A review of Julie Canlis, Calvin’s Ladder: A Spiritual Theology of Ascent and Ascension.
In one sense, abandoning the term “evangelical” is a mere semantic move over which none need (or even should) fret. Does it matter whether I continue to claim the name? Not a bit. Is it a term worth retaining? I think so, but certainly not as a placeholder for real theological reflection or deep ecclesial commitment. Instead, it should serve as useful shorthand for the results of that reflection and the location and embodiment of that commitment. What concerns me, though, is its uncritical abandonment, what amounts too frequently to a sophisticated disguise for a rather sophomoric rebellion.
Jenson’s article explores the nature of sin in humanity as being curved in on oneself, which has manifestations in men and women as pride and sloth, respectively. Tracing the thought on inward curvature from Augustine to Luther and Barth, and looking at modern feminist critique, Jenson outlines the primary challenges to overcoming a self-focused way of living toward a more outward, Jesus-, and other-focused theological practice.