Christ the Key // Kathryn Tanner.

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This is my second time reading it all the way through.

And I still cannot stress this enough: this is a theological masterpiece.

What fresh insights can be poured over when Christ is the key to theology? What happens to tired theological debates and topics when Christ is the key? These are the challenges Kathryn Tanner uptakes throughout the book. Carefully balancing heated arguments, on the one hand, and meticulous, painstaking articulation of the Christian tradition, on the other, Tanner puts forth convincingly (I think), time and time again, Christ-centered solutions. Each chapter, save the first, seem to have clear dialogue partners: (chs. 2-3) Catholics and Protestants, (ch. 4) East and West, (ch. 5) social trinitarianists, (ch. 6) various atonement theories and their critics, and (ch. 7) those claim unmediated religious authority. At the end of each chapter, Tanner seems to suggest (though she does not explicitly): “Why wouldn’t you want to believe this?” Tanner wants to stake that Christian theology revolves around the claim that “God wants to give us the fullness of God’s own life through the closest possible relationship with us as that comes to completion in Christ” (vii). In other words, God wants us to be with him. And, yes. I do want to believe this — but, oh God, help me in my unbelief.

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