Consider Jesus by Elizabeth A. Johnson
Jesus Christ and Justice
Chapter 5 Abstract
This chapter aims to ponder the pressing needs of the modern age coupled with the character of post Vatican II theology, which led Christology into immediate contact with issues of discipleship. While considering the different perceptions of Jesus Christ in the world today, Elizabeth A. Johnson considers the crucified Jesus as significant for the liberation of the whole world from injustices and not isolated individuals.
The differences in the articulation of the significance of Jesus led to pluralism and therefore, experiences born from the experience of believers resulted into different Christian communities. However, she maintains that finding path through this pluralism is possible in the society today. She draws from the assertions of Karl Rahner about the analysis that, all Christology can be characterized as belonging to the two basic types such as salvation history commonly referred to as the ascending type or Christology from below and metaphysical or descending Christology commonly referred to as Christology from above.
- Argument / Main Points of Chapter 5
- Descending Christology
Johnson asserts that this type of Christology has been predominant in the course of Christian tradition. She explains it as beginning with the thinking in heaven doctrine of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ, in the unity with the Holy Spirit and the Father. While tracing the descent of the eternal world into the world, this Christology is fascinated with the mystery of incarceration as the Word becomes flesh. In this Christology, Johnson provides one example to explain to the audience how descending Christology issues action on behalf of justice as a constitutive element of faith. In this example, she explains that, justice and Christology begins in heaven, traces the descent of Jesus Christ, the eternal son of God into the world, realizes the redemption and its effects on the dignity of every member of the society and the human race as a collectivity, and follows Jesus Christ, the Redeemer through the cruciform love in working out the fulfillment of this redemption in the existing circumstances of our life as a communal aspect.
- Ascending Christology
In this Christology, the author first indicates that, it is the earliest to develop, and has recently been rediscovered in the church with the help of biblical scholars through their criticism of scriptural texts. As opposed to the former, this Christology begins its thinking on earth, memorizing Jesus of Nazareth who lived a genuinely historical and free life. This Christology tells the story of the compassionate ministry of Jesus Christ and gives relevance of his significance on men and women who followed his teaching to the fight against injustice in the society. This Christology uses the suffering of Jesus Christ to relate to God’s promise of new transformed life to human beings. In this argument about justice and Christology, Johnson implies that, with the view of the risen Christ and the discernment of his operation in the world today, his role becomes the source of relevance and energy fueling the mission of Christ in the world today.
- Outcome: Justice
The two different patterns of Christology bring humanity to the intrinsic concern for social justice on the earth today. Descending Christology invites us to ponder the identification of the incarnate Word with humanity of every person, thereby gifting us with an extraordinary dignity. Reflecting on the ascending Christology invites us into the joyful story of the justice and peace ministry of Jesus Christ and culminating in his death and resurrection. In her conclusion, Johnson proposes the revitalization of emphasis in preaching, adult formation, and religious education programs to create a link between Christology and social justice, which in turn should emerge and grasp the hearts of believers.
Consider Jesus by Elizabeth A. Johnson
Chapter 6 Abstract
This chapter aims to ponder the characteristic of liberation Christology (theology), which originated from Latin America after the Second Vatican Council. The author indicates that most of the catholic theologians behind the fight for justice in the society had similar characteristics such as white origin, well-fed, prosperous, and privileged European males. He states that these theologians had equal economic, social, and political privileges (p. 83).
In this chapter, Elizabeth A. Johnson describes the characteristics of liberation theology through different perspectives including the context, reflection, conscience, social analysis, and goals.
Elizabeth A. Johnson divided this chapter into two sections including the characteristics and method sections. In the characteristics section, Elizabeth A. Johnson talks about the different perspectives of liberation theology. This section documents about different aspects of the liberation theology, where she explains how liberation Christology has been used in different perspectives based on its characteristics and different contexts. The method section, Johnson subdivides the liberation theology method into three interrelated steps. The first step involves the recognition of an oppressive situation as oppressive. The second step according to Johnson is the glorification of the imperial Christ, and finally, identification of the things that have been overlooked in the tradition of Christology, which can be used to shape Christology that liberates the poor members of the society.
- Argument / Main Points of Chapter 6
- The context of liberation theology is the recognition of the suffering of an oppressed group within the society
There are different forms of oppression within the society ranging from political disenfranchisement, to poverty, and patriarchy among several other forms. Therefore, the liberation theologies differ with the oppression. Uniting the members of the society in faith is very important in creating awareness and therefore the need for change. Johnson finally indicates that liberation theology, as opposed to other forms of liberations seeks to inform the members of the society that they experiences are against the will of God and praying for change.
- The reflection of liberation theology is intertwined with critical action done reflectively
Johnson quotes from Juan Luis Segundo, A Latin American theologian, that, liberation theology is an owl, which rises at sunset after a full day of activity (p. 85). Liberation theology arises after people engaged in action against oppression and injustice come together to pray for change in the society.
- Liberation theology is highly conscious of the social nature of human existence
In this point, Johnson argues that sin should be considered as an individual act, collective act, social, and structural act. People live in the community as a collective unit and the actions of one individual member of the society affect the other members as well. She therefore asserts that, God forgives individual sin and unites all members of the society with Him. This point majorly stresses the need to unite as a community.
- Liberation theology extensively uses social analysis
- The goal of liberation theology
The goal of the liberation theology includes the purpose of changing the oppressive and unjust situation within the society. It also seeks to endorse the intellectual goal of understanding faith. This theology is aimed at making instantaneous impacts on the members of the society involved in the liberation process.
- The vision of the theology is that, the reign of God is already arriving
In this section, the author argues that liberation theology involves three interrelated steps such as the identification and recognition of an oppressive situation, the glorification of the imperial Christ, and finally, identification of the things that have been overlooked in the tradition of Christology, which can be used to shape Christology that liberates the poor members of the society. Johnson also gives quotations from different verses in the bible including the reading from the scroll of Isaiah, which was fulfilled in Jesus (Lk 4:16-21) and makes an appeal to the people living within a situation of oppression as to how these words would sound to them. In her argument, Johnson considers liberation theology as best method of fighting societal vices since it creates awareness within the oppressed members of the society while enhancing collectiveness, assures the members of the society of God’s role and intent of fairness, and disregards dualism, which considers heaven and earth in different perspectives. Creating the desired heaven here and today gives people the hope of fighting for justice. She considers Jesus Christ and the Liberator. He is the Christological theme evoking the new image of God, who is on the side of the oppressed members of the society and seeks to ensure that they are free from political, social, and economic oppressions. This also provides a new image of discipleship, which entails entering into the ways of Jesus Christ with poverty