On Smith’s Proposal for “Orthodoxy”-language and SSM

nicea-2.jpgYesterday James K.A. Smith had a post on whether to talk about SSM as an issue of “orthodoxy” or not and, of course, it provoked some discussion online. Alastair Roberts has already weighed in with a rejoinder worth considering on what it means to be “creedally-orthodox.”

I have a few thoughts on it that I figured I’d lay out in no particular order. First, though, I’ll just state at the outset, I benefit greatly from Smith’s work, respect him as a scholar and a Christian. Nor am I at all worried this is an attempt at moral revision or something like that. And I hope anyone reading this (including Smith himself) will read this post in that light.

To begin, I’ll just say I find myself quite sympathetic to Smith’s concerns. A few years ago I wondered aloud whether we needed another term to flag what sort of error SSM-affirming is. I’m certainly in no rush to declare new heresies or label anybody as a heretic. I have enough friends who I am convinced are trying to love Jesus but honestly differ from me on this issue that it would be painful and costly to do so.

That said, I’m not sure Smith has been fair to or grasped the point of those who have been using the term this way.

For some who insist this is an issue of heresy and orthodoxy, the point is same-sex marriage is and assumes a denial of a broader theological vision of creation and the meaning of the body assumed by the whole of the Christian church and the creedal tradition itself. It’s a functional denial of doctrines like creation and the Christology implied by the resurrection of the body. For them it is an issue of heresy and orthodoxy by “good and necessary consequence”, so to speak.

Second, some would object to this sort of trimming of the concept since it tends to imply an un-Biblical bifurcation between dogmatics and ethics. Paul’s admonition against fornication and sexual immorality in 1 Corinthians 6 is grounded in the creation of the body, as well as Christ’s death and resurrection (“the body is for the Lord and the Lord for the body”). It is an explicitly Christological sexual ethic. I don’t think Smith intends this bifurcation, but it seems to be a danger inherent in his thin creedalism.

Beyond that, it does not seem those whom Smith suggests are “stretching” the markers of orthodoxy are “oddly selective.” They are reactive to particular, current movements to normalize behaviors in the Church which have been scandalous to it for 2000 years. Now, there may be a selectivity about it worth critiquing, given other scandals we may think are occurring without much notice. But there’s nothing unintelligible or suspicious about the reaction this issue, since on no other issue does there appear to be such a full-court press towards revision and acceptance in both society and the Church.

What’s more, it doesn’t seem their focus on sexual immorality is out of place with the focus it was given in the life of the early church. Consider the first church council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). Whatever you make of the proscription against consuming blood, one of the first rules the Apostles laid down for the Gentiles to be seen as Christians in good standing is to abstain from “sexual immorality”, a term which in 1st Century Judaism was largely informed by Leviticus 18 including its proscription of same-sex intercourse. This actually tells you how central sexual ethics was to the practice and understanding of the gospel it was in the 1st century.

If you jump into the writings of the Fathers, this focus is similarly not lacking. In fact, the Councils themselves had various canons attached to them which included much moral and ethical instruction beyond the specific definitions and creeds we usually associated with them.

Beyond that, the danger most are reacting to is that if we don’t label something a matter of orthodoxy, it tends to become minimized to an adiaphora or an “agree to disagree” issue. Smith is not trying to do that. He says this linguistic change doesn’t signal it’s a matter of indifference. And yet there is a danger of doing just that when he asks this question:

“Do you really want to claim that Christians who affirm all of the historic markers of orthodoxy but disagree with you on matters of sexual morality or nonviolence or women in office are heretics?  So that someone can affirm the core, scandalous, supernatural tenets of the Gospel, and affirm the radicality of grace, and yet fall outside the parameters of your small-o “orthodox Christianity?”

There are couple of problems with this question. One is running the issue of SSM right in there with women in ordained office and violence. The exegetical and traditional witness on women’s ordination is in such a different place than that of SSM. Even starker (at least in the tradition) is the difference on the matter of nonviolence and Just War. By putting them in the same category it falsifies the difference between these three issues and (unintentionally) moves the boundary towards a similarity in treatment.

Second, though, I think we fail to consider that the battles over orthodoxy in the first few centuries were all among people who had way more agreement between themselves on the broad Christian story than with the surrounding Pagan culture. For instance, the sixth council which ruled on the issue of Monothelitism was making some fairly fine distinctions about the nature of Christ’s two natures. All the participants could plausibly say, “Hey look, we’re all Nicene and Chalcedonian Christians here.” And certainly someone from the outside would look at it as distinctions with barely a difference.

