Christian redemption in the theology of Nels Frederick Solomon Ferre: compared with Aulen, Brunner and DeWolf
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Both the problan and methodology of the dissertation follow this pattern: (1) a presentation of Ferre's views regarding redemption, (2) comparisons with the other three selected theologians, (3) an ordered summary of Ferre's relative theological position. This summary appears in chapter eight and briefly notes some similarities and dissimilarities among the other three theologians. Chapter two presents the term redemption and its correlatives as used in standard Protestant reference works. This determines the areas treated in chapters three through seven. The study includes these conclusions: (1) Knowledge of God as agape is limited to God's revelatory work made known in Jesus Christ in Ferre's, as in Aulen's and Brunner's writings. DeWolf adds theistic evidences. (2) God as being is uncaused and unconditioned but He becomes by creation and by redemptive personal relations with men for Ferre as for DeWolf. God is being is self-sufficient, with creation, preservation and redemption optional self-giving activities in Aulen's and Brunner's writings. For Aulen this is a paradox. Brunner concludes that God acts to realize His glory. (3) An essential but unfulfilled image within man awaits maturing experiences and Divine-human encounter in Ferre's and DeWolf's writings. Brunner emphasizes God's sole initiative so that maturing experiences seem to be negated. Aulen paradoxically asserts that man is essentially opposed to God yet chooses opposition. Paradoxically reconciliation depends upon God's subduing activity, yet upon man's "yes." (4) Jesus Christ is understood as truly God and truly man by Ferre as by Aulen and Brunner. The latter two do not, like Ferre, explain the Incarnation by perichoresis. DeWolf asserts that God's will and purpose were perfectly Incarnate in the human Jesus. Ferre has a distinct emphasis concerning the repeatability of the Incarnation, and concerning the Trinity. (5) At-one-ment in Ferre's distinct view is based upon perichoresis. All four theologians conclude that at-one-ment is offered to all men in Jesus Christ. Aulen's distinct view emphasizes fusion of wrath and love within God. (6) Personal depth repentance results in a reconciled relationship with God and fellowmen in Ferre's writings as in those of the other three theologians. The image within leads to such repentance for Ferre as for DeWolf. Paradoxically, for Aulen man's "yes" is indispensable yet all depends upon God's subduing activity. Brunner sees all human seeking as egocentric and doomed to frustration. Thus, Divine-human encounter, solely initiated by God, alone, leads to repentance and reconciliation. (7) Saints are nurtured by prayer, worship and witnessing. They are not free from sin but can partially demonstrate victorious love and power over sin in Ferre's writings as in the writings of the other men. Ferre, like DeWolf, makes more enthusiastic assertions of victory. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Boston University
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