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The Inner Kingdom: vol 1 of the collected works
Bishop Kallistos Ware
St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2001, 230 pages

For those who have encountered only dry discussions of theology or a statement of Christian views that is narrow or fanatical, finding someone like Bishop Ware is a relief.  His articulation of various topics is both wise and warm, filled with the love of Christ and always intellectually rigorous as well.  Ware has chapters on worship, prayer, silence, the nature of time and salvation.  The last two sound particularly dull, but are in fact among the best of the sections. In particular, the chapter on salvation deals with the question of universal salvation, which leads into a discussion of hell.  Anyone troubled by the way most churches present hell, predestination and the concept of eternal damnation (as you should be) would do well to see how Ware situates these ideas in the context of God’s unending love and God’s desire for all to be saved. If only most pastors taught this way about Christianity, many would not have left the church.

The chapter on worship is also particularly valuable.  Most discussions of worship theology are hopelessly dull, or debate arcane points of the tradition or treat worship choices as etiquette decisions.  Ware articulates worship as being intended to express God’s beauty and bring us into the presence of God.  By that standard, most worship falls horribly short.

This was to be the first of six volumes of his collected works, but subsequent volumes seem not to have appeared as yet.


Last updated 4/16/05; posted 11/28/03; © 2005 John P. Nordin