To save this undefined to your undefined account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your undefined account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Why should metaphors pose a problem for the philosopher of religion? Most forms of discourse involve some use of metaphor: if I describe Fred as ‘a tower of strength’ most people know what I mean and there can be no objection to my doing it. Of course, metaphor in general generates certain philosophical problems which have been taken up in the philosophy of art and which continue to generate controversy. For example, how does one identify a metaphor, and how does it differ from a literal assertion? Is a metaphor a disguised comparison, logically reducible to simile? Can metaphors be true and false, or can one only describe them as ‘appropriate’ and ‘inappropriate’?
The language of Christian prayer reflects two central components of christology. One is the exclusive importance attached to a brief portion of history centring upon the death of Jesus, while the other is the assertion of his continuing presence to the believer. The ways in which these twin themes are articulated is nowhere more apparent than in the theology of the resurrection. In this respect the resurrection provides the most important case-study in Christian interpretation. The sense in which the history of Jesus is theologically significant and the sense in which he can be spoken of as present — these are partly illustrated and partly constituted by the interpretation of the resurrection.
We began by wondering what it might mean to speak of the immanent and economic threefoldness of God. Rahner's axiom provided leverage on the problem by showing that trinitarian theology is meant above all to be a truth about the mystery of salvation. That is, it is a way of both narrating and conceiving the God who saves and the God who saves.
The correspondence between these two emphases presented a hermeneutical problem at two methodological levels, and so the second step was to examine the meaning of the copula in Rahner's axiom in order to decide how we might (a) link up our narrative of God's history with us with God's inner history, and, having answered that, how we might (b) link up our speculation about God's ‘inner’ life with the divine reality. We replied in the case of (a) that the axiom legislates speaking of God by drafting an equivalence between the temporal history of God-with-us and the eternal history of God, and vice versa: the economic trinity is the immanent trinity, and vice versa. In the case of (b) and building on the answer to (a), we proposed an understanding of the trinity as a theological model. The model (trinity of relations) is related to the ‘modeled’ (God-in-relation) both heuristically and ontologically. The theological model of trinity therefore must incorporate imagistic as well as discursive, indirect as well as direct modes of discourse.
Finally, we indicated some of the theological and methodological consequences of understanding God as being the ‘God for us’, and of re-conceiving the doctrine of the trinity to be a theological model of salvation.
Many people, and not only in 1984, the year specified by Orwell, have expressed thoughts somewhat along the following lines: that in modern society people are being dehumanised, depersonalised, mechanised; that relations among persons are too often impersonal, alienated, objective; that all this is to be deplored, and that institutions and ways of doing things must be so devised as to undo damage already done, or at least so devised as not to do more of this damage, by depersonalising people. Many particular instances have been given as examples of the dehumanisation which is complained of, but we are seldom given any more general account, let alone a definition of dehumanisation, depersonalisation, etc. I am not here assuming the fallacy attributed to Socrates that you do not know at all what a thing is, unless you have defined it adequately. After all many people know at least something of what a teaspoon is, what water is, what friendship is, without being able to offer acceptable definitions of these things. So my point is not that all previous discussions have been useless or hopelessly unclear, but I do say that if we can provide a somewhat general statement or statements about the concept of dehumanisation, that will greatly help us in practical discussion about ways of encouraging fully human relationships; or, more positively put, if we have before us some general account of what humanisation is, we can better see how it might come about.
Despite the excessive claims sometimes made for the unity and consistency of Calvin's thought, there is no evidence to suggest that he ever varied his views on the distinctive marks of the church. From the first edition of the Institute to the last, the formula remains unchanged: ‘Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to Christ's institution, there, it is not to be doubted, a church of God exists.’ It has long been recognized that the notion of the two marks of the church is not original to Calvin, but derives from the Augsburg Confession of 1530, in which the faithful teaching of the gospel and the proper administration of the sacraments are said to designate the assembly of all believers (art. 7). Like Luther and Melanchthon, but unlike the framers of the Scots and Belgic Confessions, the French Reformer does not make discipline an explicit mark of the church. Nevertheless, so central an element is it in his ecclesiology that it is always found in the closest relationship with Word and sacraments. The Word is not only to be preached but ‘reverently heard’; it is a ‘royal sceptre’ to which all hearts and minds are to be brought in willing submission. Similarly the sacraments are, through the Spirit, manifest signs of God's work within us, ‘softening the stubbornness of our heart, and composing it to that obedience which it owes the Word of the Lord’.
