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In this paper, I argue that John Calvin's problematic grant of magisterial authority to enforce proper religious worship contradicts much of his own political theology and in fact depends upon an ambiguity in his natural law theory. I demonstrate this ambiguity by examining the differing claims in the Institutes regarding which of the tables of the Decalogue are accessible through natural law reasoning. I also consider the significance of this ambiguity for Calvin's political theology. I then suggest a partial retrieval of Calvin's political theology which is both more compelling to many contemporary Christians and in a better alignment with much of Calvin's own political theory.
This article demonstrates that an economic context is essential to the metaphor that Anselm of Canterbury and Peter Abelard used in their arguments against a ransom theory of atonement. Contrary to typical analyses, which suggest their metaphor makes a point about obedience or honour that slaves or servants owe to a master or king, this metaphor in fact suggests relations between the lord of a manor and his servi – serfs bound to the land, perpetually indebted to the lord and effectively considered his property. Should servi attempt to desert their lord, he had the right simply to reclaim them wherever they went. Insofar as this right voided the servus’ choice to leave their lord, the metaphorical framework of manorial economy ruled out the ‘rights of the devil’ in a way previous debt-slavery and military frameworks for ransom theory (in themselves) did not.
Recent discussion regarding the beatific vision has concerned the object of the vision. Thomas Aquinas represents a robust account of the beatific vision according to which God will be seen in his essence by saints and angels in heaven. Others, however, have worried that such a view risks imperilling divine transcendence and incomprehensibility and favour instead an understanding of the beatific vision that is christologically oriented. This article offers a defence of the claim that we will see God's essence in heaven. First, it draws attention to various distinctions in Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae concerning how we see the divine essence in heaven. Then, it demonstrates points of continuity between Thomas’ account and that of later Protestants, particularly Calvin and Turretin. Third, following Simon Gaine, it argues that Thomas’ account of the beatific vision is not christologically deficient. Finally, it argues that Thomas’ account has biblical support.
This article questions the value of the categories ‘the school of Antioch’ and ‘Antiochene christology’ on the basis of the significant theological differences between the two central figures in the school: John Chrysostom and Theodore of Mopsuestia, both of whom studied together at the school of Diodore of Tarsus in the late fourth century. Drawing on scholarship which has pointed to the coherence of Theodore's exegesis and christology, I show that Chrysostom's exegesis and christology are also coherent, but in a way which is at odds with those of Theodore. As opposed to Theodore's distinctions between the two testaments and between the human and the divine in Christ, Chrysostom has a strongly unitive reading of scripture's two testaments and of the person of Christ. In my argument I especially employ Theodore's and Chrysostom's respective exegetical works on the Gospel of John.
Adolf Schlatter claims that the Protestant Reformation bequeathed us a lopsided understanding of human personhood. In his view, the Reformers offered a limited definition of sin that neglected our creatureliness, and a passive understanding of grace that rendered the believer inactive. Seeking to correct what he considers misrepresentations of religious and christological anthropology in (post-)Reformation theology, Schlatter suggests a view of sin that takes our humanity as God's creatures seriously, and he puts forward a view of grace that leads to an organic transformation of our volition and leaves our God-given creatureliness intact. Schlatter's active-volitional understanding of divine grace offers much by way of promise as we rediscover our responsibilities as God's active agents in a fallen world.
On what rational grounds can one say that Christianity is true? John Henry Newman's answer to this question lays great emphasis on the subjective, personal dimensions of knowledge, which he claims are no less reasonable than formal logical argumentation. Among these dimensions is conscience. The clearest proof for God's existence, Newman argues, is provided by the experience of God in one's conscience. In this article, I will argue that there is another similar element of Newman's thought: the immediate encounter between Christ and the mind through the impress of the image of Christ. What conscience is to the certainty of God's existence, this image of Christ is to the certainty of Christianity.