Word and Church and Confessing God Back in Print

In terms of modern theology, it is hard to name a more influential theologian than John Webster. I tend to find theologians named John both helpful and formative, so I’ve been trying to dip into John Webster’s catalog of writings. That had been difficult until just recently. While I could get my hands on Holiness and Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch, other titles were on the pricey side and the cheaper collection of essays in the bunch were out of print. Now they’ve been reissued by Bloomsbury T&T Clark as part of the Cornerstones series. For under $30 you can now get both Word and Church and Confessing God.

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Word and Church is divided into three sections of essays. They are Scripture, Christ and the Church, and Ethics. Of interest in the first section is Webster’s thoughts on reading Scripture, using the example of Barth and Bonhoeffer, and his exploration of how hermeneutics function in modern theology. The lead essay in the second section is on the Incarnation, while he introduces the final section with a discussion of God and conscience. Given the flow of thought, these essays follow the contours of a mini-systematic.

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Confessing God is similar in having a tri-fold structure, but here the overall focus is more on the nature of theology. The sections are Theology, Dogmatics, and Church and Christian Life. Included in this collection is Webster’s essay Theological Theology, which is the title of the recently published festschrift in his honor. Also included are essays on the clarity of Scripture, confessions, holiness, and hope, to name a few topics.

I would say given the scope of Webster’s writings, these collections might be a good place to start if you’re interested in his thought. I’d probably recommend the second collection, since it covers themes that can be explored in more detail through the monographs I mentioned above. Bloomsbury T&T Clark was kind enough to send me PDF’s of both sets and while I would have loved physical copies, I was still able to browse enough to say these are worth picking up. While Webster is an academic theologian, he has a clarity of writing and thought that is worth paying close attention to. It might take a bit of effort to enter into the realm of the discussion, but once you’re there, you should be able to follow him further up and further in.

Author: Nate

I'm an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let's connect!

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