Douglas John Hall. Bound and Free

Douglas John Hall. Bound And Free: A Theologian’s Journey. Fortress Press, 2005.

One of North America’s most important Christian theologians gives us a brief theological memoir in this volume. Douglas John Hall, now professor emeritus at Montreal’s McGill University, has been a prolific writer for years, including a multi-volume systematic theology and important works on stewardship.

As far as mainstream Protestant theologians writing in the latter part of the 20th and early years of the 21st centuries go, Hall is pretty good. He respects the tradition and takes the Bible seriously–but also engages culture and pushes his readers toward social engagement. It is clear in this book, though, that Hall only wants to challenge the tradition so much and go only so far in pushing out the socially transformative message of Jesus’ way. His teachers are Tillich, Barth, and Reinhold Niebuhr–brilliant theologians, of course, but definitely practitioners of kinds of theology that do little, in the end, to transform the status quo.

I read this book quickly and found myself having self-consciously to push onward to finish. It’s a nice little book that gives some insights into life as a prominent theologian, but I didn’t find anything here, really, that inspired and challenged.

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