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Source: (consider it) Thread: Moral Influence atonement theology
cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by tessaB:
What do people think of the non-violent attonement theory? As I understand it this states that as human beings we are constantly caught up in cycles of violence and retaliation, often with a scapegoating element. Jesus refuses to be complicit in this, even to the point of death, being a scapegoat for the religious authorities. The resurrection is God's way of saying 'whatever you do, even the worst, even to me, is not enough to separate you from my love.' It's a variant of the moral influence theory in that an example of a human being who is able to absent themself from the cycle of violence gives us hope that we can do it as well, but I think that the main point is the supremacy of God's love over anything.

I'd say it's more of a variant of Christus victor. Very much consistent with Walter Wink's work in the Powers that Be trilogy which I like very much.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jay-Emm:

As a complete metaphor it skirts along the same so called 'cosmic child/self abuse' problems as sola PSA risks*. For vaguely similar reasons, It's God impressing God, with a (in the metaphor**) pointless (self) sacrifice.

*where you can't say enough with the metaphor.
**PSA can kind of get away with it, but only if you put God under a higher authority (which isn't a great alternative).

I could be wrong, but from the description given above, it sounds like the "impressing" isn't towards God but towards man.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
PSA presents a false picture of God-- one that is entirely at odds with what we know about God from observing Jesus. It's a picture of an angry God throwing down threats of lightening bolts and blood on a rebellious nation

No it bloody well is not!

Before you offer up such a clichéd and predictable and highly inaccurate and offensive parody of an idea, why don't you first do your homework and read what the theologians actually say about it.

Well, that was condescending.

I have read theologians. I have read those who endorse PSA and those who do not. I understand the reasons why some will say PSA is not presenting an angry, bullying god-- but, as I said, to me it sounds like double-speak, almost to the point of gas lighting. God is repelled by our sin, can't be in communion with us-- but we are helpless to do anything about it. God loves us and wants only the best for us, but we are so disgusting and evil-- inevitably so-- that we are all bound for hell without the intervention of the Son (again, that implied but of course never explicit biforcation of the persons of the Trinity). I'm sorry, that's double-speak. The critics are right when they say it presents an abusive, angry view of God that is anything but loving, and saying that love and judgment are just "two sides of the coin" is only yet more double-speak.

Which, again, is not to say that there isn't truth in substitutionary atonement. Again, I think there is. But as a metaphor, it will fall apart somewhere, and this is the point where I think that happens. Which, again, is why you have clear and explicit use of other imagery-- especially ransom-- in the NT.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Enoch
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Can those of us who are totally repudiating anything to do with PSA as having anything possibly to say to anyone, each let the rest of us know whether you are repudiating the P, the S, the A or all three?

I still stand by what I said earlier, that there seems to me to be a profound and simple symmetry between those who say PSA is the 100% right and all encompassing explanation and those who say that it is 100% wrong and some sort of spiritual iniquity.


I can see value in the 'non-violent' model as an interesting aid to reflection, but as a widely encompassing explanation, I can't help feeling it isn't adequate - and I choose 'feel' deliberately. It feels as though it doesn't go far enough in engaging with darkness or sin. It's OK for when things are going well. But does it redeem or change anyone's heart from inside? It's a gospel for those who are already high-minded, worthy and well intentioned.


The link to the Orthodox writer is interesting. It makes me want to ask, though, how for those who use sacrificial language of the Holy Liturgy/ Mass/Eucharist/Holy Communion/Lord's Supper/Breaking of Bread Service, isn't it hazardous to knock out or play down an understanding of Jesus's death on the Cross as a sacrifice? Wouldn't that be a bit of a nonsense?

Our old prayer book was founded on a Reformation position that had turned against the idea of the Mass as a sacrifice. Nevertheless, the old Prayer of Consecration says very explicitly,
quote:
who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world;


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Mudfrog
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OK, let's leave aside the inaccurate and 'mythological' language, borrowed from Olympus, about a spiteful god hurling thunderbolts.

Let's leave aside the highly inaccurate view that Jesus is the nice gentle One whilst the God of the evangelicals is the Old Testament God who hates all sinners and rejoices in their doom.

Let's also leave aside the division of the Trinity whereby the Father is the judge and the Son is the condemned victim.

Let's leave aside the view that sin is never serious enough to warrant separation from God (whatever that might mean)

Now.
Can we focus on Scripture and especially those passages that not only seem to talk about PSA, but also talk about condemnation.

