[Course Title] The Christian Faith – Justification The classical Christian insight is captured (but also obscured, as is the fate with all slogans) in the doctrine of “justification by faith.” When a slogan ceases to illuminate and itself becomes a cause of confusion and darkness, it has outlived its usefulness. Possibly that is the case with “justification by faith,” as significant theologians like Paul Tillich have argued. (Tillich 227) The theological presupposition of the notion of justification, inherited from Israel, is that the Lord God, the Creator of all, alone has the right to judge the creation, either to justify or to condemn. The exercise of this right would be an act that at once asserts the divine sovereignty and at the same time determines and reveals the meaning of history. Such a judgment would constitute the end of history. Revelation of the justice of God would, in essence, represent a claim to knowledge of the end of history aforetime. This act of divine judgment pertains particularly to the human race, which is God’s proxy in the created realm, and in this precise relation is responsible to God for the realization of God’s loving purpose in creation. This means that the dignity and burden of every human soul as a unique historical biography is that it must justify itself before God. To be human is to answer for what one has done with one’s life, as all of Jesus’ parables of stewardship and final judgment attest.
God and Person The word "person" can be interpreted and defined in many different ways, and there are many different aspects to consider when stating what a person really is. Accomplishments, goals, likes, dislikes, and experiences in life make a person who he or she really is. Traits most "central" to being a person include consciousness, reasoning, self-motivated activity, the capacity to ...
As Ernst Kasemann has exposited Rom. 2:1-11, Paul’s doctrine of justification, is not a refutation of the Jewish view of justification in judgment. Instead it is its radical confirmation. . . . all historical destiny presses not merely toward its consummation but also toward the disclosure of its meaning, or, better, of the will at work in it.
. . . The doctrines of justification and judgment are inseparably linked in Paul . . . because the concern in both is the Creator’s right as Lord of creation as this works itself out in the creature .
. . . A doctrine of justification which avoids the concept of judgment loses its character as proclamation of the lordship of God . . . (Kasemann 55-56) Tillich regarded this prophetic and apocalyptic background of the concept of justification as impossibly alien to modern thinking, though one suspects that he, and many other critics have been reacting as much against influential individualistic and legalistic reductions of the doctrine.
Such reductionisms have been the target of Kasemann’s ample polemic, insofar as these transform the grand narrative of the Bible to a petty, egotistic preoccupation with inner peace and personal immortality, indifferent to the fate of the rest of the creation. In any case, the concept of justification – and the theological problem it designates of the right and righteousness of the Creator God and the meaning of human history – is not exclusively a Christian concern. It is central to Pauline and Augustinian theology and virtually dominates the Western theological tradition (in distinction, not necessarily in opposition, to the East).
Lutherans and Roman Catholics today claim a material convergence on justification as a major biblical theme, with a solid claim to articulate what is essential to the Christian message. Anthropologically, justification is presupposed in any theology that seeks to ground human freedom in God’s creative Word, which renders the human creature uniquely responsible to God, rather than by appeal to human faculties or a natural essence. Though maligned as a “law-court metaphor” that traps theological thought in legalism, the law-court metaphor comes from Israel’s prophets. Their entire legacy is activated in this terminology, so that justification concerns God’s right as the Creator of creation or, we might say, the justice of the reign of God that Jesus proclaimed. To sketch out in brief the Pauline theology that Lutherans have read as a synopsis of the whole biblical salvation history: This justice of the God of Israel, to which the law and the prophets attest, becomes a human being’s, not as the one who does justice but as one who trusts Another’s doing of justice on his or her behalf and so completely identifies with this Other, Jesus Christ. That is why righteousness is said to become a human being’s by faith alone and not by works, even the works of divine justice that a believer goes on to do as a member of Christ’s body.
The Similarities Between Adolf Hitler and Jesus Christ Many individuals hold the opinion that Adolf Hitler (1889 1945) and Jesus Christ (6 BC AD 30) have nothing in common; however, similarities become apparent when one contemplates both Hitlers and Christs objectives and influences upon the world. Adolf Hitlers main objective was to have a world populated by a superior Aryan race. Hitler almost ...
