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Posts tagged "Oswald Bayer"

The God Who Gives First

Ahead of the publication of John Barclay’s book, Paul and the Power of Grace, Part Two of our “Defining Grace” series continues with this essay from Orrey McFarland. Orrey is the Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Thornville, Ohio. He also serves as a Visiting Professor of New Testament and Historical Theology at Knox Theological […]

Bayer on Law, Gospel, and Justification

From Oswald Bayer’s interpretation of Martin Luther’s Theology, pages 228-9:

“The effect that the law creates is not surprising. One has no trouble understanding what it means to rely on oneself and on one’s own deeds; the action-consequences relationship has its own logic. But the gospel is absolutely, completely incomprehensible. That God rescues one from, and brings one safely through, the deserved judgment is a miracle. Law and gospel cannot be plausibly intertwined together; their existence is hard and fast in opposition to each other. The gospel is literally a paradox: it stands against that which the sinner can reasonably expect; it stands against damnation.

It is thus not surprising that the communion between the sinning human being and the God who justifies through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit is incomprehensible; it is stupefying – astonishing – which does not lead one to be calm and at peace. Rather, it is described by Luther as a ‘stupendumduellum – as a  duel that arouses astonishment, as a duel like the one Jacob engaged in at Jabbok (Gen. 32). That this deadly confrontation between God and humanity is a ‘happy exchange,’ is a miracle. The one who has escaped from judgment and death cannot be sufficiently astounded about this.

‘The love of God does not find one worthy of its love to be present already, but [first] creates it.’ In this sense God is ‘God and no mortal’ (Hos. 11:9). For: ‘human love comes for the one who holds another worthy of love [already].’ (Luther, WA 1:354.35f). By contrast, the justification of the ungodly  (Rom 4:5) is nothing less than the resurrection of the dead and the creation out of nothing (4:17).”

Losing Your Life To the Fullest

Apple recently put out an excellent advertisement—as always—for its iPad Air in which you hear Professor Keating (Robin Williams) from the 1989 film Dead Poets Society quote Walt Whitman’s “O Me! O Life!”: Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring, Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the […]

The Top Theology Books of 2012

The following is a list of my top Mockingbird theology books of 2012 (in no particular order). – Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchividjian Tchividjian does it again. Thoughtful, provocative, and deeply encouraging, “Glorious Ruin” places suffering at the heart of the Christian life and what we understand about God, but probably the biggest virtue of […]

The (Forensic) Justification of Michael Jackson

This past Saturday marked the second anniversary of Michael Jackon’s death, and we wouldn’t be the Mockingbirds that we are if we didn’t commemorate it somehow. Below you’ll find an excerpt of our friend Brent Kuhlman’s excellent paper “Justification: Forensically Speaking!” Pastor Kuhlman would be the first to admit that some of the inspiration for […]

The Palm Before The Storm

Good morning to you all! I’ve just returned from a theology conference in York where the topic, in recognition of this being the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, or Authorized Version, was HOLY WRIT: Authority and Reception. As with all conferences of this type, there was a wide variation in papers and presentations, […]

Fight the Power: Banksy, External Authorities and Justification by Faith Alone

In case you missed it. From the LATimes: The artist known as Banksy is famous for his stealth graffiti projects that mix social commentary and subversive street art. In keeping with his rebel persona, Banksy’s guest “appearance” on “The Simpsons” on Sunday night [Oct. 10] was an unpredictable affair that mixed the anarchically humorous and […]

325 Days of Lent: "Woman, behold thy Son. . ."

In his reflection on John 19:26—“Woman, behold thy Son”—the third word of Jesus from the cross, Stanley Hauerwas observes that “Dante called Mary, ‘Virgin Mother, daughter of thy Son.’” This, he asserts, “challenges any assumption that Jesus’s address to Mary from the cross is simply an example of a son’s solicitude for his mother’s welfare”(49). […]

Take a Theologian to Work Day

One of the difficulties of trying to communicate something like the distinction between law and gospel is that it is notoriously hard to pin down. Like my supervisor says, if knowing German made you a theologian, then it would be a simple matter. Likewise, knowing (or even acknowledging) the difference between Law and Gospel (indicative […]

Genuine Christian Theology is about the Promises in Christ, as opposed to Philosophies of Grace

An excerpt from Oswald Bayer’s Theology the Lutheran Way: (On Psalm 51) The words of the psalm compel us to speak of sin and grace. Theology can have no other theme. But even sin and grace can be spoken of philosophically, meaning “metaphysically”, “morally”, or “historically.” The “rule” Luther uses to judge the genuineness of […]

Slightly Expanded And Significantly More Organized Conference Book Table List

Here’s the full list plus a couple of relevant additions, linked to sites where they can be purchased. Although everything comes highly recommended, this is by no means meant to be a definitive list (stay tuned…). For the sake of newcomers we have divided the non-fiction into three itunes-inspired categories: Basics, Next Steps and Deep […]

Christ as Donum (Gift) or Exemplum (Example)? A meditation on Oswald Bayer’s "Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation"

Preaching Jesus Christ is no easy task. There will always be serious opposition to anything which points to Jesus Christ as the unconditional gift, the ultimate atonement and the only true Savior for the sinner. Both liberal and conservative theologians have a tendency to present Jesus Christ as an example, or a means to an […]