“This is a book about receiving the past for the sake of the church’s future,” Eilers said. “My coauthor and I name the dynamic and creative act of receiving the past, ‘retrieval.’ Retrieval is nothing new when it comes to Christian theology. In fact, The practice of looking back in order to move forward is inherent to Christianity, but the unsettling changes and dramatic challenges posed in the present era have triggered a fresh wave of retrieval. There is an increasing recognition across a wide swath of Christian traditions that the theological resources ‘of today’ are not by themselves adequate. As a result, retrieval is blossoming in many areas of Christian thought and life. This book provides the first comprehensive introduction to and analysis of the present-day flourishing of this long-standing Christian pattern. Pressing beneath the surface of contemporary theologies, it offers a wide-reaching portrayal of theology in the mode of retrieval—one that will serve anyone concerned with the renewal of the church.”
In the book, Eilers and his co-author Dr. David Buschart, associate dean and professor of theology and historical studies at Denver Seminary, survey this varied movement and identify six areas where the impulse and practice of retrieval of the Christian past has been notably fruitful and suggestive: 1) the interpretation of Scripture, 2) the articulation of theology, 3) the practices of worship, 4) the disciplines of spirituality, 5) the modes of mission and 6) the participatory ontology of Radical Orthodoxy.
“Buschart and Eilers have provided the church with an invaluable resource: a guide—a primer, one might say—for emerging theologians who recognize that the theological task is found in counterpoint between continuity and discontinuity,” said Gordon T. Smith, president and professor of systematic and spiritual theology at Ambrose University. “This kind of work requires discernment, and this is precisely what this publication will offer— a guide to effective discernment in drawing on the wisdom of the past for the theological vision and challenges of the church of tomorrow.”
Eilers’ newest release follows his August 2014 release of Sanctified by Grace: A Theology of the Christian Life, now in paperback. There he connects systematic, spiritual and practical theology by drawing together some of the most important theologians in the church today.