David J. LOSE, Confessing Jesus Christ. Preaching in a Postmodern World. Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003, pp. 264. ISBN 0-8028-4983-0.
Reviewed by Sr. Nivard STABILE, O.P., St. John's University, NY 11439

As a member of the Order of Preachers, I was attracted to the Lose book by its sub-title, "Preaching in a Postmodern World". In the books' Acknowledgements, David Lose, a Lutheran Pastor, claims that "in order to appreciate one's beliefs one must articulate them." And this is what Lose does in seven chapters of what is his doctoral dissertation. He states his beliefs in "confessing" Jesus Christ and instructs how to bring these beliefs to the pulpit.

The author's thesis is that the challenges of the post-modern world provide a distinct opportunity to demonstrate one's beliefs. He consigns the entire first half of the book to a thorough historical and philosophical analysis of "the failure of the modernist project for the world it produced". He writes on the post-modern failure to rationalize the intrinsic value of human existence, and on the modernist approach regarding reality. He demonstrates the shift from epistemological approaches to hermeneutics—from the science of knowing to the science of interpretation.

The first three chapters expand on the first part of Lose's thesis. He writes regarding the modernist's demand for universal orderliness as ushering in technological advance. There is much expansion—comparing, differentiating on the effects of both the modern and post-modern eras as they effected the orderliness and intelligibility of the universe. He attributes specific historical identities to the two periods.

Relating to the title, Loose repeats his premise of the importance of articulating one's beliefs in order to dialogue with reality. He defines "confession" as the articulation of faith's deepest conviction. "Confession" is further explained as the on-going understanding of "professing" one's deepest faith convictions. This is different from the Catholic understanding of confession as sacrament. To further promote his thesis, Lose expands a great length the contributions of a Charles Campbell, postliberal, and of Lucy Atkinson Rose, post-modern, both of whom have developed their own elements of "confession." Campbell stresses the power of biblical narrative and Rose conceives preaching as conversation. Numerous and lengthy footnotes cite the works of a procession of scholars who substantiate Lose's thesis. He compares and contrasts these authors' theology and/or hermeneutics. The sixteen pages of the Bibliography, the plurality and length of the footnotes might correctly identify this book as a well-referenced and significant resource for future research in the field of homiletics

The last chapter, titled, "Conclusion" is a succinct summary of Lose' initial assertion. He concludes, "we now live and preach by faith alone". The chapter includes two model sermons, for the 17th and 19th Sundays after Pentecost. I was surprised by the length of the model sermons.

I was disappointed by the tremendous disparity from the Catholic model of preaching in the post Vatican II church where the homily is an exegesis on the Word, related to the contemporary human condition, and a challenge "so that the word of God becomes the foundation of liturgical celebration and the rule and support of all of life." However, I must say that Lose accomplishes his task—the whole project is a confession of faith in the method and manner within the Christian tradition he claims.


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