David Cunningham believes Christianity places itself at a disadvantage. Though much of Christian theological discourse speaks from an obviously confrontational posture, few of its theologians are willing to admit that theology is comprised of arguments. Far from absolute, Christian theology is, in the words of Cunningham (brace yourself here), ''a fragile and uncertain endeavor. Its claims can only be tentative, and the truth of its assertions are known only to God.'' Theology speaks about what seems to be true, and Cunningham believes it does this best by following the negative way. Just as we can act on what cannot be fully known, so can we speak. Cunningham seeks to reintroduce rhetoric to Christian theology, reminding us that the New Testament, patristic and Reformation eras all employed skill in rhetoric to great effect. He divides his book into five sections -- theoria, pathos, ethos, logos and praxis
-- skillfully developing his own argument that we must recover a sense of our audience, the character with which we should speak and the word itself to be spoken. Cunningham concludes with a return to via negativa, reminding us that ''the theological task is a yearning for truth,'' but not truth itself. All statements must be submitted to the mystery of the triune God as we simultaneously seek to faithfully persuade others to worship Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
An Eighth Day View:
Over the past twenty years, scholars in a wide variety of academic disciplines have been giving incr...