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Radical Orthodoxy and the Reformed Tradition: Creation, Covenant, and Participation
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This is the second attempt by Reformed writers to interact with a movement that appears to have little to do with Reformed theology, is absent from current Reformed discussions, and whose high level of academic erudition will be lost on the average reader in the Reformed pew. Still, Radical Orthodoxy (RO) represents a left-wing, Anglo-Catholic response to modernity and secularism. One more point to mention: this book is purported to be a "reformed" response to Radical orthodoxy. This needs to be qualified a bit. The authors, while confessionally calvinistic, represent the Dutch neo-calvinist vision. While that is a powerful strand within calvinism, it does not represent all of Calvinism. Many Southern Presbyterians will cringe at them.
James K. A. Smith begins the foray by summarizing RO's thought and pointing out key differences between RO and the Reformed Tradition (RT). RO holds to a platonic ontology whereby men relate to God via participation. Michael Horton will later respond that "covenant" is a better category than "participation." RO holds that Calvinism stems from modernity in that it appropriates a Scotist ontology that flattens reality (there might be more truth in this than we would comfortably admit--JA). This translates into a stale Eucharistic theology whereby Christ is absent. Laura Smit gives a good, rich response by means of articulating a truly Calvinian sacramentology. RO rightly wants to see theology take the place as champion among all disciplines. It sees a unified faith that speaks to all areas of life and rightly resists all unbiblical dualisms. Unfortunately, it ends up sounding like socialist rhetoric baptized in Christian categories.Read more ›