Faculty Publications – Fall 2017

Date Published

October 11, 2017

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Published by Calvin Seminary

The Embrace of Building
by Lee Hardy, Adjunct Professor of Philosophical Theology

The Embrace of Buildings provides an overview of the key factors, topics, and issues in Anglo-American urbanism: the origins and development of the suburban ideal, the role of federal policies and spending priorities in shaping the built environment, the rise of the private automobile as the primary mode of transportation, the effects of functional zoning laws, the relation between the public realm and the quality of civic discourse, the influence of modernism on city planning, the impact of low-density development on public health, the connection between development and city budgets, the impact of urbanism on the environment, and the problem of gentrification.

In a culture long enamored of the suburban ideal, Lee Hardy invites his readers to reconsider the many advantages of living and working in walkable city neighborhoods— compact neighborhoods characterized by a fine network of pedestrian-friendly streets, mixed land uses, mixed housing types, and a full range of transit options. In addition, he investigates the role religion has played in defining American attitudes towards the city and the difference church location makes in Christian ministry and mission.


Does the Reformation Still Matter?
by Karin Maag, Director of the Meeter Center for Calvin Studies, Editor of Calvin Theological Journal, and Adjunct Professor of the History of Christianity

This book offers a concise and highly readable explanation of the dramatic changes that took place during the Reformation and helps readers understand the deeper impact of the Reformation beyond its own time period. Changes in theology and in worship, in the status of lay people and clergy, and in the relations between church and state reshaped Christians’ views of themselves. Early modern Christians had to rethink their relationship with God and with other Christians based on these new realities. As contemporary Christians grasp the Reformation’s dramatic impact in its own time, they will find resources for understanding and responding to challenges and conflicts today.


Hidden Prophets of the Bible
by Michael Williams, Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor in Old Testament Studies

From an expert on Bible translation and interpretation comes a revealing look at the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. Michael Williams, Johanna K. and Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor in Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary, takes readers on a journey from Hosea to Malachi, uncovering their messages about Jesus and the gospel. Making these often overlooked books accessible, Williams gives you insight into each one, exploring:

  • Little-known facts about the prophets
  • The gospel according to the prophet
  • Why the prophet should matter to you

Though the Minor Prophets may have been hidden to you in the past, you will discover the profound significance of these short books and their continuing relevance for your faith. Questions at the end of each chapter prompt you to reflect on what each prophet’s message means for you.


Paul the Ancient Letter Writer
by Jeffrey Weima, Professor of New Testament

Jeffrey Weima’s latest book, Paul the Ancient Letter Writer. An Introduction to Epistolary Analysis, sets before readers the benefits of paying close attention to the structure and form of the apostle’s letters. Paul’s writings consist of a fixed four-fold structure of opening, thanksgiving, body, and closing, as well as many letter-writing conventions that typically make up each of these four sections. When Paul deviates from his fixed pattern or expected structure in mostly subtle but sometimes in not-so-subtle ways, the majority of modern readers fail to even notice these changes and consequently miss the important clues that they contain for a proper interpretation of his letters. This book demonstrates that the apostle is an extremely skilled letter writer who carefully adapts and improvises his expected letter-writing practices in ways that powerfully and persuasively express what he, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, intends to communicate. Paul’s changes in the epistolary form of what he writes, therefore, are never innocent or accidental but instead are conscious and deliberate, and therefore provide an important interpretive key to determine his meaning and purpose.

Weima’s book came out in print in the fall of 2016 and is currently one of the textbooks used at Calvin Theological Seminary to teach students about not just Paul’s letters but New Testament letters in general. In September 2017 this important book was translated and published in Korean and is now also being used as a textbook in many seminaries in South Korea.


Calvin’s Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church
by Matthew J. Tuininga, Assistant Professor of Moral Theology

In Calvin’s Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church, Matthew J. Tuininga explores a little appreciated dimension of John Calvin’s political thought, his two kingdoms theology, as a model for constructive Christian participation in liberal society. Widely misunderstood as a protopolitical culture warrior, due in part to his often misinterpreted role in controversies over predestination and the heretic Servetus, Calvin articulated a thoughtful approach to public life rooted in his understanding of the gospel and its teaching concerning the kingdom of God. He staked his ministry in Geneva on his commitment to keeping the church distinct from the state, abandoning simplistic approaches that placed one above the other, while rejecting the temptations of sectarianism or separatism. This revealing analysis of Calvin’s vision offers timely guidance for Christians seeking a mode of faithful, respectful public engagement in democratic, pluralistic communities today.

“It’s a superb piece of work, an important contribution and lucidly written. My guess is that this will become the gold standard in the field. Tuininga’s line of interpretation will be much discussed.” Nicholas Wolterstorff, Yale University.

“This is an outstanding piece of intellectual-historical scholarship. It will appeal to historians of medieval and early modern political thought regardless of their personal faith or political commitments.” Barbara Pitkin, Stanford University.


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