“The Orthodox Heretic”

Parker Artz, an outstanding student at William Jewell College, spoke in Chapel there last month. Thanks to Parker, whom I have the privilege of knowing personally, I learned about the Irish theologian Peter Rollins.

Rollins (b. 1973) is lecturer and theologian/philosopher who is associated with the emerging church movement and postmodern Christianity. He is also the founder of the experimental collective Ikon.

A couple of days ago I finished reading his thought-provoking book The Orthodox Heretic (2009), and just today I started reading his How (Not) to Speak of God (2006). I have just purchased his book called Insurrection: To Believe is Human To Doubt, Divine (2011) to read soon.

The former book is a collection of 33 parables/stories followed by a commentary. They all have a bit of a different twist from what Christian writers usually say. For example, Rollins’ 13th chapter is “The Prodigal Father,” an interesting twist where it is the father that goes missing; it deals with the problem of people who feel abandoned by God.

“The Unrepentant Son” is a bit of a different “take” on the parable of the prodigal son. Rollins writes, “Religious groups have always loved repentant sinners. After all, there is nothing quite like parading a repentant sinner in church for inspiring the faithful.
“But what if Jesus had an infinitely more radical message than this? What if Jesus taught an impossible forgiveness, a forgiveness without conditions, a forgiveness that would forgive before some condition was met?” (p. 147).

With so much emphasis on story-telling in preaching now, The Orthodox Heretic should give preachers, youth workers, and other speakers some good stories to consider and perhaps to use.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything that Rollins writes, but I highly recommend his thought-provoking book.

 

About Leroy Seat

* Born in Grant City, MO, on 8/15/1938 * Graduated from Southwest Baptist College (Bolivar, MO) in 1957 (A.A.) * Graduated from William Jewell College (Liberty, MO) in 1959 (A.B.) * Graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY) in 1962 (B.D., equivalent of M.Div.) * Received the Doctor of Philosophy degree in theology from SBTS. * Baptist missionary to Japan from 1966 to 2004. * Full-time faculty member at Seinan Gakuin University (Fukuoka, Japan) from 1968 to 2004. * Adjunct professor at Rockhurst University from 2006 to 2014.
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