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Theology in Scotland 20 no. 2 (Autumn 2013)

The Letter to the Ephesians

N. T. Wright (Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews)

Two lecturers given by N. T. Wright on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians at the 2013 SCTS conference are reproduced here verbatim. Presenting a fresh perspective on Ephesians, his exegesis of the letter is combined with an illuminating use of the nature of Second Temple Judaism and this wider context provides some rich and fruitful insights and as such provides a superb introduction, in nuce,to his important work on the Pauline corpus as well as to some aspects of his wider thought.

Pastoral care and counselling in Scotland since 1950

David Lyall (retired minister of the Church of Scotland and former Principal of New College, University of Edinburgh)

David Lyall’s paper covers the history of pastoral care and counselling in Scotland since the emergence of new movements within these disciplines in the 1950s. As teacher and practitioner David Lyall played an active role over several decades in many of the important changes in pastoral care in Scotland and he is, therefore, well placed to reflect on these developments and to offer a useful survey of the development of pastoral care and counselling in Scotland over the past sixty or so years.

Sanctification: Words for the weary

Alexandra Radcliff (Donald M. Baillie Scholar in Theology at St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews)

Within Reformed circles there has been a long and continuing debate on the relation of justification and sanctification. By drawing on the work of Andrew Murray, J. B. Torrance, T. F. Torrance and Gary Deddo,, Alexandra Radcliff gives a succinct account of our justification and sanctification as inseparable in Christ, arguing that our sanctification in Christ is, then, the source of a new identity which liberates us, progressively, to live life in holiness.

Marilynn Robinson’s Calvinist apology in fiction and essay

Péter Pásztor (professional translator, whose work has included a Hungarian translation of Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Gilead)

While Calvinism has not fared particularly well in the mainstream Zeitgeist of late, Péter Pásztor’s paper reflects on how it has recently found a major apologist in the work of the novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson. He makes the case that Robinson’s fiction and essays attempt no less than a re-furnishing of Protestantism, Calvinism in particular, with the intellectual poignancy it used to bear in Western thought and imagination.

Taking the Lord’s name in vain

W. Graham Monteith (minister of the Church of Scotland and author of a number of books including a trilogy reflecting on the miracles of Jesus)

In his paper, Graham Monteith explores some of the social boundaries, or cultural limits, of language – an investigation, that is, of the liminal area of speech which issues from pain or anger, and is expressed in swearing and expletives. He draws on more recent literature to offer a reflection on Jesus’ suffering on the cross in the darkest moments of pain and utter desperation. He concludes with a message of hope in the continuing love of God.

John Baillie on the theology of revelation

D. R. Valentine (lecturer at Regent’s University, London)

In his article, Daniel Valentine examines John Baillie’s book The Idea of Revelation in Recent Thought from the formal perspective of broader historical theology. He sets out the two main topics of Baillie’s study – first, the relation of reason and revelation, and second, propositional views of revelation. Valentine follows Baillie’s thought through to its main conclusions, indicating that Baillie had, perhaps, failed to set his study of these problems in the broader historical context of theological tradition. This paper offers an introduction to the variety of perspectives concerning revelation.

Books reviewed:

  • Cathy Higgins, Churches in Exile: Alternative Models of Church for Ireland in the 21st Century
  • Peter Goodwin Heltzel, Resurrection City: A Theology of Improvisation

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