Reading Paul with the Reformers– Part Seventeen

Reading Paul with the Reformers– Part Seventeen December 2, 2017


Ben. Union with Christ seems to be a huge theological concept for all three Reformers, one that sometimes seems to threaten to swallow up other aspects of Christology, and theology in general not to mention the theology of the sacraments. Since medieval theology also had such a concept of union with God in various ways, why is this such a big emphasis for the Reformers?

Stephen. Their intention was never to oppose tradition just because it is tradition but to object to what they regarded as unbiblical. I don’t think there is a tension between the Reformers distancing themselves from medieval theology in many important respects but retaining a strong emphasis on union with Christ, which they regard as a central biblical concept. In fact, although it is understood in a variety of ways, union with Christ seems to me pretty much a universal and central part of the Christian tradition prior to the modern world. It’s only after the Enlightenment that forms of Christianity arise in which it is less central.

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