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CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY Volume 72:3 July 2008 Table of Contents Editorial ................................................................................................. 194 Flights from the Atonement David P. SCaer ........................................................................... 195 The Son of God and the Father's Wrath: Atonement and Salvation in Matthew's Gospel Jeffrey A. Gibbs ........................................................................ 211 The Atonement in Mark's Sacramental Theology Peter J. SCaer .............................................................................. 227 The Death of Jesus in the Gospel of John: Atonement for Sin? Charles A. Gieschen ................................................................. 243 Theological Observer .......................................................................... 262 The Present State of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Law and Gospel in Pannenberg, Wingren, and Scaer Heaven is Not Our Home? Book Reviews ....................................................................................... 278 Books Received .................................................................................... 286 The Death of Jesus as Atonement for Sin The teaching of Jesus' death as atonement for sin has received renewed attention recently in biblical and theological studies. Some of this attention has been in reaction to the omnipresent mantra of critical scholarship that such teaching was a later creation of the church in order to provide a more suitable interpretation of the death of Jesus. Both the Symposium on Exegetical Theology and the Symposium on the Lutheran Confessions at Fort Wayne, held in January 2008, took up the challenge of engaging this debate. The four articles in this issue were first delivered as papers during these symposia. David Scaer addresses the tendency of Lutherans to see atonement as a doctrine easily separated from -and less important than -justification. He demonstrates the intimate interrelationship and interdependence of these doctrines as well as the current challenges being issued against a proclamation of the atonement that is faithful to the teaching of the Scriptures, especially of Jesus in the Gospels. The remaining three articles each focus on the atonement as proclaimed in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John respectively. Jeffrey Gibbs, author of the recently published Concordia Commentary on Matthew 1-10, explores the variety of texts in which Matthew proclaims the atonement. In addition to his emphasis on Jesus' substitutionary role as the New Israel, Gibbs gives significant attention to showing how Matthew proclaims the death of Jesus as the eschatological visitation of the Father's divine wrath over all sin. The article by Peter Scaer introduces us to some of the modern debate and then focuses on the teaching of atonement in Mark. Not only does he review the traditional texts proclaiming atonement (especially Mark 10:45), but he also probes how Jesus (and subsequently Mark) use the Lord's Supper and Baptism in order to proclaim Jesus' death as atonement. My article addresses the challenge that the fourth evangelist does not understand Jesus' death as atonement for sin by demonstrating ways in which this Gospel proclaims atonement that are in concert with the more explicit atonement teaching in 1 John. Debate about the atonement in our circles used to center around the legitimacy of proclaiming the atonement also according to the Christus Victor model rather than strictly using the more familiar Anselmic model. Much more is at stake in the current debate. We hope these articles will help readers to ground their teaching of the death of Jesus as atonement for sin in the very Gospels that narrate our Lord's exemplary life lived and laid down in our stead to pay for the world's sin and conquer our foes, death and Satan. Charles A. Gieschen Associate Editor CTQ 72 (2008): 195-210 Flights from the Atonement David P. Scaer Self-reflection generally produces predictably favorable results. To create an image of ourselves with which we can live, we sift out unpleasant evidences and preserve positive ones. If we are successful, we can propel ourselves to greater excellence in our own eyes. Socrates said "know thyself," but we can know ourselves as little as we can know the ways of God. You get the idea. Should we ever reach that point where we get close to discovering our true selves, our memories self-ignite and become the kidneys of our minds to eliminate the uncomplimentary residue that clogs the arteries of our self-esteem. James did not go far enough when he spoke of a man who observes his natural face in a mirror and then forgets how he looked (Jas 1:23-24). It is more likely that he was looking in a glass darkly and did not see his appearance in the first place. This inability for self-critique also applies to communities of faith, whether it be the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod (LCMS), or the Roman Catholic Church. Even the most sophisticated public relations attempts to polish the mirror does little more than reinforce what we already think of ourselves. Self-image rarely corresponds to the way others see us. The prayer "Lord, cleanse thou me from secret faults" asks for their removal and not that they should be known to us. A side benefit of the symposium series of Concordia Theological Seminary, now happily and unexpectedly in its thirty-first year, is that guest speakers give us an opportunity to see ourselves in ways we could never discover by ourselves. Put in another way, "Oh that we would see our theological selves the way others do." If critique does not match our self-image, we cast the tie breaking vote. At the 2007 symposium, one lecturer uncovered aspects of our corporate life at odds with our self-image and a brouhaha rose from the back benches whose echoes bounced into the pages of Forum Letter.l 1 Robert Benne, "Missouri Synod Paradox -Churchly and Sectarian at the Same Time," Forum Letter 36, no. 3 (March 2007): 1-3. David P. Scaer is the David P. Scaer Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology and Chairman of the Department of Systematic Theolo~y at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. 