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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Christus Victor
El Greco
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Johnny S, I read Myrrh to mean that it doesn't matter that the "end behavior" is that. The whole way that leads there is equally important. It is different to treat others with respect and love because you know they are like you, your brothers, and God's sons, and because love leads to Love and comes out of Love, and quite another to treat others with respect our of fear or guilt.

It's not about the "ethic". It's never about the ethic in Orthodoxy. It's about your personal state, your own existence and your relationship with God.

[ 29. October 2007, 18:57: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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Myrrh
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Yes, thanks Andreas, much better put.

Myrrh

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and thanks for all the fish

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
Johnny S, I read Myrrh to mean that it doesn't matter that the "end behavior" is that. The whole way that leads there is equally important. It is different to treat others with respect and love because you know they are like you, your brothers, and God's sons, and because love leads to Love and comes out of Love, and quite another to treat others with respect our of fear or guilt.

It's not about the "ethic". It's never about the ethic in Orthodoxy. It's about your personal state, your own existence and your relationship with God.

I wasn't trying to 'justify the means by the end'. Nor was it a case of treating others well out of fear or guilt - we are all claiming love to be THE motivation.

Nevertheless, the question must always be asked of any theology is, how does it work out in practice?

I don't understand your differentiation between ethic and 'personal state' or 'relationship with God' ... how can your relationship with God not affect how you behave?

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El Greco
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Paul says something relevant. Even if you give everything you have to the poor, but you don't have love, you are nothing.

Yes, your relationship with God affects your behavior. But you can behave "morally", "with ethics", and even "with courtesy" without having a high-quality relationship with God.

God does not demand that you do anything. This is the danger many religious people fall into. They think that since they believe in God, and since they do some charity and go to church and don't sleep around, don't swear, don't steal, don't don't don't, they are accepted by God and they will even get to Heaven! How far from the truth they are! Instead of realizing the bankruptcy of their hearts, instead of crying without stop over their sin, they think they are proper Christians!

Moreover, God is a Wind and He blows wherever He wants. This means that a man driven by God might drive nuts all those who have strong views on the "rules" and "ethics".

God is free, and He likes His people to be free as well. And freedom is frowned upon in many religious environments. Don't do this, don't do that... This attitude towards life is not healthy, those people do not attract God in their lives because they approach life like that.

Authentic people, such like God wants them to be, are living scandals to those around them that have invested so much in "ethics"...

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:

God does not demand that you do anything. This is the danger many religious people fall into. They think that since they believe in God, and since they do some charity and go to church and don't sleep around, don't swear, don't steal, don't don't don't, they are accepted by God and they will even get to Heaven! How far from the truth they are! Instead of realizing the bankruptcy of their hearts, instead of crying without stop over their sin, they think they are proper Christians!

How the wheel turns. [Biased]

One of the major criticisms of PSA originally was that PSA says precisely what you did above... too much emphasis on what God has done for us and 'receiving righteousness by faith' and not enough on our on going sanctification.

So you've finally come round to my way of thinking then? [Big Grin]

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Jamat
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quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
For instance, do we believe that God's implacable wrath is directed towards His fallen creatures, wrath that can only be satisfied by the willing sacrifice of His Son? For me, PSA is like a lie told against God. Not that I'm accusing anyone who holds that view of lying against God, in a way which, far from being scriptural, is the antithesis of Jesus' teaching.

But the question is certainly one which requires an answer. [/QB]

The issue here is what scripure actually teaches and further which is the theology that actually works.


For me there is no doubt, absolutely none at all that one cannot be a biblical believer unless you have some sort of epiphany about the true state of your own heart.

Until that happens, you will be continually standing back to judge the ideas signalled in scripture rather than simply accepting that God has stated who he is, what he has done, who we are and what is our problem.

The essential problem we have is our pride. We cannot believe in a God who ordered the genocide of the Chaldeans, or who let Jepthah sacrifice his daughter, or who directed David to deliver Sauls offspring to the Gibeonites. DESPITE the clear scriptural evidence for these things.

Similarly, we can't believe in a God who is punitive, despite the Flood, despite Sodom and Gomorrah, despite the Captivity and despite the cross.

The clear scriptural evidence aligns with the experience of millions of sincere and simple believers. Jesus died for their sin. He needed to cos their sin was otherwise going to damn them to a lost eternity. The reason he needed to die is precisely because God is obliged to punish sin; he punished our sin in Christ.

This is what scripture clearly teaches; it is what Paul believed and most impotantly it is what, if adopted and lived by, will result in true regeneration of our nature from the disease of sin.

If it offends a few modern sensibilities...do you really think God gives a toss? Is he going to alter his eternal word to make it a bit more palatable to our unreformed and proud minds?

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Nunc Dimittis
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quote:
The essential problem we have is our pride. We cannot believe in a God who ordered the genocide of the Chaldeans, or who let Jepthah sacrifice his daughter, or who directed David to deliver Sauls offspring to the Gibeonites. DESPITE the clear scriptural evidence for these things.

Similarly, we can't believe in a God who is punitive, despite the Flood, despite Sodom and Gomorrah, despite the Captivity and despite the cross.

The clear scriptural evidence aligns with the experience of millions of sincere and simple believers. Jesus died for their sin. He needed to cos their sin was otherwise going to damn them to a lost eternity. The reason he needed to die is precisely because God is obliged to punish sin; he punished our sin in Christ.

See, I'm not convinced that it is "clear scriptural evidence". The scriptures are not inalienable documents scribed by a divine finger upon the wall. They were the product of communities of people. And the particular mode of deity understood by the Jews captive in Babylon (which is where most of the OT as we have it was polished up and put together) was entirely of their time and place.

There is also the issue of human beings projecting motives onto God. King X of Y kingdom wants to solidify his victory and justify his actions, and so God must have ordered the slaughter of the enemy, because the enemy is evil.

There are viable alternatives in hermeneutics for understanding who God is and how God has related to humankind. To this end, to declare that there is only one possible reading - that the "evidence is clear" - is naive.

As for God punishing sin... Well. If you want to believe in a god who sits up on his cloud waiting to hurl thunderbolts at his only son, that's your affair.

I prefer to believe in a God so unbelievably burning with the fire of love that God decides to become a human being, to endure the utmost of what human life is about (including suffering) yet without sin, and then still further in death to descend to the depths of (non)existence in order that all that God created may be drawn up into the life of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. Christ is Victorious, overcoming, washing away any possible barrier (sin, death, the devil, etc) to the overflowing firey river of God's impassioned love. Christ became human in order that we may share in his divinity. If there is any experience of "wrath" or "punishment" then this is not because God is angry. It is the Fire of Love purifying the beloved, and it is not punitive.

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Jamat
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quote:
Originally posted by Nunc Dimittis:
quote:
The essential problem we have is our pride. We cannot believe in a God who ordered the genocide of the Chaldeans, or who let Jepthah sacrifice his daughter, or who directed David to deliver Sauls offspring to the Gibeonites. DESPITE the clear scriptural evidence for these things.

Similarly, we can't believe in a God who is punitive, despite the Flood, despite Sodom and Gomorrah, despite the Captivity and despite the cross.

The clear scriptural evidence aligns with the experience of millions of sincere and simple believers. Jesus died for their sin. He needed to cos their sin was otherwise going to damn them to a lost eternity. The reason he needed to die is precisely because God is obliged to punish sin; he punished our sin in Christ.

See, I'm not convinced that it is "clear scriptural evidence". The scriptures are not inalienable documents scribed by a divine finger upon the wall. They were the product of communities of people. And the particular mode of deity understood by the Jews captive in Babylon (which is where most of the OT as we have it was polished up and put together) was entirely of their time and place.

There is also the issue of human beings projecting motives onto God. King X of Y kingdom wants to solidify his victory and justify his actions, and so God must have ordered the slaughter of the enemy, because the enemy is evil.