At this point, then, you have a dispute between Christians who affirmed the supernatural tenets of the gospel, the resurrection of Christ, the Son’s consubstantiality with the Father and so forth, grace, and yet this very fine distinction about Christ’s two wills was deemed a marker of orthodoxy, because if it wasn’t affirmed, it functionally and materially undermined all the rest. I think we need to consider that reality when we think about Smith’s questions and our unwillingness to use strong language about the issue.

As I said, though, I don’t mind using a different term. So long as we all agree “orthodox” only means, “signs off on the right propositions on some foundational issues settled by church creeds and definitions.”  But what needs to be made absolutely clear at that point is that “orthodoxy” is now an extremely limited concept for ecclesial boundaries and distinguishing normative Christian belief and practice. It is necessary but nowhere close to sufficient for flagging the totality of their beliefs within the ecclesially-acceptable spectrum of normative Christianity.

Let me put it this way, on this thin view, it’s a coherent and acceptable statement to say, “Joe is an ‘orthodox’ Christian who believes adultery can be Christian behavior.” Or, “Joe is an ‘orthodox’ Christian who believes bearing false witness is Christian behavior.” Or, “Joe is an ‘orthodox’ Christian who believes coveting is Christian behavior.” None of those statements is incoherent if “orthodox” just means “formally aligns on key Nicene and Chalcedonian propositions.” And yet it’s obvious in each case, somewhere Joe is severely out of line with the gospel. My point is that it’s clear whatever extra term we have, it needs to have some real, normative force.

Otherwise, while we may say this isn’t an issue of indifference, the more we repeat sentences like, “Well, this is an argument between ‘orthodox’ believers”, the more the line is moved and we all begin to hear, “Well, this is a discussion between believers who are all basically in line with the gospel.” Smith’s thin definition of orthodoxy will still carry the thicker connotation it has typically had with all of its boundary-defining force.

Now, with that said, what different word will do? I suppose traditional could work, for the reasons Smith mentions. But it seems to lack something of the moral and ecclesial force it needs to in order to flag the importance an uniformity of opinion on the issue in church practice and history. What’s more, the implied binary term “un-traditional” still manages to carry with it a bit of sex-appeal and cachet in our culture that is unhelpful.

I’m tempted to suggest a difference between a “catholic” sexual ethic v. an un-catholic or revisionist one? It’s close enough in sense to traditional, but gives clearer testimony that this view is one of the only ones that could plausibly fit the Vincentinian Canon (“what has been believed everywhere, always, and by all”) in both time and space. In which case, someone could be “orthodox” creedally, while “revisionist” as to ethics, and we could have a better sense of the situation. There was a reason no less than Wolfhart Pannenberg thought churches who revised on the issue were formally schismatic.

Of course, I am not married to that language. Perhaps “apostolic” could do. Or maybe I’m being too finicky and “traditional” is enough. The point, though, is that whichever term we choose, it needs to be an unambiguously clear way of signalling this is a very, very serious deviance from historic Christian belief. And it’s one that if gotten wrong, has serious moral and spiritual repercussions.

How we have the conversation does matter. We do need to conduct it with the love, grace, charity, and courage of those whose lives are marked by the confession of God’s forgiveness. And yet, we need to be clear on exactly what sort of conversation we’re having.

Soli Deo Gloria

23 thoughts on “On Smith’s Proposal for “Orthodoxy”-language and SSM

  1. Pingback: That Was The Week That Was – The Pietist Schoolman
  2. Derek,

    I agree in general that we can just use whatever term we designate. The problem is that meaning is public and so, like you note, even if we have a fine-grained meaning of a particular word, that does not mean it will be conveyed to people at large. This also ties in with larger issues because the public meaning will be read differently depending upon the audience. Thus, if the meaning is not specified, some will read “catholic” and think Roman Catholic.

    So we either need to designate our language rather clearly, in which case our conversations become rather clunky, or we need to find language that cuts at the joints and accurately represents what we mean. I think that’s the sort of conceptual analysis Smith is trying to get at, although I wonder if (and how exactly) this might look different for him from someone like Plantinga given Smith’s affinity for Wittgenstein, an affinity I share. If we engage all of that, then I think the larger problem is people who reject same-sex sexual relationships have varying views on how serious the matter is, but one’s judgment on that matter is important for figuring out the right language to use.