196 Concordia Theological Quarterly 72 (2008) I. Primary and Secondary Fundamental Doctrines? For Lutherans the doctrine of justification by grace through faith on account of Christ is so central to our self-image that we claim that by it the church stands or falls. A glitch in this doctrine threatens to ripple through the entire system with disastrous results. Get this doctrine right and the others will fall in line, or at least there is a good chance that they will.2 We might, however, want to take a second look at this.3 A correct articulation of justification has not prevented errors in other doctrines. To complicate matters, Lutherans have disagreed, and still do, on the definition of justification.4 On the other hand, before the Lutheran articulation of this doctrine, the church flourished and produced still binding trinitarian and christological formulations.5 2" As Dr. Luther wrote, 'If this one teaching stands in purity, then Christendom will also remain pure and good, undivided and unseparated; but ... where it does not remain pure, it is impOSSible to ward off any error sectarian spirit" (SD III, 6). Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, eds., The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, trans. Charles Arand, et aI. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 563. Speaking for many others, Matthew Harrison says: "My friends, the doctrine of justification is the answer to life's persistent questions. The doctrine of justification by grace through faith for Christ's sake has something to say about being human. The doctrine of justification is the heart and soul, the sine non qua, of Lutheranism and not only of Lutheranism but the sine non qua of Christianity." See "Crossing Old-Line Boundaries: The Works of Lutheran Charity," CTQ 71 (2007): 260. 3 There is no suggestion in the Corinthian correspondence that this church had the difficulties with justification that the Galatians had, but this did not prevent them from having women preachers and charismatic practices, denying the resurrection of the dead, and baptizing surrogates for the dead. 4 Lutheran pietism shifted the weight from justification to sanctification, as did rationalism by seeing salvation as a result of an ethical life. In the 1960s and 1970s some LCMS pastors took justification's place as the chief doctrine to mean that it was the only one that mattered. This infection passed into the ELCA where it eliminated barriers to allow fellowship with the Reformed, Episcopalians, and Methodists, and allowed the ordination of women pastors and closed the eye to the ordination of homosexuals. For differences among Lutherans, see Robert D. Preus, "Perennial Problems in the Doctrine of Justification," in Doctrine is Life: Essays on Justification and the Lutheran Confessions, ed. Klemet l. Preus (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2006), 97-117. 5 Michael Root makes this assessment: "We may decide that the theology of Gregory of Nyssa passes the test of being compatible with a true doctrine of justification. It would be odd, however, to say that the doctrine of justification was hermeneutically important to Gregory, and an interpretation of Gregory that used justification as a central concept may be appropriate for certain purposes, but it would be using categories foreign to Gregory's own theology." See "Continuing the Conversation: Deeper Agreement on Justification as Criterion and on the Christian as Scaer: Flights from the Atonement 197 Giving pride of place to justification as the chief doctrine assumes that some doctrines are more necessary than others. While the categories of primary and secondary fundamental doctrines may seem a bit old fashioned,6 erstwhile LCMS pastor Richard John Neuhaus claims a similar model in Roman Catholic theology: "There is, to be sure, hierarchy in the sense that some truths are more foundational than others."7 Axiomatic for any theology, so it seems, is that one core doctrine opens the door to the entire system and reappears throughout it, as justification does in the Augsburg Confession. In the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, Roman Catholics saw justification as a doctrine of the first rank without it being given exclusive honor.8 The dust has not settled on this document.9 Like Roman Catholics, the Reformed do not see justification as the one chief doctrine.1o Evangelicals who stand in the Reformed tradition may share with Lutherans a verbally identical definition, but in understanding faith as a conscious rational decision of which only the intellectually mature are capable, their definition is compromised. Since infants and young children cannot believe, their birth within a Christian family -and not faith -gives them a place within the covenant. Prime facie justification by faith is denied. The Evangelical or Reformed definition of faith which does not allow the fides infantium compromises their understanding of justification of faith and calls into question other aspects of their theology. Only that faith which is pure receptivity responding in trust to Christ simul iustus et peeeator," in The Gospel of Justification, ed. Wayne C. Stumme (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 48-49. 6 Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1950-1953), 1:80-93. 7 Richard John Neuhaus, "True Devotion to Mary," First TIlings 178 (December 2007): 42. 8 The Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church, Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000). 9 Avery Cardinal Dulles says of the Joint Declaration, "Although not all would agree, I think the much vaunted Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration on Justification by Faith, signed in 1999, exaggerated the agreements"; see "Saving Ecumenism from Itself," First TIlings 178 (December 2007): 25. 