There are viable alternatives in hermeneutics for understanding who God is and how God has related to humankind. To this end, to declare that there is only one possible reading - that the "evidence is clear" - is naive.

As for God punishing sin... Well. If you want to believe in a god who sits up on his cloud waiting to hurl thunderbolts at his only son, that's your affair.

I prefer to believe in a God so unbelievably burning with the fire of love that God decides to become a human being, to endure the utmost of what human life is about (including suffering) yet without sin, and then still further in death to descend to the depths of (non)existence in order that all that God created may be drawn up into the life of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. Christ is Victorious, overcoming, washing away any possible barrier (sin, death, the devil, etc) to the overflowing firey river of God's impassioned love. Christ became human in order that we may share in his divinity. If there is any experience of "wrath" or "punishment" then this is not because God is angry. It is the Fire of Love purifying the beloved, and it is not punitive.

See, the operative words here are,"the God I PREFER to believe in" The problem is the 'I', the 'us'. If you let the scriptures speak rather than force them to a preconceived and already defined notion of what doesn't offend our sensibilities...

What is actually at issue isn't hermeneutics, or cultural bias in the writers of scripture. What is at issue is wheteher we are spiritually really alive of just under some illusion that a belief system makes a practical difference....Whether we are connected to the infinite and ineffable God or whether we are deluding ourselves.

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Jamat:

quote:
The essential problem we have is our pride. We cannot believe in a God who ordered the genocide of the Chaldeans, or who let Jepthah sacrifice his daughter, or who directed David to deliver Sauls offspring to the Gibeonites. DESPITE the clear scriptural evidence for these things.
That's not pride. That's having a sense of morality, and being able to call a morally repugnant act of evil when we see it. Which is what genocide is. We've been there before - how the hell can killing babes in arms be punitive? What sins can babies commit that deserve death at swordpoint? I love the way you characterise that moral outrage as "our sensibilities", as if it were just a stupid scruple of mine which is offended by genocide!

quote:
Similarly, we can't believe in a God who is punitive, despite the Flood, despite Sodom and Gomorrah, despite the Captivity and despite the cross.
Oh, we can. We just can't quite see how God punishing an innocent party lets us off the hook.

[ 14. November 2007, 09:08: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Jolly Jape
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quote:
See, the operative words here are,"the God I PREFER to believe in" The problem is the 'I', the 'us'. If you let the scriptures speak rather than force them to a preconceived and already defined notion of what doesn't offend our sensibilities...

What is actually at issue isn't hermeneutics, or cultural bias in the writers of scripture. What is at issue is wheteher we are spiritually really alive of just under some illusion that a belief system makes a practical difference....Whether we are connected to the infinite and ineffable God or whether we are deluding ourselves.

Oh Jamat, Jamat, Jamat [brick wall] [brick wall]

Of course, at one level, it's about hermaneutics. If you take issue with Nunc about here use of the word "prefer" then I would, on the same grounds, take issue with your interpretation as well. Is it true for yourself that you "let the scriptures speak rather than force them to a preconceived and already defined notion of what doesn't offend our sensibilities..."
Isn't your belief itself really down to your "preference" for a specific understanding of certain scriptures. That is a hermaneutical problem. I have a different understanding to you. That does not, inherently, mean that such an understanding is wrong. Nor does it mean, as you seem to imply, that my faith is in some measure defective (no doubt it is, in many ways, defective; who amongst us can claim to have a faith that is not? But it is not inherently so for that specific reason.)

I really do think that you ought to face up to the possibility that all those who disagree with you probably share, with you, a lively and vibrant faith, but that, in all conscience, they just cannot see in the scriptures that which you see. In their (OK, my) opinion it just isn't there.

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To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Similarly, we can't believe in a God who is punitive ... despite the cross.

Actually it's because of the cross that I believe in a God who is not punitive. A punitive deity would have obliterated the Jewish hierarchy, stomped the Roman Empire into the dust in three seconds flat and sent legions of Angels to execute the entire human race for our part in trying to do that to the Son of God. He did not. He took responsibility for our sin and dealt with it in a non-punitive way.

quote:
The clear scriptural evidence aligns with the experience of millions of sincere and simple believers.
Your clear scriptural evidence of PSA is denied by the vast majority of Christians now and in the past, of course.

quote:
Jesus died for their sin.
Yes, we all agree about that and most of us would be happier if you'd said our sin.

quote:
The reason he needed to die is precisely because God is obliged to punish sin;
Bollocks. Obliged to whom? What higher power compels God?

quote:
This is what scripture clearly teaches;
If it teaches it so clearly, how come most Christians disagree with you?

quote:
it is what Paul believed
according to you and against most Christians.
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Jamat
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1 Peter 2:21 "and he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.."


1 Pet 3:18 "Christ also died for sins once for all..in order that he might bring us to God."

Rom 3;25 "Christ..whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in his blood..this was to demonstrate his righteousness."

Rom 5:10.."while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his son..."

Ro 5,17, 18 "by the transgression of the one death reigned..so ....through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life.."


Ro 6:6 "our old self was crucified with him that our body of sin might be done away with.."..therefore we are to consider ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ."

1Cor 15 "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures..as in Adam all die so in Christ shall all be made alive.."

2Cor 5:21 : He made him who knew no sin to BE sin on our behalf."


Gal 3:13 :Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us."


1 Jn 2:2 "And he is the propitiation for our sins.."

Heb 9:15 :..since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions committed under the first covenant.."

Heb 9:11.."He entered..through his own blood.."(into the heavenly tabernacle).

Is 53:5 He was pierced through for our transgressions..he was crushed for our iniquities.." v10 "The Lord was pleased to crush him puttng him to grief if he would render himself a guilt offering.."

Luke 1:21 "it is he who will save his people from their sins.."

Col 1:20"..having made peace through the blood of his cross

Col 2:13,14 "And when you were dead in your tansgressions..he made you alive with him having forgiven us all our transgressions having cancelled out the the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and he has taken it out of the way having nailed it to his cross."

To me it simply beggars belief that one could look at all these texts together and, on balance, deny that scripture teaches that Christ was the sinbearer and that his death was needed to cancel our guilt in God's sight.

Greyface snidely suggests my view is opposed by most Christians. Well I'd suggest that the writers of scripture are not numbered among them.

I would reiterate that in the end this is not an intellectual exercise. The issues of life are the prize at stake. If one cannot apprehend what has happened at the cross then true appreciation of the work of regeneration escapes one.. You can, in other words blithely think you are a Christian and not be. The so called intelligensia of the church if they cannot humble their minds under the scripture will in the end be just as lost as any unbeliever.

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
To me it simply beggars belief that one could look at all these texts together and, on balance...

...disagree with you. Yes, I'm coming to understand that you can't grasp anyone else's point of view.

quote:
Greyface snidely suggests my view is opposed by most Christians. Well I'd suggest that the writers of scripture are not numbered among them.
Which means you think you're cleverer than most Christians, your interpretation is better than the majority of other people to have studied Scripture. That may well be the case but if so it should come through in the strength of your argument. To me, it's not.

And I'm getting a little tired of you consistently attributing bad motives to those who disagree with you.

quote:
I would reiterate that in the end this is not an intellectual exercise. The issues of life are the prize at stake.
Quite. I sincerely hope that you will one day gain the insight that has been granted to many Christians - that God is love and not the celestial punisher of crimes who luckily for us has a soft spot for humans.

quote:
You can, in other words blithely think you are a Christian and not be.
Riiiight. So if we don't believe in PSA we're not Christians. I think I'm about finished arguing with you.
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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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I knew that shit would be at the bottom of it.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Jolly Jape
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Jamat, what you have done here is to list a series of texts, out of context, and suppose that this constitutes an argument (in the sense of a reasoned, coherent position). I have to tell you, this is not the case. It may be coherent in your mind, but anyone can proof-text to acheive any desired result, given time, effort, and sufficient knowledge of the bible. What you have failed to show is that the biblical authours had anything even remotely like PSA in mind when they wrote those verses. In other words, you can eisegise PSA into Scripture, but you have yet to show that you can exegise PSA out of scripture.

