In reading Scripture, we encounter not only the living God, but an invitation to the mysteries of the text itself. As readers dig through the soil of the text, they eventually discover living water—a wellspring of life. The speeches of Acts offer an accessible entry point into this life, eloquently demonstrating what Calvin calls the sum total of Christian faith.
In Hearing and Doing, Christopher Holmes invites us to feast upon the speeches of Paul and Peter. As a work of constructive theological exegesis, he engages Aquinas and Calvin and some of the most important theologians of our day, notably Rowan Williams and Katherine Sonderegger. At the heart, Holmes aims to draw us to the speeches themselves so that we might become encompassed in their divine beauty. By the same token, he treats the doctrine of God and that of the church, articulating something of what the speeches urge us to say regarding God and the shape of life in relation to God.
In sum, Holmes argues that the speeches provide a window into the faith’s essentials, inspiring reverence and obedience toward God. Hearing and Doing submits to divine tutoring via the speeches, passing on the fruits of that contemplation to the reader with nuance and clarity, unfolding in an exegetically charged fashion the Christian faith’s horizon.
Introduction Part One: Peter and the Metaphysical Dimension 1 The Mercy of God 2 The Grace of Christ 3 The Hope of the Spirit Part Two: Paul and the Moral Dimension 4 The Invocation of God 5 The Fear of God 6 Other Principal Points of Heavenly Teaching Conclusion
Christopher R. J. Holmes is Professor of Systematic Theology at University of Otago.
The great John Webster never wrote a biblical commentary, but this book is what Webster would have written. Deeply informed by Calvin and Aquinas, and in constant dialogue with the recent masters of his Anglican tradition—from Sonderegger and Mascall to Rowan Williams—Professor Holmes exposits the book of Acts from the perspective of one who believes that the divine realities described therein are real. Holmes’ trenchant insights penetrate to the heart of Christian faith.
~Matthew Levering, James N. Jr. and Mary D. Perry Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
In this extraordinary study, Holmes practices a kind of theological exegesis of Acts in which the speeches of Peter and Paul become transparent to their ultimate source and ground: nothing less than the triune identity and being of the God of the gospel. Written in focused conversation with Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Rowan Williams, and Katherine Sonderegger, the result is an essay in systematic theology marked by concision, intensity, directness, and a compelling confidence in the power of thinking and speaking of God ‘substance-wise’ to instruct faith and to take us to the heart of the matter.
~Philip G. Ziegler, Chair of Christian Dogmatics, University of Aberdeen
I find myself driven to Scripture with renewed vigour and vision of God. By drawing on the riches of the Christian tradition, Holmes spurs a life of repentance, faith, and witness. He practices theological reflection and spiritual exegesis such that contemporary theology might be of God.
~Rebekah Earnshaw, Collaborative Partner, Angelina Noble Centre
Christopher R. J. Holmes’s Hearing and Doing is especially interesting because it seeks to interact with certain aspects of a biblical book from the perspective of systematic theology.
~John-Christian Eurell, Review of Biblical Literature