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A Theology of Word & Spirit: Authority & Method in Theology

, 1992
ISBN: 9780830876433

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In A Theology of Word & Spirit Bloesch draws out the contemporary implications of the biblically founded theology of Augustine, Luther, Calvin and Barth. He also offers fresh and faithful discussions of relativism, the present church conflict over biblical authority, fideism and rationalism, feminine–gender language for God, narrative theology, and the hermeneutical problem.

Harvesting the fruit of a lifetime of devoted scholarship and passionate dialogue, Bloesch offers his assessments and reflections at a time of extraordinary change and challenge. In A Theology of Word & Spirit he points the way toward a confessional theology for the 21st century.

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“Theology must not be confounded with philosophy. The latter represents a search for a comprehensive picture of the world, whereas the former consists in a faithful exposition of what God has revealed in Holy Scripture. Theology is founded upon the concrete speech of the living God as we hear this in the witness of the prophets and apostles of biblical history. Philosophy is based on the universal aspiration of a searching humanity to penetrate the mystery of human existence. The emphasis in theology is not on the omnicompetence of reason (as in rationalistic philosophy) but on the omnipotence of grace. Its goal is not to bring all of reality under the domain of understanding but to bring understanding into submission to the Word of God.” (Page 18)

“I contend that theology is fundamentally prescriptive, for its case rests upon truth claims that have metaphysical import. The essence of theological work is not the recital of narrative or the elucidation of religious or generally human experience but the promulgation of a gospel that is both the truth and the power of salvation.” (Page 23)

“In a theology of Word and Spirit we receive or hear the concrete speech of God, which makes an indelible impression on the human soul but can never be fully assimilated by the human mind. To know the full import of what is revealed, we must act in obedience to what we presently ascertain to be the will of God.” (Page 22)

“Instead, we discover the truth within Scripture after being confronted by the One who is the Truth—Jesus Christ. We begin not with Scripture as a historical text but with the living Word of God—Jesus Christ—and then try to ascertain how Scripture bears witness to him.” (Page 118)

  • Title: A Theology of Word & Spirit: Authority & Method in Theology
  • Author: Donald G. Bloesch
  • Series: Christian Foundations
  • Publisher: IVP
  • Print Publication Date: 1992
  • Logos Release Date: 2007
  • Era: era:contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subject: Theology, doctrinal
  • ISBNs: 9780830876433, 083087643X
  • Resource Type: Systematic Theology
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2023-10-04T17:39:32Z

Donald G. Bloesch (1928-2010) earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and was professor of theology emeritus at Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He did postdoctoral work at the universities of Oxford, Tübingen and Basel. He wrote numerous books, including Faith and Its Counterfeits, Evangelical Theology in Transition, Theological Notebook: Volume 3, Essentials of Evangelical Theology, The Future of Evangelical Christianity, The Struggle of Prayer, Spirituality Old New, Freedom for Obedience and the seven-volume Christian Foundations series. He also served for a time as president of the Midwest Division of the American Theological Society.


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  1. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    I first read this book about 20 years ago, shortly after it was released and it had quite an impact on me. I was thinking many things similar to what the Author argues for here but, of course, not as precise and well stated. Over the next decade or so I read all the other volumes in this series, having to wait until many of them were written but it was very worthwhile. I thought it would be worthwhile to read them all again, in succession, and see how much I have changed. Well, I still thoroughly enjoy reading Bloesch and find his approach to a confessional theology quite satisfying. Not saying that I always agree with the Author (after all that would be quite boring) rather that I can just about always appreciate his arguments. I also find that he is reasonably gracious to those he disagrees with, which is something I always liked in the works of F. F. Bruce and something I do struggle with in the works of Luther. In particular I enjoyed the Author's discussion on the role of Apologetics - which is definitely worth the read for those who enjoy Apologetics. I would not necessarily recommend this book to young Christians nor to those who are new to Theological works - however it is an accessible book that is well referenced - once could say that it is "easy meat" (1 Cor 3:2) as opposed to "tough meat" ;-)
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Print list price: $30.00
Save $10.01 (33%)