Reformed Catholicity

The Promise of Retrieval for Theology and Biblical Interpretation Written by Michael Allen, and Scott R. Swain  Can Christians and churches be both catholic and Reformed? Can they commit not only to the ultimate authority of apostolic Scripture but also to receiving this Bible within the context of the apostolic church? This...

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The Promise of Retrieval for Theology and Biblical Interpretation

Written by Michael Allen, and Scott R. Swain 

Can Christians and churches be both catholic and Reformed? Can they commit not only to the ultimate authority of apostolic Scripture but also to receiving this Bible within the context of the apostolic church? This volume argues that to be Reformed means to go deeper into true catholicity rather than away from it. The authors offer a manifesto for a catholic and Reformed approach to dogmatics that seeks theological renewal through retrieval of the rich resources of the historic Christian tradition. The authors provide a survey of recent approaches toward theological retrieval and offer a renewed exploration of the doctrine of sola Scriptura.

Contents Introduction:

Renewal through Retrieval; 1. Learning Theology in the School of Christ: The Principles of Theology and the Promise of Retrieval; 2. Retrieving Sola Scriptura, Part One: The Catholic Context of Sola Scriptura; 3. Retrieving Sola Scriptura, Part Two: Biblical Traditioning; 4. A Ruled Reading Reformed: The Role of the Church's Confession in Biblical Interpretation; 5. In Defense of Proof Texting. Afterword: Rediscovering the Catholic-Reformed Tradition for Today: A Biblical Christ-Centered Vision for Church Renewal by J. Todd Billings.

Endorsements

"Allen and Swain here blaze an old trail in helpful new ways, correcting misinterpretations of what it means to be Reformed and in the process indicating a vital way forward for biblical interpretation and theology. I particularly appreciate the way they appeal to properly Protestant principles, like sola Scriptura, even as they urge us to thoughtfully retrieve and appropriate catholic tradition." - Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"The notion of Scripture alone has come to be used in recent decades as a means of cutting off Protestantism from its own theological and ecclesiological history. The result is a faith that has too often proved fatally vulnerable to critique from Roman Catholics or degenerated into a theologically thin and ahistorical biblicism. In this densely argued but fascinating book, Scott Swain and Michael Allen demonstrate that classic Reformed Protestantism has an understanding of Scripture, of tradition, and of ecclesiology that anchors the Christian faith in biblical exegesis and at the same time provides the framework and the classical categories for avoiding both the Roman and biblicist options. Drawing on recent historical scholarship and engaging with contemporary Christian thought across the confessional spectrum, this is a bracing manifesto that sets out a clear pathway for the future of Protestantism." - Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania

"Swain and Allen continue the recent push for retrieving the tradition as a way of renewing contemporary theology. This book stands out because it's written by two Reformed theologians who are plumbing the depths of their own theological tradition, appealing to principles drawn specifically from Reformed theological prolegomena and ecclesiology to show a Protestant account of how tradition operates in our theology. This is a bold but welcome move to enter in to a conversation inhabited largely by Roman Catholics, who have been laboring in this field for years." - Mark McDowell, Reformation 21

"I am always looking for a book that could serve well as a textbook. Upon reading this book, I immediately had something of a 'eureka' moment--I have found just the book needed! Here is a book that offers a balanced account of the respective roles played in the discipline of theology by the Scriptures, the confessions, and the study of the history of Scriptural interpretation and theology throughout the history of the church. . . . I heartily recommend this book to any reader who is interested in the question of how theology needs to honor Scriptural authority and at the same time respect the inheritances of the church's reading of Scripture as genuine 'fruits' of the Spirit's presence." - Cornelis P. Venema, Mid-America Journal of Theology

"I am a Baptist who now values the church's shared past as a guide for reading Scripture. Michael Allen and Scott Swain's Reformed Catholicity has contributed to this watershed in my life. My suspicion is that it will do the same for others. . . . Reading Reformed Catholicity should drive us to retrieve our catholic roots, going beyond the reformers to the Apostle's Creed. We can be Reformed and rooted in the teaching of the apostles, thus being 'catholic-Reformed.' Allen and Swain have pushed me further in this direction, helping me to be more comfortable with the church's catholic past. I hope the same for students and pastors." - Miguel Echevarria,

Paperback, 168 pages, notes, index

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