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Alister McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction

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  1. Alister McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction Chapter 14 The Doctrines of Human Nature, Sin, and Grace Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  2. The Place of Humanity Within Creation: Early Reflections • The image of God • Genesis 1:27, the imago Dei • Distinction between the image of God and the likeness of God • Tertullian • Origen • The image of God as the rational human faculty • Augustine • The dignity of human nature • Lactantius • The doctrine of redemption • Men and women as images of God • The concept of sin • Augustine and original sin • Greek patristic tradition Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  3. Augustine of Hippo and the Pelagian Controversy • The “freedom of the will” • Augustine • Natural human freedom affirmed • Human free will weakened and incapacitated through sin • Pelagius • Total freedom and total responsibility • Perfection is possible and obligatory • The nature of sin • Augustine • Sin as disease • Sin as a power • Sin as (judicial) guilt, passed down through the generations Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  4. The nature of grace • Augustine • God’s generous, unmerited, and necessary gift • Pelagius • Natural God-given faculties of reason and will • Commandments and teaching • The basis of salvation • Augustine: the divine promise of grace • Pelagius: good works as fulfillment of obligation Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  5. The Medieval Synthesis of the Doctrine of Grace • The Augustinian legacy • Grace as a liberating force • Grace as the healer of human nature • Functions of grace • Prevenient grace • Operative grace • Cooperative grace • The medieval distinction between actual and habitual grace • Actual grace • Habitual grace • The late medieval critique of habitual grace • William of Ockham • The medieval debate over the nature and grounds of merit • Intellectualism: Aquinas • Voluntarism: William of Ockham Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  6. The Reformation Debates Over the Doctrine of Grace • From “salvation by grace” to “justification by faith” • Martin Luther’s theological breakthrough • The righteousness of God • Luther on justifying faith • Faith is not simply historical knowledge • Faith is to be understood as “trust” • Faith unites the believer with Christ • The concept of forensic justification • Alien righteousness • A believer is “at one and the same time righteous and a sinner” • Philip Melanchthon • Justification split from sanctification/regeneration Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  7. John Calvin on justification • Double grace • The believer’s union with Christ leads to her justification • The believer’s union with Christ begins the process of regeneration • The Council of Trent on justification • The nature of justification • The nature of justifying righteousness • The nature of justifying faith • The assurance of salvation Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  8. The Doctrine of Predestination • Augustine of Hippo • God must be free to give or withhold the gift of grace • Godelasc of Orbais: double predestination • Catholic debates: Thomism, Molinism, and Jansenism • Aquinas • Molinist school • Jansenists • Protestant debates: Calvinism and Arminianism • John Calvin • Five Point Calvinism • Total depravity of human nature • Unconditional election • Limited atonement • Irresistible grace • Perseverance of the saints Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  9. Decrees of election • Infralapsarian • Supralapsarian • Jakob Arminius (1560-1609) • Christ died for all • Corporate predestination • Karl Barth • Central affirmations • Jesus Christ is the electing God • Jesus Christ is the elected human being • Concept of election • God has chosen to enter into fellowship with humanity • Christ is the demonstration of that commitment • God elected to bear all the pain and cost of redemption • God rejects Christ so that humanity might not be rejected • Predestination and economics: the Weber thesis • Need for signs of certainty of election: good works • A new spirit of modern capitalism Wiley-Blackwell 2010

  10. The Darwinian Controversy and the Nature of Humanity • The challenge of Darwin • Origin of Species (1859) • The Descent of Man (1871) • Young earth creationism • Old earth creationism • Reinterpretation of Hebrew word yom (day) • Gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 • Intelligent design • Biological evolution and intentional creation • Evolutionary theism • Roots in Augustine Wiley-Blackwell 2010