Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Answers to Christina.

If Jesus is God...
1: Why does Jesus pray to himself?
2: Why does he say the father is greater than he in John 14:28?
3: Why does Christ distinguish between his will and Gods in Luke 22:42?
4: Why would Jesus not be all knowing then? 
5: Why does it say there is one God and only one mediator between god and man that is Christ?
6: How could Jesus who is God be tempted in the wilderness if it is said God cannot be tempted?

7: Why does Jesus say he is the manifestation of God?

I'm gonna take these questions one by one. But here is some info you need to know beforehand. The authors of the Bible were not Trinitarian. WOAH DANIEL'S A HERETIC. No he's not. What he means is, Trinitarian theology was a systemization of Biblical truth. To say the Biblical authors were Trinitarian would be anachronistic. However, what they articulated gets us to Trinitarian theology. That is to say, Trinitarian thought was at the back of their minds the whole time, not the fore. So while they articulated things consistent with Trinitarian theology, they are often not worded the same way we would say them. Just like it is wrong to say Paul is a Calvinist, it is wrong to say that the Biblical writers were Trinitarian, even though they thought like one.

Question 1:
Jesus doesn't pray to himself. He prays to the father. 
"When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed." -John 17:1-5.
Jesus prays to the Father. And in doing so we get a glimpse of the Trinitarian relations in regards to the economy of salvation. "You have given him authority over all flesh," "having accomplished the work that you gave me to do," and statements like these show the humble submission of Christ to do the Father's will. 
But one may ask, why did he have to pray to the Father if he was God? Good question. Because he was also man. Protestants often get wrapped up into making Christ seem so beyond us that we forget that "though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (Phil. 2:6). Jesus was a man too. The one who laid the foundations of the earth (John 1:3), was hungry. The source of eternal joy wept (John 11:35). And most of all, the one who the entire universe was created and was created for died (Col. 1:16; John 19:30). We often get so wrapped up in the deity of Christ that we forget his humanity. Jesus could be happy, sad, angry, hurt, surprised, tempted, tried, tired, hungry, and all of those things humans can be. Why? Because he was human! We have to get that. Yeah he walked on water, but he had to bathe like us. Yeah he fed the five thousand by multiplying the bread and fish, but he had to eat some too. If we understand the humanity of Christ, we may understand why he did some things that he did. Praying is one of those.

Question 2: 
"You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I." -John 14:28.
Does this verse automatically mean that Father in every way is greater than the Son? No. If I said, "I'm going to the White House to meet the President because the President is greater than I," you would probably be happy for me. That was Jesus' point. He was going to meet with someone great. But just because I said the President is greater than I am doesn't mean the President is greater than I am in being or essence. That is to say, the President is not a greater human being than I am. We are both equally human. But in rank/power/authority, the President is much greater than I am. So it was in this passage. There are many other verses in the same book that show Jesus' equality with God in being and essence (John 1:1; 10:30; and 20:28 just to name a few).

Question 3:
"... saying, 'Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but yours, be done.'" -Lk. 22:42
Again, we're faced with the glaring reality of Christ's humanity. He's afraid. He doesn't want to suffer. He doesn't want to drink the wrath of God. BUT (and praise him for it!) he voluntarily and obediently, perhaps even conscientiously submitted his will to that of the Father's in order that "he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26). John 10:18 lays out that clearly Jesus laid down his life willingly. That doesn't mean that it's something he enjoyed. His humanity was scared. His humanity could be hurt and mangled and striped and torn. He was to experience the full wrath of God on the cross. He knew it. And why would he want that? Who would? No one! But Jesus was the one "who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hb. 12:2). Jesus endured it because he knew that it would mean the salvation of his people (which is the "for the joy" part).
Again, this is understanding the part of Christ's humanity. 
In addition, Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390) said this in the midst of a debate about the nature of Christ: "That which is not assumed is not healed." That means that if Jesus did not take upon himself both a human body and a human will, how could our broken, sinful, bound, totally depraved will be changed? How could our will be healed? If Christ didn't take on a human body, could we have been saved? This is the point, when John says, "Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν," (that is, "and the word became flesh and dwelt among us") he meant it. When the Word became flesh, it means he took all that it means to be human and became that- a human will and all.

