Chapter 8, Richard F. Ward, “Finding Voice in the Theological School” pp. 139-152
Ward takes several tacks which surprise me. He begins by illustrating a student who wishes to “find” her voice in a homiletics class. Ward’s assumption is that this is the right reason to be in the class and that the student is speaking of her speaking voice, not a metaphor for her means of expression or her theological orientation. Ward continues by making the vocalization used in speaking a sermon one of, if not THE prime way that truth is discovered, both by the preacher and the congregation. He then discusses the theological implications of the use of the voice. Most of his time is spent asking questions. Most of his questioning belies a postmodern reliance on Romantic philosophy, particularly existential angst. On p. 145 Ward discusses Mark 7:31-37. Not only does he consider the Holy Spirit as “it,” ut he also describes Jesus as leaving his comfort zone and somehow, when the demoniac tells what God has done by ascribing healing to Jesus, Ward says there is a misunderstanding. This page discredits Ward’s understanding of biblical theology. Ward then makes the speaker and the hearer people who together discover how God works in his people. The congregation becomes a performer of the Gospel, which in reality only God can do. Ward leaves us with more questions. Based on his other work in the chapter I find myself not inclined to try to answer the questions.