Monday, October 18, 2010

A Dunker's love for Reformed theology

From Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA 22802, USA
Brethren scholar, Dale Stoffer, has noted the Reformed influences on the early Schwarzenau Brethren - especially Alexander Mack - that have often been overlooked in Brethren scholarship (focusing primarily on Anabaptism and Radical Pietism). This Reformed dimension to my own tradition as a Dunker perhaps explains a bit of my warm regard for some aspects of Calvin's theology and the Reformed tradition more broadly. (I also have Dutch Reformed culture in my family and home community, to further muddy the waters.)

So despite having some pretty fundamental disagreements with "flaming Calvinist" pastor/author/theologian, John Piper, I do hold a tremendous amount of respect for the man, have followed his online musings for a number of years (until he went on sabbatical this year), and found many moments of devotional and theological resonance with his writing.

More recently I've been turned on to the self-described "Reformed Pentecostal" philosophical-theologian, James K.A. Smith, whose new popular-audience book, Letters to a Young Calvinist, was just released by Brazos. Smith's range as an author is staggering. I've read a bit of his scholars-only philosophical writing alongside his more popular writings, and regularly follow his blog...and it's all great. He's very clear and effective in articulating his thought to various audiences. It would be interesting to see some folks in my home community in rural Iowa, the Dutch Reformed and Brethren especially, take up this book (perhaps along w/ Stuart Murray's, The Naked Anabaptist) and see what percolates. I'd love to read both of these books myself, but the chances of that happening are pretty slim. So I commend them to the blogosphere...

(Via: Fors Clavigera.)

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