06 February 2008

Wednesday filler-upper

by Trinketman, aka Frank Turk

Dan had a brilliant post yesterday, as usual, and of course Phil's tubing video is hillarious, so to give your brains a rest today I thought I'd do a Wednesday post which doesn't start WWIV -- about what I'm reading this week.

Before we get to that, for those of you who don't have an electron microscope, this is what the note on the "out of office" post says:

Which, of course, doesn't help one bit, does it?

The telegram says, "Having fun in New Jersey. Glad to be out of snow. You guys go ahead and open the blog on 4Feb08. I'm going to stay away for another week. Phil J."

And I find is a little weird, having grown up in NY, that NJ doesn't have any snow on 5 Feb 08 as I am certain it has snowed in the Jersey area as late as April. However, Punxsutawney Phil did, in fact, see his shadow, so it's all in play now. Yet another contributor to global warming.

OK – so to keep you people at bey until the boss comes home, I wanted to inform you of a very interesting book that has sort of flown under the radar of the blogosphere since its publication in 2006 through IVP: Exploring Protestant Traditions: An Invitation to Theological Hospitality by W. David Buschart. It's sort of a fat book, and because it's IVP some people may think it's actually an academic book. It certainly has enough footnotes to be some kind of textbook.

I bring it up because this book would be a good thing to add to your library. You don’t have to buy it from me, and when you read it I am sure you'll find something to sort of snort at for one reason or another – because everyone, of course, comes to a subject like this from one bias or another.

W. David Buschart (Ph.D., Drew University) is associate dean and professor of theology and historical studies at Denver Seminary. Denver has a decent doctrinal affirmation, and for those of you who don’t know, it is historically a conservative Baptist institution. This isn't a volume produced by some kind of ecumenical hooligan who wants to ask the proverbial question, "can't we all just get along?"

Dr. Buschart's treatment of the 8 Protestant traditions he covers (Lutheran, Anabaptist, Reformed, Anglican, Baptist, Wesleyan, Dispensational, and Pentecostal) is very fair – including his treatment of the Pentecostal family of traditions, in which he tends to define the tradition by its more moderate advocates rather than by, um, what appear to be the majority of its practitioners.
So what's in it for you, right? I mean, that's why you read this blog: feed me. I have my birdie-mouth open Frank: stick the worm in there and let me have a fat, happy tummy.

Here's what's in it for you: a little peek outside your theological silo. Listen: because the evangelical landscape is so washed out and watered down, and because you can't really tell the Joely-O's from the Dan Kimball's without a scorecard and list of hair stylists anymore, this book sort of salvages each tradition examined from its own sloppy housekeeping to spell out why they think and do the things they (theologically) think and do. And think about this: if you're one of those people who can't find a church to attend, this book could help you figure out how to find a church to attend which, maybe, isn't in the tradition you grew up in, but still resides someplace inside 3-Sigma of your doctrinal tolerances.

Personally, I think it's one part of the antidote to a lot of the stuff "emergent" types want to tell themselves about what they're doing. "Reclaiming traditions"? Shouldn’t you know something about those before you try to trot some of that stuff out again?

That's all I got. Nice to see you, too.


jeff said...

Sounds like a worthwhile book. Thanks for the recommendation Centurion.

Daniel said...

I expect that the people who would benefit from it most (the silo-folk) are the least likely to pick it up.

This one line makes it interesting:

this book sort of salvages each tradition examined from its own sloppy housekeeping to spell out why they think and do the things they (theologically)

centuri0n said...

I was particularly impressed with his treatment of the Baptist tradition and how he distinguishes it from the anabaptist tradition.

For the record.

dac said...

If you want a book that works through these issues (what hath the reformation wrought), I recommend "Christianity's Dangerous Idea" by Alister McGrath.

He goes through how we got to today with our protestant traditions

Johnny Dialectic said...

"...because you can't really tell the Joely-O's from the Dan Kimball's without a scorecard and list of hair stylists anymore..."

Now THAT's a book that begs to be written, and with lots of pictures.

Andrew Jones said...

Sounds like an excellent book - i will look out for it. i have been impressed recently about what i hear of the Mennonites in Canada for their long history of Christian hospitality called "Mennoniting"

always good to check out your own traditions first, i agree

Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stefan said...