That this is so is a matter of Christology and pneumatology, inasmuch as the very event of entrusting self to Christ and Christ’s justice is something effected by the Spirit sent from the exalted Christ. In his merciful claim upon helpless sinners for God’s reign, Jesus realized in his cross and resurrection the justice of the reign of God that he had proclaimed. In his life and death for others, Jesus fulfilled the law of love in loving even the lawless. If this Jesus has been raised and vindicated by his Father, his one act of perfect justice in our human history is valid before God and therefore justifies all those who entrust themselves to him, even as the unleashed Spirit of the risen Jesus spreads the glad news of it across the face of the earth, persuading that it pertains and is valid to all who hear it. This is a spiritual persuasion that erupts as the gathering and assembling of a new humanity drawn from all the nations, in the ecstatic, eucharistic praise of God. In turn, this praise of God, this orthodoxy, this eucharistia is the in-breaking of God’s reign on earth.
The Lord God of Israel triumphs gloriously in gathering the praises of the redeemed gentiles. Where is the justice of God on earth, in history? The Pauline answer is: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).(Bible, New Revised Standard Version, 1989) The justice of God is revealed in the gospel concerning his Son, which in turn embodies itself as the new community of faith, the body of the risen Christ on the earth. Allegations of individualism find a fairer target in later Pietism and Existentialism than in the original Lutheran vision, which is close to Paul. Melanchthon could begin his Loci with the claim, “The human race has been so created and then so redeemed that we as the image and temple of God might celebrate the praises of God, for God wills to be known and worshipped.” (Chemnitz 49) All of theology flows from this primordial claim about the true knowledge and praise of God given in the gospel, so that there is a spiritual community on earth that worships the Father, confesses the Son, and serves in the Spirit. Apart from the just-implied trinitarian coherence in the economy of salvation, however, the doctrine of justification hangs in mid-air.
The Letter to the Galatians and the Issues it Contains Paul's Letter to the Galatians is written in a very emotional and serious style. He addresses important issues, and there is a sense of urgency in his words. In the work he criticizes the actions of the Galatians, and gives them an ultimatum for the future. Some of the topics which are addressed in the letter include the Galatians lack of ...
That would be a misunderstanding of it that Luther already corrected in his own lifetime. Confronted with early Protestant sectarian misunderstanding of his doctrine, Luther asserted the catholicity of the Reformation doctrine with reference to the Trinity, as is evident in the following summary paragraph from his Confession concerning Christ’s Supper (1528): These are the three persons and one God, who has given himself to us all wholly and completely, with all that he is and has. The Father gives himself to us, with heaven and earth and all the creatures, in order that they may serve us and benefit us. But this gift has become obscured and useless through Adam’s fall. Therefore the Son himself subsequently gave himself and bestowed all his works, sufferings, wisdom and righteousness, and reconciled us to the Father, in order that restored to life and righteousness, we might also know and have the Father and his gifts. But because this grace would benefit no one if it remained so profoundly hidden and could not come to us, the Holy Spirit comes and gives himself to us also, wholly and completely. .
. . He does this both inwardly and outwardly – inwardly by means of faith and other spiritual gifts, outwardly through the gospel, baptism, and the sacrament of the altar, through which as through three means or methods he comes to us and inculcates the sufferings of Christ for the benefit of our salvation.(Lull 56) Wilhelm Mauer, moreover, has demonstrated that Melanchthon drew upon this very trinitarian recital by Luther of salvation history in composing the Augsburg Confession, Lutheranism’s basic doctrinal standard. Thus, the biblical and patristic concept of a trinitarian salvation history constitutes the theological framework in which the doctrine of justification by faith was worked out. If the framework of salvation history derived from Luther’s confession of 1528 cited above undergirds the doctrine of justification, then justification as a doctrine becomes the sharpest expression of this salvation history “theology of the Kingdom of God.” Mauer has written: After presenting the process of justification in CA 4, [Melanchthon’s final version] gives its basis in God’s present action through Word and Spirit (CA 5) and its divinely acceptable effect in our good works (CA 6).
In the chapter titled Rebellion (or his book title), Feodor Dostoevski's character, Ivan Karamazov, demonstrates that his angry and resentful attitude is the by-product of his very choosing. The fundamental principal of our own humanity is God's acknowledgment of our expression of free will. Found between the boundaries of man's ownership of worldly acts and thoughts, which can lead him to an ...
Although justification forms the thematic core for these three interrelated articles, it is basically part of one event for which God repeatedly creates a new beginning by his spiritual rule in Word and Sacrament, and which continues in the good works of the faithful.