Question 4:
"Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God." -John 16:30.
It seems to me Jesus does know all things. As part of his divine nature. But as part of his human nature, he is limited- by hunger, by thirst, by strength, and even by knowledge. In Matthew 24:36 we read that no one, not even the Son knows the day nor the hour of when the Son is to return; instead, it will come like a thief in the night. All we have here is the Biblical text. We can philosophize and theologize as much as we want, but at the end of the day, we have verses saying both that his knowledge in some sense is unlimited (John 16:30) and that his knowledge is in some sense limited (Matt. 24:36). This can be confusing as heck, to be honest. But that's what we're left with in the text. In the same way we understand that Christ was entirely divine and entirely human. That sounds like 200% not 100%. Confusing, but it's what the Bible teaches.

Question 5:
"This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time." -1 Tim. 2:3-6.
God desires all people to be saved, and so made a way for them to be saved. Back in Genesis 3:15, we already have a promise of salvation. God accomplished this through his Son, who became flesh (read "the man") and died so that whoever believed may have everlasting life (John 1:14; 3:16; Tim. 2:6). But the reason Christ is the one mediator is because God offers a way of salvation. Jesus said he was the way, the truth, and the life, and that nobody can come to the Father except by him. This was because God appointed him to do this (Hb. 1:2). And like we said earlier, Jesus willingly accepted. 
Perhaps one might wonder, if he is a mediator then doesn't that mean he is less than God the Father in some way? No, it doesn't. Here's why. Jesus was the one who became human. Jesus is the way to the Father. Jesus, not the Father, died on the cross. Jesus took our punishment on the cross by being a propitiation by his blood (Rom. 3:21-26). Jesus is the means of our salvation and that by which we are reconciled to God (the Father). Again, the Bible doesn't speak in Trinitarian terms, because it was at the back, not the fore, of their minds. They didn't have the problems we do today... or even that we had way back in the second and third centuries with Arianism and Docetism. 

Question 6:
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil... Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test'"" (Matt 4:1, 7). 
According to A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature (BDAG), πειράζω (the same word used for "tempted" in verse 1 and "put to the test" in verse 7) can mean "to make effort to do something; to endeavor to discover the nature or character of something by testing." I think this is of tantamount importance.
So I think that in Matthew, when the devil puts our Lord to the test, he is endeavoring "to discover the nature or character of [Jesus] by testing" him. We discover Christ's character when he is put to the test- the character of God. At the same time we see the Devil trying to put Christ to the test. Just like the Israelites sinned by putting God to the test at Massah (Ex. 17:7), the Devil sinned by putting Jesus to the test in the Wilderness. But unlike God at Massah, he did not do a miracle there. Instead he relied on the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to satisfy him, unlike Israel.
One more thing to notice. The text says you "shall not put the Lord your God to the test," not you "cannot put the Lord your God to the test."

Question 7:
"He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God." -1 Peter 1:20.
The answer to the question, "Why does Jesus say he is the manifestation of God?" is, simply, "He doesn't." Especially in the way most people understand the term "manifestation." Peter says he was made manifest. But being made manifest and being a manifestation of something are COMPLETELY different things. Manifestation can mean a form that something takes on. Rather Jesus was God made manifest (1 Tim. 3:16). As defined by Webster, manifest here means something that is able to be seen. Through Christ we can see God, because God has been made manifest! 
Again, the greek word for to manifest is φανερόω, which BDAG defines as "to cause to become visible, reveal, expose publicly." God has exposed himself publicly through the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. 
[Excursus: just because Manifestation and Manifest have the same root and lexeme does not mean that they necessarily convey the same meaning. He was manifested, made visible and revealed. He was not merely a form something had. He was the thing itself. "The Word [himself] became [was made manifest in the] flesh and dwelt among us."]

