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Title: Was hat Heil mit Freiheit und Freiheit mit Heil zu tun? - The Interconnectedness of Salvation and Freedom
Subtitle: Eine kritische Würdigung der Soteriologie Thomas Pröppers - An Assessment of the Soteriology of Thomas Pröpper
Author(s): BRINKMAN, Martien E.
Volume: 59 Issue: 1 Date: 1998
The main thesis of this article is that it is easier to assert that the Christian concept of salvation has implications for the modern concept of freedom than to assert conversely that the modern concept of freedom can contribute to the interpretation of the Christian concept of salvation. Salvation implies indeed a certain concept of freedom, but what kind salvation would be the implication of our modern concept of freedom as self-determination? The intention of the author of this article is to show that the assertion of an intrinsic relation between salvation and freedom demands a reinterpretation of the modern concept of freedom.
After a short introduction on the relation of justification and freedom the author gives an analysis of the tenor of Pröpper’s study Erlösungsglaube und Freiheitsgeschichte(belief in redemption and history of freedom). Pröpper’s argument that real freedom has everything to do with the divine gift of love wich evokes a human reaction (cooperation) is convincing and can be considered as an inspiring contribution to the task of modern theology to reinterpret the message of Christ’s cross and resurrection for our modern times.
Pröpper’s effort, however, to elaborate a concept of God as necessary precondition for the modern concept of freedom is less convincing. Especially the actual realisations or lack of realisations of freedom in modern history draw the author to the conclusion that the close connection between God and freedom must be more explicitly confirmed as the result of a real reconstruction of the current concepts of freedom in the modern western world. Actually Pröpper’s reconstruction is more radically critical over against modern articulations and realisations of freedom as he himself seems to realize and hence his inspiring interpretation of the close connection between God’s salvation and human aspiration is less harmonious as he seems to suggest. A Christian concept of freedom – so the main thesis of this analysis of Pröpper’s soteriology can be summarized – must be developed more explicitly in relation to phenomena as guilt, weakness, forgiveness, etc.