A Tale of Two Soteriologies - Mondays with McMaken

Jumping ahead a bit, I want to get into chapter 2. Thus far in this series I’ve been sharing sections of my book that might have been accessed as samples on my publisher’s website. But now we move beyond those sample offerings into the meat of the argument. Central to that argument in the second chapter is my concept of “sacramental soteriology.” You’ll need to read the chapter to see the notion worked out in detail, but here is a paragraph from the chapter’s introduction that provides a basic orientation.

W. Travis McMaken, The Sign of the Gospel: Toward an Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism after Karl Barth, Emerging Scholars (Fortress, 2013), 59–60.
Perhaps the best way to introduce the distinction between Barth’s soteriology on one side, and the traditional, sacramental soteriology on the other side—both pre- and post-Reformation—is as follows: whereas the traditional, sacramental soteriology understands Christ to have objectively wrought the material of salvation which must be subjectively applied to us before it can be considered effective, Barth’s soteriology understands the salvation wrought by Christ to be complete and effective for us already in him independent of our subjective acknowledgment. Such a soteriology undermines the sacramental argument for infant baptism not simply by questioning how it is that salvation is subjectively applied, as the Reformers did, but by rejecting the notion that it requires such application at all. If this second step concerned with the transmission of grace is unnecessary, what need is there for means of such transmission?
If you haven’t used up your Christmas gift certificates, here’s your chance!

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