Monday, April 13, 2015

Models for Theologizing

The whole study of Christian theology, biblical, historical and systematic, is the exploring of a three tier hierarchy of models: first, the "control" models given in Scripture (God, Son of God, kingdom of God, justification, adoption, redemption, new birth and so forth—in short, all the concepts analysed in Kittel's great W√∂rterbuch and its many epigoni); next, dogmatic models which the church crystallized out to define and defend the faith (homoousion, Trinity, nature, hypostatic union, double procession of the Spirit, sacrament, the supernatural, etc.—in short, all the concepts usually dealt wiht in doctrinal textbooks); finally, interpretive models lying between Scripture and defined dogma which particular theologians and theological schools developed for stating the faith to contemporaries (penal substitution, verbal inspiration, divinization, Barth's "Nihil"—das Nichtige—and many more.
—James I. Packer, "What Did the Cross Achieve? The Logic of Penal Substitution," in Celebrating the Saving Work of God: The Collected Shorter Writings of J. I. Packer Volume 1 (Carlisle, Cumbria: Paternoster), 93–94.

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