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There I was, living my tidy little mainstream Protestant life, when Karl Barth sprung the Blumhardts on me. Took a few years (or decades) to follow up, but now I (and even Dad) have become fans of these indigenous German Lutheran revivalists. In this episode we discuss the difference between revivals stemming from European Pietist roots and from American roots, cover the lives of Johann Christoph Blumhardt (who proclaimed Christ's victory over the devil) and his son Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt (who proclaimed Christ's victory over the Christian), reflect on the complementary roles and mutual need of church and revival for one another, and speculate that "renewal" might after all be a better term than revival, in more ways than one.

Notes:

1. Ising, Johann Christoph Blumhardt, Life and Work

2. Zahl, Pneumatology and Theology of the Cross in the Preaching of Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt (and by all means check out his newer book, The Holy Spirit and Christian Experience)

3. Winn, Jesus Is Victor! The Significance of the Blumhardts for the Theology of Karl Barth

4. Weiss, Jesus' Proclamation of the Kingdom of God

5. Among my writings on these topics, see: A Guide to Pentecostal Movements for Lutherans; "How Is Your Revival Going?"; blog posts in my Lutheran saint series on Johann Christoph Blumhardt and Gottlieben Dittus, and Christoph Friedrich; and keep your eyes open for a forthcoming book on Nenilava, the prophetess of Madagascar!

6. Related episodes: Revival and Church; Illness and Healing; All About Prayer

And hey! If you've made it this far in the show notes, you're probably a super fan, and should consider declaring yourself as one on Patreon. You can start at just $2 a month (which is basically a buck an episode). Give more monthly and you get swag. Or just pay us a visit at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

Hagiography happens. Even if you're Protestant. In this episode, we review the history of the saints as both products of the gospel and pathways to the modern practices of science and biography, make the case for why Lutherans and other Protestants should embrace hagiography in an evangelical key, disambiguate veneration from invocation, and, of course, we mention Bonhoeffer.

Notes:

1. Among the things I've written on this topic, see "Saints for Sinners," "Luther's Hagiographical Reformation of the Doctrine of Sanctification in His Lectures on Genesis," and my Lutheran Saints series.

2. See also Dad's inadvertent hagiography, Between Humanist Philosophy and Apocalyptic Theology: The Twentieth Century Sojourn of Samuel Stefan Osusky

3. Bartlett, Why Can the Dead Do Such Great Things?

4. Brown, The Body and Society

5. The One Mediator, the Saints, and Mary (Lutheran-Catholic dialogue statement)

6. Haynes, The Bonhoeffer Phenomenon

7. Hendrix, The Faithful Spy

8. Melanchthon, Augsburg Confession and Apology Article XXI on the saints

9. Delehaye, The Legends of the Saints

10. Mattox, Defender of the Most Holy Matriarchs

11. For All the Saints (evangelical Lutheran breviary)

12. I didn't mention it but also see Kolb's study For All the Saints

13. Related episodes: Perpetua and Felicitas, Athanasius against the World, Faith Just Faith, Justification by Faith Revisited, Faith to the Aid of Reason, The Empiricists Strike Back, Slovak Theologian Samuel Stefan Osusky

And hey! If you've made it this far in the show notes, you're probably a super fan and should consider declaring yourself as one on Patreon. You can start at just $2 a month (which is basically a buck an episode). Give more monthly and you get swag. Or just pay us a visit at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

Why cover justification by faith once when you can do it twice? In this episode we look at the "faith(fulness) of Christ" controversy, how much it's rooted in a faulty understanding of what Luther meant by "faith," what Luther really did mean by "faith," and how that pretty much solves the problem. Whew. Also, why good works don't justify but also why love doesn't justify, either.

