After Existentialism, Light

a theology blog

“Arise! Shine, for your light has come, the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you. Though darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds, the peoples, Upon you the Lord will dawn, and over you his glory will be seen. Nations shall walk by your light, kings by the radiance of your dawning.”

Isaiah 60:1-3 (NABRE)


San Francisco, summer 2014
San Francisco, summer 2014


Name: Kevin Davis

Location: Charlotte, NC


B.A. (Religious Studies), University of North Carolina, Charlotte

M.Th. (Systematic Theology), University of Aberdeen, Scotland

M.Div., Union Presbyterian Seminary, Charlotte

M.Th. dissertation research: John Henry Newman’s moral epistemology in the assent of faith. Advisor: Professor Francesca Murphy.

Theological Interest: I am interested in a wide range of doctrinal material, but my focus is on questions involving the intersection of theology and philosophy, especially as these questions pertain to the prolegomena for dogmatics.

Email: kevindavis.nc [at] gmail.com

In the Aberdeen Divinity Library
In the Aberdeen Divinity Library
King’s College Chapel, University of Aberdeen

“It is not the pursuit of pleasure and the aversion for effort which causes sin, but fear of God. We know that we cannot see him face to face without dying and we do not want to die. We know that sin preserves us very effectively from seeing him face to face: pleasure and pain merely provide us with the slight indispensable impetus towards sin, and above all the pretext or alibi which is still more indispensable. …It is not the flesh which keeps us away from God; the flesh is the veil we place before us to shield us from him.”

Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, pp. 58-59


  1. Kevin:
    I came upon your blog via your comment on Beggars’s All. I was very impressed with your charity and straight forward answering of the assertions that were put forth there. I commend you and suspect God will use you greatly regardless of which side of the Tiber you are on. Thanks for setting an amazing example in the blogosphere, where we often think we no longer are constrained to love our enemies or those who disagree with our version of the truth.

  2. Kevin,
    Rebekah and family are doing great. Rebekah and I have a one year old daughter, and another daughter on the way (mid-June). Rebekah graduated UNCC last spring as a Religious Studies major (Senior Seminar paper was about the invalidity of women priests in the CC, and its underlying femminist theology…she didn’t gain much favor with the professors on this, as you can imagine). Are you in contact with Fr. Martin? How is your family? Are they still at Hickory Grove? Rebekah’s father has relocated to Midway Baptist in Raleigh.

  3. Kevin:

    I have been consistently delighted with and enriched by your posts ever since a random google hit first led me to your blog. I have been blessed by what you have posted for yourself, and have been encouraged by how broad a spectrum of believers have gathered at your online “salon.” It is a privilege to be one of the commenters on your site.

  4. Just wanted to say as a seminarian at St. Mary’s in Baltimore, I thoroughly enjoy your posts as they accessibly summarize grand theological concepts.

    It’s good to see pictures of Aberdeen, I had the privelege of visiting a friend there when during a semester at UCC (Cork).

  5. Hey, just thought I would point you to a site that has caught my interest lately. It is a bunch of very well trained former Reformed Protestants trying to enlarge the Catholic church. Very intelligent discussion there.

  6. I am most familiar with your Alma Mater, I owe a considerable amount of my own intellectual formation from those in Scotland like George Steiner and Mackinnon. Steiner is very much in indebted to such a man. Peace. I invite you to check out my blog its only ten days old. Peace. wjholland.wordpress.com

  7. I am another who has “stumbled” here – what a great blog you have created. Best of luck on your dissertation, Newman has long been one of my favorite 19th-century writers.

  8. Apparently like many others I came to the site through the Spirit and am indeed moved. Please register me.

  9. Interesting blog. I appreciate your own appreciation of Barth. I am, perhaps, one of the few PCA guys who actually enjoys reading his Church Dogmatics. I’m curious: What is your take on Barth’s alledgedly adulterous relationship with his secretary, and how did it affect his relationship with God and his value as a theologian?

    • There’s no denying that his working relationship/friendship with Charlotte von Kirschbaum caused strain in his family, but there’s absolutely no evidence that it was adulterous. From what I’ve read on the topic, it appears that both Barth and Kirschbaum were convinced that their work together (the Church Dogmatics) required her moving-in with the family. As they saw it, their work was more important than the stigma attached to their relationship.

    • Thanks, Wyatt. That reminds me — I need to update my own blogroll, with your blog and a couple others.

  10. You have no idea how glad I am that I stumbled upon your blog. I am a Catholic who loves my Ratzinger, von Balthasar, Rahner, and Congar but not a day goes by in which I do not read Kierkegaard (who has initiated me into the world of Barth and Bonhoeffer). I am always struck by Kierkegaard’s statement in his journal entries on Luther that the relationship between Protestantism and Catholicism is like a building that cannot stand alone and buttresses that hold it up.Lutheran theology is existential and dialectical. Catholic theology is linear and objective. I think there is a need for both approaches. The first is personal and speaks to the actual struggles of being Christian while the second is universally applicable (as in, no law/gospel or anguished conscience is needed).

    • Thanks, Fariba. I agree that there is a fascinating mutuality between Catholicism and Protestantism/Evangelicalism — perhaps one cannot truly stand without the other. The former is analogical, creational, aesthetic; the latter is dialectical, subversive, existential. The former leads to idolatry of the church; the latter leads to idolatry of the self.

  11. Hi,

    Your blog is really impressive. I came across it by way of a Google search for Helmut Thielicke. Keep it up.
    By the way, I’m Reformed in perspective.

  12. Hey Kevin,

    I noticed you use the NABRE translation. Is this a Catholic translation? I’m looking for an alternative translation to serve as my reader from the normal NIV, NASB, NKJV, ESV, and even the NRSV which I typically read.

    • Yes, it’s the official (i.e., liturgical use) translation for the Catholic Church in the US. I enjoy it, and all editions include a modest amount of helpful study notes. It’s similar to the NRSV. BibleGateway’s website has it, so you can easily compare.

  13. Came across your blog after reading up on Saint Hildegard of Bingen, (as part of research for a serial story I’m) writing.
    I immediately googled, (now, promise you won’t laugh), ‘Benedictine vs Jesuits’ and then to this, your blog post surveying Catholic orders.

    There is something innately enjoyable about reading about a topic written by people expert in it… like watching Norm (TOH) or Alton Brown.

    And, for my money, I’d rather read a blog post about a topic of interest, at least initially, than to go into full academic.

    Very readable, quite enjoyable.

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