Module Weekly Format eGreek
250 Min. - 300 Max. Words [Target exactly: 260]
Double-Space | Citation of Sources
Proper Grammarly Grammar Check
Paragraph: Short Introduction of the Issue or Question.
Synthesis statement of readings/translation comparison/how wrapped within the weekly topic?
Two Points (Usually Paragraphs): Comprising the two main points of Module Material. These must cite video and assigned reading.
Point 1 Paragraph: [80-100 words].
Point 2 Paragraph: [80-100 words].
Conclusion: [50-100 Words]
I often see stained glass winidows in old churches upon which, in that colorful visual language of symbolism, the cross holding the centrality of focus, and this is good. It indicates Soteriology. What I have also seen, in a few churches of old, is the Trinitarian symbol (in various ways) above the images of the salvific theme. In our readings this week, it becomes clear to me now that this is, visually speaking, good theology. It is in our readings this week, both in Irenaeus and Webster, that one can learn that the doctrine of the Trinity is the preeminent doctrine of our Christian Faith, and Soteriology as the most glorious of derivative doctrines in service to it. While not new information, this Triunity is the foundation on which Soteriology must be built.
While Irenaeus describes in broad strokes, very much in the way of Hebrews, the entire foundation of faith seen in the full story of Israel, Webster makes explicit the implications of this. As partners, they were well-chosen readings for our introduction to Systematics II.
A veritable Walk to Emmaus? As my notes seem to testify, throughout Irenaeus letter, one’s imagination can grab hold and make one wonder if this was not similar to the speech Jesus gave in disguise to his travelers in that long walk to Emmaus.
One of the several great summaries Irenaeus gives is the fruit of God’s Economy of Salvation, that the end purpose rolls up to the Trinity (see also Webster), the uniting of the pure relationship between God and man, man as a people set apart, a New Covenant unity wherein we are given a new form of belonging, and thus, a new identity and purpose.
Irenaus wraps the whole Old Testament into the Christ. At first, this would seem at odds with Webster, for it appears at cursory glance that Soteriology (not the Trinity) holds the preeminent spot. However, [as Webster describes nominalism and relativism], Irenaeus is focusing on the impact this story has on people needing to hear the story of God’s Economy, where truly we can focus more on Soteriology as it is like a first breath for us. That we can only do any of this “theological reasoning” by faith indicates faith is first form, it is given to the goal of belief and trust in our Lord and Redeemer. Said another way, few evangelism and missionary efforts begin with the ectypal teachings of the mystery of the Trinity before mentioning the hope for the hopeless.
If one can compass a certain portion of Irenaeus that links directly to Webster’s article, we can find this most pronounced in Irenaeus “Order of the Rule of Faith” .
The Rule of Faith introduced as the Scriptural testimony of good doctrine: hold to the Rule, do the commands, believe in God rightly, fear God as Lord, and love God as Father .
But the latter summary feeds directly to Webster quoting Calvin: 1. God and 2. All things of God. [cite]. A point discussed in Dr. Allen’s indicates “The link between the Operative Doctrine of God and the Gospel” [ft note Doct. of Justific book—Amazon].
[Lead now into Webster]
This is where Webster leads throughout his article calling us to view Soteriology in light of Calvin’s Double Theme of Theology proper, the study of God and then the study of all other things. Both are Theology. Here, too, we find Webster writing as a Dogmatic theologian and less a Systematic Theologian, as his detail of argumentation is intricate in detail and robust in breadth.
The point for Webster is—echoed in Dr. Allen’s Module 1 lecture in reference to Bavinck—the necessity of Grounding the work of the Economy of Redemption in the work of the Immanent trinity. I believe this is exactly what Irenaeus was doing in his letter.
Webster lays out the way he will think of these things dogmatically, particularly in his call to seat Dogmatic Soteriology within the concept of Biblical Reasoning. Here, too, the Calvin’s double-theme is reiterated. What is curious is that Webster (as described above) seems at first to contradict himself in not allowing Soteriology to be the preeminent interpretive lens. “So conceived, soteriology pervades the entire corpus of Christian teaching, and its exposition necessarily entails sustained attention to Trinitarian and incarnational dogma.” 
But how then can Webster advocate, in the words of Berkouwer, “Soteriology is the repetition of Scripture?”
This confused me at first, I admit, but then I began to see that there is not contradiction because Webster does not suggest Soteriology is the lens through which we judge all of Scripture—thus placing it “nominalistically” above the doctrines of God and Trinity—rather, he displays Soteriology as a governing rod. As a controlling device, not a lens, our theological vision is kept clear. It remains so by the four elements Soteriology (S.) as Governing rod controls: 1. S. establishes scope, keeping all things anchored not in but to the Economy of God’s salvation; 2. S. sets limits, it prioritizes extant biblical conceptions; 3. S. creates only such biblical conceptions “conceptual inventiveness” [pg3] insofar as it directs us to the above two ideas; 4. S. cautions to keep the discussion in reality, not symbolic theory to which our varied human experience with S. might often lead.
Webster continues laying out the dogmatic framework throughout his essay and he does in the order of four points, (though he names them as three points there is really four). Like a jewell in a ring, “sketch the setting of S. within the body of all Christian Doctrine; analyze the subordination of S. to the doctrine of the Trinity; sketch, as a reminder, the “triune economy of salvation”; commentary on dogmatic soteriology and the influence it exercises “to the cultural setting in which it finds itself.”
Personally, I enjoyed Irenaeus’ “walk to Emmaus” but absolutely need Webster’s article. Webster provides the detailed blueprints of Soteriology and I dare say, a class on this paper alone would be of great benefit—indeed, I will keep my copy and notes close at hand. In sum, I leave this reading with awe and humility, realizing I am diving into the deep, that everything I might have know up to this point about the study of Salvation was mere wading.