Through thoughtful engagement with and within situations of personal, ecclesial, and societal existence, practical theology seeks to clarify the contours of a way of life that reflects God’s active presence and responds to human beings’ fundamental needs. It also seeks to guide and strengthen persons and communities to embody this way of life. (13)
Practical theology is not easy to define, as the above quotation may suggest. Consider the verbs in that brief statement alone: practical theology engages, clarifies, responds, guides, and strengthens!
In For Life Abundant, Bass and Dykstra pull together a collection of essays from academic practical theologians. The topics vary widely across four main categories: the overall goal of practical theology, the way that practical theology can improve theological instruction, the discipline of practical theology in the university, and the way in which practical theology intersects the life of the church.
The essays in this volume taken as a whole demonstrate both the breadth of the practical theological field as well as the rigor and depth of each aspect. For Life Abundant is an engaging overview of practical theology in its various forms.
Bass, Dorothy C. and Craig Dykstra, eds. For Life Abundant: Practical Theology, Theological Education, and Christian Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008.