Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Christian Theology": Blogging Throughout Erickson - Soteriology 7

In one sense, union with Christ is an inclusive term for the whole of salvation; the various other doctrines are simply subparts (961) I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Millard Erickson's here. Scripture, especially Paul, repeatedly refer to us as being "in Christ," "with Christ," all "through Christ" (see Colosssians 2). The problem, however, determining exactly what the New Testament means by "union with Christ." [1]

In understanding what it means to be "in" Christ, Erickson discusses what union with Christ does not mean. First is the false belief that union is metaphysical. The underlying idea here is the pantheistic concept that we are one in essence with God (963). Likewise, Erickson rejects any mystical explanation, that is, The relationship between the believer and Jesus is so deep and absorbing that the believer virtually loses his or her own individuality (963).

A third unacceptable model is to compare union with Christ with the union between two friends or between and teacher and a student (964). This is the opposite error of the first error (metaphysical). There, the connection is too strong. In this third model, the connection is too weak. A final inadequate view is what he calls the sacramental view - the believer obtains the grace of Jesus Christ by receiving the sacraments (964). This is obviously the Roman Catholic view. Other than its misinterpretation of Scripture, Erickson suggests a main difficulty with it is that a human intermediary administers the sacraments (965).

With all of this said, Erickson moves to discuss what the characteristics of union with Christ is. First, he says, it is judicial. The second is spiritual. On the one hand, the union is effected by the Holy Spirit (965). On the other it is a union of spirits (966). Finally, our union with Christ is vital. his life actually flows into ours, renewing our inner nature . . . and imparting spiritual strength (966).

Although I find the above discussion helpful, I'm not sure the reader comes away fully understanding what the New Testament means by the phrase and those closely associated with it. Yet Erickson helps us come to a better understanding of it. In the end, however, I think Erickson is right in placing this first in his discussion of objective aspects of salvation. In this chapter he discusses justification and adoption which are doctrines one cannot understand without first understanding union with Christ.

One final comment. The means of our union with Christ, according to Paul in Colossians, is the resurrection. His story, we could say, becomes our story. In this sense, this is what baptism illustrates. Paul makes this explicitly clear in Colossians 3:1a..


[1] For more biblical passages, Erickson highlights 2 Corinthians 5:17;  Ephesians 1:3-4, 6-8; Eph. 2:10; 1 Cor. 1:4-5; 1 Thess. 4:16; 1 Cor. 15:22, Col. 1:27; Gal. 2:20; Matt. 28:20; John 14:23; Col. 2:20; Rom. 6:4; Col. 3:1; and Rom. 8:17.


Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5  

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 1
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 4
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 5
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 6
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 7
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 8  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 9
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 10

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 3 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 7
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 8
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 10
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 11
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 12
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 13
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 14
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 15
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 16
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 17
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 18
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 19
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 20

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 7
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 8
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 9
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 10
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 11
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 12
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 13
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 14
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 15
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 16

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 6

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 5
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 7
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 8
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 9

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 5
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 7
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 8
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 9
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 10

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Work of Christ 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Work of Christ 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Work of Christ 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Work of Christ 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Work of Christ 5
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Work of Christ 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Work of Christ 7 

"Christian Theology": Blogging Throughout Erickson - Pneumatology 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Throughout Erickson - Pneumatology 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Throughout Erickson - Pneumatology 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Throughout Erickson - Pneumatology 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Throughout Erickson - Pneumatology 5 

"Christian Theology": Blogging Throughout Erickson - Soteriology 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Throughout Erickson - Soteriology 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Throughout Erickson - Soteriology 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Throughout Erickson - Soteriology 4 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Throughout Erickson - Soteriology 5
"Christian Theology": Blogging Throughout Erickson - Soteriology 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Throughout Erickson - Soteriology 7


For more:
The First Cause of Our Salvation: John Craig on God's Eternal Election
Does the Calvinistic Doctrine of God's Providence Make God Responsible For Sin?: Grudem's Answer
Spurgeon's Defense of Calvinism - Part 1
Spurgeon's Defense of Calvinism - Part 2
Spurgeon's Defense of Calvinism - Part 3
Spurgeon's Defense of Calvinism - Part 4
Spurgeon's Defense of Calvinism - Part 5
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