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Tuesday, August 23, 2005 

Excellent Christology, Paul's Kerygma, and My New Statement of Faith

This is an excerpt from Ridderbos’ Paul: An Outline of His Theology.  What follows is the conclusion of his chapter entitled “Fundamental Structures: Christ the Exalted and Coming Kyrios.”  Enjoy.


Bultmann has posited, in his work History and Eschatology, that Paul’s basic picture of history and of eschatology is interpreted entirely on the basis of his anthropology.  The result is said to be that history and the consummation of the world vanish from his sight, and that their place is taken by “the historicity of man,” even though he retains the traditional representations along with it.  It is our conviction that there is here a reversal of the real and deepest structures of Paul’s preaching.  However much attention the apostle devotes in his preaching to the significance the divine activity in Christ has for human existence (as will appear from what follows), the decisive viewpoint, even of his expectation for the future, is nevertheless a different one, namely, that of the theocentric significance of the divine redemptive work manifested and coming to consummation in Christ.  The whole exaltation of Christ is present and in the future is directed toward this, that God shall be all in all (I Cor. 15:28), and that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10; cf. Rom. 14:11).
     This theocentric point of view is also inherent in Christ’s all-embracing significance for the future of creation and humanity.  In him, the Beginning and the Firstborn from the dead, the Fullness was pleased to dwell, in order through him to reconcile all things to himself (Col. 1:19, 20).  And in him as the second Adam will the new humanity rise, be justified, and manifested (I Cor. 15:22; Rom. 5:19, 21; Col. 3:4).  We shall have to go further into the various facets of Paul’s expectation for the future, particularly as these are expressly raised in I Thessalonians 4:13 – 18; II Thessalonians 2:1 – 12; and I Corinthians 15.  But this future expectation itself, of which Christ forms the central point, is the indispensable termination of the whole of his preaching; it functions there not as a traditional addition to a spiritualistic or existentialistic Christology, but stands in closest relationship with the center of his kerygma.  The revelation of the mystery, the summary and the fundamental pattern of Paul’s whole proclamation of Christ, will not be completed before Christ shall have been manifested in glory with all his own (Col. 3:4), the last mystery shall have been disclosed (I Cor. 15:51; Rom. 11:25),and the creation now groaning and in travail shall have been redeemed from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.  It is for the revelation of that great day that the Spirit himself prays and groans and comes to the help of the church in its weakness (Rom. 8:21ff.).

Amen.

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Transplanted from the artic blight of Minnesota to the sunny paradise of SoCal, I am attending school and learning to say "dude." I like to think of myself as equal parts surf rash, Batman, heavy metal, Levinas, poetic license, and reformational. Other than creating blund blogs, I enjoy reading, sporting, and socializing with serious and funny people.
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