Anabaptism could go in for some sober-minded treatment. It may be the one movement in Protestantism that suffers the most from "its own sloppy housekeeping," and a romanticized form of "anabaptism" also seems to be a favourite "reclaimed tradition" among some Emergents, since they see the early Anabaptists as having been in opposition to the Reformers (which = "stodgy 21st-century 'Modernists'" in neo-anabaptist speak).

The irony is that the only form of Anabaptism that actually survived the turmoil of the Reformation was Mennonitism, which in its origin was an extremely conservative movement with a high view of Scripture that coalesced around Menno Simons in reaction to the scandalous excesses of the Muenster Anabaptists (polygamy, political agitation, etc.).

The sad part is that many Mennonites themselves have been bitten by the Emergent bug, and are abandoning their spiritual forefather's teachings for a reconstructed movement with a low view of Scripture that was never viable in the first place.

Leberwurst said...

Wouldn't WWIV have been more exciting?!!

... and maybe the title of this post coulda been "whatta long strange trip it's been"...

S.J. Walker said...


Might this be a good book for me to reference for my students in the teen Sunday School class my wife and I teach? We are first and foremost teaching through Ephesians verse by verse, but now and then a little doctrinal/denominational clarification/augmentation might be good. Do you think this book might help out some of "our kids" or would you suggest something else for such purposes?

centuri0n said...


Yeah, I don't think this is a kid's book. I think most teenagers wouldn't get this at all because it's not something they are really processing.

It'd be good for you as a teacher so you could really know the differences in Protestant traditions and be able to answer questions when they come up; I don;t think it's actually Sunday School material.

make sense?

S.J. Walker said...


That is what I was getting at primarily. At this point, they have requested when we finish Ephesians (in 2038) that we can continue on with Esther. We're sticking with that for now. NO ifs, ands, or buts. I wondered at what this book might help for resource's sake to have it available for questions like you said. Thanks, that is the same conclusion I came to once I looked at it more.

Rest assured, nothing but the B-I-B-L-E in this group. What a great bunch.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Cent. This is boring. No heat or light at all in the meta.

This actually looks like a book I would benefit from. I am a non-traditional" Christian, came to faith in mid-life and have little understanding (or appreciation) for the various traditions that make up that wonderfully variegated tapestry we call Protestantism. That's why a lot of your jokes go right over my head.

How's that sound go, Walker?

S.J. Walker said...


I Think. If you play that backwards, it almost sounds French.

Okay, back on topic. Don't get mad at me again Frank. :) I figured since no one is here anyway, I might as well run wild.

Okay, now you can delete me.

Stefan said...

S.J. Walker, are you saying your Sunday School students are bananas, because you referred to them as "a great bunch"?

pastorbrianculver said...

stefan, I hope it's not because they appeal to him!!!! Sorry Walker, didn't mean to slip that one in there!

S.J. Walker said...

Haha. Very funny. Somebody help me, I can't seem to stop laughing.

Actually, we do have a great bun--...group. My wife and I took over the class last fall. They had been given a mixed batch of PDL, Dare2Share, and misc. fillers for some time before we were asked to fill in for one Sunday while the regular teacher was gone.

We did, and studied on the Armor of God out of Ephesians.

The following week, he asked if we would want to continue with the class. He told me some of they had been working in(aforementioned), and interestingly enough, said it "wasn't working".

I really think he had meant well, but was frustrated at the lack of discipline and interest shown by the students.

We prayed about it and decided that we should take the opportunity. It has been so amazing to watch a few of these kids' lights come on as we study through Ephesians together. I just hope they are being as blessed as my wife and I have been.

When you have kids asking which book of Scripture we can study next, and saying things like "it was God that arranged the circumstances of my salvation--not me", you can really seem God at work.

Okay, okay. I'll stop now. But I do love these kids. They humble me by grasping things that took my thick Swedish skull much longer to absorb.

S.J. Walker said...


Quit monkeying around.

centuri0n said...

... somehow it always comes back to monkeys ...

Doulos Christos said...

Wow, Denver Seminary has a "decent" affirmation. That's not condemning with faint praise, is it? It makes one wonder why it is the home of many of the preeminent NT, OT, and Philosophy scholars of our time (Blomberg, Klein, Demarest, Hess, Carroll, Groothuis, not to mention the author) as well Dr. Vernon Grounds. It seems that a bit more respect should be accorded; the condescending tone of the whole piece is inappropriate.

BTW, "bey" is an Ottoman official.