In Him Was Life
The Person and Work of Christ
Imprint: Baylor University Press
427 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- Published: October 2019
The consideration of the person of Christ is often disentangled from his 'work.' But this doctrinal tidying can be misleading and theologically dangerous.
Christians contend that humans need to be rescued from an inescapable and uncontrollable plight that distorts and threatens to destroy their creaturely well-being under God. But how can a God who became flesh, taking on the form of one of God’s own creatures and dwelling among us humanly, also be the salvation of humankind? The history of Christian doctrine reveals a remarkable variety and diversity of answers to this question. First, the biblical text itself offers a striking kaleidoscope of metaphors in its attempts to make sense of and develop the gospel message that salvation is at hand. Second, these images have, in turn, been taken up, interpreted, and developed within a vast range of different social and historical contexts, each bringing its distinctive questions, concerns, and expectations to bear upon the text. Finally, the christological identification of Jesus as God incarnate has been permitted varying degrees of purchase on the ways in which these images are unfolded and their entailments explored.
In Him Was Life: The Person and Work of Christ is concerned with a series of core questions that arise when Christology and soteriology are deliberately brought together. How should we imagine and speak of what the intrinsically negative image "salvation" finally means in positive terms if in Jesus God has, as various theologians over the centuries have dared to suggest, effected a marvelous exchange in which God has become what we are so that we in turn might share in God’s own life? What does all this mean for our understanding of who God is, of our own creaturely nature and capacities, and of God’s ways of relating to us and realizing God’s own creative purposes? And what might Christology itself have to say about the nature, possibilities, and constraints of theology itself?
Trevor Hart addresses these current and contemporary questions through a series of incisive engagements with Christian theologians spanning both centuries and ecclesial traditions, including Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Athanasius, Anselm, John Calvin, P. T. Forsyth, Karl Barth, J. A. T. Robinson, and T. F. Torrance.
Part One: Revisiting the East
Part Two: Reconsidering the West
Part Three: Christology in Contemporary Context
Responding to the call upon Christian theologians to bear faithful witness to Jesus Christ, Trevor Hart here gathers into one volume essays from a rich career of theological writing. Ever aware of the need to speak afresh of Christ in our own time and place, Hart is conscious that we do that well only when we are attentive both to Scripture and to Scripture’s interpreters down through the ages. The insight, creativity, and faithfulness with which Hart undertakes that task is amply displayed in this fine volume.~Murray A. Rae, Professor of Theology, University of Otago in New Zealand
Trevor Hart has an unerring sense of what really matters in Christian theology. In these penetrating essays he interrogates a wide range of major theologians, ancient and modern, and sets out his own constructive proposals with eloquence and clarity.~Richard Bauckham, Professor Emeritus, University of St Andrews
This collection of essays on the person and work of Christ provides an important exploration of themes in contemporary ecumenical theology. With his characteristic clarity of argument and informed historical scholarship, Trevor Hart offers a series of irenic and constructive proposals that will be of much benefit to a fresh audience.~David Fergusson, Professor of Divinity, New College, University of Edinburgh