10 Roman Catholic theologian H. Ashley Hall makes this observation: "For Lutherans, the doctrine of justification is properly called a dogma, since it is equated with the clearest summaton of the gospel, its 'living voice.' ... While Lutherans are unique in seeing the doctrine of justification as the chief article, Roman Catholics and Protestants esteem the doctrine as a chief article." See "The Development of Doctrine: A Lutheran Examination,"Pro EccJesia 16, no. 3 (2007): 270. Alistair McGrath notes that the early Swiss reformers saw their reformation in terms of morals not of justification. In the eighteenth century, John Wesley saw his work in the same way. See Alistair McGrath, Christianity's Dangerous Idea (New York: HarperOne, 2007), 248-249. 198 Concordia Theological Quarterly 72 (2008) qualifies as the sola fide by which sinners are justified. Self-reflection does not belong to the faith which justifies. For Calvin it does.ll In Lutheran theology transformation of sinners (sanctification), which is more prominent in Roman Catholic and Reformed theologies, follows simultaneously with the creation of faith but does not belong to the believer's justification. Differences in defining faith render Lutheran agreements with mainline and Evangelical Protestants on justification more apparent than real. Describing justification does not accomplish justification. Another problem is raised when it is asked whether faith or the sacraments are more important for salvation. The inevitable answer is faith, but the comparison turns faith into a substance or "thing" alongside of the sacraments. Sacraments are really "divine things," the communio sanctorum, by and through which faith is created and hence possess the prior and greater position.12 Side by side with justification by faith at the heart of Lutheran theology is sola scriptura, though in practice some Lutheran theologians rely more on and cite non-biblical sources like Luther, the Lutheran Confessions, Lutheran Orthodoxy, the fathers cited by them, and favored theologians.13 In theological discussion, officially accepted documents often stand on a par with the Scriptures. So much for sola scriptura. Since the LCMS's controversies erupted in the 1960s and 1970s, Evangelical definitions of the Bible, like those on justification, have been regarded as the same as Lutheran ones because of identical wording, but they lack the christological component. Lutheran adherence to the inspiration and authority of Scripture includes their being thoroughly christological and not that they merely contain christological components. In the case of the Old Testament, these components are often limited by Evangelicals to messianic prophecies and types authorized by New Testament reference. Christ, however, is both the woof and the weave of the testaments and not only a golden thread lost in the tweed. If Christ is the golden thread, then all the Scriptures are pure gold. The Spirit who inspires is no more and no less than the Spirit of Christ, and so the Spirit's language is totally christological. Christ through the Spirit is both author and content of the 11 Phillip Cary argues that for Calvin being saved by faith means knowing that one is saved by faith; see" Sola Fide: Luther and Calvin," CTQ 71 (2007): 265-281. 12 This is implied when faith is compared with Baptism and the Lord's Supper, with the former designated as a primary fundamental doctrine and the latter a secondary one. If God is present in Baptism, this sacrament has a prior value in creating and confirming faith. 13 H. Ashley Hall notes that "the majority of Catholic doctrines and ecclesial practices are accepted by Lutherans"; see "The Development of Doctrine," 267. Scaer: Flights from the Atonement 199 Bible (John 16:14-15). Not only is the christological character of the Scriptures proven by citation (Luke 24:27), but it is required from the perspective of the doctrine of justification, which according to Lutherans is the chief doctrine. Any Scripture alleged to be non-christological would be incapable of effecting faith and justifying the sinner. A non-christological interpretation of a biblical pericope points to a deficit in trinitarian theology, since the Spirit would then be inspiring "truths" which did not have to do with Christ. If Lutherans cannot recognize that shared doctrinal definitions with the Reformed mask bottomless crevices, it might surface that Lutherans are not agreed among themselves. Meeting in Helsinki in 1963, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) could not come to agreement among its member churches. Hence one can sympathize with the Vatican's hesitancy in signing the Joint Declaration and then adding an appendix to the document. Unclear to the Roman Catholic representatives was who spoke for Lutherans. Since then both Lutheran and Roman Catholic theologians have distanced themselves from the document.14 Matters are further complicated by disagreement among Luther scholars on what his doctrine of justification really was. The Finnish School led by Tuomo Mannermaa holds that Luther understood justification as theosis, the indwelling of God in the believer.Is For R. Scott Clark, theosis seems close to the view of Osiander that justification takes place in the believer and not in Christ. Robert Jenson challenges this, since theosis has to do with the flesh and blood of Jesus and not a mystic indwelling.I6 Clark correctly points out that this does not have to be an either-or situation,17 but it does show 14 A very Dulles provides a brief survey of Lutheran and Roman Catholic dissent to the Joint Declaration OD); see "Justification and the Unity of the Church" in Tire Gospel of Justification, ed. Wayne C. Stumme (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 126-127. Dulles has a low view of the Joint Declaration, as evident in his brief survey: "But if 1 were in a position to do so, 1 would prohibit these Lutheran positions from being preached in Catholic pulpits or taught in Catholic seminaries and catechisms. And conversely, 1 suppose that many Lutherans who subscribe to JD consider the Catholic positions described in that document misleading and even false." That says it all! 15 For example, Tuomo Mannermaa, Christ Present in Faith: Luther's View of Justification, ed. Kirsi Stjema (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005). 