Today’s guest post is by Kyle Anderson, from the Logos Bible Software electronic text development team.
I had a dream last night. I was seated at a large round table. In front of me was a banquet of fine foods. The greatest Christian thinkers were seated around me. I listened with equal parts admiration and curiosity as they spoke about who God is. They debated the trinity, what it means for Jesus to save, the Church, politics, and so much more. I suspected that some of what was shared was not quite right, but I also suspected that they were on to something more wonderful than I could ever concoct—even in my wildest dreams. As I reflected on these saint’s ruminations, I experienced the most curious of expressions: worship. Not hero worship for the of giants of theology, but worship of God. While I listened to them talk, I grew in my awareness of God’s unfathomable value.
Reading the work of some writers is just like this dream. It’s sitting at a great table, listening and learning. The best theologians can make you want to both throw the book (or monitor, or hand held device) across the room and fall on your knees in prayer and worship.
One of these theologians who might not be as well known is the late Colin Gunton. Before his death in 2003, Gunton was the Professor of Christian Doctrine at King’s College in London and co-founded the International Journal of Systematic Theology. A noted commentator on Karl Barth and Charles Harthshorne, and good-natured critic of Augustinianism, Gunton’s occasional writings are vast in scope, touching on nearly all aspects of traditional systematic theology or dogmatics: the doctrines of revelation, theological methodology, the Trinity, the Church, anthropology, and of course Christology.
Perhaps the best place to dig into the work of this great thinker is the Colin E. Gunton Theology Collection (6 vols.). These 6 volumes provide a fine contour of his life and work, touching on Trinitarian theology, the place of theology in preaching, and the life of faith. Also noteworthy in this collection are two edited works. In the first, Theology Through the Theologians, Gunton critically interacts with a wide swath of fellow members of the great theological table including Anselm, John Zizioulas, Reinhold Niebuhr, and John Henry Newman. In the second, The Theology of Reconciliation, he collects a number of essays on the broad topic of reconciliation between humans and God, between woman and man, and within the Church.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention his The Actuality of Atonement. Perhaps his best known work, it begins by looking at the history of rationalism through the lens of Kant, Hegel, and Shleiermacher. Gunton then moves through biblical metaphor and theological language before ending with atonement, the Triune God, and the community of reconciliation.