Towards a Theology of Grace
When: June 7, 2023, 4:15 pm - Wednesday
Where: Board Room
In his recent book At the Blue Hole, Jack Reese reflects on the internal working of the Holy Spirit as an area that has been deeply marginalized in Churches of Christ and as an essential resource for this time of decline. In other words, what we need is a more robust theology of grace, understood as the gift of the Trinity’s salvific self-presence to humans. This session will include three papers that draw from a variety of resources to explore how a theology of grace might offer insight into what spiritual renewal might mean today.
Matthew B. Hale, Abilene Christian University, “Lonergan on Grace as the Principle of Social Recovery”
For Bernard Lonergan, the principle of social recovery is grace. A potential challenge to this position is that it blurs the distinction between nature and supernature, thus either neglecting the integrity of human sociality or the gratuity of grace. Although this is a serious challenge, I argue that Lonergan’s position on social recovery avoids this blurring. Further, Lonergan’s theology of social recovery provides timely suggestions for discerning grace in social recovery today, by delineating the specific features of recovery and by allowing for and expecting recovery to emerge from a plurality of religious and cultural contexts.
Darren Hagood, HYL (Heal) Church and Fuller Theological Seminary, “Breathwork and Christian Spirituality (A Proposal)”
Womanist theologians engage in reinterpreting Christian teachings to guide Black people, particularly Black women, towards total black wholeness. This essay explores the contributions of womanist theologians Kelly Brown Douglas and Delores Williams, emphasizing specific instances from Douglas’ “Black Christ” and “Sexuality and the Black Church,” as well as Williams’ “Sisters in the Wilderness.” The analysis demonstrates how their reinterpretations of Christian teachings concerning Christ serve the ends of total black wholeness. Finally, by building on Douglas and Williams’ groundwork, this essay reinterprets scriptures regarding the Holy Spirit as the “Holotropic Breath,” a beneficial breathing practice for achieving black wholeness.
John Kern, Pepperdine University, “Grace as Intersubjective in the Church: Balthasar on the Holy Spirit and Charisms”
How does the Holy Spirit’s Personhood in relation to the Father and the Son inform ecclesiology? In other words, how does the divine intersubjectivity that reaches its zenith in the procession of the Spirit from the Father through the Son translate into the gift of creaturely intersubjective participation in that life that we call grace? This paper will explore the question in conversation with Hans Urs von Balthasar’s theology of the charisms. Balthasar gives central importance to the Spirit in his ecclesiology such that everything in the Church takes on a charismatic dimension, the intersubjective sharing of the Spirit’s gifting.
Chance Juliano, Southern Methodist University, Convener
- Matthew B. Hale, Abilene Christian University, “Lonergan on Grace as the Principle of Social Recovery”
- Darren Hagood, HYL (Heal) Church and Fuller Theological Seminary, “Breathwork and Christian Spirituality (A Proposal)”
- John Kern, Pepperdine University, “Grace as Intersubjective in the Church: Balthasar on the Holy Spirit and Charisms”