Quotable: Joshua Searle and Theology After Christendom – Take 3

Posted by on Aug 20, 2018 in Blog | 6 comments

I’ve changed the usual Monday format and instead of a series of quotes from a notable figure, I’m selecting some key passages and quotes from interesting books I am currently reading. This is a third and final look at Joshua T. Searle’s thought provoking and challenging work Theology After Christendom: Forming Prophets for a Post-Christian World (Cascade, 2018). Searle is a tutor in Theology and Public Thought at Spurgeon’s College, London, and I had the pleasure of meeting him and teaching in some of his classes during my recent stay at Spurgeon’s.

  • Christendom could produce effective church planters and even charismatic evangelists, but it was incapable of forming prophets. Joshua Searle (p58)
  • What is clear and concise can’t deal with reality, for to be real is to be surrounded by mystery. James Joyce (p73)
  • A preoccupation with sin leads not to repentance and renewal, but to defeatism and indolence. As H.D.Thoreau (1817-1862) quipped, people “will lie on their backs, talking about the fall of man, and never make an effort to get up.” Joshua Searle (p83)
  • Salvation from sin is important and is undoubtedly part of the good news, but the gospel evokes a vision of salvation for life, rather than salvation from life. Joshua Searle (p84)
  • The glory to which man is called is that he should grow more godlike by growing ever more human. Dumitru Staniloae (p85)

There is a lot more I could have quoted from the book, but hopefully these three posts have intrigued you a little, and persuaded you to explore the book.

As always, nice chatting…


  1. Look forward to this each week. These post are helping me emerge from the darkness. Thanks.

    • So glad you find them helpful Noel. I enjoy tracking down content for the blog.

  2. Thanks Brian. Especially like the 4th quote. I’ve been chatting with friends about this idea of beginning the conversation about Christian faith about sin. It seems to me that the emphasis on salvation form sin often leaves people caught in the space of wondering if firstly their sins are really forgiven because I keep doing them and secondly have I committed a sin that has negated my salvation? I wonder if our conversation about our faith began with the good news that Jesus is the answer to the chaos of the world via his kingship rather than via our own personal sins, if this might be a better pathway to more conversation?

    • You could well be on to something there Graham. Well worth thinking about.

  3. Thanks, Brian, for your excellent blog and for giving my new book some much-appreciated publicity!

    I recently came across a great quote from your book, ‘The Big Picture’, which I wish I’d used in my own ‘Theology After Christendom’: “Legalism makes grace less remarkable. It reduces grace to a backstop required only by those foolish enough to leave their salvation to their deathbed, thus being unable to prove that they always had what it takes to earn their way into God’s kingdom by adherence to the stated norms of the church of the day.”

    Hope you’re doing well. We really miss not having you and Rosemary around at Spurgeon’s College.



    • Thanks Joshua. Feel free to use the quote in your next book! Rosemary and I also miss Spurgeon’s and hope we can get back one day. My regards to all there.

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