    If someone thinks same-sex sexual relationships are okay within a certain relationship, is that person not saved? Should they be excommunicated from a church and treated as an unbeliever (can such a person be saved?)? Is the matter indifferent? One’s views on these matter affect the language that should be used, but in my reading it seems like these questions aren’t as discussed. I’ve heard people talk about the excommunication option (Burk during the Peterson fiasco), but I’m not sure of the implications. If Peterson had persisted in that position, would that mean he was not saved?

    So I think if we want to get at language that cuts at the joints, then we need to ask and answer some of these questions.

    • Brett,
      I don’t think I disagree with the general point you’re making. In fact, much of my problem with Smith’s suggested solution as well as some of that conceptual analysis depends on the sort of point you’re making in the first paragraph.

      Beyond that, I have tried to indicate an answer to some of those questions before in a response post to Alan Jacobs. https://derekzrishmawy.com/2016/11/30/answering-jacobs-questions-on-false-teaching-and-teachers/
      I hope this clarifies some of the issue. Or at least helps along the way towards a clarification.

    • Asking whether someone is saved in relation to some Christian teaching may not be the question we should be asking, as we’re not permitted that epistemic insight. Nonetheless, salvation is at stake in how we (i.e: Christians, since I don’t think we should be too concerned with legislating nations into compliance) live in obedience to Christ, which includes, among other things, sexual actions.

  3. WordPress tried to reject my comment twice but I’m persistent. If it’s actually posting my comments and not letting me see them, please delete any duplicates.

    For me, the biggest concern I’m always bringing to the table is evangelism. What I see right now is a massive exodus of progressives from the church. Some of this is due to the weakness of liberal theology. But a lot of it is also due to the culture wars, which have been a disaster for Christian evangelism. It frustrates me that conservatives see the exodus of progressives solely as a vindication of their theology and not as an evangelism crisis worth some introspection. When there’s a major stumbling block preventing the gospel from being heard, it’s not unreasonable to ask which hills are worth dying on and whether certain biblical passages can be read differently.

    Orthodoxy takes its shape in the context of crisis. The church needed a Marcion in order to have a canon. It needed Arius, Nestorius, and all the rest of the heretics to figure out its boundaries. It’s dishonest to pretend that the church has been wrestling with feminism and queer theory for 2000 years. We’ve only been at it a few decades, which is why I believe that orthodoxy on gender and sexuality is in the process of being established. My hope is that the orthodoxy that emerges from today’s battle will be a little more liberated from Augustine’s Platonist rage about his lack of cognitive control over his man-organ and thus have a healthier sense of how bodies can be temples of the Holy Spirit. I’m hoping that a better, more aesthetically compelling vision of holiness can be presented to the world when it’s uncoupled from the moralization of normality that white American Christianity has defaulted to. And let me be clear: it would be a disaster if progressives got everything they wanted in whatever consensus develops.

    I think the church needs people who are very devoted to tradition and very wary of revisionism. It also needs people who call bullshit when they see gay Christian couples who plainly exhibit the fruits of the spirit and don’t seem to look at all like the depiction of whoever Paul is talking about in Romans 1. And somehow we’ve got to let God show us his will as we try to

    My call in this messy chaos is to be an evangelist to the progressives. I understand them and speak their language. Not everyone has that call. It’s very important to me to be in relationship with conservatives who are willing to talk graciously with me as a reality check. I take your understanding of orthodoxy very seriously and when I can embrace it for myself, I rejoice.

    You can call me a heretic and revisionist because of my support for full LGBTQ affirmation and I’ll love you anyway. My pursuit of orthodoxy has nothing to do with being validated by conservatives. I seek to be orthodox because I think my doctrine either contributes or detracts from my ability to see God’s *true glory* and that’s the whole game right there. So I’ll keep listening to you and use what seems to help me in the purpose to which God has called me.

    • >It’s dishonest to pretend that the church has been wrestling with feminism and queer theory for 2000 years. We’ve only been at it a few decades, which is why I believe that orthodoxy on gender and sexuality is in the process of being established.

      Incorrect. Christian sexual ethics has been elaborated and spelled out very clearly. The agenda of theological liberalism is now to pretend like we are much more educated in the 21st Cent. and know way more than those silly ECF’s and Apostles do.

