Below are two lectures on video—along with their outlines—from Kevin Vanhoozer on “Doing Faith: Seeking (and Showing) Understanding in Company with Christ.” The videos are from the Page Lectures at Southeastern Seminary, from Nov. 10-11, 2009.

Here is one of the lines I appreciated:

I believe the pastor-theologian should be evangelicalism’s most conspicuous public intellectual, ministering understanding by theologically interpreting the Bible, bringing text in canonical context to bear on contemporary context. In this great task, doctrine is the pastor’s best friend.

In the course of the lectures, Professor Vanhoozer conducts a thought-experiment:

I want to suggest that the gospel and theology alike are dramatic: that the gospel is something done; that the Bible is a script, that doctrine is theatrical direction, and that we all, as members of the church, form a great “company of the gospel” with important speaking and acting parts to play. The dramatic metaphor has become for me, my family, and my students a bracing challenge to integrate doctrine and life under the rubric “faith seeking and showing understanding.”

I found the two hours stimulating and helpful, both spiritually and intellectually:


The Theater of the gospel: the stage, the script, and the director

Prologue: The pastor-theologian as minister of understanding
I. The stage
II. The Christian control story: theodrama

  1. The Christian theodrama is eucatastrophic
  2. The Christian theodrama involves divine entrances and exoduses
  3. The Christian theodrama is Trinitarian

III. The script

  1. The nature of Scripture: Spirited discourse
  2. The function of Scripture: cultivating canon sense
  3. The authority of Scripture: cultivating catholic sensibility

IV. Doctrine as direction

  1. Knowing God is itself dramatic.
  2. Understanding the theodrama: fitting participation

V. The director and the dramaturg

  1. The dramaturg
  2. The director
    1. The Holy Spirit
    2. The pastor
  3. Church as company of players

Gospel Theater: Rehearsing, Improvising, Performing

I. Role-playing: from Stanisklavski to sanctification

  1. Doctrine and identity
    1. Role-playing: the problem of hypocrisy
    2. Person or persona? the self in theodramatic perspective
  2. The “System”
    1. Hypocrisy as mechanical acting. Through-lines and super-objectives
    2. Through-lines and super-objectives
  3. The disciple’s vocation: being real

II. Discipleship as improvisation

  1. Spontaneity
  2. Accepting and blocking “offers”
  3. Narrative skills
  4. Reincorporation

III. “Doing” church: the theater of the gospel

  1. Performing the Scriptures: the costumed interpreter
  2. Performing the doctrine of atonement
    1. Practicing union with Christ
    2. The church as theatre of martyrdom
  3. A plea for amateur theology: acting in parables
    1. For the love of it
    2. Rehearsing the kingdom