A Survey of Leading Theologians

shawlaskewvilleUrban and Civil

Nov 29, 2013 (3 years and 4 months ago)

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A
Survey of Leading Theologians


Neo
-
orthdoxy


Radical from above approach


Historical evidence useless and
counterproductive


Primacy of faith as trust


Christocentric theology


Christ as mediator


Christ represents humanity to God and in his
divinity represents God to humanity


Two natures of Christ


Otherness/Transcendence of God (contra
Liberalism)


Christocentrism

(cf. Evangelicalism)


The reality of incarnation and atonement


All in all, an attempt to rediscover the value of
Classical orthodoxy


Fideism and the neglect of history


A limited view of nature and grace


Extreme Christocentrism leads him to
some kind of universalist position (see
later)


Theology as public disciple in search of universal
truth


Historical
-
critical study of Bible


Approach from below


Historical enquiry as necessary


Jesus as the New Adam


Resurrection as the focal point of theology and
Christology


(contrast this with Luther’s approach which focused on the
cross)


Resurrection as Father’s confirmation of validity of J.’s claims


Theological meaning is taken from perspective of resurrection


(think here, for example, of the Messianic secret of Mark)



The importance of history and historical
investigation that helps correct the a
-
historical
approaches of Barth, Liberals, and
existentialism


The openness to miracles while holding on to
the strictures of critical
-
historical study


The relationship between anthropology and
Christology


The importance of resurrection


Is his approach too rationalistic?


Does the incarnation of Jesus represent
something radically “new”?


The Way of Jesus Christ


Towards a more dynamic way of doing
Christology


Forward movement of God’s history with the world


A Dynamic Christology


A “Concrete” Christology, based on based on the
history of Jesus rather than on a utopian vision


The importance of Jesus’ earthly life


Spirit
-
Christology


Social and political relevance


The dynamic tension between hope and work


A wider context of the cross and resurrection:


Not only individuals’ salvation but also God’s own life


The “newness” of incarnation?


What about the sin and Fall as the
occasion for the cross and resurrection?


The danger of “panentheism”: is God
made too dependent on the world?


Global theology


The “communion” of local interpretations in mutual
dialogue. As VMK states, the only global is local.*


Less a methodological question of from below or
from above, but to take the insights and apply
them in service to liberation, inclusivity and
equality.*


To include also the experience of the community


Praxis oriented


Moltmann
: transition from metaphysical
christology

(ancients) to historical
christology

(modern) to human history in the framework of
nature (post
-
modern)




African

American
James Cone


Criticism of creeds that the did not look close enough at the
concrete history of Jesus of Nazareth; historical Christology was too
far removed from concrete realities, too spiritualized









*
From
Karkkainen’s

unpublished manuscript,
Christ and Reconciliation, 55.



Particularity and Diversity


Inclusivity


For example, women’s theologies:


Epistemological


Ontological


Access to knowledge


Ideological Critique


E.g. Women theologies: Jesus as male


E.g. Justo Gonzalez: idea of impassible, autocratic God


Need to do theology from minority perspective


E.g. Latin American Liberationists: preferential option for
the poor


Understanding

Jesus rather than just recovering Jesus (e.g.
Quest)


Evangelical Assessment


We should acknowledge need for continued
development of interpretations of Christ that take
context seriously


We should be careful not to be dismissive of
alternative approaches such as that of liberationists
or feminists


Biblical considerations


Creedal
H
eritage


Role of Experience


Role of Context


Principle of Inclusivity


Atonement not just about spiritual salvation , but
holistic healing in personal and communal
dimensions*


Robust look at the
entire life

of Jesus


Thus socio
-
political issues such as equality and peace are
important


Dangers


Jesus is reduced to a human figure


Salvation reduced to improve the human condition in the
here and now


A final note:


Contextual theologies should not be relegated to the
margins, which is possible if we make such a theologies a
separate study


Jews and Christians are “People of the Book”


Jewish prophets and Jesus brought true revelations (
sura

4.163), but
the message has been distorted by humans


“We believe in God and in what He has revealed to us and His
revelations to Abraham and
Ishamel
, to Isaac and Jacob and the
tribes, and in what was brought to Moses, Jesus and the prophets,
from their Lord. We don not discriminate between any of them and
to God do we Surrender.” (
sura

3.84
-
85)


Prophets called to bring people back to original monotheism


Jesus as revered prophet,


‘He [Allah] will teach him [Jesus] the Book, the
Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel, to be a messenger
to the Children of Israel” (surah 3.48
-
9)


but not God



The Christians say, “The Messiah is the Son of
God.”…God assail them! How they are
perverted!...They were commanded to serve but
One God; There is no God but He.’ (
sura

9.30
-
31
)




Jesus is born of the virgin Mary (e.g.
sura

3.45
-
49)


Unique among the prophets in this sense of being conceived
in this supernatural way


Jesus and Mary


Mary mentioned often


Title “Son of Mary” used 23 times; underscores Jesus’ humanity


Jesus performs miracles


E.g. bringing life to a clay bird (see the Gospel of Thomas,
gnostic texts), healing the blind and lepers (
sura

5.110)


Jesus predicts the coming of Muhammad


See
sura

61.6


Interestingly, the
Paraclete

of John 14.16,26 is
considered to
be Muhammad



Jesus was not crucified or resurrected


“However [the Jews} did not slay him, and neither did they crucify him, but it only
seemed to them [
as if
it had been] so; and, verily, those who hold conflicting
views thereon are indeed confused, having no [real] knowledge, thereof, and
following mere conjecture. For, of a certainty, they did no5 slay him: nay, God
exalted him unto Himself
-

and God is indeed almighty wise. Yet there is not one
of the followers of earlier revelation who does not, at the moment of this death
grasp the truth about Jesus; and on the Day of Resurrection he [himself] shall
bear witness to the truth against them.”


Side note: there is a popular belief that Jesus was taken up bodily into heaven;
this is disputed
by some, like
the commentator Muhammad Assad


Role on the Day of Judgment (see above)


In
both

the

Sunni and Shi’ite hadiths, Jesus’ eschatological role is
emphasized


He will come and vindicate Islam and set things right


In Shi’ite eschatology, Jesus is viewed
as messianic figure
who accompanies the
Mahdi




Among Sufis, Jesus is a major spiritual figure


Al
-
Ghazali

describes Jesus’ as the “Prophet of the Heart”


The great Sufi mystic,
Ibn


Arabi

(1165
-
1240 A.D ) speaks of Jesus as
the “Seal of the Saints/Holiness” (cf. Muhammad is the “Seal of the
Prophets”)


Titles for Jesus (see Hans Kung,
Islam, 490
)


Messiah


not to be confused with Christian understanding; rather
signifies being “anointed” and blessed by God


Word of God


perhaps in connection with Logos as God’s creative
word


Spirit of God


perhaps he was conceived by a virgin through the
action of the spirit; this is not understood as proof of Jesus’ divinity
but an exercise of God’s omnipotence


Servant of God
-

as are all human beings


Jesus is
not

God but points
to

God



Stress on Allah as merciful and compassionate


Although Qur’an is not the self
-
revelation of God in
the same way as the biblical text, God’s nature is
known, but primarily through his attributes


The ninety nine names of God. Some of the most prominent
are: merciful, compassionate, beneficent, gracious


Al
-
Ghazali
,
The Beautiful Ninety Nine Names of God


God as radically different from his creation
(compare with the idea of human beings as having
been created in the image of God in Christian
thought)


Stress on God’s transcendence, though he is
involved in his creation