      >. It also needs people who call bullshit when they see gay Christian couples who plainly exhibit the fruits of the spirit and don’t seem to look at all like the depiction of whoever Paul is talking about in Romans 1.

      SSM and SSA are inherently sinful in themselves, thus one who is actively participating in that which God has called sin is not “exhibiting the fruits of the spirit” unless willful rebellion is a fruit of the spirit. Romans 1 is talking exactly about homosexuality (among other things), it’s exegetically undeniable unless you discard orthodox belief in the scriptures and its nature and perspicuity already.

      >My call in this messy chaos is to be an evangelist to the progressives.

      It seems like they have already evangelized and baptized you.

      >You can call me a heretic and revisionist because of my support for full LGBTQ affirmation

      Because you are. There is no earnest expression of faith that simultaneously neglects, rejects, or disregards God’s instruction and standard.

      • Presbyterian Inquisition,
        As much as you are correct in your response to Morgan, what goes unanswered by religiously conservative Christians is whether the Church should move society to tolerate SSM and SSA or to punish those who are involved. For centuries, the Church has picked the latter option and because of that, the Church has lost its witness to many in the LGBT community as well as outside that community. This is where we can learn from theological liberals who have demonstrated kindness and love to those who are marginalized.

        So unless we want to come across to others as having everything to teach to and nothing to learn from theological liberals, I suggest that we learn what we can from theological liberals when they side with those who are marginalized so that we may place no unnecessary stumbling blocks in front of the orthodox views we do teach.

      • Curt,

        In Confessional Two Kingdoms theology the Church and the State are separate entities and the State does not assume the powers of the Church re ecclesiastical discipline. However, the Magistrate is ordered by God to punish evil.

        In the Puritan sense this was Establishmentarianism, by which the State was empowered to punish gross heresy, blasphemy, adultery, and sodomy.

        Demonstrating love, does not always mean affirming societal destruction in the form of active rebellion against God’s created order.

        Theological liberals are often not sincere in wanting dialogue, dialogue is often code for “Agree with me or else you’re racist/sexist/anti-gay/etc.” J. Gresham Machen found that out the hard way.

      • Presbyterian Inquisition,
        Depending on how you want to define evil in the state sphere, you could end up with no difference between 2KT and either transfoationalism or even theonomy. After all, isn’t idolatry also evil and doesn’t that lead people to eternal punishment? And thus, should we do away with freedom of religion?

        I am well familiar with both confessionalism and 2KT. And the problem I see is that the concern for the confessions and 2KT prevents Christians from addressing the issue. It also causes them to forget what the Scriptures say. For example, in 2 NT passages dealing with Church discipline, the ultimate disciplinary action is that of being tossed out into society where Church law does not apply. Think of I Cor 5. One could easily make the exegetical case that the sexual sin there is significantly worse than how homosexuality is described in Romans 1. With the former, you have sin that was not even heard of among the Gentiles, while with the former, you have a natural result of unbelief. In addition, Paul states no concern for how the state and society should react to the sexual sin in I Cor 5.

        So how is it that the state has as Biblical mandate to punish either kind of sexual sin? It doesn’t. But we provide a theologically deduced mandate through our Confessions and theologies like 2KT. And all of that misses the point. Does our insistence that state punish sexual sins like homosexuality cause people to honor the Goepel or to dishonor the Gospel? What freedom should non-Christians have in society? For if what is sin in the Church is the evil in society which the state must punish, then the state and society has become supplementary disciplinary arms of the Church, which, btw, wipes out your 2KT. And we are to get the state and society to punish the LGBT community just as Luther urged German society and German princes to punish the Jews for their unbelief. And then the question goes back to whether that causes the Gospel to be honored or dishonored.

      • Curt,

        >, you could end up with no difference between 2KT and either transfoationalism or even theonomy.
        Establishmentarianism is far different from theonomy and transformationalism. World’s apart.

        >And the problem I see is that the concern for the confessions and 2KT prevents Christians from addressing the issue.

        How does Presbyterian Confessionalism prevent Christians from addressing the issue? Confessional Protestantism gives Christians a wealth of knowledge and the breadth of the historical church. American Evangelicalism has no such ground as it’s a mixture of Anabaptist pietism and 19th Cent. Revivalism.

