Observing a strange disappearance of doctrine within the church, Kevin Vanhoozer argues that there is no more urgent task for Christians today than to engage in living truthfully with others before God. He details how doctrine serves the church-the theater of the gospel-by directing individuals and congregations to participate in the drama of what God is doing to renew all things in Jesus Christ. Taking his cue from George Lindbeck and others who locate the criteria of Christian identity in Spirit-led church practices, Vanhoozer re-locates the norm for Christian doctrine in the canonical practices, which, he argues, both provoke and preserve the integrity of the church's witness as prophetic and apostolic.
The overall aim of this book is to explain how the church comes to share the mind of Christ, despite the difference of centuries, cultures, and conceptual schemes, thanks to the dramatic interplay of Word and Spirit. Vanhoozer describes the canonical-linguistic approach in terms of four marks. It is evangelical in its understanding of the dramatic action at the heart of the Bible's authoritative witness, orthodox in its thinking about the divine dramatis personae, catholic in its attention to various voices in Scripture and in the traditions of its interpretation, yet protestant in its use of Scripture as a critical principle for discriminating between forms of ecclesial performance. The net result is a non-reductive or expansive orthodoxy that attends to the dialogue inside the canon and about it for the sake of the integrity of our contemporary renderings of the drama of redemption