I have decided that i would like to start a series regarding contemporary views of God. The book i will use is The Doctrine of God by Veli-Matti Karkkainen. I’m sure that no one (including me) will agree with all his analysis, but hopefully this will help to foster dialogue. I think that his book will be a good one to look at since he covers more than just Evangelical American trends (what, you mean there is a world outside of fighting over biblical inerrancy, homosexuality, women in ministry, premillenial dispensationalism, mixing politics and faith, and God’s foreknowledge? Please note sarcasm in parenthesis.), to look at European, African, Latin, and Asian views of God. I think getting past our “theological ethnocentrism” can do nothing but make us better theologians. Actually, he also broadens our understanding of American theology, including Native and African American Theologians, as well as Feminist views of God in America. Also, he provides much needed context through a historical overview of the development of the doctrine of God.
I know that in the past i have said i would do series, and haven’t followed through. To all the doubters regarding my ability to follow through, you may be right. But since it is my blog i think that will give it a go again. Also, i think that this will be very doable b/c each concept or theologian doesn’t occupy more than a couple dozen pages at most, so i think that i will be able to keep it going.
Finally, a couple disclaimers before we get started. Obviously, we all have different views as to who was a major shaper in the ways we all think about God today, but several in Karkkainen’s mind (and surely in ours as well) rise to the top. These will be focused on in his work, although other significant thinkers will be mentioned in conversation with his thoughts. Second, we will follow Karkkainen’s chronology in regards to defining “contemporary.” Many will view thinkers like Barth, or even Rahner as rather archaic today (i’m not one of them), but for the sake of uniformity, we will follow his lead.