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Christian Dogmatics

edited by Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson

Publication Year: 2011

Christian Dogmatics,/i> is a two-volume survey of the twelve major loci of Christian doctrine, each treated extensively in terms of its biblical foundations, historical tradition, and contemporary significance. From the perspective of the Lutheran tradition and in view of the unique questions and issues of the American context, each locus is developed independent of the others by six theologians, themselves influenced by divergent theological movements: Carl Braaten, Gerhard Forde, Philip Hefner, Robert Jenson, Paul Sponheim, and Hans Schwartz. Volume 1 discusses dogmatics, the Trinity, the identity of God, creation, sin, and Christology. Volume 2 treats atonement, the Holy Spirit, ecclesiology, the sacraments, justification by faith, and eschatology.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Contributors, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-xvi

Abbreviations in Volume 2

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pp. xvii-xviii

SEVENTH LOCUS. The Work of Christ

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pp. 1-3

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Introduction

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pp. 5-9

So reads a central New Testament passage on the work of Christ which can stand as a theme for this locus. We are concerned here with what God did in Jesus Christ, with the work rather dian the person of Christ. The distinction cannot be made absolutely. In the broadest sense, Christ is what he does...

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1. The Shapeof the Tradition

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pp. 11-46

The story is simple enough and well known. Jesus, the carpenter's son from Nazareth, came declaring the imminent coming of the kingdom of God in connection with his own person and ministry, preaching repentance, forgiving sins, and performing signs and wonders. Those whom he encountered...

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2. Luther's Theology of the Cross

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pp. 47-63

About the time Aulen's Christm Victor appeared, Luther's theology of the cross was rediscovered.1 Both events have contributed to a ferment in reflection on the atonement which makes consideration of Luther's views an important transition to contemporary reconstruction. Aulen's attempt to claim...

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3. Reconciliation with God

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pp. 65-77

Luther has pointed us in the right direction. Atonement theories have dealt too much with abstractions and have not paid enough careful attention to the way things are. It is time now to take the final step. The fact is that we simply cannot get on with God. We cannot reconcile ourselves to God. Why?...

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4. Atonement as Actual Event

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pp. 79-99

Throughout the history of the tradition, the scriptural account of Jesus' death and resurrection has been used largely as a mine for texts to support this or that theory. The hermeneutic, whether ancient or modern, has with few exceptions been allegory: The historical account is a code, a surface manifestation...

EIGHTH LOCUS. The Holy Spirit

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pp. 101-103

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Introduction

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pp. 105-108

The phenomenon we call "spirit" is both universal in human experience and universally remarked.1 Thus, in uncommon agreement, Hebrew ruach and Greek pneuma, with their synonyms and related words, have identical backgrounds and usage.2 Both initially meant "wind" and "breath," and...

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1. The Spirit That Spoke by the Prophets

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pp. 109-124

To understand the Christian experience of and teaching about the Spirit, the compendious starting point is the New Testament account of Pentecost—not the story of wind and flames and a linguistic miracle, but the biblical interpretation that follows and for the sake of which Luke tells the story:...

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2. Pneumatological Soteriology

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pp. 125-142

If we rehearse again the items of christological faith appropriated to the Spirit in the creedal third articles, we note that this is where we come into the creeds: Here appear faith, baptism, church, and eternal life. What is sketched in a third article is our life as it is, because reality is as the creeds otherwise describe...

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3. Spirit-Discourse as the Church's Self-interpretation

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pp. 143-164

Every community has spirit. To whatever extent you and I share a common life, to that extent you pose human possibilities that are new to me, simply by the ways in which you differ from what I already am. If these possibilities are at once surprising and fulfilling, that is, if they are liberating, you are...

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4. Cosmic Spirit

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pp. 165-178

In the previous two chapters, we have discussed the work of the Spirit mostly as a work only within the believing community. That is as it should be; it is the Spirit of Israel's particular God and of Jesus and of the church that is our object. \et we cannot entirely confine ourselves to this analysis, for Israel's...

NINTH LOCUS. The Church

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pp. 179-181

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Introduction

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pp. 183-185

The doctrine of the church aims at making a foundational statement about the church which qualifies as a genuinely theological statement. To qualify as such, the doctrine must speak about what the church is, in the light of what we believe about God. From a slightly different angle, the doctrine must...

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1. The Doctrine of the Church—Focus and Challenges

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pp. 187-202

To set the proper doctrinal context for our consideration of the church, it is helpful to remind ourselves of the basic structure of the trinitarian vision of God and state the way we mean to employ it. The trinitarian dogma is at once the normative Christian understanding of God and the basic vision of...

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2. The Being of the Church

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pp. 203-221

One of the most important sources for understanding what the church believes about itself is the fourfold affirmation of the "Nicene" Creed: "I believe in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church." In these four adjectives, much of the church's self-understanding is contained. Furthermore, here we are dealing...

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3. Basic Elements of the Church's Life

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pp. 223-241

In this chapter, we move to another level of theological discussion of the church. Here we discuss elements that, although they do not pertain to the eternal being of the church, are basic to the historical life of the church as it has thus far evolved. The considerations discussed in Chapter 2 originated in our strictly...

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4. The Church and the Kingdom of God

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pp. 243-247

In this age, the church is "ecclesia militans',' the "militant church." The church provides a framework for its members, in which they can carry on the struggle for meaning and peace. It provides structures of organization, sacramental actions, kerygmatic presentations of God's grace, and a network of personal...