Is there no merit in such passages, as far as Shipmates are concerned?


quote:
Isaiah 53:4-6
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
5But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
6All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.

quote:
Galatians 3:13
But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

quote:
Romans 3:25-26
For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

quote:
John 3:18
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

quote:
Mark 16:16
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

quote:
John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
I don't know how to explain away these verses.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Martin60
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It's very simple. They're our verses. Not God's. The trajectory from them to Him has accelerated over the three to two thousand years since they were written. We're still in the gutter looking at the stars of course. But we've mellowed inevitably.

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Love wins

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
It's very simple. They're our verses. Not God's. The trajectory from them to Him has accelerated over the three to two thousand years since they were written. We're still in the gutter looking at the stars of course. But we've mellowed inevitably.

I'm sorry, but you'll have to spell out exactly what you mean. I didn't understand it.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Martin60
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OK. How do you explain those verses? Explain them back? Shorn of their 800 years of immediate enculturation up to 2000 years ago of course.

[ 11. January 2017, 20:58: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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Jay-Emm
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jay-Emm:
...

I could be wrong, but from the description given above, it sounds like the "impressing" isn't towards God but towards man.
In theory, but if we were known to be going 'Meh', which by definition on following through we did. Our unimpressedness is kind of given.
It probably wasn't the right phrasing, I couldn't express what I was seeing (and still can't). But it relies on God deciding we ought to have been impressed by that, which works great when combined with any other theory of atonement that gives Jesus's life,death and resurrection some purpose. It's the difference between dying in the Somme and jumping randomly off a cliff (the classic self immolation protests, would be some form of Moral Influence I guess).

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Gamaliel
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@Enoch, MT will correct me if I'm wrong but the Orthodox understanding of sacrifice and the Eucharist is different from the Roman one, which seems to be the model you have in mind.

I've read the article that Gorpo helpfully provided and it was very interesting indeed. There have been non-canonical Orthodox on here, anyone remember Myrrh? - who have argued as if the atonement was somehow unnecessary - if I understood her correctly that is.

As far as the canonical Orthodox go, my impression is that there is certainly an emphasis on the cross and the atonement, it's simply that it isn't couched in the terms we are more accustomed to in the West - with our more juridical and Augustinian approach.

That said, the emphasis is rather more on theosis and our union with the divine and there are some echoes and parallels there with aspects of Western Christian mysticism - but without the sentimentality - and also with some aspects that chime with certain Wesleyan strands.

In response to Enoch's question about which aspect of PSA causes concern, it's clearly the P part - the Penal aspect.

My issue with that isn't so much the idea that we don't deserve to be punished - and of course God isn't going to punish anyone for things they 'can't help' doing - but the bifurcation that this can lead to in our Trinitarian understanding. I'm not accusing Mudfrog of that - as he's said, 'God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself' ...

Nor am I accusing John Stott of that either, and whilst I can find fault with it, for my money Stott's 'The Cross of Christ' is one of the better presentations of PSA that I have come across.

The way Christ is portrayed as taking the rap for our sins instead of us is undoubtedly presented in a very crude way across the evangelical world. I'm sorry, but there it is.

That said, there are still those verses about us being 'by nature objects of wrath' and the Isaiah 53 references to punishment. I'd be interested to explore various understandings of those.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Gamaliel
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While I'm waiting for that, what translation are you using for those verses, Mudfrog?

Some of them sound more like paraphrase verses to me from strongly evangelical sources rather than what we might 'call' standard ones.

I tend to use the NKJV these days rather than the NIV. I've not looked those verses up in the various versions I have here to hand but they don't all sound familiar in the version you've used ... Whichever it happens to be.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Mudfrog
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I think they're the Common English

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:
If Jesus´ death wasn´t really sacrificial or vicarious, then it was unnecessary.

According to PSA, yes. But as has been noted here ad nauseam, PSA is not the only atonement model.

 
quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:

I´m not aware that evangelicals reject other metaphors of the atonement. They don´t.

I'm sorry but some in fact do.

I'd be rather wary of so called explications of Orthodox theology that pay scant or no attention to the services of the church, the councils, or the Fathers. This guy does theology like a Protestant, and clearly has a shit load of baggage he didn't check at the gate.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Thing is, Kwesi, I've seen the Orthodox wield hymnody as authoritative, as it forms part of Holy Tradition alongside scripture, iconography and so on ...

