The God of the Gospel of John. By Marianne Meye Thompson. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2001. x and 269 pages. Paper. $22.00.
Robert Kysar is a distinguished pastor, teacher and author, most recently at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta. This book is the culmination of his career and brings together the two of his major interests--the Gospel of John and preaching. Kysar states that "the Gospel of John is filled with both promises and problems for preaching." From this simple assertion Kysar proceeds to share insights into the often problematic language and imagery of this fourth Gospel. He seeks to enable preachers to better understand John in order that they might tap its resources for preaching. Proclamation is his goal throughout the book.
He begins by addressing some of the scholarly proposals for this Gospel as background. He looks at the Gospel's theology, language, and relationship of narratives to Jesus' discourses and explores the unique Johannine Passion story. He concludes with a look at the passages from John present in the Revised Common Lectionary and comments on some that are missing. Each section includes "Homiletical Implications" in which he considers what the discussion means for preaching. He illustrates his comments with brief sermonic examples. This book is part of the Fortress Resources for Preaching and a welcome addition to the preacher's library. Keep it handy as you come upon the readings from John in each of the lectionary cycles.
Back in 1975, Nils Dahl, a professor at Yale Divinity School, published an essay suggesting that scholars writing about New Testament theology had neglected to say much about God in their rush to talk about Christ. Dahl called this the "neglected factor in New Testament theology." Marianne Thompson, New Testament professor at Fuller Seminary, Pasadena, California, responds boldly to Dahl. She asserts that the New Testament is a book about God and argues that it is in Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, that we see the fullness of God's mercy and righteousness.
In chapter 2 she points out that the most common designation of God in John is "Father," a word used about 120 times. This is more than the occurrences in the synoptics combined. This is an important chapter in view of the attempts today to make language about God more gender-acceptable. She looks further at issues around the knowledge, the spirit, and the worship of God as found in the Gospel of John. She supports her proposal that John is "theocentric" in that it directs our attention to God. She leads the reader carefully through the themes of John in response to the assertion by Dahl.
Thompson has given us another volume to place alongside that of Kysar as we look at this important Gospel in our weekly if not daily ministry of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Kenneth M. Ruppar
Lutheran Church of Our Saviour
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|Author:||Ruppar, Kenneth M.|
|Publication:||Currents in Theology and Mission|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Aug 1, 2003|
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