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The Transforming Power of Grace [Paperback]

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Item Number 151636  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   212
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.18" Width: 6.04" Height: 0.53"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 19, 1993
Publisher   Abingdon Church Supplies
ISBN  0687422604  
EAN  9780687422609  


Availability  61 units.
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Item Description...
Overview
How does an infinite God relate to finite human beings? How does the death of Jesus Christ bring about human salvation? How are Christians able to actively address the world's ills while maintaining their citizenship in the kingdom of God? These are questions the church grapples with today, as it always has. Yet, according to Thomas C. Oden, contemporary theology has neglected the church's traditional answer to these questions: the doctrine of grace. All too often modern theologians either ignore the doctrine of grace or relate it to the achievement of a particular political agenda. Oden asserts that only by reclaiming the centrality of grace--defined as God's self-giving through Jesus Christ in personal encounter with the individual human will--can Christian theology be true to the gospel. In order to reclaim the doctrine of grace, the author reaches back, beyond the fragmentation of theology that took place during and after the Enlightenment. He draws upon the ecumenical consensus held by early Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant theologians, councils, and creeds regarding this cardinal Christian doctrine. By adducing this ancient unity, Oden challenges modern assumptions concerning the sources and methods of the theological enterprise and calls contemporary Christians to discern what their forebears in the faith knew to be essential to the gospel: that to be a Christian is to be formed, nurtured, and upheld solely by divine grace.

Publishers Description

How does an infinite God relate to finite human beings? How does the death of Jesus Christ bring about human salvation? How are Christians able to actively address the world's ills while maintaining their citizenship in the kingdom of God?

These are questions the church grapples with today, as it always has. Yet, according to Thomas C. Oden, contemporary theology has neglected the church's traditional answer to these questions: the doctrine of grace. All too often modern theologians either ignore the doctrine of grace or relate it to the achievement of a particular political agenda. Oden asserts that only by reclaiming the centrality of grace--defined as God's self-giving through Jesus Christ in personal encounter with the individual human will--can Christian theology be true to the gospel.

In order to reclaim the doctrine of grace, the author reaches back, beyond the fragmentation of theology that took place during and after the Enlightenment. He draws upon the ecumenical consensus held by early Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant theologians, councils, and creeds regarding this cardinal Christian doctrine. By adducing this ancient unity, Oden challenges modern assumptions concerning the sources and methods of the theological enterprise and calls contemporary Christians to discern what their forebears in the faith knew to be essential to the gospel: that to be a Christian is to be formed, nurtured, and upheld solely by divine grace.



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More About Thomas C. Oden

Thomas C. Oden Thomas C. Oden (PhD, Yale) is Director of the Center for Early African Christianity at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania and Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology and Ethics at Drew University. He is an ordained Methodist minister and the author of many books, including The Rebirth of Orthodoxy: Signs of New Life in Christianity, How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind: Rediscovering the African Seedbed of Western Christianity, Doctrinal Standards in the Wesleyan Tradition, and Classic Christianity. Dr. Oden is also the general editor for the widely-used Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series.

Born Thomas Clark Oden (October 21, 1931) he is most reknown for his work as an American United Methodist theologian and religious author. He was born in Altus, Oklahoma. He has a B.A. degree from the University of Oklahoma (1953), a B.D from Southern Methodist University (1956), an M.A. from Yale University (1958), and a Ph.D. from Yale University (1960).

Oden is best known as a proponent of paleo-orthodoxy, an approach to theology that often relies on patristic sources. He has published a series of books that he says are tools for promoting "classical Christianity." Oden suggests that Christians need to rely upon the wisdom of the historical Church, particularly the early Church, rather than on modern scholarship and theology, which is often, in his view, tainted by political agendas.