Just to reiterate. No-one here is denying the salvific effect of the Paschal event. No-one here is denying that we are all sinners. No-one here is denying that Christ died to save us from our sins, or that He rose again that we might be united with Him in new life. No-one here is denying that, in our natural state, we are unable to relate to God in the way in which He wants us to relate to Him. No-one! It's a straw man! It's not what we believe, any more than it's what you believe.

Where we do disagree with you is that we don't believe that God's attitude to us is one of wrath that needs appeasing by the vicarious death of Christ. We don't believe that God is compelled to do anything. We don't believe that you can draw a distinction between divine justice and divine love. To believe those things is not the Gospel, rather it is one interpretation of the Gospel, one that has been held by only a minority of Christians (and, just so there is no confusion, I mean those people who have been born again by water and the Spirit, those who have been raised to new life with Christ, those, even, if you care to put it so, who have had their names written in the Lamb's book of life) over the 2000 years of the Church. It's not snide for Greyface to point that out, it's a statement of truth.

So what, then, are we to make of your last paragraph. Are you really asserting that we are saved by believing a particular doctrine, because if that's so, why are the scriptures so insistant that salvation rests with the man, Christ Jesus? Why doesn't it tell us that, no, it rests in our works, specifically in our assent to the doctine of an 11th century monk or a 16th century lawyer?

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To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

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GreyFace
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Funny how that works out isn't it, Karl?
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Jolly Jape
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quote:
The so called intelligensia of the church if they cannot humble their minds under the scripture will in the end be just as lost as any unbeliever.

Who the hell are the "so called intelligentsia of the church"? So called by whom? I think there has been very little in the way of quoting from theologians here - most of the debate has centred round the Bible, and the meanings of specific texts therin. Maybe Girard had a mention or two, and some of the early church fathers, but, really, the debate has been largely about scripture.

And, whilst we are speaking of humility, is it not a good idea to humble ourselves before our brothers and sisters, by actually listening to what they are saying, rather than putting into their mouths ideas that they have repeatedly denied holding.

[ 15. November 2007, 09:25: Message edited by: Jolly Jape ]

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To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
To me it simply beggars belief that one could look at all these texts together and, on balance, deny that scripture teaches that Christ was the sinbearer and that his death was needed to cancel our guilt in God's sight.

Jamat, my response is really the same as Greyface's and JJ's. I do believe the Scriptures. I just think that you profoundly misunderstand them.

There are two fundamental problems with your interpretation.

One, which we have talked quite a bit about here, is that it makes God an angry, vengeful, monster.

The other, less stressed on this thread, is that PSA cancels out the huge number of passages that declare that salvation comes by obedience to God. For example:
quote:
John 15:14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.

John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

1 Corinthians 7:19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.

1 John 2:3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

1 John 3:22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

1 John 3:24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

2 John 1:6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

Matthew 7:26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:

Matthew 12:50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Matthew 21.28 “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ 29 He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?”

Matthew 25:45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.

Luke 6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?

Luke 17:10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”

Mark 3:35 For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”

1 Thessalonians 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.

2 Thessalonians 3:14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.

Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

Hebrews 5:9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,

1 Peter 2:15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—

1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

James 4:17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Jamat, your interpretation ignores these passages.
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The so called intelligensia of the church if they cannot humble their minds under the scripture will in the end be just as lost as any unbeliever.

I think that it is believers in PSA who cannot humble their minds to Scripture. Jesus clearly teaches the opposite.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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daronmedway
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I'm sorry Freddy, but I must be another who 'profoundly misunderstands' the Scriptures because the vast majority of the texts you quote seem to describe loving obedience as the fruit of saving faith, not obedience as a means of salvation.

[ 15. November 2007, 12:10: Message edited by: Call me Numpty ]

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Call me Numpty:
I'm sorry Freddy, but I must be another who 'profoundly misunderstands' the Scriptures because the vast majority of the texts you quote seem to describe loving obedience as the fruit of saving faith, not obedience as a means of salvation.

Yes, many of the quotes can be read that way. Many of them, however, cannot be read that way. I think that it is fair to interpret the former by the latter.

The alternative, it seems to me, is Jamat's assertion that it is only Christ's sacrifice that satisfies the Father's demand for justice, without which His wrath must necessarily destroy us.

My point, though, is that Jamat's interpretation of the Scriptures he quotes cannot be reconciled with all of the Scriptures I quoted above.

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Jamat
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Why is there any contradiction between the texts you quote Freddy, which are all injunctions to Godly conduct AFTER the fact of salvation based on the atonement, and PSA?

My point is, and has been that, this discussion is far from academic..just witness the reactions above when the sacred cow of toleration is touched.

The issue here is what actually determines how a man can be justified before a holy God. What, in other words is the means to keep us from hell. I think that it is easy to rationalise and self-justify for our own comfort. In the end none of that will save us, transform us or regenerate us. I believe totally that such regeneration is possible. As Paul says, the gospel is the POWER of God for salvation to all that believe. My question is how can one benefit from it if one denies the mechanism by which it is possible.

I also understand completely how harsh, and foolish practices of fundamentalist groups have caused deep hurts. What doesn't change is the scriptural bottom line. In the end, Karl and Greyface , believe what you want. It is not for us to judge each other. I have no wish to provoke you. It is just that for me, this deals with the core of my faith which I have personally tested through many years.

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Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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daronmedway
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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
quote:
Originally posted by Call me Numpty:
I'm sorry Freddy, but I must be another who 'profoundly misunderstands' the Scriptures because the vast majority of the texts you quote seem to describe loving obedience as the fruit of saving faith, not obedience as a means of salvation.

Yes, many of the quotes can be read that way. Many of them, however, cannot be read that way. I think that it is fair to interpret the former by the latter.

The alternative, it seems to me, is Jamat's assertion that it is only Christ's sacrifice that satisfies the Father's demand for justice, without which His wrath must necessarily destroy us.

My point, though, is that Jamat's interpretation of the Scriptures he quotes cannot be reconciled with all of the Scriptures I quoted above.

They most certainly can! You just need to understand that saving faith is by nature obedient faith as James quite correctly asserts. Saving faith is the root, obedience is the fruit. Faith is not saving faith if is not fruitful faith. Faith is not fruitful faith if it is not saving faith. One can only obey God by grace through faith. Morality - even virtue - is not spiritual if it is not inspired by saving faith.
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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Call me Numpty:
You just need to understand that saving faith is by nature obedient faith as James quite correctly asserts.

I agree that James correctly asserts this, but the mechanism of salvation, as put forth by PSA, separates this obedience from salvation. Instead, PSA asserts that a person is saved while still a sinner - whereas Jesus says that a person needs to repent from sin in order to be saved.

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Why is there any contradiction between the texts you quote Freddy, which are all injunctions to Godly conduct AFTER the fact of salvation based on the atonement, and PSA?

I missed the part where Jesus pointed out that He was describing Godly conduct AFTER the fact of salvation. Is there anything that Jesus says that gives that impression?
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
My point is, and has been that, this discussion is far from academic..

Yes. What should be closer to people's heart than their eternal fate?

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daronmedway
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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
quote:
Originally posted by Call me Numpty:
You just need to understand that saving faith is by nature obedient faith as James quite correctly asserts.

