Testing the Spirits
Because I know that Christopher Morse is no fan of indulgent tributes or
excessive sentimentality, I will keep these introductory remarks brief and restrained, except to say that learning from, working with, and befriending him have profoundly shaped me, both as a teacher of Christian theology and a person. At present my students at Hood Theological Seminary helpfully receive much of his wisdom and insights into the discipline of “dogmatic theology” through his influence on my thinking and approach to the same.
I first met Christopher Morse at Yale Divinity School while enrolled in an
excellent course he offered there in spring 1997 on twentieth century Christian theology. Two years later I entered the doctoral program at Union Theological Seminary as his student in systematic theology, completing my dissertation under his helpful direction in 2006. He married my wife and me in 2003 and today my two children, Nicholas and Grace, refer to him affectionately as "Uncle Kit." I have read his excellent, one volume Christian dogmatics, Not Every Spirit: A Dogmatics of Christian Disbelief, well over twenty times, cover-to-cover. Although it is commonly recognized to be in the “canon” of recent introductions to Christian theology, there remains in that book a treasure trove of insights and methodological ingenuities that wait patiently for other theologians to encounter and critically engage in print. One of these is the vision of theological education Christopher puts forward in Not Every Spirit’s first three chapters. After being tasked to deliver the 2014 Closing Convocation address at Hood Theological Seminary, I decided to use the occasion to present that vision to the Seminary community the night before graduation exercises.
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- September 16, 2015