Salvation Reflection Paper
The doctrine of salvation is at the core of the Christian faith and is a the heart of the work of Jesus. This paper is going to summarize the doctrine of salvation from two authors that the author of this paper read and studied and then give his subjective view or opinion of what each author presented in their explanations of the doctrine of salvation. The first of these authors is Alister E. McGrath from his book Theology:The Basics. The second author is Dr French Arrington from an essay he wrote in Transforming Power: Dimensions of the Gospel. Alister McGrath
Alister McGrath in the beginning of his discourse states that " a central theme of the Christian message is that of the human situation has, in some way, been transformed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is often described as salvation"(McGrath 77). McGrath in his discourse on salvation doesn't seem to take a stance on any particular theory or doctrine of salvation but lays out three separate theories of atonement. These three theories that McGrath lays out are the cross as sacrifice, the cross as victory, and the cross and forgiveness. Before we dig into what McGrath says about these different theories we need to first understand what atonement means and where the word comes from. McGrath says that the word atonement "can be traced back to 1526, when the English writer William Tyndale was confronted with the task of translating the New Testament into English"(McGrath 83). At this time there was not a word for reconciliation in the English language and Tyndale had to come up with a word for it. This word that Tyndale came up with or invented was at-one-ment today know as atonement. McGrath states that "this word came to bear the meaning the benefits which Jesus Christ brings through his death upon the cross"(McGrath 83). Today, McGrath says the word is pretty much out of use so theologians just call this "the doctrine of the work of Christ"(McGrath 83). The Cross as Sacrifice
The first theory of atonement that McGrath presents is that of Christ's death on the cross as a sacrifice. McGrath states that this approach or theory is "associated with the Letter to the Hebrews, presents Christ's sacrificial offerings as an effective and perfect sacrifice, which was able to accomplish that which the sacrifice of the Old Testament were only able to imitate, rather than achieve"(McGrath 83). McGrath says this idea was developed inside of the Christian tradition and it is best summarized by saying that "in order for humanity to be restored to God, the mediator must sacrifice himself; without this sacrifice, such restoration, is an impossibility"(McGrath). McGrath goes on to quote two early church fathers, Athanasius and Augustine of Hippo, and one Medieval church theologian, Hugh of St. Victor, to describe how they viewed or helped develop the atonement theory of the cross as a sacrifice. McGrath uses two quotes from Athanasius to show how Christ's sacrifice is superior to the sacrifices of the Old Testament and how Christ's sacrifice can be viewed as the foreshadowed Passover sacrifice of the lamb. McGrath quotes Augustine of Hippo showing how he showed how Christ was both the priest who offered the sacrifice and was himself the pure victim that was sacrificed for our sins. Lastly McGrath uses a quote from Hugh of St. Victor to show how the cross worked through Christ's humanity to make a connection with us so that as a human he could be that sacrifice.
The Cross as Victory
The second theory of atonement that McGrath discusses is that of the cross as a victory. McGrath states that "the early church gloried in the triumph of Christ upon the cross, and the victory that he won over sin, death, and Satan" and that the "Christian writers of the first five centuries were deeply attracted by the imagery through the cross"(McGrath 86). Again McGrath quotes two early church fathers,...
Cited: Arrington, French L. Christian Doctrine: A Pentecostal Perspective. Cleveland: Pathway
McGrath, Alister E. Christian Theology: An Introduction. Malden: Blackwell Publishing,
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