The Self-Donation of God: A Contemporary Lutheran Approach to Christ and His Benefits


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In The Self-Donation of God, Jack Kilcrease builds a systematic text on the premise that the speech-act of promise is always an act of self-donation. Anyone who unilaterally promises to another is bound to take a particular series of actions to fulfill that promise. Thus as creation is grounded in God’s promising speech, Kilcrease argues that the divine-human relationship is fundamentally one of divine self-donation and human receptivity. Beginning in Genesis he works through the rest of Scripture, examining the ways God gave himself to us and how this culminated in the work of Jesus. Kilcrease discusses how sin disrupts this self-donating relationship, and how redemption was constituted by a divine promise of salvation. The promise of a savior begins the process of redemption within which God speaks forth a new narrative of creation and as Kilcrease argues, gives himself in an even deeper manner to humanity, binding himself to us through a promise. At the end of this history of self-binding, God in Christ enters into the condemnation of the law, neutralizes it in the Cross, and brings a new creation through his omnipotent word of promise, actualized in the resurrection. Throughout this text, though ultimately espousing a Lutheran view, Kilcrease draws upon the work of scholars from a wide variety of perspectives: liberal, conservative, modern, ancient, Calvinist, Roman Catholic, and more, offering a broad look at the subject.