        >It also causes them to forget what the Scriptures say. For example, in 2 NT passages dealing with Church discipline, the ultimate disciplinary action is that of being tossed out into society where Church law does not apply

        Church discipline is not just tossing someone to the wolves. It is excommunicating them and barring them from the Lord’s Supper but depending on the case it doesn’t mean someone can’t still attend. Also, it depends what you mean by church law does not apply in society. Can you elaborate more on that?

        >So how is it that the state has as Biblical mandate to punish either kind of sexual sin? It doesn’t. But we provide a theologically deduced mandate through our Confessions and theologies like 2KT. And all of that misses the point. Does our insistence that state punish sexual sins like homosexuality cause people to honor the Gospel or to dishonor the Gospel?

        I think you’re confusing Establishmentarianism with Ecclesiocraticism and Erastianism. The civil government cannot permit people to do things against God’s moral law, that is not true liberty and it is a violation of the magistrate’s duty. But the Church does not take over the civil government.


        ^ Some wonderful reading right there.

      • Presbyterian Inquisition,
        Doesn’t matter that there is a difference. What matters is how we define what is evil for society. For the state is to prevent evil in society. But if the definition for evil for society is not different enough from the definition of what is evil in the Church or what we call people to repent from, then you drift toward transformationism and even theonomy. Your following statement shows the problem:

        The civil government cannot permit people to do things against God’s moral law, that is not true liberty and it is a violation of the magistrate’s duty. But the Church does not take over the civil government.

        Just becaue the Church doesn’t take over the government, doesn’t mean that you are not endorsing some kind of theonomy. For where is God’s moral law defined? Is it not in the 10 Commandments? If the 10 Commandments define moral law, then isn’t it the duty of the magistrate to enforce the Sabbath? And if it is, then is freedom of religion not a true liberty because true liberty does not involve the right to sin by breaking the Sabbath? The same goes for the other commandments belonging to the 1st table. Likewise, from what you are writing, then the state must punish all violations of the commandment prohibiting adultery just as the state is obligated to punish all cases of worshiping idols. What you are showing is the inability to distinguish what is an adequate righteousness in society from that which is in the Church.

        From what you have written, what follows is that Christians must have some place of supremacy in society to ensure that the magistrates do their job. Thus, Christians cannot share society with unbelievers as equals. Is that what Jesus intended when He warned us not to lord it over others or when He charged us to carry out the Great Commission? And if we share society with others by insisting that we have a place of supremacy over them in determining how the magistrate can rule, what kind of reaction do you expect non-Christians to have?

        Thus, neither 2KT nor confessional presbyterianism address some of the issues here. And the writers of both are mere humans who were addressing the issues they could see.. Therefore, you have to take the statements from both that were meant to answer other questions to answer questions that their writers did not foresee. That means that there are times when you are trying to fit a square peg in an round hole regardless of how rich in knowledge that the confessions and 2KT are. In addition, we have to consider the impact of culture on both the writers of the Confessions and 2KT. Like those men who wrote the Scriptures, culture had an impact on what they wrote. However, unlike the Scritpures, neither the Confessions nor 2KT are God-breathed and thus they don’t have the protection that the Scriptures have in terms of preventing cultural viewpoints from contaminating what was writin. If you want evidence regarding the cultural corruption on the writers of the confessions, note in the above quote what you consider to be the duty of the magistrate. Note the times when the duries of the magistrate were addressed in the Confessions. And compare that with Paul in I Cor 5:12-13. In fact, just look at the term you are using: ‘magistrate.’ You are relying on confessions that were written when the Church dominated society while at the same time it could not see the sins of the society which its domination caused.

        And no, you missed what I was focusing on in Church discipline. For what were the expectations of Jesus and Paul when they referred to society when discussing Church dscipline? This question you have shows how the Confessions and 2KT are limiting your ability to see the issues involved.

        From what I see, you aren’t bring up the Scriptures in this discussion because you are relying too heavily on the Confessions and 2KT. Doesn’t that suggest that you have replaced, to some degree, the Scriptures with the confessions and 2KT?

  4. Pingback: On Smith’s Proposal for “Orthodoxy”-language and SSM – Reformedish | Leadingchurch.com
  5. Hi Derek,

    I’m a casual reader of your blog and want to thank you for this clear-headed post. The point about monothelitism was especially illuminating.

