1. Neo-orthodox theology
a. Main points [dialectical theology]2. Secular theology
b. Barth [Jesus Christ as the revealed Word of God]
- a reaction to liberal theology, a re-emphasis on God and His revelation, at the same time speaking to contemporary times
- dialectical theology: all doctrines are paradoxical and contain two opposite sides (thesis and antithesis), anxiety or crisis is the result, faith is the action to accept the doctrines.
- utter transcendence of God
- Jesus Christ as the centre of the Bible and the centre of theology.
- The Bible is not itself the revelation but the original witness to the one and final revelation, Jesus Christ. Thus it contains the word of God and is not inerrant.
- openness to Biblical criticism and recognition of the element of myth in the Scriptures
c. Brunner [I-Thou relationship between man and God]
- a theology of the Word of God, God's revelation
- God's Word is dynamic rather than static. The old orthodoxy erred by making of God's word a static object (such as the Bible) which man can analyze and dissect. But God's Word confronts us not as an object which we can control, but as a subject which controls and acts upon us.
- God's "revealed word" is the event of God speaking to man and revealing Himself through Jesus Christ. The Bible, God's 'written word', is the witness to the event of God's revelation. The church, through the "proclaimed word" (in preaching, theology, sacrament), also bears witness to the revealed word.
- The written word and proclaimed word are not themselves revelation. When God chooses, the written and proclaimed word actually become revelation.
- Jesus Christ is the centre of the Bible.
- God is not made in man's image. God is the "Wholly Other" and is unknown to man except if God reveals Himself. "Let God be God and not man."
- Human history is different from salvation history. The resurrection of Jesus is salvation history and the historical reality has no relevance.
- tendency of universalism (salvation of all)
d. Niebuhr [Christianity's social relevance]
- Two revelations of God: in creation and in Jesus Christ
- Jesus is the direct revealed Word which enables reconciliation between God and man. The Bible is the indirect spoken Word which like a pointer points to God. But the Bible contains errors.
- I-Thou relationship: Man has the tendency to seek God. This tendency is faith which will raise the state of man.
- Church is a spiritual fellowship, not an institution. Spiritual growth and the foundation of truth are the most important aspects.
e. Evaluation: return from the extremes of liberal theology; emphasis on the importance of the Bible; under the influence of existentialism; subjective judgment of revelation; occasional compromise of biblical beliefs in favour of modern interpretations; neglect of the call to sainthood, not giving sufficient attention to the doctrine of church and sacraments. Barth's theology is progressively more acceptable today by evangelical theologians.
- concerned about social ethics and injustices of capitalism, but also critical of Marxism
- emphasizes original sin in its social and historical manifestations, conflict in human nature between self-consciousness and self-pride, but downplaying sanctification
- cross of Jesus represents the sacrificial love: showing the will to sacrifice self greater than the human need of deliverance of self; the paradox shows a lack of strength yet is actually the power of Christ
- disintegration of society, present church not taking responsibility of the society
- redeeming love in man would bring answers to human social needs
- application of Christianity in human life (politics, economics, culture, society, family)
a. Main points [refitting Christianity for the secular world]3. Historical theology
b. Bonhoeffer [the cost of discipleship]
- intends to reach the secular society
- responsibility of every Christian to deal with world problems
- tries to eliminate the barrier between church and the world
c. Cox [secularization not secularism]
- Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession.
- Costly grace was turned (after Reformation) into cheap grace without discipleship.
- concerned about how to confront secular religionless man
- In recent history, God has been progressively excluded from human culture. Kant says humanity and the world have 'come of age'. Bonhoeffer sees this as right and proper development.
- The Christian today must learn to speak of God in a secular way and to live his Christianity in a secular way. It is not the religious act that makes the Christian, but participation in the sufferings of God in the secular life.
- religionless Christianity -- Jesus Christ as "lord of the religionless"; Christianity should be purged of the transcendence of God, individualism and isolation.
d. Rahner [anonymous Christianity]
- Secularization is an inevitable beneficial social development and is characterized in the history recorded in the Bible.
- Secularization is the emancipation of rational thought from the restriction of metaphysics; centre of interest now in the present world and no longer in the church
- God is the God of the world, not only in religion
- need to Christians to involve in problems of the world
- Secularism should be rejected because it is the belief in anything that is not divine and may itself turn into religion.
e. Evaluation: the intention to bring Christianity into the secular world is good; but forget the commandments to separate from the world and to extend the Kingdom of God; man becomes the centre of theology; degenerates into universalism (all mankind is saved); influence the situation ethics of Fletcher where love is used as the norm of all moral decisions; related to death-of-God theology
- Roman Catholic
- instead of the ancient "outside the church there is no salvation" doctrine, new theory of "anonymous Christianity" -- all people have the chance to believe (called the 'absolute mystery')
- everyone's experience of the transcendent is an experience of God
- They can be saved not by their natural morality but because they have experienced Jesus Christ's grace without realizing it.
- The anonymous Christian is the one who "accepts himself in a moral decision even if that decision is not made in a religious or theist manner".
- The theory is a justification for abandoning the church's religious concerns in favour of the vital and pressing social and political concerns.
a. Main points [the role of history in theology]
b. Cullmann [the importance of salvation history]
- need for historical study to prove the authenticity of biblical record
- the Bible to be judged by the general principles of historical research
c. Pannenberg [faith rooted in history]
- importance of history and the revelation of God in history
- Bible only a record of history, not the final authority
- centre of salvation history is the incarnation of Jesus Christ
- salvation is a process that extends from incarnation to the second coming
d. Evaluation: brings theology back into contact with history; offers a valuable corrective to major trends of contemporary theology; however, faith is more than rational evaluation of evidence.
- the general phenomena of history as being God's revelatory data; both universal history and salvation history
- The Biblical data must be dealt with by the same historical method that all other historical data are. The truthfulness of the Bible is dependent on historical investigation.
- resurrection is genuine history, an objective verifiable event; the event shows Jesus' unity with the Father and thus proving His deity; the fate of Jesus shows that the end of the world will be on a cosmic scale what has already happened in Jesus