. . . In this arrangement, CA 4 is the ‘chief article,’ the article upon which the church stands or falls.(34) “In this arrangement” – that means, as Mauer stressed, in the context of a renewal of trinitarianism.(35) If Christian theology today, however, should no longer be able to think of faith as the work of the Spirit in each person as, and only as, a communal eucharistic event; if, from the opposite direction, it does not know how to understand the Spirit’s work in the sanctification of life in a way that does not render justification nugatory; if it does not know how to continue on from Rom. 3-5 to speak with the Apostle Paul in Rom. 6-8 without experiencing some traumatic disorientation, then in time Christology and pneumatology will have to come apart and mark alternative paths to righteousness. The latter state will be worse than the first.
However, the justice of God is supposed to be manifest on the earth in that new community of Christ that praises the Father, in the Son, by the Spirit. On the basis of the biblical message of justification and after the common confession that “by grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works”(Bible, 1989), there also unfolds the Catholic-Lutheran understanding of justification: with regard to salvation the human person is totally thrown upon the grace of God (Bible, 1989), who forgives his sins and bestows on him new life (Bible, 1989).
Sense experiences / depth experiences: not limited by the empirical data-the really "real" is not necessarily able to be seen. Religious Experience (depth experience): Not just a sense experience, an experience that causes people to change, always touches on the "other" (the transcendent) -that which goes beyond our understanding (anything that we can come up with) (ie... who can really explain ...
Both dialogue partners undoubtedly agree regarding the solus Christus but have slightly different understandings of the sola fides. Although it says that “sinners are justified by faith” and the following paragraph emphasizes as the specific Lutheran viewpoint that God justifies “in faith alone (sola fide)”, it makes it abundantly clear that in Catholic perspective the justifying faith is the fides caritate formata, no matter how much renewal in faith, hope and love is rooted in and dependent on “God’s unfathomable grace” and how little this entitles the human person to boast before God. Perhaps the belief is inconsistent — and more clearly Lutheran — when it states (Bible, 1989) that “as sinners our new life is solely due to the forgiving and renewing mercy that God imparts as a gift and we receive in faith and never can merit in any way” (Bible, 1989).
But here we encounter distinctions so subtle that it seems difficult, if not meaningless, to draw a clear border line between the confessions. The two interpretations should not be played off against each other for the simple reason that both can be found on each side of the line of demarcation between Catholic and Lutheran.
Similarly, the disputed understanding of the concept of sin (Bible, 1989) turns out to be relatively insignificant in view of the de facto agreement of both parties on conceiving the justified person as simul justus et peccator. The believer, no matter how justified he may be, is not spared the attacks of sin and is therefore throughout life in desperate need of God’s unconditioned grace — thus at the same time just (ified) and sinful. Through faith in God’s saving work in Christ, however, the believer partakes in the justification bestowed by the Holy Spirit in baptism as the entrance to Christian life (Bible, 1989) “apart from works prescribed by the law” (Rom. 3:28; no. 31).
In the course of reading Chapter 1 of our book, I came across something that I have known all along but taken for granted, as though it was not more important than my upcoming doctor's appointment. It is the simple yet breaking fact that I do not know what I believe in, or rather, I know what I believe, but I don't exactly know why I believe. And I am not alone in my plight. Most Filipinos, ...
This does not imply that good works are without importance.
Rather, they result from justification and are thus a necessary obligation to fulfill (Bible, 1989).
Justification by faith is finally stressed as an objective reality on which the faithful can rely and to which they can resort in times of temptation. In this sense, the conviction of being justified implies the assurance of salvation (Bible, 1989): “one cannot believe in God and at the same time consider the divine promise untrustworthy” (Bible, 1989).
On the one hand, it is acknowledged that “the doctrine of justification is measure or touchstone for the Christian faith. No teaching may contradict this criterion. In this sense, the doctrine of justification is an `indispensable criterion which constantly serves to orient all the teaching and practice of our churches to Christ'”. At the same time, the Lutheran-Catholic belief goes on to relativize the criteriological function of the doctrine of justification, saying that it “has its truth and specific meaning within the overall context of the church’s fundamental Trinitarian confession of faith”.
The successful result of these deliberations would prove if the Lutheran-Catholic belief is really the consensus document it claims to be. Works Cited Tillich, Paul, Systematic Theology, vol. 3 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967), p. 227. Kasemann, Ernest, Commentary on Romans, tr. and ed. Geoffrey W.
Bromiley (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1980), pp. 55-56. Bible, New Revised Standard Version (New York: Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., 1989).
Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, vols. 1 and 2, tr. J.
A. O. Preus (St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 1989) 49. Luther’s “Heidelberg Disputation” in Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, ed. Timothy F. Lull (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1989) p.