The God Who Saves: A Dogmatic Sketch

The God Who Saves: A Dogmatic Sketch

by David W. Congdon


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Christian universalism has been explored in its biblical, philosophical, and historical dimensions. For the first time, The God Who Saves explores it in systematic theological perspective. In doing so it also offers a fresh take on universal salvation, one that is postmetaphysical, existential, and hermeneutically critical. The result is a constructive account of soteriology that does justice to both the universal scope of divine grace and the historicity of human existence.

In The God Who Saves David W. Congdon orients theology systematically around the New Testament witness to the apocalyptic inbreaking of God's reign. The result is a consistently soteriocentric theology. Building on the insights of Rudolf Bultmann, Ernst Kasemann, Eberhard Jungel, and J. Louis Martyn, he interprets the saving act of God as the eschatological event that crucifies the old cosmos in Christ. Human beings participate in salvation through their unconscious, existential cocrucifixion, in which each person is interrupted by God and placed outside of himself or herself.

Both academically rigorous and pastorally sensitive, The God Who Saves opens up new possibilities for understanding not only what salvation is but also who the God who brings about our salvation is. Here is an interdisciplinary exercise in dogmatic theology for the twenty-first century.

""David Congdon and I grew up together theologically. It has been my privilege to watch his penetrating insight grow and develop into a creative theological program. Rumors of dialectical theology's demise have been greatly exaggerated. If you are interested in a glimpse of what a fresh dialectical theology for the twenty-first century looks like--and you should be!--you need look no further.""
--W. Travis McMaken, Associate Professor of Religion, Lindenwood University

""While theidea of universal salvation has long been a minority report in the Christian tradition, it has found an increasing number of advocatesin recent times. This volume providesarigorous, creative, and comprehensivedogmaticaccount ofthisbelief from one of the brightest young scholars at work today.Even those who are not in agreement with Congdon'sline of argument and conclusions will be challengedand enriched by the detail and scope of his engagingtheological vision.""
--John R. Franke, Theologian in Residence, Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis; Author, Manifold Witness: The Plurality of Truth

""Congdon has authored a sophisticated and ambitious dogmatic essay full of insight and bristling with provocation. He invites us to join him in a sustained experiment in radically soteriocentric thinking: what if the work of the God of the gospel on the cross were truly the Archimedean point from whichall thingsare moved and so saved?Congdon's aim is to limn the revolution in Christian theology that should follow when Christian imagination and intelligence are animated and disciplined anew by faith in the God whose very being is at stake in his advent 'for us and for our salvation.'The God Who Savesis an important intervention in contemporary doctrinal debate.""
--Philip G. Ziegler, Chair of Christian Dogmatics, Professor, University of Aberdeen

""This is a bold, clear, and stimulating articulation ofthe good news. While few will follow Congdon at every point, his accountofeschatological theo-actualized universalism provokes in the places where itmatters most, and reminds us again why theadvent of Jesus Christ is the firstarticle of faith, and the ground that makes Christian dogmatics possible,intelligible, andprofoundly hopeful. Dorothee Soelle once insisted that 'whenwe ask ourselves what God is like, we must answer first bylooking at what Goddoes.' This essay takes up that momentous task admirably.""
--Jason Goroncy, Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology, Whitley College, University of Divinity, Australia

""A powerful and provocative work. In prose that is simultaneou

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498285391
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 09/08/2016
Pages: 342
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

David W. Congdon (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is associate editor at IVP Academic. He is the author of The Mission of Demythologizing: Rudolf Bultmann's Dialectical Theology (2015) and Rudolf Bultmann: A Companion to His Theology (2015).

Table of Contents

Prologue: How My Mind Has Changed ix

Acknowledgments xix

Abbreviations xxi

1 Introduction: The Problem of Christian Universalism 1

Dare We Hope? Can We Know? 1

Defining Universalism: A Typology 3

The Problem of Universalism 12

Toward a Universalism without Metaphysics 20

2 Soteriocentrism: Prolegomena to a Dogmatic Sketch 21

Exordium to a Soteriocenmc Theology 21

Theology as Science 25

Theology as Hermeneutics 29

Theology as Praxis 41

Theology as Soteriology 47

Orthoheterodoxy: In Defense of the Freedom of Theology 53

3 The Act of Salvation: Apocalypse 59

Soteriological Multivalence and the Hermeneutical Problem 60

Salvation as Apocalypase: Interrogating New Testament Soteriology 64

Salvation as Embarrassment: Eberhard Jüngel's Eccentric Eschatology 73

Salvation as Cocruifixion: The Participatory Event of the Apocalypse 79

Unconscious Apocalypse:"…You Did It to Me' 90

4 The Agent of Salvation: Christ-Spirit 103

Soteriology and Christology 104

Person before Work: The Internal Incoherence of Chalcedonian Christology 105

Person as Work: Toward a Soteriocentric Christology 111

The Interruptive Event: Apocalyptic Christology 122

The Interruptive Agent: Apocalyptic Pneumatology 130

Deus Praesens: Apocalyptic Pneuma-Christology 156

5 The Site of Salvation: Apostolate 159

Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus? 159

The Problem of Ecclesiocentrism 162

The Church as the Apocalyptic Apostolate 177

Toward a New Letter to Diognetus 195

6 The Space of Salvation: Unnature 199

The Destroyer of Eden 199

Reversing the Loci: Two Ways 201

Existential Theanrthropology: A Theology of the Creature 204

Existential Theocosmology: A 'Theology of Creation 232

Existential Epektasis: The End of Creation 236

7 The God of Salvation: Trinity 241

Trinity as Schluss 242

God the Christ: The Inbreaking of the Apocalypse 244

God the Spirit: The Power of the Apocalypse 246

God the Creator: The Ground of the Apocalypse 250

The Apocalyptic Trinity 254

The Ex-Centering God 257

Epilogue: Faith, Love, Hope 260

Ruth: Universalism and Religions 261

Love: Universalism and Justice 262

Hope: Universalism and the Afterlife 263

Bibliography 275

General Index 295

Ancient Documents Index 311

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