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Starting from the biblical depiction of Christ’s incarnate personhood, this chapter traces the early church’s discernment of the deity and humanity of Christ that culminated in the Chalcedonian definition. Exploring the range of christological options, the chapter emphasizes the promise of a kenotic christology for making sense of Chalcedon’s intentions and parameters, including a fuller appreciation of Christ’s humanity.
This chapter articulates the identity of the church by way of key biblical metaphors and the Nicene Creed. It then examines the church’s mission, the role of proclamation and the sacraments, and the missional shape of the doctrine of election.
This chapter considers the meaning of the claim that human beings are created in God’s image (imago Dei), offering a representational-relational conception of the doctrine. It also examines how the corruptive effects of sin deface humanity’s image-bearing, pointing to the need for the image to be restored through the person of Jesus Christ, the true image of God.
This chapter takes up the doctrine of God generally, concentrating on the traditional understanding of divine being as a complex of attributes derived via positiva and via negative (i.e., “classical theism”). Given classical theism’s tensions with the biblical narrative, as well as its role in helping to foster the rise of modern atheism, the chapter argues for a rigorous trinitarian rethinking of key traditional divine attributes.
This chapter looks at the reality of religious plurality – more particularly, the relationship between the Christian church and other religious traditions – including the common typology of exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism. It also explores the significance of the fact that the Christian church’s numerical center has shifted from the West to the South and East, with significant consequences for the mission and theology of the church.
This chapter explores how the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ make reconciliation possible. It surveys the diverse biblical motifs surrounding reconciliation/atonement, the variety of traditional “atonement theories” that flowed out of those motifs, and a way of coherently integrating a variety of atonement approaches.
This chapter analyzes the context and theology of the Protestant Reformation, focusing on key theologians such as Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, and Calvin. It also examines responses to the Protestant Reformation, such as the radical reformers and forms of Catholic reformation, concluding with an exploration of the connection between Reformation theology and the rise of Protestant orthodoxy, pietism, and new forms of rationalism.
This chapter elaborates four pillars of an “ecumenical eschatology”: (1) the second coming of Christ (vis-à-vis “going to” heaven); (2) resurrection of the body (vis-à-vis an exclusive emphasis on an immortal soul); (3) final judgment/justice that is historical and public (vis-à-vis one that is heavenly and private); and (4) new heaven and earth (vis-à-vis an exclusive emphasis on heaven). It contends for a creational understanding of this doctrine, which implies that eschatology, rather than being merely a theological afterthought, is a central and mobilizing theme.
This chapter charts the medieval consolidation of the Christian world’s inheritance from the patristic tradition, giving some attention to the Byzantine East but primarily focusing on western theology. It examines important theological debates of the early Middle Ages, describes the development of scholastic theology, and explores the theology produced by the mendicant orders, especially that of Thomas Aquinas.
This chapter explores the contextual situation of theology today, engaging the set of challenges inherent in being caught between modernity (with challenges such as secularization, atheism, dehumanization, suffering, and the ecological crisis) and so-called postmodernity (with issues such as the demise of truth, the crisis of meaning, and a deepened global consciousness).
Beginning with a discussion of the difficult matter of defining “salvation,” this chapter explores the creational scope of the doctrine, which requires moving beyond a merely individualistic consideration of salvation. Within this context, the chapter addresses the traditional soteriological topics: justification, sanctification, the shape of the Christian life, and the eschatological orientation of salvation, including the resurrection of the body.
This chapter explores the nature, purpose, and method of Christian theology, giving attention to the classic Augustinian/Anselmian conception of theology as “faith seeking understanding.” It describes Christian theology as a systematic web of themes, the articulation of which aims at biblical-confessional soundness, logical coherence, and practical relevance.
This chapter surveys Christian theology from the turbulent 1960s – including significant reforms in Catholic theology, a renewed emphasis on history and eschatology in Protestant theology, and the rise of political and liberation theologies – to the postmodern present. The chapter concludes the book by inquiring about the significance of non-western theological proposals for the increasingly secularized West.
This chapter addresses the unique Christian doctrine of creation out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo), elaborating the basics of a creation theology. Negatively, it indicates positions ruled out (i.e., gnostic dualism, pantheist monism, naturalism); and positively, it emphasizes what is suggested about the God-world relationship in constructive relation to other Christian doctrines, scientific questions pertaining to evolution, and the ecological crisis.