Tag Archives: essays

New Essay: Martin Luther and the New Horizons in Soteriology

I just submitted the final essay for a Research Methods course I’m taking for my masters degree. Since some of you helped me write it by critiquing the initial thoughts I shared here, I figure it’s only fair to give you a look at the finished product.

Here’s the abstract:

At the center of much of the stereological reflection in the last half century lies a debate about the interpretation of the theology of Martin Luther. The research here presented examines three areas in the contemporary soteriology debate. We will first consider the recent reassessment of the Christus Victor atonement theory, and evaluate Luther’s role in the development of various atonement theories. Next we will survey the New Perspective on Paul, which takes Luther as the catalyst for the malfunction of Western readings of the Apostle, and we will consider one possible response. Finally, we will evaluate whether, as some Finnish interpreters of Luther have been saying, there is an analogy to be made between Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith alone and the Eastern Orthodox doctrine of theosis.

One surprising implication of this research is that Luther’s theology cannot be accounted for merely as a tired continuation of the medieval tradition, expressed as it is in Protestant orthodoxy. Neither does Luther represent a fortress of insulation against the teaching of the Church universal. Rather, Luther is, on the one hand, a robust ecumenical dialogue partner, able to engage with the early Church from which he is thought to have rebelled, and on the other, a persistent challenge to his own theological progeny.

And you can read the entire essay here.

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New Essay: Nature and Spirit in Aquinas

I just finished the first essay for my master’s degree, “Nature and Spirit in the Thought of Thomas Aquinas.” Here’s the abstract:

In this essay I am concerned with defending two theses. In the first part I will argue that, for Thomas Aquinas, humans necessarily lack the natural capacity to reach our final telos in beatific vision. This deep human problem is intrinsic to Aquinas’ anthropology and is, therefore, logically prior prelapsarian. Then in the second part I will argue that both law and grace, (especially the theological virtues), which together for Aquinas constitute the solution to the problem, can rightly be labeled Spirit. The outcome is that law and virtue, which traditionally have been considered keystones of ethical theory, are found properly under the rubric of soteriology and pneumatology.

You can read the entire essay here.

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