I think MT was simply amused that some of us - and you weren't the only one -using hymnody to bolster our arguments.

We use hymnody as authoritative within our own Church. If the question is, "What does the OC believe about XXX?" then the answer may well be found in what we say about XXX. We don't however use our hymnody to impress people outwith Orthodoxy of the correctness of our position, the way Wesley is here being used to bolster the argument for PSA.

quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
OK, let's leave aside [this that and the other thing]

Again this demand that we debate things on your terms. That's not how debate works.

quote:
[Bunch of proof-texts]
And, apparently your terms are: proof-texting. But recall that texts require interpretation. And if your interpretation leads to contradictions, then dragging out more and more texts isn't going to help you any. One contradiction is all it takes to disprove a set of propositions. Adding more propositions to the set does not remove the contradiction.

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
As far as the canonical Orthodox go, my impression is that there is certainly an emphasis on the cross and the atonement, it's simply that it isn't couched in the terms we are more accustomed to in the West - with our more juridical and Augustinian approach.

Keep in mind that for us, the Resurrection is salvific, and not merely proof that the guy who died on Good Friday was actually God and not just some guy. If you want to read a real Orfie on Orthodox atonement, and not some two-bit Protestant in Orthodox clothing who has no right whatsoever to speak for the Orthodox faith (the bishops are tasked with rightly dividing the word of truth, not the academic theologians), you could do a hell of a lot worse than Chrysostom's paschal homily, the last stanza of which I quote:

quote:
O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.


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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Gamaliel
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I'm not sure I like your tone, MT, particularly when you are talking to someone who is something of an Orthophile and who wants to understand the Orthodox position.

I have no idea how Orthodox that Orthodox writer is on that Orthodox radio website.

'Two bit Protestant in Orthodox clothing's sounds a bit harsh to me. Sure, he does sound more like a Protestant than most Orthodox writers I've read but you say that as if he's got the plague.

One of the things I like about the Orthodox is that theology doesn't appear to be left to Bishops and blokes in funny hats, but there is room and scope for lay theologians.

Sure, I get the role of Bishops as guardians of the faith but it seems a bit dismissive to me to say, 'Steady on, a Bishop hasn't endorsed this, it must be shit.'

As for the thing from.St John Chrysostom, yes, I am aware of that. It's lovely.

@Mudfrog, the Common English translation?

I'm not aware of that one. What are its credentials? It sounds quite a 'loaded' translation to me.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Gamaliel
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I also think you'll find that in some evangelical traditions, the Resurrection is seen as salvific too - or at least more salvific than it is in some quarters of the Protestant world.

The Wesleyan tradition carries an element of that, although it's perhaps not as fully realised an emphasis as it is within Orthodoxy.

I know I often knock the restorationist thing I was involved with for many years but in many ways the 'take' on the cross and resurrection there wasn't a million miles from what I've heard IMG the Orthodox. I'm not suggesting it was the same nor that it wasn't in need of adjustment, but the Resurrection certainly wasn't seen as a bolt-on extra, which, I'll concede, it can do in some parts of the Protestant scene.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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mousethief

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I was referring to a link given by gorpo, I thought. Anyway you don't square with what I actually say about him, only with my tone. As if what I say about this two-bit self-appointed theologian was about you. Which is odd. As is the fact that you responded to virtually everything in that paragraph except my chief complaint about him.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Gamaliel
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I obviously didn't explain myself clearly.

I knew you were referring to the piece Gorpo had provided. I can't see how that implies I'm talking as if it was directed at me.

I have no idea how Orthodox that writer is by your standards.

He didn't sound un-Orthodox to me, simply exploring aspects that aren't generally a big deal as far as the Orthodox are concerned.

Is that not allowed?

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
'Two bit Protestant in Orthodox clothing's sounds a bit harsh to me. Sure, he does sound more like a Protestant than most Orthodox writers I've read but you say that as if he's got the plague.

It is not a plague to be a Protestant. But if you want to know what the Orthodox church teaches about something, you would be wise to ask an Orthodox. Or somebody who knows Orthodox theology enough to know that chopping Hebrew words is not how we do theology. Hell, we don't even use the Masoretic Text, we use the LXX. It's like that song by the Commodores, "You're once, twice, three times a Protestant."

quote:
One of the things I like about the Orthodox is that theology doesn't appear to be left to Bishops and blokes in funny hats, but there is room and scope for lay theologians.
And for us to call them on their bullshit. You can't have the former without the latter.

