A New Departure in Christian Theology
- ISBN: 9781481316040
- Published By: Baylor University Press
- Published: September 2021
The theological enterprise in the West finds itself in a critical moment. Traditional models have failed to supply the church with the proper tools for engaging the hard, persistent realities of injustice. This is primarily because the models propose a language of faith that does not begin from the part of life where faith begins: namely, the testimonies we encounter along the way.
Leaving Emmaus conceives of theology as "thinking with testimonies of Christian faith," offering new students and seasoned practitioners alike a "new departure" for Christian discourse. The book restructures the sources of theology (Scripture, tradition, reason, experience) to make space for the integration of new voices alongside a thoughtful reading of Scripture and classic texts of the tradition. Discussing and interpreting our encounters with the risen Christ becomes a way of "leaving our home" of personal experience or faith conviction. In company with Alice Walker, Gregory of Nyssa, Rowan Williams, and Eve Sedgwick, Anthony Baker unfolds this integrative language and initiates a new departure into classical themes of theology, gathered around the central image of the Emmaus encounter. The "burning hearts" of that pericope become a periperformative encounter with the Word, issuing in the Spirit's internal witnesses to the calling of all creation by the Father to find itself in the risen Christ.
In this way the act of testimony itself becomes a repetition of the trinitarian God. This repetition carries through each loci of theology, from theological anthropology to eschatology. Noteworthy among the new insights this brings are a thoughtfully structured understanding of sin, a bold recovery of sacrifice, and an integrated theology of prayer. Baker equips us with a fresh map for navigating the peculiar demands of our cultural moment through resourcing the heritage of our shared faith for a theology that witnesses to the fullness of life and extends welcome to all.