04 August 2011

Glossary Links- Perspectival Soteriology


Perspectival Soteriology

Others use the term Perspectivalism, and I'm certainly not advocating their theological position, but it's not entirely without validity. While I don't accept the oft used Triads and other perspective-'frame'-works, I do acknowledge that a concept of perspective helps us to make sense of passages of Scripture and concepts that seem to conflict.

Rather than synthesize these tensions, instead we should understand them from their operative perspective. In others words, passages about Election are dealing with general categories, universals, unveiled frameworks of the Eternal Decree...the Divine Perspective. Passages that seem to suggest Free Will and personal responsibility don't have to by synthesized with the Election texts. Rather they need to be understood from the Human Perspective of experience in the temporal realm. To try and force amalgamation, to try and iron out the differences as it were is to compare apples to oranges.

We might also speak at some level of the tensions between Faith and Works. These are not easy to explain, because in this case Faith and Works are both experiential...or at least are perceived to be so by many. Nevertheless there is a tension between the abstract hope and the concrete action. You could say the one flows from the other (a synthesized explanation)...or you could say they are different manifestations of the same thing...the Spirit-born new heart being worked out and applied in the life of the believer. As composite beings it is valid to speak in terms of metaphysical (and thus non-tangible/non-verifiable) and physical (in some sense temporally tangible and observable) perspectives.

To the person committed to system-thought, the dialectic solution which says it's the same but different depending on perspective seems quite dangerous. From the standpoint of Perspective, it's simple... the Work of the Spirit shows itself one way in the mind and heart and another way in the person's actions.

What about Salvation by Grace and Sacramental Efficacy? We're back to means and forms, temporality and eschatology. Do we synthesize texts that suggest the cup is a 'cup of blessing' or that baptism is the 'washing of regeneration,' with 'having predestinated us to adoption,'  and 'by grace through faith,' or do we understand them in terms of temporal and eternal perspective?

Systemic thought if rooted in Scripture has to acknowledge the text. The words are there and cannot be ignored. But since it refuses to understand these texts in dialectic tension or from a perspectival standpoint it effectively makes one or the other of the opposite poles into an abstraction, an illusion....just words, but the concept behind them isn't real. Again this is what I keep calling Theological Nominalism. The Dialectical method declares each Divinely Revealed Truth is Real. The key to understanding it is 'perspective,' not synthesis in accord with a system.

This will not create a concrete hard-line dogmatic theology...but it will create one that is Scripture-based and yes, it will require some wisdom to apply it. You won't be able to just flip through a theological text and find the heading of Baptism and say, "Here's the answer."

Rather, it requires something more....a wisdom rooted in the perspective of the text or texts in question.

This extends further as we wrestle with foundational questions concerning Metaphysics and the Physical realm. This affects logic and to what extent that temporal two-dimensional tool can be employed in the Metaphysical perspective.

Ultimately we're speaking about how God communicates to us. To what extent can we grasp and dissect the Divine Perspective and what does Divine Salvation look like from the Throne as it were, versus how it manifests itself here on earth in space and time?


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