He has written, "The term paleo-orthodoxy is employed to make clear that we are not talking about neo-orthodoxy. Paleo- becomes a necessary prefix only because the term orthodoxy has been preempted and to some degree tarnished by the modern tradition of neo-orthodoxy" (Requiem, p. 130). Oden says his mission is "to begin to prepare the postmodern Christian community for its third millennium by returning again to the careful study and respectful following of the central tradition of classical Christianity" (After Modernity...What?, p. 34). Oden is also active in the Confessing Movement in America, particularly within the United Methodist Church. He serves on the board of the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

Thomas C. Oden has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Classic Christian Readers
  2. Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching & Preaching


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Reviews - What do our customers think?
An excellent book  Apr 26, 2007
In 1992, fresh from completing his three volume systematic theology on the Godhead (one book for each person), Oden continued following through with his agenda for the theologian's office (that he first presented in his Agenda for Theology, 1979, now republished under the title After Modernity, What?) to produce books and helps for the pastoral office by turning his considerable abilities to produce a pastoral resource on grace. The result of that effort was the publication of The Transforming Power of Grace, 1993.

In order to set forth the doctrine of grace, Oden looks past the fragmentation of theology that has taken place since the Enlightenment. He draws on the ecumenical consensus of early Christianity that challenges modern assumptions, sources and methods and calls Christians what our forefathers knew was essential to the gospel and Christian teaching: "that to be a Christian is to be formed, nurtured and upheld solely by grace." While some may think this is a book on spiritual formation, it is not. Oden, in going about creating helps to drag his "incurably liberal denomination" (Agenda for Theology), the UMC, back to the orthodox center, does so by highlighting the theological history of grace as seen through the lens of Paleo-Orthodoxy.

Not necessarily being involved in the war to reclaim liberalized denominations, elements of the preface where Oden discusses his method and motivation may not impact readers from centered evangelical traditions but the rest of the book is a very good survey of grace written by arguably the most respected theologian working within the discipline of historical theology and who is the preeminent evangelical Methodist theologian alive today.

Those who are interested in Arminian-Calvinist debate will also greatly benefit from this book as Oden systematically sets forth doctrines of grace in a way that is sorely needed to be heard by both sides of the perennial battle.
 
A careful examination of the doctrine of grace  Jan 28, 2004
Thomas Oden, author of a three-volume systematic theology, here focuses on a careful examination of the doctrine of grace. Once again, he follows the method of presenting what he understands to be the ecumenical consensus of the church as particularly expressed in Scripture, the patristic writers, the medieval consensus, and classical Reformation theology. While he introduces this study as a contribution to Christian spiritual development, he is quite clear that it is not the experience of grace with which he is concerned but the description of God's grace in its manifold forms as presented in classical theology.

The reader is presented with the classical categories in the discussion of grace. It often seems that one is getting the Summa Theologica digested and without the objections and answers. Only on the issues of grace and freedom (Pelagius) and election (Arminius) is there extended discussion and the recognition of serious division in the "consensual tradition." There is little effort to relate to contempo­rary theological discussions or to issues about grace in the life of the Christian. In the effort to avoid the individualism and narcissism of contemporary religious life, Oden stresses the covenant character of grace and in a remarkable way relates "call" (klesis) to the community (ekklesia).

The book is a useful comprehensive summary of the classical teaching about grace as God's objective work, and, for study groups, it might provide an interesting basis for discussion involving a more contemporary and experiential exploration of the life of faith as the reception of grace.

C. Benton Kline
Columbia Theological Seminary
Decatur, GA.

 
Grace- it's not just for Calvinists anymore! ;- )  Jan 28, 2004
OK, you've hear the historical "spins". Pelagius was condemmed by the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD. Supposedly (accodring to argumentative rhetoric) nothing less that full-on, five-point Calvinism might as well be Pelagianism.

Perhaps what is needed is not so much a well-crafted argument against certain thological notions, but a simple revisiting of the background that got us to where we are at? Far more than what happened with Pelagius must be considered, in terms of how these things were addressed by the Church in all phases of history.

Thomas Oden has been very honest and perceptive about both scripture and the history of the Church's interpretation of these issuses. In this book, he surveys the Biblical concept of Grace as it has been seen throughout Church history, discusses points of controversy such as that of Pelagius/Augustine, brings out some aspects of this not as considered, and draws a good cross-denominational "consensus theology" on how the Grace of God works in people's lives. He also goes a long way in vidicating his own Wesleyan/Arminian perspective in this light. Oden is a scholar of first rank- easily on a par with Sproul, Packer, etc. and very engaging reading. Read it, and be enlightened of the arguments you are often presented with.

 

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