The Message of Salvation: A Comparative Study of the Theology of Karl Rahner and of the Lutheran Confessions on the Relationship of Faith and Unbelief to the Word of God

Thomas Manteufel, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

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The problem proposed for investigation in this study is the same as that raised in the last clause: Is the theory of anonymous Christianity compatible with the Lutheran Confessions? A negative answer would seem to be indicated by the statement in the Confessions that all who are outside the Christian Church:

••• remain in eternal wrath and damnation, for they do not have the Lord Christ, and, besides, they are not illuminated and blessed by the gifts of the Holy Spirit (LC, 2:66).
It is necessary, however, to inquire carefully whether this statement and others related to it in the Lutheran Symbols are applicable to Rahner's theory.

In view of the importance of dialogue today between Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism, it is crucial for Lutheran theologians to know what their Roman Catholic counterparts hold concerning the church's mission to the unbeliever. Rahner has expressed his hope that orthodox Protestants will eventually combine with Roman Catholics to "develop a theology of tomorrow for the heathen." In order to respond to this, a Lutheran theologian must know what would be likely to be included in this ecumenical mission theology, and whether it would conform either to his own confessional position or to the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.