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Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; First Edition edition (November 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664257690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664257699
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stanley J. Grenz was Pioneer McDonald Professor of Theology at Carey Theological College in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada,and Professor of Theological Studies at Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle, Washington, prior to his death in 2004. He authored a number of books, including What Christians Really Believe & Why; and Sexual Ethics: An Evangelical Perspective.

John R. Franke is Lester and Kay Clemens Professor of Missional Theology at Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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This is the best theology book I have ever read.
Earl G. Barnett
Each chapter has excellent historical background to introduce present theological engagements, as a prelude to the authors' own development of the topic.
Clifford E. Stollings
It is important to note though that the authors make a significant qualification with regard to the nature of the Bible's authority.
C. Jenkins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Clifford E. Stollings on January 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a pastor (from a fundamentalist and Neo-orthodox background) who tries to keep up with what is going on in theology, I found this a fascinating read. Written from an evangelical point of view, it is a very sophisticated engagement with a wide range of theology, past and present. Each chapter has excellent historical background to introduce present theological engagements, as a prelude to the authors' own development of the topic. There is a stead critique of the failure of the Enlightment project and of foundationalisms, including evangelical foundationalisms regarded as inadequate in the post-modern context. The discussion of epistemology was very interesting, especially Reformed epistemology. (I have already ordered W. Jay Wood's Epistemology: Becoming Intellectually Virtuous; part of the value of the book to me is new leads to explore). There is also much dialogue with Pannenberg, about whom Grenz has written a great deal. The discussions of the Trinity and of the place of community are very well done. The book is well written and has helped bring me to date on what I think will be an ongoing area of theological work, (more especially by evangelicals?) It would be interesting to see these authors' evaluation of Milbank and Radical Orthodoxy. However I can imagine that a lot of evangelicals are a bit alarmed as to where all this is going.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By William Turner on July 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
I want to first say that this book is not for the faint of heart. It is highly technical, philosophical, and seems to draw more questions than answers in the end (clearly a sign of the post-modern trend). Though I admire so many aspects of this work, the book essentially fails to deliver a thoroughly evangelical model for 'doing theology' which would see scripture as our final authority (contra culture, neo-orthodoxy, post-liberalism). I state this criticism not as an ignorant evangelical, but one who shares their concerns: a desire for a more honest engagement and method for doing theology in our present culture. However, though they (Grenz/Franke) attempt to move from propositionalist methodology into a more culturally relevant method, they essentially desire to stay within the evangelical framework. At points they engage this reworking successfully, yet in the end they tend to align themselves more with the Post-Liberal, Yale theology of George Lindbeck and Hans Frei (and somewhat with the 'Neo-Orthodoxy' of Karl Barth), than a conservative evangelical could agree with. So, in essence, the book fails not because it essentially aligns itself with these methods for doing theology, but because it attempts to do this while at the same time remaining within the more conservative/evangelical tradition which sees scripture as the ultimate authority.

Other reviewers have given solid assessments of the many specifics of these aspects, so I will not write further on this. I will comment briefly on how the book attempts to give tradition and culture a somewhat equal status to scripture because the bible itself was written within a cultural and historical setting.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Earl G. Barnett on July 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
Is an Evangelical faith still possible in light of the rise of postmodernity? Must one choose between universal standards or radical relativism? Or can postmodernity provide a new form of foundation from which an Evangelical theology can grow?

Published in 2001, Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context by John R. Franke and the late Stanley J. Grenz sets itself to answering those questions. Grenz and Franke divide the book into three sections. The first section dedicates itself to identifying the historical situation in which contemporary theology finds itself. In this section, Beyond Foundationalism begins by discussing the mutual fragmentation and collapse within both conservative and liberal schools of theology. From this position the book presents the collapse of modernity as an opportunity to rise above the modernity's search for a universal, unchanging position.

Instead, Grenz and Franke propose a "localized" theology. They propose a theology that speaks to and for each individual community, a theology that concerns itself with Spirit-filled living rather than superimposed doctrinal absolutes. They hope to "foster conversation about and participation... that will nurture an open and flexible theology that is in keeping with the local and contextual character of the discipline, that remains thoroughly and distinctly Christian, and that fosters a renewed listening to the voice of the Spirit speaking to the churches through the scriptures" (p.27).

The second section of Beyond Foundationalism discusses "Theology's Sources": scripture, tradition, and culture. In short, the book argues that the Scriptures provide theology's "norming norm.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Metts on December 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The doctrine of the Trinity is used to construct theology in Grenz and Franke's book, Community is how this theology is made into a whole, and Eschatology is how this theology is arranged into a definite position.

Trinity
To begin with, while it is acknowledged that the doctrine of the Trinity is not part of the kerygma of the Church or Scripture, Christian theology is trinitarian in nature. It is a "natural outworking of the faith of the NT community" (172). Far from philosophical speculation, the doctrine "arose as a response to the concrete historical situation encountered by the early Christian community" (173). Firm believers of monotheism and that Christianity was the fulfillment of Judaism, early Christians were faced with the task of integrating their three commitments to this God, his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit who indwelt them. "They did not want to posit three Gods" (174), but they were captive to their experiences and left with the task of communicating their theological commitments. Moving forward, apart from a brief "hiatus generated by the Enlightenment" the doctrine of the Trinity has been an engaging "theological conversation throughout the history of the church" (186). Following Karl Barth, whose great accomplishment it was to "argue conclusively that the Christian community's primary experience of revelation is trinitarian in nature" (189), a truly trinitarian theology, therefore, is shown to be one "that is structured around the self disclosure of the triune God as centered in Christ and given through scripture to the believing community" (190). It is the experiential components of Christianity that reveal it to be a religion that is trinitarian in nature, and this architecture should serve the Church in constructing its theology.
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