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Calvin, Participation, and the GiftThe Activity of Believers in Union with Christ$
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J. Todd Billings

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199211876

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199211876.001.0001

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The Promise of Calvin's Theology of Participation

The Promise of Calvin's Theology of Participation

(p.186) 6 The Promise of Calvin's Theology of Participation
Calvin, Participation, and the Gift

J. Todd Billings

Oxford University Press

This chapter briefly assesses the significance of the preceding chapters for the ongoing Gift discussion, as well as evaluates the criticisms and promise of Calvin's theology of participation in Christ. It argues that Calvin's theology of participation in Christ emerges from an exegesis of scripture that gives an important place to the images of participation, adoption, and engrafting. Calvin weaves these images together with a Pauline logic developed from his reading of Romans, and extends his use of these images of participation through his exegesis of other scriptural books and his reading of the church fathers. His theology of participation is also distinctive in relation to contemporary discussion because it brings together what are usually held apart: organic images of transformation into Christlikeness by the indwelling of the Spirit with forensic images of God's free pardon; a strong account of humanity's sin with a soteriology based on the restoration of a primal uniting communion with God.

Keywords:   Calvin theology, Gift theology, participation in Christ, scripture, Paline logic

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