What does salvation in the New Testament look like? According to Berenda Colijn, "The New Testament does not develop a systematic doctrine of salvation". "Instead", she argues, it presents us with a variety of pictures taken from multiple perspectives.
From one angle, the human predicament is rebellion against God. Salvation looks like living under God's universal reign. From another angle, the human predicament is bondage to both internal and external forces. Salvation looks like freedom from those forces. From yet a third angle, the human predicament looks like alienation from God, from other people, from creation and even from one's own best self. Salvation looks like the restoration of those relationships."
Colijn, who holds degrees in English literature as well as theology, embraces a critical-realist methodology that incorporates New Testament theology, literary criticism and theological interpretation. She advocates listening to the individual authors of Scripture in their own social-cultural and historical settings, while looking for how the texts work both individually and collectively at a literary level and then come together theologically.
Students of the New Testament and of theology will find their vision broadened and their understanding deepened by this rich, informative study. As the author seeks to understand the Images of Salvation in the New Testament she illuminates implications for people of faith, and uncovers how New Testament images provide the building blocks for the master narrative of redemption.
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Review 1 for Images of Salvation in the New Testament
A must read...
Date:August 31, 2011
Brenda B. Colijn’s “Images of Salvation in the New Testament” is a much needed re-consideration of the rich and diverse imagery that the New Testament provides to describe salvation, especially in a Western tradition that has overemphasized justification, sanctification, and glorification; not to mention placing them along the lines of an imposed and superficial ordo salutis. Colijn is able to recapture the meaning of neglected metaphors that the New Testament writers use to describe salvation, such as adoption, citizenship, and contest. The book likewise adds fresh meaning and insight into overused images such as justification, reconciliation, and regeneration by drawing out their cultural context with a sharp eye to their Old Testament usage. I particularly enjoyed her critique of superficial theological constructs that attempt to place the New Testament’s diverse imagery on linear patterns with no loose ends; rather we should approach the imagery as a “polyphonic composition whose individual lines have their own integrity but flow to create a complex whole”. Needless to say, if Colijn’s book is seriously read and considered (as it should) the church’s teaching, reading, and service would be re-invigorated with fresh meaning and insight, maybe even inspiring us to search out new imagery and ways to describe salvation ourselves.