Eternal Generation.
A long time ago, in only the second century, there was a dude named Origen. He was pretty weird, but very smart. He got a lot wrong, but he got a lot right. One of the things he got right was the doctrine of Eternal Generation. This is the argument he utilized, mind you, only about a generation (maybe two) after the apostles: "An eternal personal act of the Father, wherein, by necessity of nature, not by choice of will, He generates the person (not the essence) of the Son, by communicating to Him the whole indivisible substance of the Godhead, without division, alienation, or change, so that the Son is the express image of His Father's person, and eternally continues, not from the Father, but in the Father, and the Father in the Son."
Most basically what Origen says here is that for the Father to have eternally been the Father, he must have eternally begotten a Son. Begotten does not mean created. It means finds it's source from. So, the Son eternally finds his source from/in the Father of necessity because the Father is a father. You guys get this? It's like a guy can't be a husband without a wife. In the same way, God can't be Father without a Son- thus, Eternal Generation.
To understand the Spirit's place in intra-Trinitarian relations, I refer you to Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica that is probably on CCEL, or St. Basil the Great's De Spiritu Sancto. They're too long for me to put up here right now, but just know that Christians have been defending the great doctrine of the triune God (the term Trinity only came with Tertullian, though) since the very beginning.

Hopefully some of these helped. But it's only by the grace of God that we come to true understanding because it is the Holy Spirit who leads us unto all truth. 




Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Reviews: Winter 2014

As usual, this is another book review post to keep all you readers up to date on all (definitely not all, but some) of my reading. I have a few books that I've read or revisited/reviewed recently and I want to share them with you. Whether good or bad, each book provides perspective on theological themes or will help explain (hopefully in simpler, clearer terms than I could articulate on the spot) developments in my own theology. So, here you go...



Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity by Kathryn Tanner is what she calls "a short systematic theology." There was much to commend about this book. 1) It was wonderfully Christ centered. As the title suggests, Jesus is seen by Tanner to be primary. Christ and the cross (or at least what he apparently (i.e., in her eyes) accomplished on it) are constantly in view. 2) Her argument is always in view and clear. She sticks to it throughout, rarely rabbit trailing throughout the whole book. 3) I've read a few other things by Tanner, mostly shorter articles and essays, and she has a knack for saying a whole lot in a short amount of space. That, however is also often a problem. There are things she says in only a sentence that may be so profound that she really needs to explain perhaps over even a series of pages. This is something I found to be the case throughout this book. Much of what she said was vague as to what she meant or was very profound and one might wonder whether she recognized the implications of what she said because more often than not she did not interact at all with these implications. Of course, being a work this short (only a little over 150 pages), that is no surprise. 
My criticism can be found in full here, but I'll keep it short now. Tanner's understanding of the role of the Father and Holy Spirit is based on what she understands the Son's work to be. This, I think, is a fatal error. Starting with Jesus and moving on to the Trinity is ontologically backwards. The being of the Trinity ontologically precedes a person/member of the Trinity, at least conceptually. (I elaborate more on that here.) This leads her to some erroneous conclusions about what the Son did, how that affects the Father, and how the Spirit then works. She determines that Jesus became human for humanity, not for his people. This is probably based on her complete lack of Old Testament interaction. This then leads her to conclude that God is a gift-giver and develops a theology upon that assumption. As gift-giver in a world that is, frankly, going nowhere quick, Tanner argues that basically we shouldn't worry about doing anything "risky" (the Piper and Platt variety), namely that we should not suffer for the sake of the Gospel because God, as gift-giver, has already given and so the work is done, and we just have to wait it out. This may sound caricature-ish, but I think it's accurate. If you want to see a more academic-ish take on that, see my criticism. So, Tanner is a universalist, clearly. And it is precisely this mindset of Tanner's (that is, her universalism) that will kill missions. Let me restate that, Kathryn Tanner's brand of universalism will kill missions.  That's a problem. This is probably caused by her starting point. You can't start with Jesus. You've got to start with God, with the Trinity. So, if she wrote Trinity, Jesus and Humanity one day, I might just pick that up and see what happens.*

*Update: I've changed my mind about many things which were said in this review and in the book and I'm too lazy to redo the review. However, I still think the last chapter of the book is terrible, although the rest of the book has become more palatable recently.


