November 21, 2007

"The God Who Is Triune" by Allan Coppedge

May I recommend Allan Coppedge's new volume The God Who is Triune. This book represents the author's contribution to the current revival of Trinitarian theology. In line with John 1:14, 18, "no one has ever seen God; the only Son from the bosom of the Father, he has made him known," Coppedge allows Jesus to be the entry point into a fully Trinitarian doctrine of God. This opening line from the book's introduction captures the spirit of the entire book, "It's time to return to Jesus as the center of the Christian faith!"

The book divides into five general areas. Chapters 1-5 set forth the foundations of Coppedge's Trinitarian theology. There has often been a perceived problem with the data for Trinitarian theology because there are a limited number of passages which mention all three persons of the Trinity together. Coppedge takes a fresh approach suggesting ways to expand the data including the use of all texts which include references to at least two persons of the Trinity. These chapters also include a brief history of Trinitarian development and chapters on the way the Triune God relates to the cosmos and to himself.

The second section takes a look the nature and attributes of the Triune God. Again, Coppedge's approach is fresh in that he looks first at the personal and moral attributes of God in order then to understand the relative and absolute attributes of God. Systematic theology has traditionally taken these in the reverse order. Coppedge's approach, however, is more faithful to the scriptures in that God reveals himself in personal relationship to his creatures in the context of a covenant rather than providing humanity with abstract theological treatises.

Chapter nine is devoted to the roles in which God relates to his creation. It is followed by two chapters on the nature of creation. The final two chapters are devoted to the way a personal Triune God utilizes providence and exercises his sovereignty providing fresh support for the traditional and biblical views of the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition on sovereignty, freedom, and responsibility.

The book is certainly accessible to interested laypersons. It would also present a challenge to seasoned experts in the field. Coppedge brings new insight to the Christian doctrine of Triune Theism.

November 15, 2007

N.T. Wright Visits Asbury

It probably won't take a long perusal of this blog to discover that Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright has had a significant influence on both my theological thinking and the way I read the Bible. So, it will come as no surprise that I was excited about his visit to our Asbury Theological Seminary this week. Wright delivered two lectures entitled "Use of Scripture in Contemporary Political Discourse" and "God in Public: Biblical Faith in Tomorrow's World." Both lectures were quite compelling and full of important insights about the way Christians should engage in the realm of politics. However, my favorite event of the week was the New Testament Colloquium where Wright presented a talk entitled, "Acts and the Contemporary Challenge of the Gospel." The events were rounded off by a small talk back session where I was fortunate enough to sit at a table with the Bishop and discuss a few matters of exegesis in Romans as well as get the above picture. For those who are not familiar with Wright and his work, his website has more than enough material to start with. It is worth the time to listen to at least a little of what he has to say. I particularly appreciate his desire to communicate with people in every level of society. Wright's is no ivory tower theology. I'm surely not the first to say that he writes with a scholar's pen but a pastor's heart.

Grace and peace,

Matt