July 8, 2020

Gustaf Aulen’s classic work, ‘Christus Victor’, has long been a standard text on the atonement. Aulen applies “history of ideas’ methodology to historical theology. The term Christus Victor comes from the title of Gustaf Aulén’s groundbreaking book 1st published in ’31 which drew attention to early Church understanding of. Read “Christus Victor” by Gustaf Aulén with Rakuten Kobo. Dr. Aulén is Professor of Systematic Theology in the University of Lund, and this book is a translation.

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Origin of Christus Victor — The book Christus Victor originated from a series of lectures delivered at the University of Uppsala in Sweden in xxi. I myself wonder if he is somewhat disingenuous. Gstaf bias is oozing through the text. It is the truly Christian view because, as his historical count seeks to demonstrate, it is the view found in the New Testament, articulated by the early church fathers, and recovered by the thoroughly evangelical Luther.

Thus, he sets out to set the record straight by painting his own portrait. He depicts this view as follows:. As evangelicals, is there something to be learned from this perspective?

Can the Christus Victor view be assimilated into an evangelical perspective? Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Christian Literature Company, ], For what else but His righteousness would have covered our sins? In whom was it possible for us lawless and ungodly men to have been justified, save only in the Son of God?

O the sweet exchange, O the inscrutable creation, O the unexpected benefits; that the iniquity of many should be concealed in One Righteous Man, and the righteousness of One should justify many that are iniquitous!

Joseph Barber Lightfoot and J. Select Works and Letterseds. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, trans. For there was need of death, and death must needs be suffered on behalf of all, that the debt owing from all might be paid. John Henry Newman and Archibald T. As long then as I am disobedient and rebellious, both by denial of God and by my passions, so long Christ also is called disobedient on my account.

For we were the forsaken and despised before, but now by the Sufferings of Him Who could not suffer, we were taken up and saved.

Similarly, He makes His own our folly and our transgressions…. Cyril of Jerusalem, S. Gregory Nazianzeneds. Seven Exegetical Works, trans. Catholic University of America Press, ], Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians vitor, eds.

Ashworth and Talbot B. The Writings against the Manichaeans and against the Donatistseds. Migne [Paris, ], ; English translation from Garry J. University of Oxford, Jaroslav Pelikan, et al St. Gustaff Press, Rather the idea gushaf that sacrifice stands in the Divine Vcitor as the means whereby the Divine will-to-reconciliation realizes itself, and which also shows how much it costs God to effect the Atonement. Another possible explanation is found in his exposition of the Patristics: But, nonetheless, they are not salvific in a mere derivative sense.

Each makes a significant salvific contribution, so to say. The incarnation is of central importance in this view, because it is the necessary reality by which God himself accomplishes atonement32, 42, The human vkctor divine natures of Christ receive full emphasis ix, Rather than divine love and divine wrath coming to terms of agreement through satisfaction, as in the Latin view, divine love triumphs over divine wrath 91, Because the classic view does not involve the need for humanity to make satisfaction to God, as in the Latin view, the work of atonement does not need to be intercepted by the work of man, i.

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To come at it from a different angle, the dualism of the classic view also serves to preserve the continuity in divine action. It does not involve a pause in which God merely receives action He is the actor guataf all times Christ provides compensation for sin 93, But it is at this point that any meaningful sense of continuity in the divine work of salvation is lost 88, 91, The atonement is fundamentally a work of man directed towards God, not a work of God himself xxii, 5, 72, 77, Gictor atonement is the work of God only in the sense that God initiates and purposes it 88, And gistaf, Christ is God His divine nature plays a secondary role, merely granting efficacy to the work of his human nature 87, 93, Unlike in the early church, where Christology was a living doctrine that flowed out of soteriology i.

And gustf by treating the satisfaction accomplished by Christ as transferred to the sinner, the accountability of particular sinners to God is neglected In the subjective view, any idea of God as displeased with humanity is seen as incompatible with his love, Within the subjectivist camp, this aulej dilemma—the imperfection of humanity—is understood in different ways resulting in different views of how Christ meets that human need For example, if humanity is seen as needing an exampleChrist is that example At least in the Latin view, atonement involved what man i.

Gustaf Aulén

But the subjective view is completely It becomes the work of man i. Furthermore, however the human dilemma is conceived in this view, it never seems to require divine Salvation comes in the form of Christ being the Ideal Human The Patristics were simply too preoccupied with Christology to make any meaningful contribution here. Therefore, we can safely paint over this section in our pursuit of the historical development of this doctrine 1.

However, a thousand years later, along comes Anselm, the Father and originator of atonement aaulen. Although we may find crumbs here and there of atonement theologizing prior to Anselm, he is the first person to articulate a fully thought out theory of atonement; and it just so happened to be the Latin type The entire historical doctrine of atonement boils down to Anselm: A pure, direct, unbroken stream flows straight chgistus Anselm, through predominant Medieval scholasticism, into the Reformers, including no less Martin Luther, and finding its present home in current Protestant Orthodoxy Those opposed to the Anselm doctrine find their precedent in Peter Abelard, the father of a great tradition of subjectivist views 2.

Christus Victor

Cause of Neglect — Now, obviously if you are going to argue that almost all other scholars in your field are wrong and have nearly completely overlooked something you see as dominant, you will need to provide some explanation. The Christus Victor view dominated the first 1, years of the church It is the true Christian view, emerging with Christianity itself It is the view held by the New Testament ch. And the Patristics, such as Irenaeus, are in direct continuity with the New Testament But it took as long Anselm for the Latin theory to be given its fullest expression From then on, except for a few outliers like Abelardit becomes the dominant view in the moralistic world of Medieval scholasticism 95although occasional glimpses of the classic view still persist 6, 95, Luther was actually a champion, recoverer, and developer of the classic view xxii; 15, ch.


In fact, it is inconceivable that Luther, with his doctrine of gracewould succumb to an atonement theory structured by legalism 14,, Nonetheless, his successors—Protestant Orthodoxy—did not get the memo, and drifted back to the Latin view xxii, The subjective doctrine, which finds its beginnings in Abelard 95emerges most fully in the 18th century as a reaction to the Latin view and its legalistic structure of relating to God xxii, There is no longer any enmity between God and the world that needs overcoming xxii, The heir of true Christianity is Christus Victor Is there any part of my synthesis with which you disagree, that you would like to challenge, or that you would want to nuance differently?

Are there any remaining questions we have about understanding the message of the book not in terms of critique at this point, but comprehension? Engaging the Argument Intro: I had mixed feelings as I read this work. I see it as a helpful supplement to what in our common evangelical views.

And 2 I felt the work was bad scholarship in that it represented other views rather poorly. He depicts this view as follows: The Latin view contains a discontinuity in divine action in the work of atonement. But he wrongly pits the divine and human natures of Christ against one another such that if Christ acts humanly he does not act in terms of his divinity.

Christus Victor by Gustaf Aulén

Not if God provided fully and genuinely satisfying satisfaction in Christ. In contrast to the classic view, in which atonement, salvation or justification are really the same thing, as the victory of Christ merely flows into present and future realities; cf.

They are not separated, unconnected events, but the application of the one atonement events. But what if the two are not necessarily incompatible? I think many of us can think of several texts that are often used to support penal substitution, for example e.

No doubt Christus Victor is a prominent theme in the Patristics. In my understanding, penal substitution elements seem to be interwoven into broader motifs of Christus Victor and recapitulation.

So we ask, how is this so different than the Latin view? But he provides little explanation for why God became man in order to do so. What do you make of my challenges? What additional challenges or questions might you add? All other elements are only saving in a derivative sense, i. What do we do with this?

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