16 Robert Jenson, Systematic Ihe%gy, vol. 2, The Works of God (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 297. 17 R. Scott Clark, "Iustitia Imputata Christi: Alien or Proper to Luther's Doctrine of Justification" CTQ 70 (2006): 269-310. This should not be an either-or, as Clark notes: "1 see no compelling reason to treat Luther's doctrine of union and his doctrine of justification as if they were mutually exclusive. Both doctrines were important to Luther's Protestant development, but they were logically distinct and Luther ordered 200 Concordia Theological Quarterly 72 (2008) confusion in the Lutheran ranks. Objective justification means it happens first extra nos in Christ and then in nobis. Confusion among Lutheran laity is of a different kind. Surveys show that a majority were more likely to see works as a factor in justification. From an eschatological perspective this response has a lot going for it. So the Athanasian Creed states, "Those who have done good things will enter into eternal life, and those who have done evil things into eternal fire," a phrase approximating Jesus' words at the final judgment (Matt 25:46). II. Justification as the Chief Doctrine? Francis Pieper, the LCMS's premier theologian, held that justification was the chief doctrine and only Lutherans got it right. Rome and the Arminians did not. Calvinists had the right wording but their doctrine of a limited atonement nullified their definition. Pieper may have realized this claim could be (mis)understood to mean that those not holding to the Lutheran definition were lost. Caught between two poles, neither of which he was willing to give up, he held that justification could take place where it was improperly defined. Rather than consigning this vast majority of Christendom to condemnation, he gave them a pass if they believed in Christ. So the phrase" felicitous inconsistency" came into lingua franca of the LCMS,18 but this made the chief doctrine less chief. Rather than focusing on one doctrine as the one of honor, the theological environment of a particular period determines the one on which the church stands or falls. Pieper further hedges his position on justification as the chief doctrine by making the atonement the presupposition for justification, and so the propter Christum carries the greater weight.19 In this hierarchy of what is more or less fundamentaL Jesus' death and resurrection occupies the position between justification and atonement. Of "first importance" for Paul was the message he received from the apostles and which he preached: "Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that them quite differently than Ritschl, Holl, and the New Finnish school would have us think"; see" Iustitia Imputata Christi," 309. 18 Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 1:21-34. 19 Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3:514. The following translation of the German may not be adequate: "Thus Christology serves merely as the substructure of justification." It would better be rendered: "Thus Christology alone [lediglich] is the foundation for justification." See the German text in Francis Pieper, Christliche Dogmatik, 3 vol. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1917-1924), 2:619. Root notes that Barth makes the confession of Christ the article by which the church stands or falls; see "Continuing the Conversation," 50. Scaer: Flights from the Atonement 201 he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures" (1 Cor 15:4-5).20 Because Christ's death was "for our sins," this proclamation justified the believer, but a fuller articulation of justification was reserved for Galatians and Romans, which may mean that the Corinthians were at least straight on justification; however, without correction and amendment, this felicitous inconsistency was doomed to collapse. Paul framed his doctrine of justification in response to those who placed adherence to Old Testament laws alongside of faith in Christ. Similarly, Luther developed his doctrine of justification by faith in reaction to medieval church teaching that indulgences, pilgrimages, and masses assuaged divine displeasure over sin. This does not mean that non­Pauline books did not have messages that justified sinners by forgiving them, or that those who believed the teachings of the fathers and theologians before Luther were not accepted by God on account of Christ or they did not know it. They did, but the Old Testament prophets, the evangelists, and even Jesus did not articulate the doctrine of justification as Paul did, or take the matter further as Luther did. Absence of an articulated doctrine of justification does not mean that there was ever a time when believers were not justified by faith. Even James knew faith was the key to Abraham's being justified. A prophet's call to Israel to cease their devotion to pagan gods and to turn to the patriarchal God was a call to faith and forgiveness. Since the entire biblical message is about God graciously forgiving sinners by faith, justification permeates the entire Scriptures. Another fly that spoils the ointment is when the articulation of the doctrine is passed off as essential to the proclamation. This conflation between justification, which is effected by the gospel, and its definition may have resulted from the Reformation controversy. Since Paul articulated the doctrine as no other biblical writer had, his definition becomes the additive to get greater interpretative (homiletical) mileage out of the biblical texts, including the words of Jesus. Recite the Pauline doctrine and justification takes place.21 20 The Greek text reads: napEowKa yap UI . .LlV EV npulTOL" a Kal ifapEAapOV, on XPWto, am'8avEv iJifEP tWV allapnwv ~IlWV Kata ta, ypa