Chapter 4, “Gospel: Antiphon to Existence” pp. 47-61
When Law is preached as the “hammer of judgment” the Gospel is viewed as justification. When, as is common, the Law is shown as the negative life experience, we bring a Gospel which is presented in a much more complicated way. Here the Gospel speaks back in response to the specific aspect of trouble revealed by the Law. This is akin to the antiphonal responses found in historic liturgy.
Stuempfle considers four “antiphons” as typical examples.
1) Alienation and Reconciliation. In alienation we are pulled away from our world and community. The response of the Gospel is to reconcile us both to God and to our world.
2) Anxiety and Certitude. Anxiety, unlike fear, is very hard to address. It is a generalized state without a firm cause. Fear is of specifics. Anxiety generalizes. To counter it we need certainty that Jesus has overcome all threats.
3) Despair and Hope. p. 54 “Despair is anxiety translated into the future tense.” There will be no change. This eliminates hope. The biblical view shows God creating opportunity to look for future change. Though we don’t always see the fulfillment, we still hve Jesus’ promises.
4) Transiency and Homecoming. Transiency reminds us that we will pass away into death. The Gospel promises life and hope. We will pass away, from this life, but not into hopelessness. Instead, we pass from this life into our permanent home.