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.
“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)
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.