I wouldn't say "a bishop hasn't endorsed so it's shit" I'd say "a bishop hasn't endorsed this so it in no way should be taken to reflect the view of the Orthodox Church." Which is just what it is presented as.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
He didn't sound un-Orthodox to me, simply exploring aspects that aren't generally a big deal as far as the Orthodox are concerned.

Is that not allowed?

I told you the chief problem I had with him. You still haven't acknowledged I even said it, let alone addressed it. Which is allowed. Somewhat counterproductive, I should think.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Gamaliel
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Ok, I've re-read what I wrote and can see why you challenged me on it.

Your main criticism? Ok ... Right, it's what he left out and what he didn't refer to.Is that it?

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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Gamaliel wrote (and I snipped):

quote:
My issue with that isn't so much the idea that we don't deserve to be punished - and of course God isn't going to punish anyone for things they 'can't help' doing...

...That said, there are still those verses about us being 'by nature objects of wrath' and the Isaiah 53 references to punishment. I'd be interested to explore various understandings of those.

This made me think a little along the lines suggested by my sig. I find it helpful to concentrate on the 'punishment' inherent in our sin, rather than looking forward (as it were) to a day of judgement. That inherent punishment is what I need saving from, ISTM.

Plucking a silly example from the air, so as not to burden you all with my _real_ shit - my sugar addiction (gluttony) is ruining my teeth, putting weight on I could do without, and may send me diabetic in the end. If it turns out I 'really couldn't help it', that punishment remains inherent in the act, all the same - so I _do_ get punished; it's just the way the world works.

I tend to think of God's 'wrath' the same way - a slightly picturesque way of talking about the punishment inherent in the shit we do, necessary owing to the way the universe is (sugar, teeth etc) and in that sense 'owned' by God the creator.

Well, I hope that's a useful contribution.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Gamaliel
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Ok I've re-read what I wrote and understand your reaction.

As for what he left out ... That's the issue? Ok.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
This made me think a little along the lines suggested by my sig. I find it helpful to concentrate on the 'punishment' inherent in our sin, rather than looking forward (as it were) to a day of judgement. That inherent punishment is what I need saving from, ISTM.

Yes. Because the inherent "punishment" is death and separation from God, if we continue to separate ourselves from him, which is what sin ultimately is about. But if we turn to him he is happy to save us, etc.

Gamaliel: Well, that's a dismissive way of putting it, since what he left out was everything.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Kwesi
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Thing is, Kwesi, I've seen the Orthodox wield hymnody as authoritative, as it forms part of Holy Tradition alongside scripture, iconography and so on ...

I think MT was simply amused that some of us - and you weren't the only one -using hymnody to bolster our arguments.
We use hymnody as authoritative within our own Church. If the question is, "What does the OC believe about XXX?" then the answer may well be found in what we say about XXX. We don't however use our hymnody to impress people outwith Orthodoxy of the correctness of our position, the way Wesley is here being used to bolster the argument for PSA.

Thank you. I find your comments most informative. I was unaware of the authoritative role of hymns in Orthodoxy, or, for that matter, elsewhere.

Although Methodists greatly value their hymns as their latest British Hymnal, Singing the Faith , suggests, they do not regard their hymns as doctrinally authoritative. On matters of doctrine they would rather rest their case on scripture, tradition, and reason. That is my position.

On the question of the atonement various approaches are reflected in Methodist Hymn Books. Significantly, regarding Singing the Faith, the inclusion of In Christ Alone was controversial for the phrases "Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied ". The authors refused to permit the editors to amend the reference to the "wrath of God", so rather than exclude the hymn altogether it remained as such.

I must admit, as an opponent of PSA, I cannot but agree with the couplet in How Great Thou Art : "And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,/ Sent Him to die - I scarce can take it in." Yes, indeed!

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
OK, let's leave aside the inaccurate and 'mythological' language, borrowed from Olympus, about a spiteful god hurling thunderbolts.

Let's leave aside the highly inaccurate view that Jesus is the nice gentle One whilst the God of the evangelicals is the Old Testament God who hates all sinners and rejoices in their doom.

Let's also leave aside the division of the Trinity whereby the Father is the judge and the Son is the condemned victim.

