For about the last fifteen years of his life, Thomas A. Langford pondered how grace is central to Christian theology. This book records his reflections and provides numerous gems of mature Christian insight. From beginning to end, the book is christologically focused. Grace is not something that God gives us; rather, it is the way God gives us himself. Grace is a person--God present to human beings. Grace is not a gift but rather a giver. Grace is Jesus Christ.
The central contribution of this work is its personalization of grace, its sharp focus on God present in Jesus Christ. Because its focus on grace gives the reader such a clear and thematically developed entry point, this work is a great introduction to theology and the life of the church, the kind that pastors and parishioners would certainly benefit from confronting.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"Who better to teach us grace than one who so genially embodied, personified, and incarnated grace? . . . [Langford] taught Christian grace in the manner of the great classical philosophers whom he so admired by embodying in his life that which he professed in his books, in the classroom, and in the pulpit. How appropriate that this manuscript was lying upon his desk when he died. What grace that we have it now. Grace, pure grace." --from the foreword by William H. Willimon
"Reflections on Grace looks at grace from every facet of systematic theology. Methodists and Wesleyans will want to read and ponder these pages carefully, but the work reaches out to all Christian communions--Catholic, Orthodox, and evangelical. This grace-filled book can help any faithful and thoughtful Christian think deeper about and live more boldly in the constant grace of the Triune God." --Alan G. Padgett, Methodist minister and Professor of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary
"Tommy Langford exemplified what Methodism at its best should be. We can celebrate the publication of these last thoughts, as they demonstrate that Tommy was unafraid to change. May we learn from his example." --Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School
Thomas A. Langford Philip A. Rolnick Jonathan R. Wilson Will Willimon
Thomas A. Langford (1929-2000) served the United Methodist Church and Duke University throughout his adult life. Langford was ordained a Methodist minister in 1952. He was the primary author of the United Methodist Church's "Our Theological Task" (1988) and a member of the World Methodist Council bilateral theological discussions with the Roman Catholic Church, the World Lutheran Federation, and the World Reformed Alliance. He was the author or editor of fourteen books, including 'Intellect and Hope' (on the thought of Michael Polanyi), 'In Search of Foundations' (on English theology and culture), and the widely read 'Practical Divinity' (theology in the Wesleyan tradition). This current book, 'Reflections on Grace', is the work that he had been writing during the last years of his life.
Philip Rolnick is Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. He is the author of 'Analogical Possibilities: How Words Refer to God' and 'Person, Grace, and God' (2007)
Jonathan R. Wilson is Pioneer McDonald Professor of Theology at Carey Theological College. He completed his PhD at Duke in 1989 under the supervision of Thomas Langford.