I agree that James correctly asserts this, but the mechanism of salvation, as put forth by PSA, separates this obedience from salvation. Instead, PSA asserts that a person is saved while still a sinner - whereas Jesus says that a person needs to repent from sin in order to be saved.
You have to be a sinner to repent but only a regenerate person can repent. So, yes it is perfectly acceptable to suggest that Christ justifies the ungodly. It's just that the first fruit of saving faith is reception of the charism of repentance. It is impossible to repent unless one is regenerate; likewise it is impossible to be regenerate and not to have repented. A regenerate person is a repentant person; but repentance is not the means of regeneration, the Holy Spirit is the agent of regeneration

[ 15. November 2007, 23:39: Message edited by: Call me Numpty ]

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Jamat
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quote:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Freddy:
I missed the part where Jesus pointed out that He was describing Godly conduct AFTER the fact of salvation. Is there anything that Jesus says that gives that impression?

Come on Freddy,
In most of the texts you quote he is addressing the disciples. Can we not safely assume that they have embraced the salvation he offers, or will offer, retrospectively, through the cross?

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Jamat
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quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:

[QUOTE][QB] Jamat, what you have done here is to list a series of texts, out of context, and suppose that this constitutes an argument (in the sense of a reasoned, coherent position). I have to tell you, this is not the case. It may be coherent in your mind, but anyone can proof-text to acheive any desired result, given time, effort, and sufficient knowledge of the bible. What you have failed to show is that the biblical authours had anything even remotely like PSA in mind when they wrote those verses. In other words, you can eisegise PSA into Scripture, but you have yet to show that you can exegise PSA out of scripture.

My purpose in quoting scripture here is to show that on balance, there are many texts that clearly suggest that Christ was crucified with God's full knowledge and approval,BECAUSE this was the only way sin could be expunged. What is telling in my mind is that the NT writers, Peter, Paul and the Hebrews writer, all linked Christ to the OT system of sacrifice. They all see what he did as an extension and completion of Mosaic ritual and as in fact a focus which brought that to a climactic conclusion. Each of these statements about Christ is comprehensible apart from its context and has been quoted just to suggest the weight of scriptural authority. Regarding whether they had PSA in mind, maybe not as a theoretical construct, but they sure had the clear view of how sin was dealt with by the cross since it is what they plainly state.

quote:
Just to reiterate. No-one here is denying the salvific effect of the Paschal event. No-one here is denying that we are all sinners. No-one here is denying that Christ died to save us from our sins, or that He rose again that we might be united with Him in new life. No-one here is denying that, in our natural state, we are unable to relate to God in the way in which He wants us to relate to Him. No-one! It's a straw man! It's not what we believe, any more than it's what you believe.
What you all do do share however, is a denial of aspects of the scriptural God that you cannot abide. It seems to me that you deny the one thing in scripture that allows you to actually deal with that 'natural state ' of sinfulness. That one thing is the acknowledgement that Christ was punished for your sin that you might not be.
quote:
Where we do disagree with you is that we don't believe that God's attitude to us is one of wrath that needs appeasing by the vicarious death of Christ. We don't believe that God is compelled to do anything. We don't believe that you can draw a distinction between divine justice and divine love. To believe those things is not the Gospel, rather it is one interpretation of the Gospel, one that has been held by only a minority of Christians (and, just so there is no confusion, I mean those people who have been born again by water and the Spirit, those who have been raised to new life with Christ, those, even, if you care to put it so, who have had their names written in the Lamb's book of life) over the 2000 years of the Church. It's not snide for Greyface to point that out, it's a statement of truth.
Now if we want to talk about strawmen there are a few in here. I have consistently promoted the idea that it is God's love not his wrath that is the operative motive behind the cross. I take it you are familiar with John 3:16.

Then there is the continued unproven assertion that only a minority of Christians have seen Christ as the sinbearer throughout history . This is is untestable and unproveable. When you tried to attribute such a view to Luther, Johnny S made short work of the argument by actually quoting Luther.

Divine justice and divine love are not in opposition and I have never asserted that they are. They are very neatly held in balance by the view I espouse which is that both meet in the cross. Christ came as God's loving gift to humanity and simultaneously as the sin offering for a lost humanity. We were lost and deserving of condemnation but God in his mercy found a way to justify us!

Regarding God being compelled to do anything... Well then can God lie? cheat ? steal ? in other words sin? The point here is that he is compelled by his own nature to be true to that nature. To me this means that he cannot approve of evil or forgive sin UNLESS that sin has been justly deal with and it is as Paul says in Romans "AS in Christ all died, so in Christ shall all be made alive.."

Finally, if all are sinners it seems to me that there is nothing in the CV model that allows a genuine apprehension of how that sin is expunged. The 'Christ as sinbearer' model which you might call PSA has this as part of its very fabric.

quote:
So what, then, are we to make of your last paragraph. Are you really asserting that we are saved by believing a particular doctrine, because if that's so, why are the scriptures so insistant that salvation rests with the man, Christ Jesus? Why doesn't it tell us that, no, it rests in our works, specifically in our assent to the doctine of an 11th century monk or a 16th century lawyer?
I am asserting that to me scripture states sin is an impassable barrier between ourselves and God bridged only by Christ as sinbearer. OK, so it is a doctrine but it is to me the absolute bottom line that defines the Gospel. Now I do not say that you have to intellectually apprehend it to experience its benefits. I remember simply knowing 'something' had happened. One of the great things about our faith is that it is shared by many who have very little intelligence. No, to me the experience is all but in my view the base of that experience is PSA.

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Jamat
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quote:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by GreyFace:
[ If, however, God becomes human and identifies by union with either all those who follow him / are baptised into his death / everyone (see previous arguments about add-on selection criteria - hereafter known as Christ's people) then creation is restored in his unjust death and resurrection, sin fails to defeat God's purpose. In the one version of the story, the devil forfeits his right to Christ's people by killing Christ and thus overstepping his authority and it becomes good and right that even sinners may receive eternal life through Christ's victory. In the other version creation becomes good because evil has not won, the central story of creation is not that God had to pluck a few chosen rebels out of it or condemn everyone but rather that evil did not win, the justice and ultimate goodness of both creation and the rescue of sinners is affirmed by Christ's victory. But both versions really say the same thing.

Now, is the second version PSA? It's very close to what (with no offence intended to some quarters) the good PSA theologians say rather than the "Christ was punished to save me from Hell" tract version. But note the absence of any notion of retribution. At the heart of this there is unconditional forgiveness and the restoration of the righteousness of creation, not the need to punish sinners.

Greyface, I am unsure of whether this does your view justice but a close reading of this snip indicates that one who believes this thinks that being a Christian comes down to:

A choice to identify with Christ by baptism.
A belief that Christ's death restores creation and defeats evil.
Eternal life is secured for believers through Christ's victory.

IF you believe these things, can you elaborate on the actual nitty gritty of the process.
At what point, for instance can one be sure one has identified with Christ and is saved?
Where are the actual mechanics of forgiveness in this? On what basis can one be assured one's sins are in fact forgiven?
In what terms can one apprehend the victory over evil and experience it? Is it on a personal or a more cosmic level? Can one find any sytematic theology consistent with scripture to back this view?

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Freddy:
I missed the part where Jesus pointed out that He was describing Godly conduct AFTER the fact of salvation. Is there anything that Jesus says that gives that impression?

Come on Freddy,
In most of the texts you quote he is addressing the disciples. Can we not safely assume that they have embraced the salvation he offers, or will offer, retrospectively, through the cross?

So Christ only preached to the saved? Or He only preached repentance to the saved? I thought that His main message to the world was "Repent and believe in the Gospel."

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Call me Numpty:
You have to be a sinner to repent but only a regenerate person can repent. So, yes it is perfectly acceptable to suggest that Christ justifies the ungodly.

I don't disagree with your basic idea, here, Numpty. Certainly wickedness does not wish to repent, only goodness does. And since the sinner is full of wickedness it would seem as if there is no way out apart from what you suggest.