Let's leave aside the view that sin is never serious enough to warrant separation from God (whatever that might mean)

Am I wrong, or has this taken a distinctly personal tone? Do we need to take this elsewhere? I'm rather taken aback by what I'm reading to be a lot of hostility toward what seem to be entirely my thoughts here.

Putting aside what may or may not be personal hostility, may I ask why? Why are you asking me/us to "set aside" what seem to me and at least some other posters here to be valid concerns? What seem to be the essence of the debate over whether PSA is a valid or appropriate or sufficient explanation of the atonement? I get that you don't like the way I worded things-- although I still stand by that wording. But why put a hedge around the discussion?


quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

Let's leave aside the highly inaccurate view that Jesus is the nice gentle One whilst the God of the evangelicals is the Old Testament God who hates all sinners and rejoices in their doom.

Does it help at all to remind you that I am an evangelical, so when I am talking about the "God of the evangelicals" I am talking about MY God, the God I understand and seek and worship?


quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

Now.
Can we focus on Scripture and especially those passages that not only seem to talk about PSA, but also talk about condemnation.

Is there no merit in such passages, as far as Shipmates are concerned?


quote:
Isaiah 53:4-6
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
5But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
6All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.

quote:
Galatians 3:13
But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

quote:
Romans 3:25-26
For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

quote:
John 3:18
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

quote:
Mark 16:16
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

quote:
John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
I don't know how to explain away these verses.

But again, most of us here, very much myself included, are not arguing against substitution as a metaphor per se. As I've said more than once, substitution is a valid metaphor precisely because there is Scripture that specifically points to it and uses that language. I am certainly not suggesting that we do away with that or disregard it-- nor do I hear very many other posters here saying that, although there may be one or two.

otoh, while a couple of the verse you cited above are clearly and unequivocally framing the atonement as substitution, there are several that can be read through the "Satan-ward" lens of ransom and or Christus victor or the Orthodox sin-as-sickness motif. And there are so many verses you didn't cite here, verses that are every bit as explicitly framing the atonement in one of the Satan-ward theories. For example, to name just a few:

quote:
• Matt. 20:28: Just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

• John 8:34: Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.

• Heb. 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

• Heb. 2:14-15, 18: he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death… Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

• 2 Tim. 1:9-10: This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

These verses are every bit as explicit in their expression of ransom or Christus victor as are the substitutionary verses you cited. Which is why I and others have explicitly argued not for abolishing the substitution metaphor (although perhaps the "penal" aspect) but rather for including substitution as part of a more holistic approach. Indeed, I've heard you say that as well-- so I'm a bit baffled by your seemingly hostile and possibly personal response to my not at all dissimilar suggestion.

One thing I mentioned before that hasn't been addressed (perhaps it doesn't resonate) was that I see the problem with the common evangelical (at least in my American circles) emphasis on PSA-only is not just the exclusion of the other metaphors but also treating PSA not as a metaphor but as a transaction. There's something about that "he paid X so we get Y" way of framing it that's missing something really essential for me, as well as giving it a rigidity that requires us to accommodate what to me appear to be obvious flaws. The obvious flaws are not a problem if we think of it as metaphor-- any more we're not concerned about the ways the shepherd or king or mother hen metaphors fall short of explaining God. When you lose the ability to think of it as metaphor, though, you end up adjusting your theology to make it work and that's when you'll end up IMHO with a truly faulty view of God. And that, IMHO, is a real problem.

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Kaplan Corday
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PSA, or something like it, is unavoidable if the NT is to be taken seriously.

This doesn't mean that other models (ransom, theosis, Christus Victor etc) are not scriptural, and complementary to it, but that the elements which PSA is comprised of, such as sin, guilt, separation, enmity with God, judgement, sacrifice, atonement and sin-bearing, so saturate most of the NT writings that they cannot in good faith be ignored or rationalised away.

PSA is a bit like the doctrine of the Trinity in that it is not named as such, but is necessary to draw together much that would be otherwise incomprehensible and inchoate.

Both doctrines contain elements (eg three hypostases/personae in One God; transfer of guilt) which are possible to believe but impossible to adequately conceptualise - a bit like post-Newtonian physics (which is not to say that theology is the epistemological equivalent of physics).

