KV spoke of the importance of direct and indirect communication (Kierkegaard’s distinction): story, parable, proverb, and action are vital (and sometimes overlooked) tools for getting a message across. This prompts KV to ask if forms or genres of Scripture have authority, and if so, how? If they are not authoritative, we could simply download true facts abstracted from the Bible and be done with the tricky forms! (I also have in my notes the question, “Is Paul’s life canonical?” i.e., 1 Cor 4:8-17, but I cannot remember if that’s KV’s idea or my own reflection.)
The goal of theology is to form people of wisdom, not least so that theology and the life lived are not divorced. He gave the example of Philemon, where Paul foregoes command in order to facilitate a “fitting act that refreshes the heart,” as Vanhoozer interpreted it; or “prepared spontaneity,” in Paul Tripp’s wonderful phrase, brought out by Matthew Mason in his response paper. First Theology is about the gospel, but in a broad sense, larger than sin-defined needs–that’s milk, the beginning, but not the end.
Kevin’s recommendations included Fred Sanders, The Deep Things of God; he urged us to pursue a trinitarian gospel-centeredness, so that our gospel accounts for and celebrates “Not just God for us, but God with us and in us.” This is just one example of KV’s consistent effort to overcome theory-praxis distinction, a theme that arose repeatedly inDrama and in our discussion. KV asks what it means to be biblical, and he very forcefully insists that it is not enough to have the right propositions in hand…we must follow those facts, “walk in the way,” exercising (and acting in) judgment: we are actors, not just spectators.
The theologian also has the task of cultivating not just the intellect, but intellectual virtues, and habits of the mind linked to those virtues. Humility, not hubris; honesty, justice, patience; an intellectual pursuit that is “less about me.” A high view of our own thoughts over time makes us closed-minded and pastorally disastrous. (JH note: How do we balance this with the pastor-theologian as “public intellectual” and “Big Picture Specialist”?!? I’d recommend John Dickson’s new book, Humilitas.)