh, will find this big man of Morvern to be a helpful guide. Because he has travelled this way before them.” Christianity in this 21st century is the beneficiary of the “Celtic Spellbinder” who offered a way to make the Incarnation not only a historic doctrine, but also lived experience in our day.

Issue 02 -- Summer 2004

Haunting Voices: The Old Testament in Contemporary Consciousness: pg. 117-22
Stephen B. Chapman
Duke Divinity School
Durham, North Carolina 27708

The Hebrew Scriptures and Theology: Resources and Problems: pg. 123-34

W. H. Bellinger Jr.
Baylor University
Waco, Texas 76798
Several publications at the end of the twentieth century have renewed interest in Old Testament theology. These works provide a context for considering the theological task in Old Testament studies. Such theological work is important for our culture and for contemporary believers and congregations. In this context three issues are especially relevant: First, contemporary readers often view the Old Testament as overly violent, but perhaps the text is simply more realistic about the hard work it takes to bring about peace in a violent world. Second, we tend to assume that the portrayal of God in the Hebrew Scriptures is harsh, but many Old Testament texts emphasize God’s justice. Finally, the powerful and yet problematic prayers of the Psalter illustrate what is often called the foreignness of the Old Testament. Many readers consider the foreignness of the Hebrew Bible to be a problem, but it may actually be a gift.

Reclaiming a Theology of Election: Favoritism and the Joseph Story: pg. 135-52
Joel S. Kaminsky
Smith College
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063
The concept of Election, God’s mysterious preference of certain individuals or groups over others, has fallen out of favor today. This essay contends that the Joseph narrative (Genesis 37-50) is an extended meditation on, and ultimately defense of, divine election. The inherent conflict caused by human and divine favoritism in the Joseph story is echoed in other biblical narratives. A careful survey of the Joseph tale and its relationship to these other stories of sibling rivalry illuminates the deeper meaning of election and the way in which divine favoritism reveals the intimate and personal character of God’s love towards humanity.

The Trope of “Exile” and the Displacement of Old Testament Theology: pg. 153-70

Carolyn J. Sharp
Yale Divinity School
New Haven, Connecticut 06511
This essay maps significant changes in Old Testament hermeneutics by assessing the theologies of exile of Ackroyd, Klein, Brueggemann, and Smith-Christopher. Postmodern and ideological-critical insights now complicate Ackroyd’s positivist historicism and Klein's pastoral analogizing. Brueggemann's attention to dynamics of testimony and counter testimony constitutes an important hermeneutical advance but requires closer contextual readings of Scripture to avoid and overly aestheticized notion of rhetoric. Smith-Christopher's postcolonial hermeneutics emphasizes the real-life trauma experienced by colonized peoples and helps realign the sociology of Biblical theology. Urgently needed now is a collaborative, interdisciplinary diaspora theology that probes the multiple, competing resonances of scriptural tropes of identity, home, displacement, and exile.

Reading the Bible as Witness: Divine Retribution in the Old Testament: pg. 171-90
Stephen B. Chapman
Duke Divinity School
Durham, North Carolina 27708
The argument of this essay will be that in order for Brevard Childs to do full justice to his own approach he needs to maintain greater openness about what constitutes a “witness.” Specifically, on the basis of his own methodology Childs cannot simply excuse the biblical worldview from theological consideration but must grant it the theoretical possibility of amplifying the overall “witness” of an Old Testament of biblical theology. This issue will be focused by means of an examination of the theological issues that revolve around how to understand divine retribution in the Old Testament.

And These Three Are One: A Trinitarian Critique of Christological Approaches to the Old Testament: pg. 191-210
Brent A. Strawn
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia 30322
In this article, I will argue that a thoroughly trinitarian perspective of God necessarily involves a revisioning of christological interpretations of the Old Testament. I want to consider what difference it makes if one reads the Old Testament (and all of Scripture for that matter) with a theology that is trinitarian in orientation and how that perspective may allow or disallow distinctively christological approaches. I will argue that a trinitarian perspective both permits and prohibits certain types of christological interpretation of the Old Testament.

In the Trenches: A Review Essay: pg. 211-14

Christopher H. Evans
Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School
Rochester, New York 14620
David Duke’s book, In the Trenches with Jesus and Marx: Henry F. Ward and the Struggle for Social Justice, is a fascinating biography of Harry Ward (1873-1966), chronicling Ward’s ninety-three year life that stretched from the Victorian era of the late nineteenth century to the American escalation of the Vietnam War in the mid 1960’s. Duke not only discusses Ward’s impact upon the legacy of American social Christianity, but also restores him as a major figure in the history of twentieth-century social action.

