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Durham e-Theses
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An examination of W. Norman Pittenger’s understanding of ‘salvation’

Nugent, Alan Hubert (1977) An examination of W. Norman Pittenger’s understanding of ‘salvation’. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis examines Pittenger's reinterpretation of Christian theology with the aid of Whiteheadian process philosophy, with special reference to his understanding of salvation. The question it faces is what does salvation in Christ mean in a theology which stresses God’s operation within the creative process, luring it towards its fulfilment? The main emphases of Pittenger's thought are developed to show how they contribute to his view of salvation. In Chapter 1 he is shown to reject any understanding of sin which implies that there is a breach between God and man, seeing sin rather as the failure of the individual to fulfil his God-given aim and thus co-operate in the divine intention for creation. In the following three Christological chapters Jesus is seen, in Pittenger's account, as the only man who fulfilled this aim; and therein lay his 'decisiveness'. There was in him a marriage of divine grace and human response whereby he became the focus of the divine loving activity in the world. Since, however, his difference from other men was a matter of degree rather than kind it follows that what was fulfilled in him is potential in all men. Thus salvation is that wholeness of living which comes from seeking to fulfil one's God-given aim. In subsequent chapters various ramifications of this view of salvation are discussed. In Chapter 5 the process view of how God overcomes evil is considered and related to the cross. Chapter 6 examines the experience of salvation in terms of responding to the example of Christ and knowing him only through the Church. Chapter 7 shows that Pittenger's talk of salvation excludes reference to an after-life. This understanding of salvation is principally criticized as Inadequate on the grounds of its denial of any divine salvatory initiative in Christ.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1977
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:38

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