System and Story is intended to develop a means for bridging the gap between critics of system and those who may find value in doing systematics from a Biblically oriented context. Narrative theologians have rightly identified and critiqued the development of system in academic theology. Unfortunately, they have not identified the ways in which systematic elements have always played a role in theological knowledge. This study demonstrates the inherent systematic tendencies that still exist in narrative approaches to theology, while at the same time acknowledging the appropriateness of aspects of the narrative critique of system. The reaction against Enlightenment modernism is examined from the perspective of the heightened role of system in religious epistemology. The work of Stanley Hauerwas serves to carry much of the conversation regarding the critique of system and a narrative alternative as it is discovered in communal formation. After ""summarizing"" Hauerwas' theology, if such a thing is possible, the final chapters explore the ecclesiological concerns of narrative theologians according to a more systematic rendering of pneumatology. A Biblical rendering of pneumatology from the perspective of the Spirit's role in ecclesiology allows for a modest (i.e., pre-modern) systematic presentation commensurate with narrative communal formation. Thus, the narrative attempt to once again ""do"" theology for the church is seen as compatible with a Scriptural (i.e., modestly systematic) theology of the Spirit.
"I have often claimed that my work is a call for help-that is, help to do more faithfully the work that needs to be done for the upbuidling of the church. I am, therefore, indebted to Gale Heide for his critical presentation of what I have tried to do and, even more, for his constructive account of how I should think of the work of the Holy Spirit. I am profoundly grateful for all Heide has taught me through the work he has done in this book."
-Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Studies, Duke Divinity School
"Stanley Hauerwas's sermons, lectures, articles, and books have stimulated the thinking of Christian for decades. Gale Heidi has done us a great favor by providing an outstanding introduction, guide, and assessment of the enormous quantity and variety of Hauerwas's material. This enriching assessment, which is like a conversation between men of great heart and intellect, coming from deep understanding of Hauerwas, is the strength of Heidi's book."
-Gerry Breshears, Chair, Division of Biblical and Theological Studies, Western Seminary
About the Contributor(s):
Gale Heide is Academic Dean and Professor of Theology and Biblical Languages at Montana Bible College in Bozeman, MT. He is author of This Is My Father's World (1998).