The Christ of the Covenants is a standard text explaining a Reformed (but majorly biblical) understanding of the covenants. Robertson is not afraid to disagree with theologians in his own circles, denying a intra-Trinitarian covenant of redemption as too speculative, perhaps rightly so. I would personally probably affirm the covenant of redemption, but I feel for Robertson there. Unlike what Blake White says in What is New Covenant Theology? Robertson does not come to the table with presuppositions from the Westminster Confession. Indeed, he says that he is uncomfortable with the terminology of Covenant of Works and Covenant of Grace, and gives them his own titles. This was a pleasure to read, and I found the section of the Adamic/so-called Covenant of Works particularly stimulating and edifying. The work overall was very good. He even had an excursus on whether we should use covenantal or dispensational language interacting with "old" (Scofield) and "classic" (Ryrie) dispensationalism. Many may complain that he did not interact with progressive dispensationalism, obviously because it hadn't been developed yet. In fact, it's hardly developed now. There's about as much uniformity in this new movement as there is among Southern Baptists and election. That is to say, hardly any. Besides that possible objection, which is almost unnecessary, another might be that the book is a bit dated. Any way, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a basic yet scholarly look at the Reformed view of the covenants, often called covenant theology.


God's Battalions is Rodney Stark's attempt to make a case for the crusades. The idea that the crusades were a product of the "Dark Ages" that the Western world entered into, which is characterized by violence, brutality, and decreasing intelligence, has been effectively refuted. This book left me convinced, but unsatisfied. I will certainly never again apologize for the crusades. They were not unprovoked, they were justified, and they were probably necessary. Perhaps not all five were necessary, but at least the first three were. Stark reviews the historical myths surrounding the crusades, including the myth of the Dark Ages, the myth of Christian brutality, the myth of Muslim superiority, the myth of Christian greed, and others. As I said, Stark's case is compelling but unsatisfying. What I mean by that is this: Stark takes it too far. He makes great points as it pertains to the myth of Muslim intellectual supremacy, but takes it too far, basically taking all of the credit away from any Muslims, painting a picture that makes them look like unintelligent, parasitic brutes. Other than this and a few other nuances of the same nature, this book is great. Had Stark taken a little bit of a more balanced approach, I think this book could have been significantly better. Even so, I recommend this book for anyone interested in the topic.



In The Trowel and the Truth Scott Stripling set out to create an easy to understand text for an undergraduate level introduction to biblical archaeology. In it he describes what biblical archaeology is, the methods used, and many of the different and technical words used in the field. It is written as an introduction and should be understood as such. It is certainly not an exhaustive text on the field nor is it a very scholarly work on what ways are best. But it a short, easy and nonetheless interesting read, written by a (committed) Christian, whose biases will quickly and blatantly make themselves clear. It's not the best book I read in the past few months but it was one that I might recommend to someone interested in what biblical archaeology is but has not a scholarly bone in his/her body.*

*Update: I doubt I would ever recommend this book to anyone for almost any reason. Pick up Finkelstein instead.

