Aaron P. Edwards, "Kierkegaard on Sin, Ambiguity, and Gospel Radicality: Towards a Response to George Pattison," Participatio Supplemental Volume 5: "Søren Kierkegaard as a Christian, Incarnational Theologian" (2019): 167-189
Edwards, Aaron P. "Kierkegaard on Sin, Ambiguity, and Gospel Radicality: Towards a Response to George Pattison." Participatio Supplemental Volume 5: "Søren Kierkegaard as a Christian, Incarnational Theologian" (2019): 167-189
It is often assumed that Kierkegaard became “less nuanced” in his more polemical later period, leading many scholars to an interpretative ambivalence over his fundamental theological convictions. This article engages critically with George Pattison, in particular, to explicate Kierkegaard’s convictions on sin, redemption, and the implications of doubt and ambiguity. It will be argued that Kierkegaard’s Gospel — following both Paul and Luther — is indeed radical: the catastrophic sickness of sin cannot be undone without a drastically invasive redemption. To speak in such homiletical binaries, of course, is to sound “unnuanced.” But this is indeed how Kierkegaard portrayed the Gospel, in numerous ways, in numerous texts. Furthermore, he did so as one of the most complexly reflective thinkers of the modern era. He remained fully aware of the tensions of ambiguity precisely in and through his more “unambiguous” kerygmatic expressions. To underplay Kierkegaard’s radicality is to misunderstand the inherent nuance that undergirds such directly homiletical assertions, which were based entirely on his understanding of the Gospel. However alarming Kierkegaard’s voice may sound to contemporary academic theology, it is precisely by not removing his veil of kerygmatic radicality that we retain his most paradoxically nuanced contribution to modern Christian thought.