Issue 03 -- Fall 2004

Changing Theology: Baptists, Salvation, Globalism Then and Now: pg. 251-58
Bill J. Leonard
Wake Forest Divinity School
Winston-Salem NC 27109
This article represents one response to global pluralism, with a particular attention to Baptist paradigms. It suggests that certain eighteenth-century Baptists offer a case study for reexamining issues of religious pluralism and particularity in the face of a new globalism. In that era, Calvinistic Baptists in Britain and the U.S. recognized that they had the logistical means of taking the gospel to the world, and in deciding to do that, they changed their theology implicitly, and then explicitly, in ways that altered their understanding of election and salvation. Theology changed, in part as a response to new globalism. Coming to terms with global pluralism does not mean losing Christian identity or relinquishing an unashamed commitment to a specific faith tradition. Religious liberty requires that divergent, even contradictory, religious voices will be heard in the public square. Some Christians will struggle with the unceasing paradox of conversionist particularism and pluralistic libertarianism, knowing that many persons in other religions will struggle to do the same.

Where Two or Three Are Gathered: Communion Ecclesiology in the Free Church: pg. 259-72
Curtis Freeman
Duke Divinity School
Durham, North Carolina 27708
Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Free Church theologians have hailed Miroslav Volf's book After Our Likeness as a creative and constructive proposal that merits further ecclesiological and ecumenical conversation. Reviewers praise his Trinitarian ecclesiology as “fascinating,” “substantial,” and “sophisticated,” suggesting why Volf has become one of the most read and respected theologians of this generation. Volf proposes an alternative account in which one’s relation to Christ and the church are mutually determinative, thus combining aspects of Schleirermacher’s Catholic and Protestant types. The strength of Volf’s constructive proposal from a Free Church perspective lies in its extensive revision of a gathered church ecclesiology from the standpoint of Trinitarian theology. Construing the gathered community as a reflection of and participation in the Triune communion provides a stark alternative to the atomistic individualism that underlies contemporary congregational life. This article will explore three areas in Volf’s theology: individualism, covenant, and sacrament.

Ecclesiology and Communion: pg. 273-90
Nicolas M. Healy
St. John's University
Jamaica, New York 11439
Relatively few have raised critical questions about communion ecclesiology. My concern is that communion ecclesiologies, whether conservative, liberal, or liberationist, exhaustive or not, avoid any substantive consideration of the sinfulness of the church. This lacuna is coupled in much communion ecclesiology with a realized eschatology in which communion with the triune God is understood to be the ever-present reality at the heart of the church’s being. This paper is a critical and constructive examination of communion ecclesiologies.

Post-Cold War Religious Culture: Southern Baptist Interpretation of the First Gulf War: pg. 291-310
Glenn M. Robins
Georgia Southwestern State University
Americus, Georgia 31709
Any attempt to place Southern Baptist interpretations of the First Gulf War within both the Southern political realignment and the denominational shift would fall outside of the scope of this article. Such questions are more suitable for a larger more comprehensive study, one that should probably consider Southern Baptist interpretations of the 9/11 tragedy and the Second Gulf War. However, the task at hand is to document Southern Baptist reactions to the First Gulf War and to provide preliminary categories of analysis for understanding post-Cold War religious culture within the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

Mullins and Mohler: A Study in Strategy: pg. 311-24
William E. Hull
Samford University
Birmingham, Alabama 35229
The most significant debate about theological strategy in Southern Baptist life today was framed in a thirty page “Introduction” by R. Albert Mohler to the 1997 reissue of E. Y. Mullins’s classic work, The Axioms of Religion. There are two primary reasons for the importance of this publication. First, Axioms is the key to the Mullins corpus, the best known and most influential of his ten books. Second, the Mullins legacy is of major concern to Mohler. By his repeated return to this topic, Mohler seems to be saying that he must first set aside the theological legacy of his distinguished predecessor before he can succeed in putting his own theological agenda in its place. This article will describe Mullins’s legacy, Mohler’s evaluation of that legacy, and finally, provide an evaluation of these two contrasting visions for Southern Baptist life.

Rewriting the History of Israel: A Review Essay: pg. 325-42
Frederick L. Downing
Louisiana College
Pineville, Louisiana 71360
Near Eastern archaeology, once ruled by the magisterial theories of W. F. Albright and his students, has come under the powerful influence of anthropology and has witnessed the emergence of a gifted and energetic generation of young Israeli practitioners of the art. Some of the new theories have sent shock waves through an Israeli public who have been more accustomed to scenarios closer to Albright. For a time the revisionist views associated with the current archaeological landscape seemed to matter only to the scholars. But now archaeology is an issue of the discussion in matters of politics and questions of national identity for both Israelis and Palestinians. This essay will explore these issues through an analysis of the books recently published by Marcus, Finkelstein and Siblerman, and Dever.

