A Call to Christian Formation
How Theology Makes Sense of Our World
A Call to Christian Formation shows that theology is both integrally related to formation in Jesus Christ and shapes our understanding of the world. John Clark and Marcus Peter Johnson explore the deep connections between theology and the life of the Christian and examine what it means for Christians to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. Christian formation is incomplete and impossible without theological formation, because Christ transforms our hearts and minds, attuning them to the reality of God. Clark and Johnson also emphasize Christian formation as a defining feature of the church, arguing that theology must be integrally connected to the church's traditions and practices.
Professors and students in theology, introduction to Christian thought, and Christianity courses will value this work. It will also appeal to pastors and church leaders.
Introduction: Theology: Formed by Christ the Lord
1. Jesus Christ: The Lord and Logos of Christian Theology
2. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: The Triune Shape of Christian Theology
3. The Body of Christ: The Ecclesial Context of Christian Theology
4. Holy and Profane Worship: The Liturgical Cadence of Christian Theology
5. The Postulate of Paradox: The Mysterious Nature of Christian Theology
6. Living Forward, Understanding Backward: The Eschatological Tension of Christian Theology
Conclusion: Six Theses on the Character of Christian Theology
"This presentation of the foundational role of orthodox, biblical theology in daily life and work will be of great encouragement to students and pastors, as well as lay persons who are serious about building their lives on the unshakeable foundation laid down by the Word of God in Jesus Christ. I admire the authors' forthright affirmation of the concrete, life-giving nature of theological study, graciously expounded here for the well-being of the church and for the daily lives of serious disciples of Jesus. He is honored here as the Savior and Lord of the mind as well as the bodily life and destiny of all who seek him. The apostle Paul urged that every thought be taken captive to obey Christ and him alone. Clark and Johnson have sought to do just that."
Fleming Rutledge, author of The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ
"This wonderful book offers a clarion call to make the knowledge of God the most important thing in our lives, the thing we long for, delight in, pursue, and prioritize above all else--and use to interpret and apply everything else in our lives as well. It offers a call, in other words, to recover the significance of theology once again in an age when most Christians pay lip service to God without knowing much about him. I pray that it will captivate the souls of many readers, yielding a renaissance of interest in pursuing God among everyday people in the context of the church. May real, genuine growth in our knowledge of the Lord renew our minds, shape our thoughts, and fuel our lives."
Douglas A. Sweeney, dean and professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
"Being called to formation means nothing less than being called to Christ. That's the basic premise of A Call to Christian Formation. From start to finish, this book invites us to share in the mind of Christ. It's when the whole of us is transformed by the whole of him that we learn to do our theology well. Bold and unapologetic, Clark and Johnson ward off all wanderlust--away from God in Christ, away from the church and her liturgy, away from mystery and paradox. Grounded in Scripture and conversant with ecumenical thought, this book powerfully reminds us that the Christ-reality is the only place where true communion is found."
Hans Boersma, Saint Benedict Servants of Christ Chair in Ascetical Theology, Nashotah House Theological Seminary
"Clark and Johnson issue an invitation to theology for those who may not realize the adventure they're missing. Their book offers an introduction to the dazzling mystery of knowing God in Christ. It has something to teach about why the doctrine of the Trinity matters, why there is no Christian life without the church, how liturgies form us, and what it means to hope for the kingdom of God."
Phillip Cary, professor of philosophy, Eastern University
"For evangelicals and Protestants wanting to know what theology is and hungering for mystery and liturgy and sacrament in the historical church, this is a beautifully written guide to going further up and further in."
Gerald R. McDermott, retired Anglican Chair, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University; author of Everyday Glory
"Clark and Johnson helpfully remind us that theology matters not because we need to fill our heads with abstract philosophical ideas but because it is our way of responding to the reality of the Triune God, who has called us to enter into his life and purposes. Let this volume take you back to the heart of the formative nature of true theology--fostering our worship of God and letting his reality reshape us in his goodness and truth."
Kelly M. Kapic, professor of theological studies, Covenant College
"If the church is to succeed in forming people who look like Jesus, it will need a theology that is up to the task. In this wonderful introduction, Clark and Johnson show us that theology is not the dusty domain of academic specialists but real, saving, and transforming knowledge of the living God given by Christ to his church for a purpose: the edification and maturity of God's people into the image of Christ."
Joel Scandrett, assistant professor of historical theology, Trinity School for Ministry; editor of To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism
Southwestern Journal of Theology 2021 Book of the Year Award (Honorable Mention, Applied Theology/Ethics)
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