Notes:

1. Bird and Sprinkle eds., The Faith of Jesus Christ

2. Vainio, Justification and Participation in Christ

3. From the Book of Concord: Augsburg Confession, Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Formula of Concord

4. From Luther: Galatians commentary, Preface to Romans, Freedom of a Christian, Small Catechism-Apostles' Creed-Third Article (all easy to find online)

5. From Barth's Church Dogmatics: II/2 and IV/1

6. Thanks a lot Pope Leo for your lousy semi-Nestorian Tome

7. More again this time from Morgan, Roman Faith and Christian Faith

8. Stendahl, "The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West"

9. From Dad: Paths Not Taken, Luther for Evangelicals

10. Previous episodes related to this one: Justification by Faith, Romans, Galatians

And hey! If you've made it this far in the show notes, you're probably a super fan, and should consider declaring yourself as one on Patreon. You can start at just $2 a month (which is basically a buck an episode). Give more monthly and you get swag. Or just pay us a visit at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

The distinguishing quality of Christians is that they believe in Christ... a point that seems almost too obvious to make. But in fact, having belief as the central and distinguishing feature of a religion is so rare and weird that religious scholars have pushed back against the study of other religions through the lens of faith—to the point of not even wanting to study Christianity through that lens. What gives? In this episode, we walk through the findings of a new study on how exactly faith functioned in the Greco-Roman setting of early Christinaity and why it is rightly the defining feature of Christianity, with implications for the life of the church today.

Notes:

1. The key book we discuss here is Morgan, Roman Faith and Christian Faith

2. Very relevant to the discussion at hand is Dad's Divine Complexity

3. Other episodes related to this one: Justification by Faith, Augustine's City of God

And hey! If you've made it this far in the show notes, you're probably a super fan, and should consider declaring yourself as one on Patreon. You can start at just $2 a month (which is basically a buck an episode). Give more monthly and you get swag. Or just pay us a visit at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

Jonah

The story of a prophet wherein the cows get the last word! Dad and I enthuse over this simultaneously hilarious and deep little book, ranging from hyperomnipresence to mutable immutability to the self-defeating prophecy and the spiritual dangers of resenting God's mercy.

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Notes:

1. Luther's commentary on Jonah in LW 19

2. Steiger, Jonas Propheta

3. Sonderegger, Systematic Theology vol. 1

4. For a good example of putting your money where your prophetic mouth is, see the Simon-Ehrlich wager

5. Check out our previous episode on Athanasius dealing with God's dilemma

6. Here are my sermons on Jonah 1, Jonah 2, Jonah 3, and Jonah 4, plus scroll down this page to #6 to see my cartoony take on the Jonah story

More about us at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

The pastoral ministry doesn't have the social clout it used to, but it's hardly alone. "Vocations of judgment," as we term them in this episode, are under siege everywhere, as the understandable suspicion of human fallibility leads more and more to an outsourcing of human judgment to regulations, bureaucracy, and AI. We hope you'll agree that this is hardly an improvement. In this episode, we try to get a handle on the problem across the vocations, then zero in on what exactly does (and does not) constitute pastoral authority, hoping in the process to encourage and embolden besieged pastors with the true strength of their calling.

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Notes:

1. Related episodes are: What Is (Not) the Job of a Pastor?; How to Be a Congregation; Hannah Arendt

2. My new book, which also discusses pastoral authority, is To Baptize or Not to Baptize: A Practical Guide for Clergy, new from Thornbush Press!

3. Kant, Critique of Judgement

4. Critical fiction of the bureaucratic and machine era: just about anything by Kafka, the film "Brazil," and the Matrix trilogy.

5. Dad's essay "Complicity and the Christological Path of Ecclesial Resistance: Summons to a New Catechesis for a Time of Despair" appears in Truth-Telling and Other Ecclesial Practices of Resistance, ed. Christine Helmer

6. Vaclav Havel, "The Power of the Powerless"

7. A particularly good read on pastoral ministry is Eugene Peterson's The Pastor

8. And if you by chance are on Twitter, see if you can make #judiciousness go viral!

More about us at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

Dad and I talk over my new book, To Baptize or Not to Baptize: A Practical Guide for Clergy.

Pick it up at the vendor of your choice!

And here I was wondering if anything could beat justification for being a great idea hidden behind a lousy word. Well, pragmatism, you win. Dad renders this unpromising term lively and insightful, shows how its approach avoids the extremes of both rationalism and empiricism, and can prove to be a helpful handmaiden to theology (but, of course, not a foundation. Heavens no). Also, how to cope with the hell of the irrevocable.