Liberal theology since Harnack has failed to make much sense of the patristic axiom, ‘Not assumed is not healed’. Harnack is severe: ‘The mystical doctrine of salvation and its new formulas had not only no Scriptural authority in their favour, but conflicted also with the evangelical idea of Jesus Christ.’ More recently Maurice Wiles questioned the cogency of the axiom, negatively on the grounds of difficulties in the idea of ‘divinisation’ and of the corporate nature of salvation, but positively on the grounds of a quite different understanding of what salvation means. ‘If salvation be thought of in personal terms’, he argues, ‘then its effective outworking is through the experience of divine grace in the human soul. Whatever media may be involved, the locus of salvation is the sphere of ordinary personal existence in which God establishes fellowship with man.’
That the early church was intensely and passionately evangelistic is clear to every reader of the documents that make up the New Testament. Equally clear, or so it would seem, is the scholarly consensus that when Christian evangelists took the step of reaching beyond the borders of the Jewish people, they did so without requiring observance of the Jewish law. The work of these evangelists, in turn, is said to have sparked a reaction on the part of firmly observant Jewish Christians, who, seeing the growth of the Gentile mission, sought to require observance of the Law by its converts. Struggles ensued, and the outcome, to put the matter briefly, was victory for the mission to the Gentiles, for the Law-free theology characteristic of that mission, and for the churches produced by it.
It is a traditional belief of Christianity that God is Sovereign or omnipotent. It seems to follow from this that God can do anything. And if he can do anything he can save anyone; and if he can save anyone, he can save everyone.
This essay could have been entitled„ ‘A Methodist, A Presbyterian and a Congregationalist’; ‘An Arminian, A Calvinist and a Liberal’; or ‘A Systematiser, An Apologist and a Prophet’. For the men who concern us are William Burt Pope (1822–1903), Robert Watts (1820–95) and Andrew Martin Fairbairn (1838–1912). They were all highly respected by their denominations in their day, and each was entrusted with the task of ministerial training. Watts was Professor of Theology at the Presbyterian College, Belfast from 1866–95; Pope was Theological Tutor at Didsbury Methodist College from 1867–86, when ill-health forced his resignation; and Fairbairn, who left Scotland and the Evangelical Union in 1877 to become Principal of Airedale Independent College was in 1886 installed as the first Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford. All but forgotten by their own, an investigation of their work will nevertheless reward us with a fascinating glimpse of the influences at work upon nineteenth-century theology; it will throw into relief their diverse and temperamentally different reactions which are the more interesting because of their relative closeness as nonconformists; and it may serve to remind us that some of the philosophico-theological issues which beset contemporary theology have their roots, if not their final solutions, in the period represented by our triumvirate.
While the words ‘triumph’, ‘triumphal’ and ‘triumphant’ are words with a long history, the expression ‘triumphalism’ is a modern invention. It seems to have started its career when first Bishop de Smedt of Belgium and later other speakers used it in their speeches in the early sessions of the Second Vatican Council. Through the innumerable articles and books about the Council it became widely known and became a current expression in the terminology of writers on religious themes. The speed and extent of its success showed that it pointed to the existence of an acute problem in the life of the churches. This problem was clearly stated in a contribution to the council's debate on the nature of the Church by Bishop Laszlo of Eisenstadt.
Most of the standard treatments of Martin Luther's biblical exegesis move deductively: general propositions are enunciated (e.g., Holy Scripture as its own interpreter; all correct interpretation standing under the rule of the analogy of faith, construed Christocentrically) and are then supported with extracts from the Weimar Ausgabe or Luther's Works. Genuinely instructive as such a procedure can be, its total effect is often a rather ‘flat’ or undifferentiated presentation of Luther's biblical interpretation throughout his career. Perhaps some of the dimensions of the subject — the unity and diversity, the constancy and development — would become clearer were we to adopt a more inductive procedure: to examine, compare, and contrast three different specimens of Luther's exegesis of a single text.
Ernest Renan, in his Vie de Jésus, over a century ago, put out a startling theory that family relationships meant little to Christ. In his pursuit of an absolute form of righteousness and truth, the family with its petty loyalties was a hindrance to Jesus. He rebelled against parental authority, even as a child. As a man, he was harsh to his relatives; nor did they love him. But that left him free to follow his ideal, and create a new unity with his disciples. ‘Jesus, like all men exclusively possessed by one idea, came to think lightly of the ties of blood. The bond of thought is the only one recognized by natures such as his’.