Hopefully these will benefit you as they did me, and so glorify God through our knowledge and understanding of him and the world he has made and its history. Thanks for reading.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Friedrich Schleiermacher

In 1768, Friedrich Schleiermacher was the eldest son born to the eldest son in a heritage of Reformed preachers extending three generations.[1] Within both his father, Gottlieb, and grandfather, there was a restless independence, which made a settled orthodox unlikely in Friedrich. Conversely, on his mother’s side there were three generations of calm, settled Reformed pastors, and so this would prove to be a balance.[2] Along with a brother, Carl, and a sister, Charlotte, Schleiermacher grew up having been mostly reared by his mother. His father, an active Freemason and moralistically oriented freethinker, was an army chaplain and so, naturally, was often absent. Schleiermacher lived out most of his childhood in the city of Breslau, though some of his earliest memories were associated with his father’s parsonage in the city of Anhault.[3] Little more is known about his childhood, though it is known that his mother was a devout Christian and a first-rate caretaker of the children, but died on November 17, 1783, while Schleiermacher and his siblings were still young.[4] Although Schleiermacher’s father, Gottlieb, had been brought up into pietism by his parents, he soon disassociated himself with the movement in favor of the Enlightenment movement and theology.[5] Regardless of his convictions, Gottlieb continued to make accommodation and preach Reformed orthodoxy to his congregations.[6] Schleiermacher’s parents discovered his bright mind early and, in turn, provided him with a good education, albeit mostly at home, of course with tutoring, and partly at a boarding school.[7]

Much change occurred when the family first came into contact with the left-wing Reformation Herrnhuter Brethren church, after moving from Breslau to stay under the protection of the Prince of Pless during the war of Bayer Succession in 1778.[8] Young Schleiermacher was only nine at the time. It was here that Gottlieb had a deep-down conversion experience. He was convinced of and changed to a firm and full belief in the deity and Sonship of Christ along with his role as Reconciler of human beings to God, which change turned the then-fifty-five year old pastor into a radical Herrnhuter, although he himself never officially joined the community.[9] It too was here at Pless that young Schleiermacher, now eleven years old, after many sleepless nights, came to realize that eternal life does not come from virtuous deeds, but by the grace of God. He had not at this time received the assurance of this grace, however, but remained profoundly convicted of his sin.[10] Together, the parents decided to entrust the Brethren with the education of their children, and on July 14, 1783, he and his siblings had been placed in the trust of the Brethren school in the town of Niesky to receive instruction in the Christian faith.[11] Until this time, the family’s relation to the Brethren community had been fairly indirect and so they arrived eleven weeks before the children were accepted into the schools.[12] This was the last time the children would see their parents.

After Schleiermacher was educated in the Brethren’s school in Niesky, he moved on to their college at Barby.[13] In his stay at Barby, during his adolescent years, he was an avid Herrnhuter, an experience that was to impact his theology and praxis for the rest of his life. By the end of his time at Barby, he had totally broken with the narrow orthodoxy and biblical literalism held there.[14] His time there was characterized by intense, required study, but also a freedom to pursue those educational goals he personally desired.[15] Here he was able to study languages such as Hebrew and English, which was a convenience since there were many English professors and theologians there, along with the required French, Latin, and Greek.[16] He studied the Old Testament for a period in its original Hebrew and later studied Greek literature in its original Greek, translating both using only a grammar and a lexicon. The studies of the Old Testament would influence him and give him a respect for the history of the Christian faith for the rest of his life; his studies in Greek would continue on for the rest of his life as well.[17] Naturally, at a strict school such as this, certain things were forbidden to do and read. In response to this, Schleiermacher and some friends began a secret philosophy club, where, when gathered, they would often read forbidden literature, mostly made up of Enlightenment thinkers, which influenced them to such an extent that some openly rejected certain, perhaps necessary tenants of the faith and were dismissed from the school. This would also have an impact on Schleiermacher as he began to question and subsequently reject major tenants of the Christian faith as well.[18] It was at this point that Schleiermacher felt he could not stay at the school in good conscience, and in April of 1787, he left the school. One source has collected some correspondence Schleiermacher had with his father during this time, in which Schleiermacher expressed his concern that the professors are not dealing adequately with the widespread doubt of the day. His father missed the hint and tried to assure Schleiermacher that he had read some of the literature and that it was nothing to worry about. Six months later in January 1787, Schleiermacher expressed explicitly to his father those doubts the professors were not dealing with were his own doubts. He there confesses his unbelief.[19]

