By J. Todd Billings
Is the God of Calvin a fountain of blessing, or a forceful tyrant? Is Calvin's view of God coercive, leaving no position for the human qua human in redemption? those are perennial questions about Calvin's theology that have been given new existence through reward theologians similar to John Milbank, Graham Ward, and Stephen Webb.
J. Todd Billings addresses those questions by means of exploring Calvin's theology of ''participation in Christ.'' He argues that Calvin's theology of ''participation'' provides a good position to the human, such that grace fulfills instead of destroys nature, asserting a differentiated union of God and humanity in production and redemption. Calvin's trinitarian theology extends to his view of prayer, sacraments, the legislations, and the ecclesial and civil orders. In mild of Calvin's doctrine of participation, Billings reframes the reviews of Calvin within the reward dialogue and opens up new chances for modern theology, ecumenical theology, and Calvin scholarship to boot.
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Additional info for Calvin, Participation, and the Gift: The Activity of Believers in Union with Christ
4). 70 In this book I speak about the way in which patristic authors ‘inXuence’ Calvin, but these inXuences are not of the patristic writings ‘on their own terms’. Rather, Calvin uses and appropriates the language of patristic texts for his own theological purposes. Nevertheless, there are ways in which patristic texts—as interpreted by Calvin—have substantial eVects on his theology. See Ch. 2. 22 Calvin, Participation, and the Gift But if this is a medieval ‘mystical’ element in Calvin, it is a recontextualized one that is used for distinctively non-monastic, Reformation purposes.
Heiko A. Oberman, ‘Some Notes on the Theology of Nominalism’, Harvard Theological Review, no. 53 (1960), 47–76, at 54. 36 The ‘right-wing’ nominalists include Gregory of Rimini and Thomas Bradwardine (ibid. 55, 63). 37 Ibid. 62. 38 See Philotheus Boehner, ‘The Metaphysics of William Ockham’, in Collected Articles on Ockham (St Bonaventure, NY: Franciscan Institute, 1958), 373–99. Contexts and Continuities 33 Likewise, the interpretations of Duns Scotus in Radical Orthodoxy have been called into question.
54 In revelation, God ‘accommodates diverse forms to diVerent ages’55 to inform, move, and delight. 58 Rhetorical complexity, however, should not be mistaken for a lack of conceptual coherence. 59 Drawing upon classical rhetoric as well as post-structuralist 53 Willis, ‘Rhetoric and Responsibility in Calvin’s Theology’, 48. 54 Serene Jones, Calvin and the Rhetoric of Piety (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1995), 21–2, 133–4; Millet, Calvin et la dynamique de la parole, pt 3; Willis, ‘Rhetoric and Responsibility in Calvin’s Theology’, 47–50, 53–7.