Wide circulation has been given by H. W. Montefiore to a theory, first proposed by H. Appel and later taken up by F. Lo Bue, that the background of Hebrews is to be found in the involvement of Apollos in the cross currents of the Corinthian church. The argument, particularly as formulated by Montefiore, has been generally well-received by scholars and will undoubtedly continue to fascinate readers of his popular commentary. To the present, however, no attempt has been made to subject the hypothesis to any form of searching analysis. This neglect has been unfortunate, since, while prima facie attractive, the foundational assumptions of the theory are questionable. We shall therefore attempt a brief analysis of the argument in the interest of stimulating further discussion.
The question of the relationship between Paul and Jesus has exercised scholars for the past century and a half, although J. Blank has argued that it is only since the beginning of this century that we can really speak of the scholarly treatment of the questions of ‘Paul and Jesus’ or ‘Jesus and Paul’.
The aim of this article is to provide an historical description of an important piece of Victorian theology, and subsequently to suggest a new context, or rather a new content for a familiar theme. Firstly, it will consider in what sense Newman may be called a ‘natural theologian’; secondly, it will give an account of the notion of the illative sense within the developing pattern of Newman's thought; finally, it will suggest that, by a unilateral concentration on moral experience — the ‘voice of conscience’ — Newman failed to do justice to the full significance of his own argumentation. The point of the illative sense is not that it helps us to identify any one experiential content, or area of reflection, which might lead us to theistic belief, but that it provides an overall context in which a variety of experiential strata and argumentative strategies may be displayed. Newman was, perhaps, too dominated by an autobiographical sense in the realm of fundamental belief in God to identify and correct the individualism which in dogmatic theology proper he would have avoided. Our theistic materials do not lie simply within our own breasts, but in an inter-rogation, Gadamer-like, of the entire theistic tradition as that is mediated to us by the classic texts of our predecessors.
This paper has many aims. It proposes, first of all, to cover some of the research that has gone into the Eucharistic Prayer, especially its genesis in Roman Catholic circles. It has been a topic of interest for most of this century, but particularly so in the last twenty years. It aims to discuss the spirituality of the Prayer and its relationship to practical piety and to show the relationship between the Liturgy of the Word, the Gospel tradition, and the Eucharistic Prayer as our response to the Word of God. Lastly, this paper aims to uncover something of the theological richness of this Prayer and at the same time to show its roots in the human condition. In covering this research the paper also aims at pinpointing its constituent elements. Liturgically speaking, the Eucharistic Prayer is central: it represents the Christian response to his God at his most central and sacred moment. It is a topic with a long history. It was discussed particularly at the Reformation and in the Reformed circles was one of the casualties of the older tradition. It is a topic, the study of which has produced some conclusions. There has been a rather widespread reform of the Eucharistic Prayer in many churches. This is especially clear in the renewal of the Roman Catholic tradition and in the proposals of the Anglican Series Three.
In 1892, Hastings Rashdall delivered a University Sermon at Oxford entitled ‘Abelard's Doctrine of the Atonement’. In this sermon, he outlines with increasing enthusiasm what he considered to be ‘as noble and perspicuous a statement as can even yet be found of the faith which is still the life of Christendom’. The central theme of his sermon is that in the twelfth century figure of Peter Abailard can be found a theory of the Atonement which meets the demands of an age shaped in the spirit of Darwinism and historical criticism. What Rashdall understands by the ‘Abelardian doctrine of the Atonement’ is expounded at much greater length in his 1915 Bampton Lectures, The Idea of Atonement in Christian Theology.
Not all people deal with the crucial existential questions of modernity in a religious manner. Yet, contrary to enlightenment predictions, religion continues to be a prominent reality in the latter part of twentieth-century western society. It is the purpose of this essay to identify the distinctive nature of the contemporary Protestant brand of this religiosity.
Whatever else Christianity may be, the agapeistic way of life, a personal relationship with Jesus, or whatever, it is also a matter of holding certain things to be true. Of recent times that has been denied by some whose job it is to think about these things. For there are theologians who, though apparently convinced by logical positivism that the traditional formulations of Christian belief do not express truths, wish nevertheless to retain the name of Christian. Positivism however in any case never had much more than fashion to recommend it; and it was already ceasing to be fashionable among philosophers as it started to be fashionable among theologians. To conjoin furthermore an acceptance of positivism with a wish to be called Christian strikes me at least as mere perversity.