Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Faith & Religion

Theologians as word-painters

I’m skimming through Stanley Grenz’ The Social God and the Relational Self and came across the following in a section where he’s talking about metaphorical language (especially with respect to Sallie McFague’s writing).

The acknowledgment that theological language is metaphorical alters our understanding of the task of the theologian. Rather than a scientist who discovers truths about God waiting to be discerned, the theologian is a poet who crafts meaningful pictures about our world and our relationship to the transcendent.

In effect, the theologian becomes, or is, a storyteller painting word pictures. Though why stop only with the medium of words?


  1. Andrew

    Hi Stephen, on a different point, have you seen the latest Scottish Journal of Theo (in Carey library)? It has a critique of Grenz’s theology, especially in relation to his attempts to construct a non-foundational theology in light of postmodernism, with an interesting response from Grenz about theological methodology. Thought you might be interested…

  2. What I want to know is whether Sallie McFague once wrote under the name Sallie TeSelle. Any idea? I’ve a book by TeSelle which seems remarkably similar to the core themes of some of McFague’s writing.

  3. Cheers Andrew, I’ll have to look it up when I’m next in the library. I see Grenz has just published a new book on the Trinity too which I came across while finishing off next Monday’s Trinity lecture for the Intro. to Theol class.

    Andii, I think they’re both the same person. There’s a Sallie McFague TeSelle who wrote the book “Literature and the Christian Life” (

  4. Andi
    she is the same person…. this stumped me in my masters for a week or two ….


  5. Stephen, my copy of the book you refer too arrived yesterday. I’m looking forward to read some or all of it. Any chance of you photocopying and posting to me the critque Andrew refers too, and Grenz’s response. Cheers Amigo

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