I got a message from a blogger asking if I was ever going to share my responses to all my previous blogging on Pannenberg, so since that means at least one person presumably wants them I share some of them. The first is Pannenberg’s decision to use lordship as a primary category. I’ll look at it broadly today and then next how it shows up in his Christology developed in his Systematic Theology.
For Pannenberg a dominate category for understanding the relationship between God and creation is lordship. In fact, Pannenberg asserts that “God and his lordship form the central content of eschatological salvation” and therefore “determines the perspective of Christian doctrine as a whole” (III, 531). This can be seen throughout all three volumes and it is the contention developed in selected connected critiques that Pannenberg’s concern for the lordship of God makes a consistent connection with the love of God difficult. In volume one the lordship of God is first developed in Pannenberg’s understanding of the Trinity as the monarchy of the Father. The monarchy of the Father is the means by which he discusses the Tri-unity of the persons. In his discussion he avoids establishing unity through modes of being and perichoresis. He even gives an extensive critique of using the category of love, for love he argues always ends in subordination (I, 342 & 358-359). He hopes to avoid this conclusion by establishing a “mutuality and mutual dependence of the persons in the Trinity” in which “the Father does not have his kingdom or monarchy with the Son and Spirit, but only through them” (I, 324). In a description of the Father’s relationship to the Son he states that “in handing over lordship from the Father to the Son, and its handing back from the Son to the Father, we see a mutuality in their relationship…by handing over lordship to the Son the Father makes his kingship dependent on whether the Son glorifies him and fulfills his lordship by fulfilling his mission” (I, 313). At the end of history, when the immanent Trinity is actualized, there will be the monarchy of the Father. While Pannenberg’s description sets the Father in sharp contrast with a tyrant king, a benevolent king with a monarchy is a king none the less.