Although broken hearted at his son’s departure from orthodox doctrine- an abandonment of God in his mind- Schleiermacher’s father agreed to Schleiermacher’s desires to attend the University of Halle, just a few miles away, where he would live in the company of his uncle, a professor of church history there.[20] By Easter of that year he was at Halle, concentrating in classical and philosophical studies and closely followed the teaching of Johann Eberhard, then the most noted member of the faculty, a philosopher who also published theological works. It was under Eberhard that Schleiermacher became especially acquainted with the writings of Kant, particularly his Critique of Pure Reason.[21] Schleiermacher continued to study English and French during this time in hopes of becoming a tutor.[22] After moving to Drossen with his uncle for a short time while studying for the first of his theology examinations and befriending Swedish diplomat and former Herrnhuter Carl Gustav von Brinckmann, he left for Berlin and there passed his first theology examination.[23] He then moved to Schlobitten in East Prussia to accept a tutoring position, where he became endeared to the family he was tutoring, so much so that he secretly fell in love with one of the daughters, Caroline. Caroline passed away within a year and he was greatly affected by this untimely death. This episode affected him most spiritually, wherein his philosophical and theological skepticism quickly dissolved and he was left with a new life along with an emotional notion of feeling similar to that of the Romantics.[24] After this he sifted through several jobs before arriving at a job in an orphanage, where he prepared for his second round of theology examinations. After passing those, he was invited and accepted a job as an assistant pastor in Berlin, where he stayed for six years (1796-1802) and during which time wrote many of his major works.[25] He was then sent to a small parish in Stolpe after almost getting into some trouble with another pastor’s wife.[26] He stayed there for two years before he came back to Halle as University Pastor and a professor of theology, at which positions he stayed for only a short time before the university was shut down because of Napoleon’s invading Army in 1806.[27] At this point he moved back to Berlin to stay there for the rest of his life.

In Berlin he took part in the founding of the University of Berlin.[28] By 1808 he was teaching there and by 1810 he was appointed as dean, responsible for hiring professors for the theology department, and served that post intermittently for many years.[29] In 1809, at age forty, Schleiermacher was married. He and his wife had five children and adopted two more. He then took a position at the Trinity Church in Berlin, maintaining his duties at the university.[30] Years later in 1821-22, Schleiermacher published his magnum opus, The Christian Faith, a systematic theology and arguably his most important contribution to modern theology.[31] In it he lays the foundation for what would be called in future generations modern or liberal theology. Arguing against the Enlightenment’s destruction of natural theology and so theological epistemology because of its dependence on natural theology, Schleiermacher must find a new epistemological starting point.[32] So he finds it in the self and self-consciousness of humanity. This means that any talk about God would necessarily require the self, because without self-conscious awareness of God he could not be known. In this way too Schleiermacher located “religion” in the realm of “feeling,” that is, in immediate self-consciousness, and so Christian doctrines are accounts of Christian religious affections that have been set forth in speech.[33] His understanding of God put forth in this work was that object on which humanity is totally or utterly dependent. By locating religion in feeling and defining God as that upon which humanity is utterly dependent, the feeling of utter dependence was the highest level of human self-consciousness.[34] Uncommon to most, if any, systematic theologies was his placing the doctrine of the Trinity at the very end, bringing upon himself contemporary and subsequent critique from many theologians, perhaps most notably Karl Barth.[35] His reasoning for this was that he considered the Trinity to be the “coping stone” of Christian doctrine. To Schleiermacher, placing it at the end emphasized the culmination of all of a collected God-consciousness, meaning that the Trinity was not the least important but the most important aspect of the Christian faith.[36]

