absolute religion, faith, christian, grace, doctrine, sinners, atonement, salvation
Bible Study; Lecture; Sermon Prep
The Nature and Constitution of Sacred Theology.
Christianity, the Absolute Religion
The Christian religion is the absolute religion, inasmuch as it is absolutely perfect, neither requiring, nor being capable of, improvement or supplementation. It is God-given and therefore precisely as God would have it to accomplish its beneficent purpose of "saving sinners." When we ascribe to the Christian religion perfection or absoluteness we do not mean to say that it is a "logically complete whole", or a logically complete and perfect system, in which there are no missing links of thoughts or doctrines. Considered from this viewpoint, the Christion religion is rather fragmentary in its teachings. So St. Paul asserts, 1 Cor. 13, 12: ''Now I know in part." What Christianity knows of divine wisdom through revelation is only a part of the unsearchable knowledge of God. Again, the Christian religion is not perfect, or absolute, in the sense of constituting the best system of morality; that indeed is true. The moral theology of Holy Scripture is perfect; for it centers in, and aims at, perfect love to God and the neighbor, Matt. 22, 37--40. Both its demand and its goal are perfect love, Matt. 5, 48: ''Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." But this perfect morality docs not constitute the essence of the Christian religion; it is rather the effect, or fruit, of the Christian faith which the Holy Spirit implants in the human heart through the means of grace. Or, as we may say briefly, it is the result of Christianity, not Christianity itself, 1 John 4, 9-21; Rom.12, 1.
Scripture References in this Resource (separated by semi-colons)
Matthew 11:23-28; Matthew 5:48; 1 John 4:9-21; Romans 12:1; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Galatians 4:4-5; Galatians 3:13; Acts 26:18; Luke 24:46-47; Romans 10:17; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5; Romans 3:38; Romans 5:1; 1 John 2:1-2; Colossians 2:10-14; Galatians 5:4; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:10-12; Ephesians 2:20; John 17:17; Genesis 3:15; Acts 10:43; John 5:39; John 8:56; John 10:43; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:6-13; Galatians 3:17 ff; Colossians 2:16; Romans 4:3-6; Acts 4:12; John 8:24; John 10:35; John 5:39; Luke 24:25-27; Matthew 5:17-19; Romans 8:28-31; Colossians 2:10-14; 2 Timothy m 3:15-17;
Laity; Ministers; Scholars
Mueller, J T.
"Introduction to Sacred Theology,"
Concordia Theological Monthly: Vol. 2, Article 63.
Available at: https://scholar.csl.edu/ctm/vol2/iss1/63