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Notes:

1. West, Prophecy Deliverance!

2. Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

3. Niebuhr, The Irony of American History

4. James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

5. Thiemann, Revelation and Theology

6. Peirce, How to Make Our Ideas Clear

7. Royce, The Problem of Christianity

8. Habermas, Knowledge and Human Interests

9. Hinlicky, Luther and the Beloved Community and Beloved Community

More about us on sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

You can't get too much of a good thing! Picking up where we left off in the last episode, we discuss why "rectification" may be preferable to "justification," what human faith has to do with the faith(fulness) of Jesus, forgiveness vs. the defeat of the dominating power of sin, what on earth Paul is talking about with the "powers," and whether he is in fact suggesting an undoing of all the distinctions that make up the creation according to Genesis 1.

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Notes:

1. Check out these other related episodes: Justification by Faith, Romans, The First Two-Thirds of Acts, and The Last Third of Acts.

2. Dad's Luther vs. Pope Leo brings John Wesley to the rescue (whom we discuss also in this episode).

3. Luther's "How Christians Should Regard Moses" talks about the use of OT law in Gentile and Christian settings—and is not nearly as hostile as you might expect.

4. We both got the number of Jewish mitzvot wrong. It's 613.

More about us on sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

In this episode we only begin to tackle the myriad of issues in this searing, white-hot, impassioned blast from our favorite apostle early in his career. Who were these Galatians, and more importantly, who weren't they? Who were the interloping Teachers, and why does it turn out that sola gratia isn't specific enough? If the law is so treacherous in Paul's reading, why can he turn around and talk about "the law of Christ"? This and many more enigmas, plus ways of interpreting Galatians for good and for ill from Paul's own epistle to the Romans to more recent commentators.

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Notes:

1. Martyn, Galatians

2. Luther, Lectures on Galatians 1–4 and Lectures on Galatians 5–6

3. See in particular our previous episodes on John Part 1 and John Part 2, Romans, and Law and Gospel Part 1 and Part 2.

More about us at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

What to do when there is no longer common faith or common facts? Reversing the tide of history is not an option, but the church recentering itself on its task of being conformed to Christ and learning to speak in the new language of the Spirit is. In this episode, we review what we've covered in the past two, why they run aground, and how Christian speech in the public square can aid civil discourse without illegitimately demanding assent to Christian faith.

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Notes:

1. More from Dad on this topic: "Luther's Anti-Docetism in the Disputatio de divinitate et humanitate Christi (1540)," in Creator est creatura; "Metaphorical Truth and the Language of Christian Theology," in Indicative of Grace–Imperative of Freedom; and Beloved Community, pp. 72–84.

2. Relevant to this topic from me: "Martin Luther, Pacifist?"

3. Pannenberg discusses the "disputability" of the Christian claim in vol. 1 of his Systematic Theology

More about us at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

In matters civic, we have great sympathies with empiricist and classical-liberal critics of the recent woke madness induced by Critical Social Theory. And yet...

In this episode we distinguish among the many children of the Enlightenment, point out the strengths of the empiricist/liberal tradition but also its corresponding weaknesses that CST exploits, and exhort secular empiricists to reconsider the moral, spiritual, and theological roots of the intellectual tradition that they rightly see as critically endangered. So have a listen, and then share this episode with an empiricist near you!

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Notes:

1. Pluckrose and Lindsay, Cynical Theories

2. Spinoza, Principles of Cartesian Philosophy

3. Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy

4. Sharp, Spinoza and the Politics of Renaturalization

5. Locke, Second Treatise of Government

6. Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea

7. Rectenwald, Springtime for Snowflakes

8. Also check out our episode on Faith to the Aid of Reason

More about us at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

Hot diggity dog! Here we go, investigating the obscure Marxist theory beloved of academics that has gone viral in the past year... in both senses of the word. In this episode you'll get an effective innoculation, for the good health of your own mind as well as the polis at large.

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Notes:

1. Hedges, "Cancel Culture: Where Liberalism Goes to Die"

2. Marx, “Theses on Feuerbach,” in Karl Marx on Religion

3. Adorno and Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment

4. Tillich, The Socialist Decision

5. Simpson, Critical Social Theory

6. Marcuse, Eros and Civilization

7. Derrida, The Gift of Death

8. Brown, Undoing the Demos

9. Foucault, The History of Sexuality

10. Orwell, 1984

11. Carter, Race

12. Mitchell, American Awakening

13. Other episodes you might like related to this one: The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas, What Is a Person?, Two Kingdoms: Sixteenth Century Edition, and Two Kingdoms: Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Edition.