But does this really mean that Christ justifies the ungodly? Wouldn't it be simpler to say that God's presence with every person enables them to repent - and that no one is so wicked that God can't be present with them?
quote:
Originally posted by Call me Numpty:
A regenerate person is a repentant person; but repentance is not the means of regeneration, the Holy Spirit is the agent of regeneration

No question that the Holy Spirit is the agent of repentance. It enables a person to repent. But repentance is the means of regeneration. Jesus said:
quote:
Luke 13:3 Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
God is present with every person, repentant or unrepentant. His presence enables everyone to choose to repent.

The PSA solution doesn't really make the quandary any easier. The same reasoning that prevents a sinner from repenting also prevents the sinner from accepting Jesus. How can the evil choose the good? They can't.

So if the Holy Spirit operates in a person to enable them to accept Jesus, it can also enable repentance.

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Jolly Jape
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quote:
My purpose in quoting scripture here is to show that on balance, there are many texts that clearly suggest that Christ was crucified with God's full knowledge and approval,
Agreed..
quote:
BECAUSE this was the only way sin could be expunged.
Depends what you mean by this. If you were to write, "because this was the only way that the effects of sin could be undone" then I would agree with you. From your other writings though, I would guess that such a statement would not find favour with you.
quote:
What is telling in my mind is that the NT writers, Peter, Paul and the Hebrews writer, all linked Christ to the OT system of sacrifice. They all see what he did as an extension and completion of Mosaic ritual and as in fact a focus which brought that to a climactic conclusion.
Agreed... noone has disputed this, certainly not me.
quote:
Each of these statements about Christ is comprehensible apart from its context and has been quoted just to suggest the weight of scriptural authority. Regarding whether they had PSA in mind, maybe not as a theoretical construct, but they sure had the clear view of how sin was dealt with by the cross since it is what they plainly state.

I agree that each of those statements/texts stands on its own. I disagree that they are supportive of your position wrt the precise method by which the cross deals with the self-destructive consequences of sin. I do not believe, in effect, that any person looking at the texts that you quote could deduce PSA from them unles they are already committed to PSA.

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To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

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Jolly Jape
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quote:
What you all do do share however, is a denial of aspects of the scriptural God that you cannot abide. It seems to me that you deny the one thing in scripture that allows you to actually deal with that 'natural state ' of sinfulness. That one thing is the acknowledgement that Christ was punished for your sin that you might not be.
I'm sorry, but the concept of "Christ (being) punished for (my) sins that (I) might not be" is just not there in scripture. There is only one way authorised by Jesus for dealing with sin, and that way is unconditional, unlimited forgiveness.
quote:

quote:

Where we do disagree with you is that we don't believe that God's attitude to us is one of wrath that needs appeasing by the vicarious death of Christ. We don't believe that God is compelled to do anything. We don't believe that you can draw a distinction between divine justice and divine love. To believe those things is not the Gospel, rather it is one interpretation of the Gospel, one that has been held by only a minority of Christians (and, just so there is no confusion, I mean those people who have been born again by water and the Spirit, those who have been raised to new life with Christ, those, even, if you care to put it so, who have had their names written in the Lamb's book of life) over the 2000 years of the Church. It's not snide for Greyface to point that out, it's a statement of truth.

Now if we want to talk about strawmen there are a few in here. I have consistently promoted the idea that it is God's love not his wrath that is the operative motive behind the cross. I take it you are familiar with John 3:16.

I'm not sure what your complaint is here, Jamat. Have I traduced your position by saying that you believe that God's disposition towards us apart from Christ is one of wrath, and that wrath is dealt with by its transference to Jesus on the cross. If that isn't a fair summary of your beliefs, then I'm delighted to hear it, and offer my sincerest apology for misrepresenting you. But if it is a true summary of your position, how have I built a strawman. And, of course, I do believe that you hold love to be the motivation behind the cross. I just think that there is a deep contradiction here.

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To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

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Jolly Jape
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quote:
Then there is the continued unproven assertion that only a minority of Christians have seen Christ as the sinbearer throughout history . This is is untestable and unproveable. When you tried to attribute such a view to Luther, Johnny S made short work of the argument by actually quoting Luther.
Oh, more than that, surely, Jamat. For a start, there are have probably been more Christians alive in the last century than in all previous centuries combined. Of those Christians, the biggest majority are Catholics, who do not espouse PSA. The next biggest group are Protestant, but only some of those hold to PSA. And the Orthodox church, of course, has always held to CV and considers PSA to be a western heresy. So, testable, maybe not, but you and I both know that it is true.
quote:

Divine justice and divine love are not in opposition and I have never asserted that they are. They are very neatly held in balance by the view I espouse which is that both meet in the cross. Christ came as God's loving gift to humanity and simultaneously as the sin offering for a lost humanity. We were lost and deserving of condemnation but God in his mercy found a way to justify us!

Can I humbly suggest that you are indeed putting love and justice in opposition here. That we are lost and deserving of condemnation is undisputed. That God, in His mercy, acted to save us is obvious to both of us. But you have a dilemma at the heart of God's actions which I do not see. This is the necessity which you see constraining God to deal with sin by punishment, which you call "justice". I see in the scriptures a concept of justice which is not about punishment but about restoration. Because we deserve to be punished does not mean that we should be punished, still less that we must be punished. Punishment does not bring justice, it multiplies injustice, because it panders to our lowest instincts, prevents us from inheriting the benefits of sharing in the forgiving nature of God by offering forgiveness, and militates against repentance of the perpetrator.
quote:

Regarding God being compelled to do anything... Well then can God lie? cheat ? steal ? in other words sin? The point here is that he is compelled by his own nature to be true to that nature. To me this means that he cannot approve of evil or forgive sin UNLESS that sin has been justly deal with and it is as Paul says in Romans "AS in Christ all died, so in Christ shall all be made alive.."

Sorry, this just doesn't make sense. God is certainly not compelled by His own nature not to do those things. That is to stand the argument on its head. Rather, because God's nature is as it is, those things (ie not lying, not cheating) are manifestations of His nature. We recognise good because that is what comes from God, and we have enough of His image in us to recognise those things. And one of those "good" manifestations of God is the refusal to punish, to take vengeance, to repay cursing with anything less than blessing. You see, you can't justly deal with sin by punishment. It just doesn't work. You can only truely justly deal with sin by "unmaking" it.

--------------------
To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

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quote:
Finally, if all are sinners it seems to me that there is nothing in the CV model that allows a genuine apprehension of how that sin is expunged. The 'Christ as sinbearer' model which you might call PSA has this as part of its very fabric.
Sin is dealt with by forgiveness. The destructive effects of sin on our lives (and on the cosmos) are dealt with by the atonement

quote:
quote:
So what, then, are we to make of your last paragraph. Are you really asserting that we are saved by believing a particular doctrine, because if that's so, why are the scriptures so insistant that salvation rests with the man, Christ Jesus? Why doesn't it tell us that, no, it rests in our works, specifically in our assent to the doctine of an 11th century monk or a 16th century lawyer?

I am asserting that to me scripture states sin is an impassable barrier between ourselves and God bridged only by Christ as sinbearer. OK, so it is a doctrine but it is to me the absolute bottom line that defines the Gospel. Now I do not say that you have to intellectually apprehend it to experience its benefits. I remember simply knowing 'something' had happened. One of the great things about our faith is that it is shared by many who have very little intelligence. No, to me the experience is all but in my view the base of that experience is PSA.

The absolute bottom line for me is that God loves me, and has acted in history to bring me into relationship with Him through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, and to give me eternal life with Him. But all that has nothing whatsover to do with PSA.

--------------------
To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
quote:
Finally, if all are sinners it seems to me that there is nothing in the CV model that allows a genuine apprehension of how that sin is expunged. The 'Christ as sinbearer' model which you might call PSA has this as part of its very fabric.
Sin is dealt with by forgiveness. The destructive effects of sin on our lives (and on the cosmos) are dealt with by the atonement
I would say that the central phenomenon is that sinful desires, thoughts and behavior are changed by a process of education and repentance.