Rejecting PSA does not solve the problem of the "that's not the God of love whom I worship" faction, because even in the Synoptics, a segment of the NT which genuinely does contain almost nothing about evangelical themes such as PSA and justification by faith, they are still stuck with a Jesus whose soteriology and eschatology contains more hair-raising hellfire imagery than anyone else in the NT, with the possible exception of John in Revelation.

[ 12. January 2017, 00:22: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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Gamaliel
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MT, if I am being dismissive, then surely the same could be leveled to your charge in the way you have responded to the verses Mudfrog supplied.

You've effectively erased them all and dismissed them as 'proof-texts'.

I understand the Orthodox don't do theology that way, but I don't think Mudfrog was proof-texting as such, but simply listing verses that are commonly understood in a PSA type way by people from his tradition.

I'm interested in hearing how else some of these verses might be understood, and yes, let's hear all the things the 'two-bit' quasi Protestant so-called Orthodox author who was writing on the Ancient Faith blog left out ...

At least Cliffdweller has engaged with some of these verses and outlined how they might be understood in an alternative way to how Mudfrog takes them.

Ok, I get your gripe about some us expecting the Orthodox to debate using our own terms of reference rather than theirs - granted - but we aren't all Orthodox here. In fact, some of us are so steeped in Western evangelical traditions that we find it hard to comprehend that it's possible to read the NT seriously without coming to similar conclusions as we have - which is effectively what Kaplan has just written.

Therefore, in Kaplan's view, it must follow that the entire Orthodox Church hasn't been treating the NT seriously for the last 2,000 years ...

Which isn't the view I'd take but there you are ...

Perhaps it would help if you could outline how some of these verses and concepts are understood within Orthodoxy?

Surely it's not proof-texting by asking how you understand the reference to us being 'by nature objects of wrath' or if we do not believe we are 'condemned already'?

I'm not asking you to be all indulgent with us, nor am I asking you to abandon your terms of reference, but I am asking you to explain how the Orthodox understand some of these verses which some posters here seem to regard as self-evidrntly supportive of a particular interpretation which you reject.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

Is there no merit in such passages, as far as Shipmates are concerned?


quote:
Isaiah 53:4-6
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
5But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
6All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.

quote:
Galatians 3:13
But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

quote:
Romans 3:25-26
For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

quote:
John 3:18
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

quote:
Mark 16:16
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

quote:
John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
I don't know how to explain away these verses.
Well, FWIW, I think there are a bunch of metaphors used in different parts of the bible that I find problematic. Generally I just try to think "well, it's a metaphor, probably best not to get too hung up about the implications of taking that metaphor as fact."

I'm not even really convinced that one shouldn't stop using a metaphor if it becomes too problematic. But that's me, I know.

Of course, expressing these verses together in the way you have above is an effort to show why you think the PSA model is valid, which is fair enough. But I'm not even sure it is the only way to understand them even in their own terms.

Greg Boyd says it is possible to take the totality of the message of these verses on the atonement as pointing towards Christus Victor - namely that it wasn't God the father doing the punishing but that Christ willingly gave himself for victory over the powers/devil.

Is that a stretch for the Isaiah verses? Maybe it is.

I don't think it is so hard with the Romans verses. It doesn't explicitly say that the shedding of the blood was pay-back to God for sin, it seems to me it is possible to read that as saying that Christ took all the blows (from the devil) and in the process negated them for everyone.

The Mark and John verses don't seem to me to be particularly relevant, other than noting about the use of "wrath of God".

He says this about that:

quote:
Along the same lines, in the Christus Victor view, Jesus was afflicted by the Father not in the sense that the Father’s rage burned directly toward his Son, but in the sense that God allowed evil agents to have their way with him for a greater good. This is how God’s wrath was usually expressed toward Israel in the Old Testament (e.g. Jud 2:11-19; Isa 10:5-6). It’s just that with Jesus, the greater good was not to teach Jesus obedience, as it usually was with Israel in the Old Testament. Instead, God the Son bore the Father’s wrath, expressed through the powers, for the greater good of demonstrating God’s righteousness against the powers and sin (Rom 3:25) while defeating the powers and setting humans free from their oppression.
from here:

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
PSA, or something like it, is unavoidable if the NT is to be taken seriously.