14. For my further reflections on Marxism and its impact, see these blog posts on The Bitter Price of Making the World a Better Place and Three Memoirs of Slovak Communism, as well as my book I Am a Brave Bridge (the January and February chapters in particular).

15. Dad on these topics: “Luther and Heidegger,” Lutheran Quarterly (Spring 2008); “The Spirit of Christ amid the Spirits of the Post-Modern World” Lutheran Quarterly (Winter 2000); “Sin, Death, and Derrida,” Lutheran Forum (Summer 2010).

More about us at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

Second-century bishop and theologian Irenaeus of Lyon is famous for his teaching on recapitulation—how Christ our head redoes everything Adam and the rest of us did wrong—and so, in our worst pun yet, in this episode we recapitulate his teaching. Also, why heresy is not so much a deviation as a dead-end, how redemption is not getting airlifted out of creation, and how my dogma outran your karma.

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Notes:

1. Irenaeus's work is the five books of Against Heresies, but as Dad advises in this episode, you're best off focusing on books 2, 3, and 4.

2. Related episodes to this one you might enjoy are Ignatius in Chains, Poor Anselm, and Athanasius Against the World.

More about us at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

Five years in the writing, and more than a quarter-century after the fact, I Am a Brave Bridge: An American Girl's Hilarious and Heartbreaking Year in the Fledgling Republic of Slovakia recounts the first year that the Hinlicky family spent as missionaries in Slovakia in 1993 (the year of Slovakia's independence) and 1994. In this bonus episode, Dad and I talk about the theological themes embedded among the hijinks of cross-cultural romance, the difference between omnipotence and totalitarianism, how to talk about sexuality and love from the perspective of faith without being creepy or cheesy, and the experience of relearning the faith from those who have counted the cost and willingly paid it.

Read the complete prologue on my website or jump right in and get a copy of your own!

Among a certain kind of Lutheran theologian, liking Barth just isn't done. We are not that kind. In this episode, Dad walks us through the theological development of the great Swiss Reformed theologian, why Lutherans made it difficult for Barth to receive Luther and what Barth nevertheless gained from Luther, and highlights of Barth's massive theological oeuvre. And we once again discuss the distinction between law and gospel, because what else would we do?

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Notes:

1. Barth is not the easiest read, but if you're feeling inspired to try, here are some suggestions. For absolute beginners, Evangelical Theology and Prayer. Next step up, try his Anselm: Fides Quaerens Intellectum. When you're ready to tackle the Church Dogmatics, any of these three: volume I/1 on the Word of God, volume II/2 on election, or volume IV/1 on reconciliation.

2. Excellent secondary studies on Barth: McCormack, Barth's Critically Realistic Dialectical Theology; Hunsinger, Disruptive Grace; and Jenson, God after God.

More about us at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

All memoirs are meditations on providence—so I learned from writing one of my own (see Note #1 below!). I used to think that all Christian memoirs went back to Augustine, but it turns out he had a biblical precedent: Nehemiah, who most unusually in the canon of Scripture reported his own acts and motives in the first person. In this episode, Dad and I consider the advantages of drama over concepts in depicting the interplay of divine and human agency, how to think about Nehemiah's prohibition on intermarriage and the challenges to minority communities, and what good walls and  buildings do for the community of faith, despite all their inherent problems.

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Notes:

1. The long-awaited memoir! I Am a Brave Bridge: An American Girl's Hilarious and Heartbreaking Year in the Fledgling Republic of Slovakia is pretty much what it sounds like. Also, you can find out how Dad parented a teenage girl, why God is omnipotent but not totalitarian, and how to always be homesick for somewhere else. Plus, there are recipes. Order print from Amazon, an ebook from pretty much any provider, or an ebook direct from Thornbush Press!

2. The two commentaries I studied in preparation for this episode are Throntveit, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Myers, Ezra-Nehemiah.

3. Relevant previous episodes: Is Scripture Holy?, Law & Gospel Part 1, Law & Gospel Part 2, Learning to Love Leviticus, Joshua.

