The Faithfulness of the Risen Christ
Pistis and the Exalted Lord in the Pauline Letters
Imprint: Baylor University Press
214 Pages, 5.50 x 8.50 x 0.00 in
- Published: September 2019
The pistis Christou construction in Paul’s letters has ignited heated debates among Pauline scholars and theologians. On the one side, some claim that the phrase denotes human faith placed in Christ. Others, however, contend that pistis Christou in Paul alludes to the faithfulness of Christ himself, with Christ’s pistis chiefly demonstrated in his willingness to suffer and die upon the cross. Yet both sides of this debate overlook Paul’s emphasis on the faithfulness and continuing work of the risen and exalted Christ.
In The Faithfulness of the Risen Christ, David J. Downs and Benjamin J. Lappenga focus upon the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus in their discussion of pistis Christou. They claim that when Paul writes of Christ’s pistis, he refers to the faithfulness of the risen and exalted Christ. Downs and Lappenga carefully survey Paul’s use of pistis in Philippians, the Corinthian letters, Galatians, Romans, and Ephesians, revealing how pistis epitomizes the risen Christ’s continuing faithfulness toward all those who participate in him by pistis. Downs and Lappenga effectively reframe any future consideration of the pistis Christou construction for both New Testament scholars and theologians by showing that the story of Jesus in the letters of Paul extends to the faithfulness of the exalted Christ Jesus, who will remain faithful to those justified through union with Christ.
Introduction: "He Remains Faithful"
1. The Semantics of Pistis: "The Lord Is Faithful"
2. Philippians: "To Know Him and the Power of His Resurrection"
3. The Corinthian Correspondence: "We Have the Same Spirit of Faithfulness"
4. Galatians: "I Live in the Faithfulness of the Son of God"
5. Romans: "The One Who Is Righteous Will Live by Faith"
6. Ephesians: "In Whom We Have Boldness and Access with Confidence through His Faithfulness"
Conclusion: "In His Faithfulness and Love, in His Suffering and Resurrection"
All who are interested in the meaning of pistis and of participation in Christ need to engage this stimulating work.~Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary & University
The Faithfulness of the Risen Christ offers a new way to look beyond current entrenched views, provides detailed exegesis of relevant Pauline texts, and offers a holistic reading of Pauline Christology and soteriology through the lens of the pistis Christou expression.~Paul Foster, Professor in New Testament Language, Literature & Theology, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh
David J. Downs and Benjamin J. Lappenga’s arguments add a significant new dimension to an old problem.~Morna D. Hooker, Lady Margaret’s Professor Emerita, University of Cambridge and Life Fellow, Robinson College
The Faithfulness of the Risen Christ is a breath of fresh air and should be read by all serious scholars of Paul.~Susan Eastman, Associate Research Professor of New Testament, Duke Divinity School
David J. Downs and Benjamin J. Lappenga have done the unthinkable—they found a way to reinvigorate the pistis Christou debate.~Nijay Gupta, Associate Professor of New Testament, Portland Seminary, George Fox University
The argument of this book provides a convincing response to a challenge posed by James D. G. Dunn: Why, outside of the disputed pistis Christou phrases, does one not find emphasis on the faithfulness of Christ in Paul’s letters (pp. 6, 10)? Downs and Lappenga persuasively demonstrate that the pistis of the risen Christ consists in his enabling, through the Spirit, those who share in his pistis to become people ‘of faith and faithfulness, trust and trustworthiness’ (p. 161). By showing that, for Paul, the faithfulness of the risen Christ empowers faithful living, Downs and Lappenga open the door to further research exploring the implications of Paul’s narrative soteriology for his ethics.~Julien Smith, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly
This excellent book could not have arrived at a better time. Its publication in July 2020 coincided with waves of Confederate monument ‘disruption’ across the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s death... Newson’s book is its own form of disruption—of both Confederate monuments and the scholarly literature about them. Newson highlights the monuments’ oft-obscured theological dimensions, revealing the necessity of their theological disruption.~Karen V. Guth, Perspectives in Religious Studies