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Title: Bonhoeffer and Gutiérrez: Unlikely Allies in Christian Revolution
Contributor(s): Fudge, Thomas  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 1996
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Abstract: During the war years in Nazi-Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a series of fragments proposed a prophetic agenda as the historical project for modern theology. Despite being steeped in that same tradition, Bonhoeffer could see beyond the shrinking parameters. For theology and the church to survive, a prophetic imagination extending beyond its own 'Sitz im Leben' must become the focus. How can theology be done in 'a-world-come-of-age'? To remain relevant, Bonhoeffer asserted, Christian holiness had to undergo a transformation to become 'worldly holiness'. Christianity would thus become 'religionless'. Jesus could be viewed only as 'the man for others'. Hence the relevance test for Christian theology lay in Bonhoeffer's most significant inquiry: 'Who is Christ for us today'? For Bonhoeffer, the very context of theology stands or falls with the response to this question. Christ cannot merely be the object of faith, or simply the context of a personal existential experience. For many modern theologians, including Bonhoeffer, it is necessary to have a transcendent faith in order to carry out the task and discourse of theology. But what should this transcendent faith consist of? For Karl Barth that transcendent faith centred in a God who is 'wholly-other'. For others it is located in the historical Jesus. Both approaches ultimately are illegitimate for Bonhoeffer. Indeed the only real significance in the historicity of Jesus is the cross. But the cross, as long as it remains an historical event, is fixed as the scandal of particularity and functions only in terms of a theoretical soteriological principle. This will not do. The cross must be contextualised in this age, in this history, in this 'Existenz'. If Christ did not die for souls, as Luther has adamantly asserted, but rather for humankind, what does this mean for theology today?
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Colloquium, 28(2), p. 31-49
Publisher: Australian and New Zealand Society for Theological Studies
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 0588-3237
Field of Research (FOR): 220401 Christian Studies (incl Biblical Studies and Church History)
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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