4. See Dad's Beloved Community on conscience, pp. 613–630, and for the Christian revision of metaphysics, see his Divine Complexity and Divine Simplicity.

More about us at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

Now is the winter of our discontent... or is it the winter of our ecumenism? Either way, the mission-motivated drive to reconcile bitterly divided Christians has succeeded so well that all the frisson has vanished right out of it, but hasn't succeeded enough to actually make us one as Jesus and his Father are one. So in this episode, Dad and I talk through our own interest in and commitment to the search for Christian unity, what unity is not, how an ecumenical document differs from a confessional document, and the lively but relatively unknown history of this 110-year-old movement. Also, a few unguarded opinions.

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Notes:

1. Tons of resources about ecumenism at the Institute for Ecumenical Research.

2. Some of the ecumenical documents we mention in this episode: Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, Healing Memories, Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, Unto the Churches of Christ Everywhere, Mortalium Animos, Unitatis Redintegratio.

3. Not mentioned by name but highly relevant are the document Lutherans and Pentecostals in Dialogue and the new ecumenical outfit Global Christian Forum.

4. Dad on ecumenism: “Staying Lutheran in the Changing Church(es)” in Changing ChurchesLuther vs. Pope Leo; “Scripture as Matrix, Christ as Content” in Luther Refracted; Luther for Evangelicals; “Theological Anthropology: Towards Integrating Theosis and Justification by Faith," Journal of Ecumenical Studies 34/1 (1997): 38–73; and “Process, Convergence, Declaration: Reflections on Doctrinal Dialogue,” The Cresset 64/6 (2001): 13-18.

5. Me on ecumenism: "Reflections Five Years into Ecumenism," "Six Ways Ecumenical Progress Is Possible" Concordia Journal 39/4 (2013): 310–32, entries on "Ecumenical Movement" and "Pentecostalism, Global" in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Martin Luther, and A Guide to Pentecostal Movements for Lutherans.

6. And heck, let's get the whole family in on the fun: check out my husband Andrew's book Here I Walk: A Thousand Miles on Foot to Rome with Luther tracing our pilgrimage on the 500th anniversary of Luther's. (Except it was the 499th... we found out too late.)

7. If you want to take up the catechetical call at the end of the episode, why not try the Small Catechism: Memorizing Edition?

More about us at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

After a recent dive into the theological, philosophical, and political writings of Hannah Arendt, I found her so disturbingly prescient that I wanted to talk her ideas over with Dad—only to discover that Arendt was one of his earliest and most formative influences, and still is now, in ways that he only realized as we talked. So, in this episode, much about her writings and why Eichmann in Jerusalem elicited such a firestorm, why you should never say "it can't happen here," and that, contrary to popular belief, the most troublesome of all pronouns is "we."

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Notes:

1. Books by Hannah Arendt discussed in this episode: Love and Saint Augustine, The Origins of Totalitarianism, Eichmann in Jerusalem, On Violence

2. Two movies: Hannah Arendt and Vita Activa

3. See Dad's Before Auschwitz and his recent article "Hitler's Theology: A Cautionary Tale for Today's Peril"

4. Kušnieriková, Acting for Others: Trinitarian Communion and Christological Agency

More about us at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

After setting the stage in our last episode with the distinctives and circumstances of John's Gospel, here we turn to its message: being born again (or is it from above?), how the Father and the Son can be one and yet the Father greater than the Son, whether John's commendation of love of friends is a retrogression from Paul's enemy-love, and how the confrontation with Pilate and the powers functions as the mega-exorcism consolidating the individual exorcism accounts in the Synoptics.

And if every one of things that Jesus did were recorded, the internet itself could not contain the podcasts that would be published.

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Notes:

1. Bultmann, "Eschatology of the Gospel of John" (1928) in Faith and Understanding, 165-183

2. Käsemann, The Testament of Jesus

3. Hill, Paul and the Trinity

4. Twelftree, In the Name of Jesus

5. For Dad on John, see Divine Complexity, 69–96

6. For me on John, see "Law and Gospel (With Some Help from St. John)," a sermon on "Doubting Thomas," and the Winter 2020 issue of Theology & a Recipe, "Latkes for Jesus"

More about us at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!

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