Every month, one of United Theological College’s faculty members will provide Insights with a list of books they have recently read. This month, UTC’s Principal, Dr Peter Walker provides his list.
What is needed of denominational leaders? Embrace disruptive innovations, learn again that church is not only about ‘believing things’ but also ‘proclaiming things’, and deploy underutilised property resources for mission. And the seminaries? Model a ‘culture of call’ for the whole church, uphold the highest standards of education, and seek flexibility in ministry formation processes.
Key quote: ‘Given the intellectual and moral challenges of our time, do we think we require fewer well-educated pastors?’
The denomination enthusiastically embraced a central message of the secular theologies of the 1960’s, that the church needed to get out into the world, connect with community culture, find common ground, and emphasise shared values. This was good mission, and became a strength. Yet the strength has now become a weakness. To set aside the gospel message, our ‘Story’, in order to be ‘relevant’, is to lose touch with the church’s identity and calling. The key quote is the title: ‘Who’s minding the story?’
The result is an ecological theology that unites the love of God, neighbour, and Earth, calling ecclesial communities to embrace each of these loves as a vital theme in the story of salvation.
Key quote: ‘Jesus is the one who saves the world – that is, the soil and all that comes from the soil.’
These books are now available at Camden Theological Library.
Rev. Dr Peter Walker is Principal of the United Theological College and teaches in the areas of systematic and historical theology. His recent research has focused on the theology of Nicolas of Cusa and theologies of Christian-Muslim engagement.