A friend is working on a paper on Pannenberg’s Christology and so I ended up rereading Pannenberg’s first Christology to prepare for a skype-cigar conversation. In this book Pannenberg marks his path between Bultmann and Barth and reframes Christology or the 20th century. This book is my favorite Christology (or at least in the top three with Sobrino and Cobb) and stresses an insight that needs to be asserted again in the new discussions of atonement. I think Tickle was correct in last week’s podcast that atonement is an important discussion for the church in the Great Emergence, but as the conversation goes I hope we do not develop a soteriology apart from the history of Jesus. OR as Pannenberg says:

Jesus possess significance ‘for us’ only to the extent that this significance is inherent in himself, in his history, and in his person constituted by this history. Only when this can be shown may we be sure that we are not merely attaching our questions, wishes, and thoughts to this figure. Therefore, Christology, the question about Jesus himself, about his person, as he lived on earth in the time of Emperor Tiberius, must remain prior to all questions about his significance, to all soteriology. Soteriology must follow from Christology, not vice versa. Otherwise, faith in salvation itself loses an real foundation. (48)