I just came across this lecture by Kevin Vanhoozer titled Gospel Theater: Rehearsing, Imrpovising, Performing. It is an hour long, but worth every second of your time. To understand Vanhoozer’s program one needs to grasp few key aspects of it. First, one needs to be familiar with his metaphors, like metaphors for theology (dramaturgy), Scripture (the script), theological understanding (performance), the church (the company), and the pastor (director). Second, crucial for Vanhoozer is his conviction that doctrine is linked with life. What does that mean? For Vanhoozer it means that the the doctrine serves the church by guiding it towards wise living. In his book The Drama of Doctrine Vanhoozer’s goal is “to convince ministers and laypeople alike not to dismiss doctrine as irrelevant, and to encourage theologians not to neglect the needs of the church. It aims to make the pastoral lamb lie down with the theological lion. Its goal is to refute, once and for all, the all-too-common dichotomy between doctrine and real life. Christian doctrine directs us in the way of truth and life and is therefore no less than a prescription for reality” (xii) It is towards this end that he coins the term theodrama. Under that large rubric he understands the Church as an arena where the gospel is improvised and lived out. The Scripture is seen as a script to be performed, faithfully, leisurely, and imaginatively. Discipleship is envisioned as improvisation.
NOTE: this lecture was a part of the the Page Lectures at Southeastern Seminary, Nov. 10-11, 2009, titled “Doing Faith: Seeking (and Showing) Understanding in Company with Christ.”
Here is an interesting excerpt from Kevin Vanhoozer that explains why so often evangelicals misread Karl Barth,
“The Word of God is God himself in Holy Scripture.” Barth never tired of insisting that only God can make God known. The overarching theological presupposition, without which Barth’s doctrine of Scripture cannot be understood, is that revelation is a predicate of God as a free, gracious, and active subject. Jesus Christ- the Word made flesh- is the definitive Word. Yet both Jesus in his humanity and Scripture in its humanity become revelation only when God acts in and through them to make himself known: “When we speak about revelation we are confronted by the divine act itself.” With this thought, we are now in a position to locate where, and why, evangelicals have so often misread Barth. It all boils down to a case of mistaken identity. For evangelical, the Word of God is an object- the deposit of revealed truth in Scripture. By contrast, for Barth the Word of God is a subject whose speaking in and through Jesus Christ creates both the canon and the church.”
[Kevin J. Vanhoozer, “A Person of The Book? Barth on Biblical Authority and Interpretation,” in Karl Barth and Evangelical Theology (ed. Sung Wook Chung; Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), 39]