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Atonement As Fiducial Influence (Essay)

Currents in Theology and Mission, 2010, Feb, 37, 1

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Writing about "theories of the atonement" seems to have become something of a cottage industry among theologians in recent years. There have certainly been debates throughout church history about how the work of Christ is supposed to reconcile us to God, but discussions have broadened and intensified in the past few decades. In 1931, Gustaf Aulen's Christus Victor established a pattern for many subsequent treatments. He compared what he called the "classic" view of Christ's work, in which that work is seen as God's victory over the powers of evil, with theories of the "Latin" type typified by Anselm's Cur Deus Homo and "subjective" views popular in liberal Protestantism. (1) Like other theologians, Aulen expressed his own preference, arguing for the superiority of the classic view. In this brief note, I do not intend to review the numerous theories of the atonement that have been proposed, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses. Nor will I deal with more radical criticisms, which have been made recently of the whole idea of atonement, the idea that the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ were a work at divine-human reconciliation. Instead, I will limit myself to a consideration of the late Gerhard Forde's treatment of the work of Christ in the Christian Dogmatics edited by Carl Btaaten and Robert Jenson in order to clarify its significance and its place in a comprehensive picture of creation and salvation. (2) I will not exegete Forde's argument in detail and it should go without saying that the view I present here, while heavily influenced by that argument, is my own.

Atonement As Fiducial Influence (Essay)
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  • Category: Politics & Current Affairs
  • Published: 01 February 2010
  • Publisher: Lutheran School of Theology and Mission
  • Print Length: 10 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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