TENTH LOCUS. The Means of Grace

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pp. 249-252

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Introduction

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pp. 253-254

The means of grace comprise "the word" and "the sacraments" and are an intrinsic part of the Christian life.1 But they raise many questions. How is it possible that grace can be communicated through words and objects? Should we understand this in a magical way or in a symbolic, spiritual way? Most...

PART ONE: THE WORD

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pp. 255-275

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1. The Biblical Understanding of the Word of God

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pp. 257-268

When we reflect on "the word of God," the question emerges whether we mean a word about God or from God. In his incisive essay "What Does It Mean to Speak of God?" (1923), Rudolf Bultmann attempted to clear the issue: "If 'speaking of God' is understood as 'speaking about God,' then such...

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2. The Dynamics of God's Word

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pp. 269-288

One might at first wonder whether such typically Lutheran terms as "law" and "gospel" are adequate to characterize the dynamics of God's word. Yet we noticed in our biblical survey that God's word is not just promise and grace, mat it can also be judgment and condemnation. Nevertheless, many systematicians...

PART TWO: THE SACRAMENTS

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pp. 289-309

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. 3Sacraments of the Word

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pp. 291-314

Conjunction with the word is posited in the very notion of "sacraments." Every religion has various rites, responding to its particular communal needs. Christianity is no exception. The theological notion of "sacraments" was created by Augustine's interpretation of Christianity's rites as forms of the word....

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4. Baptism

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pp. 315-336

For any missionary community, initiation must be the chief rite, and Christianity has always retained enough missionary self-consciousness to regard baptism as the chief sacrament, or at least as the gateway to other sacraments.1 Moreover, baptism is the only sacrament confessed in the ecumenical creeds....

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5. The Supper

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pp. 337-366

From the beginning. Christians have celebrated their special meal, "breaking bread . . . with glad and generous hearts" (Acts 2:46), obeying a command to "do this" and passing on the command. That this mandate has apostolic authority is documented directly: Paul explicitly includes it in what...

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6. The Return to Baptism

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pp. 367-389

If the content of baptized life is indeed return to baptism and not a development of baptism or a progression from it, baptized life must be as sacramental an event as baptism itself.1 The Supper, moreover, will not by itself suffice; we need rites whose visible and audible communication is specifically...

ELEVENTH LOCUS. Christian Life

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pp. 391-393

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Introduction

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pp. 395-398

A locus on the Christian life is potentially the most dangerous in dogmatics. It is concerned with giving an account of how the act of God in Christ impinges on, effects, and affects the lives we live. Such an account is potentially dangerous because, as the tradition shows all too patently, the rhetoric has...

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1. Justification

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pp. 399-424

"You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). "It is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy" " (1 Pet. 1:16). "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you" (John 13:34). Such passages set in no uncertain terms the goal of the...

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2. Justification and Sanctification

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pp. 425-444

"Are we to continue to sin that grace may abound?" The question obviously makes people nervous. To that degree also the answer is likely not to be grasped: "By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?" (Rom. 6:1-2). Justification means the end of law and of thinking according to law. It means...

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3. Justification and This World

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pp. 445-460

Justification as an unconditional eschatological act apart from law and its works demands reassessment of our ideas about the law. Paul put the question for us: "Do we then overthrow the law by this faith?" Does justification make us antinomians, enemies of the law? So it might seem at first glance, and...

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4. Justification Today

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pp. 461-469

Is what we have said about justification "relevant" today? Arguments about relevance are somehow always elusive, mostly depressingly dull and finally inconclusive. Probing for the "modern" person, to whom one is supposed to be relevant, has become more and more like shooting at a moving target....

TWELFTH LOCUS. Eschatology

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pp. 471-473

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Introduction

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pp. 475-480

Eschatology, or the doctrine of the last things, has long been regarded as a dubious enterprise.1 Martin Luther claimed that as little as a child knows in the mother's womb about this life, so little do we know about life eternal. Yet Luther himself and most of his contemporaries did not doubt the heavenly...

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1. The Biblical View of the Future

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pp. 481-499

If we want to attain an accurate assessment of eschatology, we should first attempt a definition of it. The eschata as the subject matter of eschatology include all concepts connected with life beyond death. Heaven and hell, a final judgment, immortality and resurrection, and even reincarnation,...

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2. Continuing Tensions in the History of Eschatology

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pp. 501-511

Initially the hope for the end of the world and the early coming of the kingdom were vibrant parts of the faith of the Christian community. An influential recent school of theology, initiated by Albert Schweitzer, has claimed that the decisive crisis in the earliest period of Christianity came when these hopes...

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3. Major Currents in Christian Eschatology

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pp. 513-539

Biblical eschatology has dominated twentieth-century theology more than any other topic. At first glance the debate appears confusing. Except for the common agreement that the New Testament provides a thoroughly eschatological outlook, there is hardly any conceivable standpoint or opinion that has not...

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4. Secular Options

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pp. 541-554

Soren Kierkegaard, the spiritual ancestor of modern existentialism, considered life a venture in which we are sustained by our trust in a gracious God. Presentday existentialists, especially of the secular variety, have largely abandoned such a metaphysical reference point and view life simply within the limits...

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5. The Content of Christian Hope

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pp. 555-587

Before we explicitly engage in discourse about the content of Christian hope, we must lay out some ground rules for that discourse. If faith is hope in that which is not yet seen, eschatology is central to the Christian faith. But what distinguishes Christian hope from credulity and from mere speculation? After...

Indexes to Volumes One and Two

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pp. 589-614


E-ISBN-13: 9781451404791
E-ISBN-10: 1451404786
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800698690
Print-ISBN-10: 0800698681

Page Count: 624
Publication Year: 2011