Once the sin goes away, so do its effects.

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Jamat
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[QUOTE] the concept of "Christ (being) punished for (my) sins that (I) might not be" is just not there in scripture. QUOTE]

How intellectually honest is it to say this?

2Cor 5:21. Christ became sin for us.

Now he would only need to become sin for us if he had to offer himself in our place. Why is this necessary? surely because our sin was a barrier between us and God which only he, the sinless one could bridge?

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
2Cor 5:21. Christ became sin for us.

Now he would only need to become sin for us if he had to offer himself in our place. Why is this necessary? surely because our sin was a barrier between us and God which only he, the sinless one could bridge?

Christ became sin in the same sense that the prophets acted out the sins of Israel - as when Isaiah went naked and barefoot, or Ezekiel besieged a model of Jerusalem. The prophets took on themselves the sins of the people.

The purpose of these depictions was to point out sin, so that people would repent. The same is true of Jesus. They treated Him as they would treat a sinner, but the effect was to point out their own sins.

So Jesus did not offer Himself in our place to appease God's anger. Rather He allowed Himself to be treated as a sinner. He took on our sins, and overcame them by casting a light on their true nature.

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Jolly Jape
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
[quote] the concept of "Christ (being) punished for (my) sins that (I) might not be" is just not there in scripture. [\quote]

How intellectually honest is it to say this?

2Cor 5:21. Christ became sin for us.

Now he would only need to become sin for us if he had to offer himself in our place. Why is this necessary? surely because our sin was a barrier between us and God which only he, the sinless one could bridge?

Christ becoming sin for us does not mean Christ is punished for our sin. There is no immutable law of the universe that says sin must be dealt with by punishment. So the answer to your question is "there is no intellectual dishonesty here".

[ 17. November 2007, 21:46: Message edited by: Jolly Jape ]

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To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

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Jamat
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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
2Cor 5:21. Christ became sin for us.

Now he would only need to become sin for us if he had to offer himself in our place. Why is this necessary? surely because our sin was a barrier between us and God which only he, the sinless one could bridge?

Christ became sin in the same sense that the prophets acted out the sins of Israel - as when Isaiah went naked and barefoot, or Ezekiel besieged a model of Jerusalem. The prophets took on themselves the sins of the people.

The purpose of these depictions was to point out sin, so that people would repent. The same is true of Jesus. They treated Him as they would treat a sinner, but the effect was to point out their own sins.

So Jesus did not offer Himself in our place to appease God's anger. Rather He allowed Himself to be treated as a sinner. He took on our sins, and overcame them by casting a light on their true nature.

Well in that case JJ you are simply asserting that the whole cross experience is JUST a metaphor to help us understand God forgives us. To me scripture teaches that our sin is a prison from which we cannot opt out. The internal revolution one experiences as one comes to face is based on something real and literal. Jesus as role model just doesn't cut it!

Your assertion here has no more validity than any other opinion. Paul lived a literal faith. So do I.

If I thought your view actually was what scripture teaches I wouldn't be looking for answers there. The whole of the Christian construct would be a chimera, as vacuous as a puff of smoke!

The close examination of your view reveals that there is nothing substantial for one to base one's faith on. One might as well be Buddist, Hindu or Muslim. maybe even a Gort or a Rook? (meaning no disrespect to those learned gents whose posts I enjoy very much.)

Incidentally have you considered Heb 9:28? So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of meany..shall appear the second time for salvation without reference to sin.." Interesting to read in conjunction with is 53: and 1 Pet 2:24.

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Jolly Jape
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I think that reply was intended for Freddy?

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To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

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Freddy
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Yes, JJ. Jamat means me.
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Well in that case JJ you are simply asserting that the whole cross experience is JUST a metaphor to help us understand God forgives us. To me scripture teaches that our sin is a prison from which we cannot opt out. The internal revolution one experiences as one comes to face is based on something real and literal. Jesus as role model just doesn't cut it!

Jamat, sorry if I haven't made myself clear. The whole cross experience is by no means just a metaphor. It is real and literal. Jesus is not just a role model.

Christus victor, as I understand it, means that Christ literally overcame the hosts of hell, confronting and defeating them. The experience of the cross was the final battle and final victory.

The way that Jesus overcame sin was to meet the suggestion of evil with the truth of the Word. This confrontation is depicted repeatedly in the gospels - from the temptations in the wilderness, to debates with the religious leaders, to His suffering on the cross. He never backed down, He never gave in, He maintained the truth even to His unjust death.

The result of these confrontations and victories was that the powers of hell were met and defeated one by one. At His crucifixion their hold over humanity was broken. This literally happened. Since that time people are free to choose good or evil, they are not ruled by hell. This was a freedom that had been in danger of being lost, had the Lord Himself not come into the world.

Since Jesus was the Word itself He was able to cast light on a dark world, and completely change human history. This light brings with it the mechanism that frees humanity, and any individual, from the prison of sin - a prison from which we cannot opt out from our own strength. This is why Jesus says:
quote:
John 8:31 “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Obedience to the Word is the mechanism that sets us free. By means of it we are made into completely new people.
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The close examination of your view reveals that there is nothing substantial for one to base one's faith on. One might as well be Buddist, Hindu or Muslim.

Not so. This is what Christ teaches. Or how do you understand that abiding in His Word is what sets us free?
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Incidentally have you considered Heb 9:28? So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of meany..shall appear the second time for salvation without reference to sin.." Interesting to read in conjunction with is 53: and 1 Pet 2:24.

Yes, Hebrews 9:28 is interesting, and in harmony with everything said elsewhere about the Second Coming. There is never any sacrifical language associated with the Second Coming. Instead, it is to complete the work of the First Coming, establishing His kingdom on the earth.

It doesn't mean that it is not about overcoming sin - the imagery of Matthew 24, Revelation, and elsewhere is all about His triumph. But His suffering is past.

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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piers ploughman
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Please excuse me for nudging in on a lively discussion so late in the piece, but I have only just boarded the ship and this is a truly fascinating discussion. It may have already been covered by someone, but could those who argue for the Anselmian PSA view comment on Jesus repeated assertion to the Pharisees: "Mercy I desire, not sacrifice" (Mt 9:13 and 12:7) (quoting, of course, from Hosea 6:6) in connection with this discussion. Doesn't it make more sense to argue (in terms of the classical view of the atonement maintained for over 1,000 years) that it was the Devil, Satan the Accuser, holding us to ransom and demading that due sacrifice be made rather than God [Confused]

Cheers

--------------------
Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
William Blake.

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Jamat
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quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
[quote] the concept of "Christ (being) punished for (my) sins that (I) might not be" is just not there in scripture. [\quote]

How intellectually honest is it to say this?

2Cor 5:21. Christ became sin for us.

Now he would only need to become sin for us if he had to offer himself in our place. Why is this necessary? surely because our sin was a barrier between us and God which only he, the sinless one could bridge?

Christ becoming sin for us does not mean Christ is punished for our sin. There is no immutable law of the universe that says sin must be dealt with by punishment. So the answer to your question is "there is no intellectual dishonesty here".
So you assert. The basis of your assertion? You have this theoretical objection to the element of punishment as part of the nature of God so you have to find a way round it. This despite concepts of judgement and punishment virtually everywhere you care to look in the scriptures.

Investigators of a crime create a scenario to fit the evidence do they not? To me your scenario fails to account for the list of scriptures I quoted above. It also ignores the evidence of Christ's passion as well as lackng a clear mechanism by which forgiveness can be seen to be efficacious. And what about the holiness factor the essential nature of God that separates him from us? It is this that makes me think the CV view lacks an understanding of the seriousness of sin..but we've been there.

