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Redeemer (Christianity)

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Redeemer (Christianity)

In Christian theology, Jesus is sometimes referred to as a Redeemer. This refers to the salvation he is believed to have accomplished, and is based on the metaphor of redemption, or "buying back". Although the Gospels do not use the title "Redeemer", the word "redemption" is used in several of Paul's letters. Leon Morris says that "Paul uses the concept of redemption primarily to speak of the saving significance of the death of Christ."[1] The English word redemption means 'repurchase' or 'buy back', and in the Old Testament referred to the ransom of slaves (Exodus 21:8).[2] In the New Testament the redemption word group is used to refer both to deliverance from sin and freedom from captivity.[3]

The concept of the redeemer is used in the Book of Ruth to refer to the kinsman-redeemer, and in the Book of Isaiah to refer to God, the "Redeemer of Israel".

Many Christian churches are named "Redeemer", such as Redeemer Presbyterian Church (New York City) and the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Jerusalem. Other institutions which carry the name are the Roman Catholic Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario. The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro is a famous landmark.

In Handel's Messiah.


Christ the Redeemer by Titian (c.1534), Palazzo Pitti, Florence.

The [5] This New Testament sense of Christ's indispensable and necessary role for human salvation could be summarized by a new axiom: extra Christum nulla salus (outside Christ no salvation). This sense of his all-determining role in the whole redemptive drama is suggested by a fact: unlike the Old Testament, where various human beings could be called "saviour" (e.g., Judges 3: 9, 15, 31), the New Testament gives the title "Saviour" only to God (eight times) and to Christ (sixteen times).[5]

See also


  1. ^ Leon Morris, 'Redemption' Dictionary of Paul and his Letters (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993): 784.
  2. ^ Bruce Demarest, The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1997): 176.
  3. ^ Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 177.
  4. ^ On Christ's role as universal Saviour, cf. Gerald O'Collins, Salvation for All: God's Other Peoples, OUP (2008).
  5. ^ a b For this section, and its respective themes and positions, compare Gerald O'Collins, Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus, OUP (2009), pp. 297-333. Cf. also O'Collins, Salvation for All: God's Other Peoples, cit.; id., Jesus: A Portrait, Darton, Longman & Todd (2008), Chs 11-12; id., Incarnation, Continuum (2002), pp. 36-42; J.A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke I-IX, Doubleday (1981), pp. 79-82; Karl Rahner, Foundations of Christian Faith, trans. W.V. Dych, Darton, Longman & Todd (1978), pp. 193-195, 204-206, 279-280, 316-321.


A series of articles on

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  • _______ Salvation for All: God's Other Peoples. Oxford:Oxford University Press. 2008.
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  • _______ The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1971.
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