Tuesday, December 15, 2009

“Jesus and Faith”: a new article

I have a new article in the latest issue of the Journal of Reformed Theology. The essay is titled, “Jesus and Faith: The Doctrine of Faith in Scripture and the Reformed Confessions.” I begin by looking at the Catholic-Protestant conflict over the nature of faith. I then summarize the New Testament witness to faith, examine whether the Reformed confessions do justice to this witness, and conclude by suggesting some theological possibilities for a contemporary pisteology within the context of a confessional Reformed theology.

There isn’t anything really special about it, but it raises some soteriological—including christological and pisteological—issues that must be addressed in contemporary Reformed theology. Overall, the paper falls in that category of essays that offer a close analysis followed by suggestive reflections. Hopefully, others will find its treatment of this topic helpful and informative.

Here is my concluding paragraph:
To conclude, the Reformed confessions present a doctrine of faith as a divine gift that includes a necessary human response. The doctrine is historically situated in the context of a dispute with Roman Catholicism about the very nature of faith. Against the Catholics, the Reformers emphasize the nature of faith as a heartfelt trust in Christ and the gospel of justification. Their employment of Scripture toward this particular end results in a heavy emphasis upon the Pauline epistles to the neglect of the Synoptics, Hebrews, and James, in addition to other texts. In particular, the confessions fail to provide a satisfactory understanding of the relation between the person of Jesus and the nature of faith; christology and pisteology are not mutually implicated in that while faith is directed to Jesus, Jesus is not similarly “directed” toward faith, so to speak. The problem is represented by the relationship between Son and Spirit, which seems to involve a bifurcation between objective and subjective, past and present. Recent exegetical work, as well as the theological resources of Calvin, Barth, and Agamben, to name just a few, offer fruitful and creative ways of integrating Jesus and faith today.

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