James Wm. McClendon, Jr. (1924–2000) was the most important "baptist" theologian of the twentieth century. McClendon crafted a systematic theology that grew out of the immediacy of preaching the text, refused to succumb to the pressures of individualism, and lamented the stunted public witness of a fractured Protestant ecclesiology.
This third and final volume of his Collected Works provides a compendium of McClendon’s sermons—examples of what he called "first-order" theology in action. While McClendon was predominantly known as a philosophical theologian, he persisted in the belief that the theology that mattered most occurred in ordinary congregations seeking to bear faithful witness in the world. The sermons in this collection—many rarely seen and never before published—provide an important window into McClendon’s own theology and witness to his convictions about theology's purpose and end. This third volume serves as an invaluable resource for ministers, students, and theologians who seek a fuller understanding of McClendon’s "baptist" theology.
Introduction to Volume 3 Part I: Waiting: The Coming of the Lord Part II: On the Way: The Path of Discipleship Part III: A Whole New World Part IV: The Time of the Spirit Filled Community Part V: Appendices
James William McClendon, Jr. was a Christian theologian in the Anabaptist tradition and the author of many important works, including Biography as Theology: How Life Stories Can Remake Today's Theology and Making Gospel Sense to a Troubled Church. He was, at the time of his death, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.
Ryan Andrew Newson is Adjunct Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Campbell University.
Andrew C.Wright is a Doctoral Candidate in Christian Ethics and Philosophical Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.
This collection contains more than information. It reveals McClendon himself: theologian, churchman, and preacher.
~William E. Pannell, Senior Professor of Preaching, Fuller Theological Seminary
Standing in the long line of theologians who understood themselves to be, first and foremost, pastors, Jim preached as though the church really matters. In these sermons, McClendon achieved the pinnacle of sophisticated theological scholarship: he used ordinary words to catalyze for ordinary folks an extraordinary vision of the one true Word who easters with the church in the ordinary.
~Brad J. Kallenberg, Professor of Theology and Ethics, University of Dayton
McClendon salts his preaching with biblical analysis, with historical narration, and with creative theological insights. In this third volume of McClendon’s works, the editors have provided a powerful example of the way that his preaching is deeply rooted in the tradition and narratives of the faith to provide sustenance for the church’s renewal.
~Mikael Broadway, Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics, Shaw University
This valuable book, the last in a series of three volumes on the collected works of renowned, twentieth-century Baptist theologian James Wm. McClendon Jr. allows readers to witness McClendon the gifted preacher. Whereas earlier volumes demonstrate his academic scholarship, here is McClendon at his best in the area of pastoral, applied, or practical theology—what he personally referred to as ‘first-order theology’ done in, with, and for the church as community.
~Michael S. Whiting, Baptist History and Heritage Journal
For students of McClendon who wish to be internally coherent to his theology, this is an essential source for interpreting his work. For those interested in homiletics this is a collection which at least poses, if not explicitly answering, questions about the distinctly prophetic and baptist nature of preaching.
~Stuart Blythe, Journal of European Baptist Studies
In these sermons, McClendon weaves the biblical stories, the stories of the preacher, and the stories of the listeners. He steps deftly and imaginatively from to the other and back again.