Monday, March 13, 2006

Christian Contradictions

My family and I are in Bendigo at the moment staying with a very close friend of mine, the local Lutheran pastor. We celebrated my 40th birthday together yesterday, so I am feeling officially "old".

Almost instantly upon my arrive, my friend presented me with a book entitled "Christian Contradictions: the structures of Lutheran and Catholic thought" by Daphne Hampson.

This book has formed the centre of most of our conversations for the whole weekend, and I definitely intend to get a copy of my own. It is, in my view, one of the most important works for the Catholic Lutheran ecumenical endeavour that I have read in many years. I will blog further on it when my copy arrives.

Just briefly, her thesis is that Catholic theology has a linear structure and Lutheran theology a dialectic structure, which means that in dialogue the two are often talking past eachother. I think her thesis is spot on for some Lutheran theology and explains a lot of difficulty in the dialogue with Catholics. It also explains something of the tendancy within Lutheranism for (what even some Lutherans call) "gospel reductionism". It needs much more thinking over.

In the mean time, you can read the following reviews:

Ecumenical Review by Eric W. Gritsch (Lutheran)
Christian Century by Michael Root

You can actually buy a downloadable copy of the book for US$30 here.

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