    In theory I don’t have a problem with pairing back “orthodoxy”, but there’s something worrisome about how this is done in the SSM context. As your critique of the Smith quotation reveals, the arguments can trivialize the issue, making those who do see it as first-order look silly and/or unloving. Forgive the cynicism but I can’t help viewing this in light of the virtue-signalling ethos of the day. What if, for example, a theologian condemns dogma-affirming white supremacists as heretics ? How many of these same folks would chastise his/her inattention to more precise, creedal meanings of “orthodoxy”? Not a very sexy blog to post.

    Re: alternative terms, what about the concept of the sensus fidelium?

  6. To me, there are pertinent issues that are not mentioned. The first issue regards whether the belief that SSM can be acceptable is an orthodox issue. What is amibiguous here is the context in which belief that SSM can be acceptable. Is that context within the Church or in sosiety? We certainly would never entertain the notion that profession of Islam is acceptable within the Church. But should that also apply to society as well or should we support the 1st Amendment?

    The second issue is distinguishing that which should put someone out of the Church, regardless of whether orthodoxy is involved, and that which dishonors Christ. Certainly those who persist in living in sexual immorality should be subject to Church discipline including the possibility of excommunication. But what should we say about those who might act, either knowingly or unknowingly, as accessories by taking public stands that accept the same sexual immorality? Should they be susceptible to the same discipline as those they enouraged to sin?

    But what about other sins? What about those who publicly support immoral wars or exploitive economic systems? We should note here that the Church, that is the predominant branch of the Church in their respective situations, supported those with wealth prior to the French, Russian and Spanish Revolutions. And in each of those Revolutions, the Church was seen as the enemy of justice and the Gospel was dishonored. Why? It is because once we call ourselves Christians, everything we say and do becomes associated with the Gospel.

    So perhaps if we are not worried about our own skins suffering from some trial regarding orthodoxy, we should be concerned about whether what we are saying or doing brings honor or dishonor to the Gospel.

  7. Pingback: Is Nicaea Enough? | Biblical Reasoning
  8. Pingback: Orthodoxy, Sex Ethics, and the Meaning of Nature - Mere Orthodoxy | Christianity, Politics, and Culture
  9. I have thoroughly enjoyed (poorly chosen word here) or, rather, deeply appreciated the dialogue posted here. Thank you, Derek, for your informed and discerning thoughts as well as your gracious responses. I have gained a greater sense of the issues both historically and practically. But the dialogue and the ability to dialogue has been most refreshing. In our present culture of political chaos and childishness all around, our society has spiraled downward in regard to civil dialogue. Partakers in this particular dialogue of theology and practice are models of those capable of leading our nation, indeed our world, to a greater degree of civility in speech, in civil manners, in good will, and on FaceBook! As always, may the Church of Jesus Christ lead the nations of the world toward right (orthodox!) thinking, right living, right dialogue … and toward Jesus Christ!
    (Actually, I jumped articles and posted this reply to your blog, Derek. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Still a bit technologically challenged!)

  10. I would like to suggest, that the churches have in general long abandoned a much better definition of “orthodoxy” than exists in any church law or in any of the council decisions. I would like to suggest that “orthodoxy”, in truth, is simply “that which the Lord has Personally said as He quotes Himself in His delivery of Holy Scripture”. We have definitions in Scripture where the Lord says that so-and-so shall be anathema “to you”, to certain bloodlines, certain families, descendants of certain people: but we also have definitions which have no such limitation.

    To put it another way: Soli Deo Gloria is very good indeed. Let’s do it.

  11. Some of this discussion has led into Presbyterian distinctions Far beyond my ken. Suffice to say every Christian denomination faces the same challenge, which is that the popular culture is no longer Christian and is pushing back with immoral teachings. And a cross section of each denomination from theology profs through head office bureaucrats to pastors and laity responds by wanting to change the doctrine to accommodate the culture. As a long time friend said to me over the phone long distance,”It’s all about love really, isn’t it?” “No, ” I replied,but he was already talking over me.

  12. Derek, First an encouragement – Keep up the very helpful work. I am about to buy this book on your recommendation from VanHoozer following up prior reading. https://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/0664234488/ref=ox_sc_act_image_1?smid=A3DWYIK6Y9EEQB&psc=1

    Also a question: I need a book for religious education teachers that I am teaching, a third yr undergraduate course (mostly students with Catholic background) that introduces them to hermeneutics. A book for non specialists and brief if possible. Any ideas? U of Alberta campus minister/instructor Bryan

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