Issue 04 -- Winter 2004

Yahweh’s Strongman? The Characterization of Hezekiah in the Book of Isaiah: pg. 383-98
James M. Kennedy
Baylor University
Waco, Texas 76798
Scholars of Isaiah have generally viewed the portrait of Hezekiah in Isaiah 36-39 as favorable to the king. This article proposes that reading this narrative in terms of the ethical demands of the book as a whole produces a negative judgment of Hezekiah’s character. There are meaningful signals of characterization in Isaiah 1-35 and 40-66 that serve cumulatively to impress the reader with an image of Hezekiah as exhibiting the same conceptual deformations about Yahweh’s status as do the Judahite social elite in general.

Things Too Wonderful: A Disabled Reading of Job: pg. 399-424
Rebecca Raphael
Texas State University-San Marcos
San Marcos, Texas 78666
The book of Job has at least two exegetical problems, one old, one new. The old problem is that the divine speeches do not directly engage the dialogue that precedes them. Are they connected to the other speeches at all, and if so, how? Can an aesthetic response answer a moral challenge? The new exegetical problem is reading the book of Job in light of contemporary disability studies, for each can enhance our understanding of the other. These two problems turn out to be intimately related; that is, a reading that privileges Job’s articulation of his disabled body can shed “a kind of raging light” on God’s speeches.

A Polysemiotic Approach to the Poor in the Psalms: pg. 425-40

W. Dennis Tucker Jr.
George W. Truett Theological Seminary
Waco, Texas 76798
The present study seeks to establish the terms contained within the semantic domain of property, as evidenced in the Psalter. A heuristic device will be offered as a means of addressing the multivalent features of each term. This device will be applied to each term within the semantic domain, providing an initial catalog of terms and their contextual meanings. Although space does not permit an extended, textual study of each occurrence from the word field, the cataloging of terms establishes the groundwork for continued research on the poor in the Psalms.

Reading the Psalms in Light of 9-11: The Dialectic of War and Peace as a Leitmotif in the Psalms of Ascent: pg. 441-52

H. Wayne Ballard, Jr.
Carson-Newman College
Jefferson City, Tennessee 37760
The Psalter of the Hebrew Bible has provided a solace for the troubled souls who have struggled with various internal conflicts for more than two thousand years. This paper will focus on a solitary conflict, the dialectic of war and peace in the Psalms, as a means for answering the question: How do the psalms speak to events like 9-11? Thus the tasks of this paper are threefold: first, to identify the psalms of war and peace based on their literary qualities alone; second, isolate the tensions found in the texts between the polarities of war and peace in these psalms; and third, extrapolate what these tensions can contribute to the lives of people living in a post 9-11 society.

The World Turned Upside-Down: Carnivalesque and Satiric Elements in Acts: pg. 453-66
Michael D. Thomas
Baylor University
Waco, Texas 76798
According to Russian theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, early satiric styles and images in the Greco-Roman world contributed to the later evolution of “carnival.” A satiric tone and/or the techniques of carnival can be perceived in Acts: Mocking the Sanhedrin (ch. 5), Reversing Saul of Tarsus (ch. 9), Inverting Cornelius the Centurion (ch. 10), The “Uncrowning” of Herod (ch. 12), Overturning a Prison (ch. 16), and The Prisoner Running the Show (ch. 27). These undeniably key moments in the narrative center on major events in early church history and dramatically illustrate power/authority conflicts and questions. Each will be explored in turn in this paper.

Raphael’s Miraculous Draught of Fishes and Christ’s Charge to Peter: Their Theological and Artistic Implications in the Sistine Chapel: pg. 467-88
Heidi J. Hornik
Baylor University
Waco, Texas 76798
Raphael painted ten cartoons to guide the hands of the weaving artisans in the workshop of Pieter van Aelst in Brussels. Two of these cartoons depicted the Miraculous Draught of Fishes and the Christ’s Charge to Peter and are only fully understood when considering them in their original location of the Sistine Chapel. The decoration of the frescoed walls in the 1480s, ceiling in the beginning of the 1500s, and the woven tapestries of the 1510s affirm the authority of the papacy through an iconographic program representing the primacy of Peter and apostolic succession. The two scenes discussed here provide the foundations of that theology and carry the needed symbolism for the audience/spectators of the Sistine Chapel. The Miraculous Draught of Fishes and the Charge to St. Peter, will be discussed in terms of their formal characteristics and iconographic role in the theological program of the Sistine Chapel. The technique of an artist creating and preparing a cartoon, in reverse, to be woven as a tapestry by another artist in another part of the world will also be examined.

Baylor 2012: A Vision for the Future? A Review Essay: pg. 489-94

David P. Gushee
Union University
Jackson, Tennessee 38305
Despite its awkward title, which reflects the tensions discussed within its pages, The Baptist and Christian Character of Baylor is a riveting book of great significance for contemporary Christian higher education, especially in Baptist life. It also brings to the surface critically important issues for the future of our Baptist family.