The Christian Faith sparked much debate and controversy in the years to follow, and Schleiermacher maintained and defended his views for the next few years, having pledged himself to liveliness while remaining alive. But eventually his health began to fail. Still writing and preaching, his final sermon was given on February 2, 1834, and his last lecture was given on February 6. Still in the midst of creativity with full possession of his faculties, death took him on February 12, 1834.[37] Following his funeral, there were an estimated twenty to thirty thousand mourners in Berlin. His influence can be hardly overstated.[38]

Friedrich Schleiermacher is rightly known as the Father of Modern Theology.[39] He was first to move the starting point for theological epistemology from the utterly objective (natural theology), which had been brought to ruin by the Enlightenment thinkers such as Kant and Hume, to the utterly subjective (the self and self-consciousness). The abandonment of objectivity in theology and the move to subjectivity is a capstone of modern and liberal theology. No matter how one might feel about Schleiermacher and The Christian Faith, his influence is enormous and something that can hardly be ignored.








[1] Terrence N. Tice, Schleiermacher, (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006), 1.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Martin Redeker, Schleiermacher: Life and Thought, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1973), 8.
[4] Tice, Schleiermacher, 1.
[5] Redeker, Life and Thought, 8.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Tice, Schleiermacher, 1.
[8] Ibid., 2.
[9] Redeker, Life and Thought, 8-9.
[10] Tice, Schleiermacher, 2.
[11] Ibid. It should, perhaps, be noted that Schleiermacher’s sister, Charlotte, was actually brought to the girls’ school in Gnadenfrei a few days earlier on July sixth, but for the sake of clarity, understanding that all three children were in school by the fourteenth should be sufficient.
[12] Redeker, Life and Thought, 9.
[13] W.B. Selbie, Schleiermacher: A Critical and Historical Study, (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1913), 2.
[14] Tice, Schleiermacher, 2.
[15] Ibid., 3.
[16] Redeker, Life and Thought, 9-10, 11.
[17] Tice, Schleiermacher, 3. Redeker, Life and Thought, 11-12, dates this occasion back to when Schleiermacher was still at Niesky. It is difficult to determine which reading is to be preferred. Both have doctorates in their fields of theology, and both are/were experts on the life and theology of Schleiermacher. However, since Tice has written more recently and more extensively on the subject and since he has been exposed to more and more recent scholarship, it is probable that the reading presented above, i.e., Tice’s reading, is preferred.
[18] Tice, Schleiermacher, 3. These rejections would include the doctrine of Christ’s two natures (hypostatic union), eternal punishment, Christ’s vicarious sacrifice, and total depravity, among other things.
[19] B.A. Gerrish, A Prince of the Church: Schleiermacher and the Beginnings of Modern Theology, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984), 25.
[20] Tice, Schleiermacher, 4.
[21] Redeker, Life and Thought, 15.
[22] Tice, Schleiermacher, 5.
[23] Ibid., 6.
[24] Redeker, Life and Thought, 19-20
[25] Tice, Schleiermacher, 6-7.
[26] Ibid.
[27] Selbie, A Critical and Historical Study, 9-10.
[28] Ibid., 10.
[29] Tice, Schleiermacher, 15.
[30] Selbie, A Critical and Historical Study, 11.
[31] Tice, Schleiermacher, 16.
[32] Keith Clements, Friedrich Schleiermacher: Pioneer of Modern Theology, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991), 10-11. For more on the Enlightenment’s rationalism and deconstruction of natural theology in Schleiermacher’s context, see C.W. Christian, Friedrich Schleiermacher, (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1979), 19-27.
[33] Claude Welch, Protestant Thought in the Nineteenth Century: Volume I, 1799-1870, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972), 62.
[34] Ibid., 66.
[35] Ibid., 72.
[36] Stanley J. Grenz, Rediscovering the Triune God: The Trinity in Contemporary Theology, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004), 17, 21.
[37] Redeker, Life and Thought, 211-212.
[38] Ibid., 213.
[39] Clements, Pioneer of Modern Theology, 7.

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