By becoming sin for us Christ absorbed the weight of human evil. He allowed the connection with the Father to be broken, the Holy Spirit to withdraw from him.

This was the source of his agony in Gethsemane, The reason for the drops of blood and the prayer for the cup to pass. Christ could have stumbled at the point where the father looked away. I actually think that it was here that he truly discerned the evil in mens' hearts and understood the need for the radical solution he was being asked to undergo.

It is also the explanation for that final cry from the cross. The cry of Ps 22, 'Why have you forsaken me' is explicable perfectly in the view of Christ as the ultimate sin offering. It creates a beautifully symetrical and scriptural theology. Christ bore my sin because I was unable to be justified if he hadn't. Deny that and what is there of substance to create hope for us? Embrace it and a genuine exchange of life forces can occur. One can put off the old literally and put on the new because there is genuine power to do so. The cross event becomes the dynamo of literal and positive change.

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Jamat
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quote:
Originally posted by piers ploughman:
Please excuse me for nudging in on a lively discussion so late in the piece, but I have only just boarded the ship and this is a truly fascinating discussion. It may have already been covered by someone, but could those who argue for the Anselmian PSA view comment on Jesus repeated assertion to the Pharisees: "Mercy I desire, not sacrifice" (Mt 9:13 and 12:7) (quoting, of course, from Hosea 6:6) in connection with this discussion. Doesn't it make more sense to argue (in terms of the classical view of the atonement maintained for over 1,000 years) that it was the Devil, Satan the Accuser, holding us to ransom and demading that due sacrifice be made rather than God [Confused]

Cheers

Welcome Piers. Don't know much about Anselm I'm afraid. Jesus' comments to the Pharisees seem to me to be directed at their judgemental and hypocritical application and interpretation of the Mosaic law would you agree? He showed God's mercy in his own person but that generation rejected his claim of Messiahship and consequently he withdrew from them. I see the cross as a demonstration of mercy triumphing over judgement in that Christ opened a way forward for us through it. However, judgement is not thereby abrogated, Christ was judged for sin in our place.The two neatly combine it seems to me. However, this has been hotly debated on this thread.

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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piers ploughman
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Jamat, thankyou for your thoughtful response.

Anselm of Canterbury (c1033-1109) is absolutely crucial to debates about the Atonement. His "Cur Deus Homo" (Why God Became Man) effectively set the tone for all subsequent discussions about the subject until Gustav Aulen's "Christus Victor" appeared in 1931, giving us a glimpse of a long neglected view that was prevalent amongst Christians in the First Millennium. Anselm's great innovation was to remove Satan completely from the central Christian narrative of salvation - something that should always arouse suspicion. He went on to render God as a kind of outraged feudal magnate justly demanding satisfaction for offences caused by human sin.
It seems there is more to me in Jesus' quoting Hosea than what you suggest. If God really does not require sacrifice, a fundamental plank in the penal substitutionary theory has effectively been removed. Don't you think?

--------------------
Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
William Blake.

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by piers ploughman:
Anselm's great innovation was to remove Satan completely from the central Christian narrative of salvation - something that should always arouse suspicion. He went on to render God as a kind of outraged feudal magnate justly demanding satisfaction for offences caused by human sin.

Welcome to this discussion piers. Thank you for bringing in Anselm - who I'm sure has been mentioned above somewhere...

I agree about Anselm's rendering of God. I think that this view of God is central to PSA.
quote:
Originally posted by piers ploughman:
It seems there is more to me in Jesus' quoting Hosea than what you suggest. If God really does not require sacrifice, a fundamental plank in the penal substitutionary theory has effectively been removed. Don't you think?

I agree. Without the demand for sacrifice, or retribution, the whole point of the penal substitution goes out the window.

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Jolly Jape
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quote:
So you assert. The basis of your assertion? You have this theoretical objection to the element of punishment as part of the nature of God so you have to find a way round it. This despite concepts of judgement and punishment virtually everywhere you care to look in the scriptures.

You've missed the point of my comment. The specific point I was rebutting was that there is some overarching need for sin to be dealt with by punishment, to which even God is subject. So I would say that the onus is upon you to justify that assertion.

However, I will answer your point about my, as you put it, theoretical objection to a punitive side of God's nature, and I will answer it by way of a question. If I did not get these concepts of the ultimate non-punitive nature of God from the scriptures, and, specifically, from the life and teaching of Jesus, then where, in fact, did I get them from. I mean, it's not as if the world is hot on forgivenss, is it? Far from it, love your enemies is hardly a popular slogan. In fact, one could go as far as to say that it's deeply countercultural. And, once again, we come to that key verse, Romans 3:25-26. Jesus demonstrates how God deals with sin, not by punishment, but by unmaking it in a process of restoration, which is divine justice. Judgement (or rather condemnation) is not God's will, but is rather what happens when God's will is ignored and people go their own way. God doesn't visit it on us, we visit it on ourselves. Instead he rescues us from it, struggling in all our lives, but ultimately, decisively on the cross, to put things back together again.

quote:
Investigators of a crime create a scenario to fit the evidence do they not? To me your scenario fails to account for the list of scriptures I quoted above. It also ignores the evidence of Christ's passion as well as lackng a clear mechanism by which forgiveness can be seen to be efficacious. And what about the holiness factor the essential nature of God that separates him from us? It is this that makes me think the CV view lacks an understanding of the seriousness of sin..but we've been there.
The question, surely, is not the list of evidences, but the interpretation of that evidence. It is, to pursue your analogy, quite possible for detectives to examine the evidence andf come up with a conclusion which is truely based on that evidence, but is nevertheless flawed. I think Jesus's prophecies of the end times are pictures of what would be if God had not intervened in history, or if that intervention is rejected, and that they are made particularly sharp in the light of the events of AD 70, when the city of Jerusalem was, if you like, judged because it ignored Jesus warnings not to look for earthly liberation by force of arms. But the destruction wasn't the judgement; rather it was the predictable and inevitable result of going out to war without reckoning whether you have the resources to pursue it effectively. No, the judgement was the demonstration, the manifestation, if you like, of the bankrupcy and self-defeating nature of violence - those who live by the sword, die by the sword.


With regard to the alleged lack of a mechanism by which forgiveness can be efficacious. I confess I'm not quite sure what you mean here. I would have thought it was common ground between us that, in some way or other (we might disagree about in which way) we become united with Christ, and His Holy Spirit regenerates us and empowers us to, however imperfectly, become imitators of Christ. I'm not sure what concrete shape forgiveness could take if it doesn't manifest itself in repentance/metanoia. Or do you mean being released from guilt, etc. If that is so, I would have thought that God speaking the words of forgiveness to us ought to quiet the tenderest of consciences. But, as I say, I might not have grasped that at which you are driving.

WRT God being separated from us by sin and the nature of His holiness, this is old ground. Suffice it to say that I reject that notion, and don't find it at all supported by Scripture, though, of course, I do believe we are separated from Him. But the separation is of our "creation", not God's. Just because we are blind, it doesn't mean He can't see us!

quote:
By becoming sin for us Christ absorbed the weight of human evil. He allowed the connection with the Father to be broken, the Holy Spirit to withdraw from him.

It is possible to hold to the truth of the first sentence, whilst rejecting the second. God didn't withdraw from Jesus. He is always present, everywhere, throughout His creation. "Even in sheol", as Psalm 139 puts it so graphically. But Jesus, because he bore the sin that was common to us, also bore the alienation which that sin caused.

quote:
This was the source of his agony in Gethsemane, The reason for the drops of blood and the prayer for the cup to pass. Christ could have stumbled at the point where the father looked away. I actually think that it was here that he truly discerned the evil in mens' hearts and understood the need for the radical solution he was being asked to undergo.

