Reading (at the bookstore or on reserve)
(Warning: Beware the used or library textbook with highlighting. Do the human race a favor and don't highlight your books.)
Lesslie Newbigin, The Household of God, Paternoster, 1998.
This influential little book has been called "one of the ten best ecclesiologies of the twentieth century," and it deserves the honor. Newbigin describes the Catholic, Protestant, and "Pentecostal" forms of Christian institution. He is not trying to decide which is right, but diagnose how division has left each camp both dysfunctional and yet unable to reconcile with the others. Newbigin's descriptions will acquaint you with the midcentury shape of each of these Christian traditions and introduce the grave problem of their estrangement, a problem they came to address through much of the twentieth century.
Roger Olson, The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty
Centuries of Tradition and Reform, IVP, 1999 (on reserve).
This is a readable guide to the history of Christian theology. Of its 35 chapters, we will only be reading the last four (thus the volume is a reserve reading rather than a text for you to purchase). There Olson will introduce us to the major movements and figures of modern academic theology and provide some of the content that will bring the rest of our readings into perspective (and Frei's to much greater intelligibility).
Hans Frei, Types of Christian Theology, Yale, 1994.
Western Christianity's fundamental confrontation since 1700 has been with the modern world. Frei characterizes five basic types of stances Christian thinkers have adopted toward their common rival. He helps readers see a more important spectrum of Christian theology than the tired liberal-conservative range with which most of us are familiar. Along the way he introduces us to some of the most important Protestant and Catholic thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in a way that is all the more helpful for being unusual.
Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity,
From her beginning America trained herself to look to Europe. That habit increasingly misleads us Christians as Europe becomes more and more post-Christian, and the world outside Europe becomes more and more Christian. Jenkins highlights trends that have been obvious for decades to all except those whose gaze is transfixed across the Atlantic (and often those eyes have belonged to American theologians teaching courses on "contemporary Christian thought"). European liberal Christianity is dying, and traditional, Pentecostal, and innovative Christianities are growing. Jenkins will help us look forward while we look back.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Doubleday, 1994.
One of the most important texts of twentieth century theology is this training manual on the Christian faith for all teachers in the Catholic tradition. Beyond being the culmination of two centuries of historical and constructive theology, it offers our class a magisterial introduction to the Christian faith. Since for many of you our class will be your only formal introduction to Christian theology as such, it is fitting that our central text be an actual twentieth century systematic and pastoral theology, and a very good one at that.
William F. Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style,
3rd ed., Macmillan, 1979, or 4th ed., Allyn & Bacon, 2000.
In this class you will regularly write and review others' writing. For decades "Strunk & White" has been a favorite guide to good writing. It is concise, accessible, and powerful: just like your writing will need to be. If you cannot identify (for instance) a run-on sentence, sentence fragment, split infinitive, or appositive on sight, or confuse "its" with "it's" or see why I care then consider this book essential.
Telford Work, Clutter, https://www.westmont.edu/~work/clutter.html
I maintain a "weblog," an on-line web journal, where I write about theology, converse with others, meditate on Scripture, and respond to current events in and beyond the Christian world. It is a little self-indulgent to ask you to read this. However, checking in every few days will give you a glimpse into the way I think, react to events and texts, and merge my teaching, learning, and living.
Further books for optional reading on your own or in directed study:
Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics: A Selection, Westminster.
Gregory Baum, ed., The Twentieth Century: A Theological Overview.
Odo Casel, The Mystery of Christian Worship.
Gary Dorrien, The Remaking of Evangelical Theology.
Gary Dorrien, The Word as True Myth: Interpreting Modern Theology.
David Ford, The Modern Theologians.
Romano Guardini, The End of the Modern World.
Brad Kallenberg, Live to Tell.
Ann Monroe, The Word: Imagining the Gospel in Modern America.
Nancey Murphy, Beyond Fundamentalism and Liberalism.
Ephraim Radner, The End of the Church: A Pneumatology of Christian Division in the West.
R.R. Reno, In the Ruins of the Church.
N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus.