Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Systematic Theology by Wolfhart Pannenberg

I just finished volume 3 of Wolfhart Pannenberg's Systematic Theology, and for the third year in a row it will reign as "the best book I read this year." Pannenberg is brilliant. I will be digesting this work for a long time. He ends the three-volume book:

On the whole path from the beginning of creation by way of reconciliation to the eschatological future of salvation, the march of the divine economy of salvation is an expression of the incursion of the eternal future of God to the salvation of creatures and thus a manifestation of the divine love. Here is the eternal basis for God's coming forth from the immanence of the divine life as the economic Trinity and of the incorporation of creatures, mediated thereby, into the unity of the trinitarian life. The distinction and unity of the immanent and economic Trinity constitute the heartbeat of the divine love, and with a single such heartbeat this love encompasses the whole world of creatures. (Systematic Theology, 3, 646.)
Three years ago I would have read that and said, "What?" Now, I read it and say, "Sweet."
I have sketched an outline of how Pannenberg's theology can provide a way forward for "Big Tent Evangelicalism" to work together for the Gospel. I hope to put something together for Scot McKnight's blog. More on that soon.

Another Passage I Don't "Get"

What do we do with this one?

Jeremiah 35:1 The LORD spoke to Jeremiah when Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over Judah. He said, 2 "Go to the Rechabite community. Invite them to come into one of the side rooms of the LORD's temple and offer them some wine to drink." 3 So I went and got Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah, the grandson of Habazziniah, and his brothers and all his sons and all the rest of the Rechabite community. 4 I took them to the LORD's temple. I took them into the room where the disciples of the prophet Hanan son of Igdaliah stayed. That room was next to the one where the temple officers stayed and above the room where Maaseiah son of Shallum, one of the doorkeepers of the temple, stayed. 5 Then I set cups and pitchers full of wine in front of the members of the Rechabite community and said to them, "Have some wine." 6 But they answered, "We don't drink wine because our ancestor Jonadab son of Rechab commanded us not to. He told us, 'You and your children must never drink wine. 7 Don't build houses. Don't plant crops. Don't plant a vineyard or own one. Live in tents all your lives. If you do these things you will live a long time in the land that you wander about on.' 8 We and our wives and our sons and daughters have obeyed everything our ancestor Jonadab commanded us. We have never drunk wine. 9 We haven't built any houses to live in. We don't own any vineyards, fields, or crops. 10 We have lived in tents. We have obeyed our ancestor Jonadab and done exactly as he commanded us. 11 But when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded the land we said, 'Let's get up and go to Jerusalem to get away from the Babylonian and Aramean armies.' That is why we are staying here in Jerusalem."

12 Then the LORD spoke to Jeremiah. 13 The LORD God of Israel who rules over all told him, "Go and speak to the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. Tell them, 'I, the LORD, ask, "Won't you learn a lesson from this about obeying what I say? 14 Jonadab son of Rechab ordered his descendants not to drink wine. And his orders have been carried out. To this day his descendants have drunk no wine because they have obeyed what their ancestor commanded them. But I have spoken to you over and over again and you have not obeyed me.

I am just thinking of how it squares up with James 1:13, "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God,' for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one."