by Cynthia Peters Anderson
Fortress Press, Minneapolis. 299 pages
“Theology matters” was once the banner shouted around the PC(USA) to restore theological reflection within the church and among the members. The verdict is still out on that effort though it continues among many.
This book is prime reason to proclaim joyously again: theology matters! The author sets her argument within the context of post-modern narratives from science, art, popular culture, and music that point either to nihilism or human supremacy.
Drawing upon the 5th century theologian Cyril of Alexander, she argues for a vigorous re-appropriation of the Christian claim for human participation in the life of God. Set against both neo-gnostic attempts at deification and militant atheism is the Christian claim that God became human so that humans might truly participate fully in God. Then through the lens of Cyril, she explores the Christology of Karl Barth and Hans Balthasar, comparing their visions for human restoration with that of ancient patristic theology. Combining a thorough understanding of post-modernism with theological reflection of these three figures is a dazzling feat, but the author, who is a pastor serving a congregation, manages it with great passion.
This is an ambitious work of theology with radical implications for contemporary Christian preaching and practicing. Theology matters; this book shows why.