You write this as if there was a dispute about the reality of Jesus' suffering. There is no such dispute. The events of Good Friday were, literally, excruciating mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I don't think the Father looked away - I don't think He allowed Himself that mercy, but if he did, antropomorphically, find Himself unable to look upon the Son, it was not because he was incapable of looking at the evil of creation squarely in the face.

quote:
It is also the explanation for that final cry from the cross. The cry of Ps 22, 'Why have you forsaken me' is explicable perfectly in the view of Christ as the ultimate sin offering. It creates a beautifully symetrical and scriptural theology. Christ bore my sin because I was unable to be justified if he hadn't. Deny that and what is there of substance to create hope for us? Embrace it and a genuine exchange of life forces can occur. One can put off the old literally and put on the new because there is genuine power to do so. The cross event becomes the dynamo of literal and positive change.

Well, as I've said, I don't think the cry of deriliction has inherent in it an actual drawing back of the presence of God, rather it is the humanity of Jesus sharing the alienation of all humankind, experiencing the woundedness of all of us when we have to encounter evil.

But I've still no idea why you feel that only a punitive understanding of the cross can make it efficacious. We would both agree that the "exchange of life forces" as you put it, is an objective reality. CV and PSA both share that understanding. In fact, the liberation of Divine regenerative power is an understanding that is present in CV in spades, but much less so in PSA.

--------------------
To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

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piers ploughman
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If I might nudge in again on this tight little discussion: am I alone in having grown sick and tired of the current Christian obsession with the notion of 'sin'? From the tone and content of perhaps the bulk of contemporary Christian preaching you could easily get the impression that sin is a huge and crucial part of the Gospel - as most of those in the Anselmian tradition in fact maintain. It comes as an enormous relief to many of us, therefore, when it dawns on us how little the word is found on Jesus' lips in the Greek text of the Gospels. It is only a handful of times, and usually in such reassuring connections as to announce forgiveness (most often to those who have neither repented nor asked for it) or to reinforce his proudly-chosen status as the 'Friend' of sinners - both of which annoyed his sacrifice and punishment obsessed opponents no end. Our execrable modern committee translations (chief among them the NIV) try to insert the word as often as possible, however, under the powerful influence of a tendentious theology which allows little room for diversity or creativity.

If sin was by no means either primary or central in the preaching of Jesus, (unlike eg. our responsibility to keep on forgiving others as God does or to face down religious arrogance, bigotry and judgementalism as he tirelessly did) why is it obviously so important to many of the contributors to this thread? Or is the way Jesus himself proclaimed the Gospel not to be counted as the most significant factor in the way we frame and construct the central Christian narrative in our time and places?

Talk to me, please.

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Nunc Dimittis
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quote:
Originally posted by piers ploughman:
Jamat, thankyou for your thoughtful response.

Anselm of Canterbury (c1033-1109) is absolutely crucial to debates about the Atonement. His "Cur Deus Homo" (Why God Became Man) effectively set the tone for all subsequent discussions about the subject until Gustav Aulen's "Christus Victor" appeared in 1931, giving us a glimpse of a long neglected view that was prevalent amongst Christians in the First Millennium. Anselm's great innovation was to remove Satan completely from the central Christian narrative of salvation - something that should always arouse suspicion. He went on to render God as a kind of outraged feudal magnate justly demanding satisfaction for offences caused by human sin.
It seems there is more to me in Jesus' quoting Hosea than what you suggest. If God really does not require sacrifice, a fundamental plank in the penal substitutionary theory has effectively been removed. Don't you think?

Thanks for bringing in the Anselmian perspective, piers pl.

I think it's important though, to understand that Anselm promoted subsitutionary atonement. It wasn't, in his reading, primarily penal, although penal ideas are incipient in his thought. Penal subsitutionary atonement was mostly the invention of the reformers, as a logical extension of Anselm's position.

It's also important to note that Anselm's formulation of subsitutionary atonement was a bi-product of his overall aim: which was to demonstrate WHY the incarnation. And you're quite right to point out the feudal system on which Anselm's theory of atonement is based. The redressing of wronged honour was not necessarily emotionally loaded (wrath, anger, demanding punishment, being offended). It was a transaction to be balanced. Humanity could not pay the debt owed to God's honour caused by sin, only God could, yet humanity should pay the debt. Therefore only a God-Man, one who was both human and God could. And Jesus does this as our substitute, in our place (in Anselm's schema). This is more about the restoration of a debt owed rather than divine punishment. [The chief arguments against Anselm centre around the problem of agency - if a substitute pays, then what of my responsibility? - and the problem that his model of atonement is very dated by the social construct on which it is built. We don't operate so much on an honour/shame system in modern western capitalist society, so how relevant is Anselm's model?]

Penal substitutionary atonement takes this further, suggesting that God needs to punish sin, and that Jesus bears that punishment and wrath in the place of humanity. Rather than punish guilty humans, God provides the Son. Which means God as Father punishes the innocent Son. [I side with the feminists who critique this doctrine as condoning child abuse and victimisation of the vulnerable - but that's another discussion. Another thing I never understood in my Calvinist childhood, was how God could be simultaneously impassible, transcendent, without passions or parts, and yet also furiously wrathful, burning with anger and hatred towards sin(ners) (love and the less violent emotions were always bifurcated into the transcendent, platonic realm, and were never "felt" by God in the way wrath etc was).]

The other chief problem with PSA is that it shifts the significance of redemption and weights it entirely on the death of Christ, to the extent that Jesus' life, and the very Incarnation itself, are sublimated into the one purpose: death. Almost as though it wouldn't have mattered had Jesus been locked in a small room for most of his life, as long as he was brutally murdered as an innocent sacrifice. (Jesus the Lamb bred for slaughter, anyone?)

Any account of the atonement, in my view, really needs to take into serious consideration the whole of the Christ event - the incarnation of the Logos/Sophia, his birth, his life, his ministry, teaching, actions, healings, community interaction, the trajectory of his conflict with the authorities, his death, resurrection and ascension. Jesus, in the wholeness of his person and actions, saves us from sin, death, hell, lostness, division from God. In short, it's time the age-old distinction between soteriology and christology was dissolved.

Posts: 9515 | From: Delta Quadrant | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
piers ploughman
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Thankyou, Nunc Dimittis, for your considered and insightful remarks re Anselm.
I agree with your reading of him on the whole. The only thing I would take direct issue with is your reference to 'the Reformers' as the founders of a full-blown PSA; they were a diverse bunch and many of them, including (most probably) Luther weren't sipping from that poisoned scholastic chalice. Indeed, the further you go into the more radical side of Reformation thought and away from the Magisterial, the more likely you are to encounter really marked divergences from the Anselmian perspective and its sixteenth-century extensions.

My real interests in Anselm, however, lie a move or two beyond the controversy about moral agency and cosmic child abuse (which I certainly agree with you about. I am specifically interested in:
1. The disappearance of the Devil from the central Christian soteriological narrative as the accuser who demands retribution, punishment for sin and settlement of the demands of justice. This disappearance created, I suggest, a blank space in which he was gradually to be reconstructed over the next few centuries as the chief character of the demonologies which underlay elitel egitimation for persecutions of heretics, Jews, witches and anyone else Church hierarchs didn't like; and
2. The resurgence of Anselmian patterns of thought in the Twentieth century in the massively influential work of Karl Barth and in Evangelical thought generally. Many thousands were taught penal substituionary theories at seminaries and theological colleges and sent out to sell it as THE Gospel to millions of hearers who, not surprisingly, simply didn't buy it.
If I am at all right about either or both of thses things, the Anselmian Medieval morass has led us into a huge amount of diabolical mischief and the sooner we leave it behind as an unfortunate historical curiosity and get down to form of presentation of a rich, superb Gospel that come across as complex insults to both God and humanity (which they are) the better off we shall all be.

Any comments?

Posts: 2121 | From: perth wa | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged



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