This seems to fall at first base. Plenty of serious people - and not only contemporary people - have put forward theories of the atonement. PSA, in fact, has really only been formulated in the way that most Evangelicals understand it since the Reformation - so it doesn't even have a particularly long pedigree. I don't think there is much evidence of it being a worked-out theory in the early church (although am ready to be proven wrong).

quote:
This doesn't mean that other models (ransom, theosis, Christus Victor etc) are not scriptural, and complementary to it, but that the elements which PSA is comprised of, such as sin, guilt, separation, enmity with God, judgement, sacrifice, atonement and sin-bearing, so saturate most of the NT writings that they cannot in good faith be ignored or rationalised away.
Well millions of non-Evangelicals show that they can. So.

Simply stating that something can't "be ignored or rationalised away" isn't an argument but a statement of opinion. Given that you don't seem to be trying very hard to engage with all the other people who clearly do not hold to a theory of PSA that you describe, I'd say that you're diminishing them to a status of "not serious".

Once again - to pick one - there is almost no biblical evidence that sin causes seperation from God (in the sense of causing a huge chasm which he cannot cross in his holiness for risk of being contaminated). I'd go as far as to say that this Evangelical trope actually never happens in the bible anywhere.

quote:
PSA is a bit like the doctrine of the Trinity in that it is not named as such, but is necessary to draw together much that would be otherwise incomprehensible and inchoate.
Clearly not. Unless you are somehow saying that the Orthodox position above is incomprehensible and inchoate (never mind plenty of other ways of understanding Christianity that do not need PSA).

quote:
Both doctrines contain elements (eg three hypostases/personae in One God; transfer of guilt) which are possible to believe but impossible to adequately conceptualise - a bit like post-Newtonian physics (which is not to say that theology is the epistemological equivalent of physics).
PSA is not the same as the Trinity. For one thing, people have believed in the Trinity for far longer than Evangelicals have believed in PSA.

quote:
Rejecting PSA does not solve the problem of the "that's not the God of love whom I worship" faction, because even in the Synoptics, a segment of the NT which genuinely does contain almost nothing about evangelical themes such as PSA and justification by faith, they are still stuck with a Jesus whose soteriology and eschatology contains more hair-raising hellfire imagery than anyone else in the NT, with the possible exception of John in Revelation.
That seems to say more about the hellfire imagery than PSA though. You've just linked them together and said that there is no possible way to understand the one without the other. Wrong.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Like the difference between acting as a human shield and taking the bullets that would have hit another (CV) and standing against the wall in another's place for God's Firing Squad (PSA). In both there's an element of substitution, but only in the latter is God doing the shooting, and insisting someone has to be shot. But the bullets are still real, the standing in still is needed, [i]pace[/] Gorpo's assertion

[ 12. January 2017, 07:43: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Gamaliel
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Well yes, God the Father didn't somehow take a direct participation in the wielding of the hammers, the scourging and the plaiting of the crown of thorns ... it's not as if He sent the Holy Spirit to 'influence' the actions of the exectutioners or Pilate or the Sanhedrin ...

But in some mysterious way these things occurred 'at the hands of wicked men' and according to 'God's set purpose and foreknowledge.'

God didn't crucify Christ. People did. We did.

Sure, it was all part of the divine economy, the divine plan - but it strikes me that those evangelicals who scoff at the idea of the 'happy Fall' if you like - is it 'Felix Culpa'? - in medieval theology equally end up with some kind of dilemma if PSA is pushed too far.

I'd agree with mr cheesy's response to Kaplan's hell-fire and damnation verses. Those don't necessarily lead to a PSA interpretation. Medieval Catholicism deployed plenty of often grotesque imagery about hell and punishment, yet medieval RCs didn't sign up to a full-on PSA model in the contemporary evangelical sense ...

Equally, there are some depictions of imps and demons dragging people of the Ladder of Ascent and so on in Orthodox iconography and also some Last Judgement frescoes in countries like Romania - and the Orthodox don't sign up for PSA either.

It isn't that the Orthodox elide the topic or ignore these verses, it's simply that they understand them differently to how Western Christians tend to.

What seems like an obvious face-value reading to us isn't necessarily the case to someone else. That's where the conditioning of our respective traditions and backgrounds come into the equation.

None of us are dealing with the bare, naked text.

Even if we there are various ways of interpreting or understanding it.

The Isaiah 53 references are a case in point. The Jews interpret those verses completely different to how Christians do, of course - they think we redact our own understandings from the NT back into it - which is of course exactly what we do.

Obviously, as a Christian, I believe we have very good grounds for doing so. But it's pretty obvious that those passages meant something very different to the Jews of Isaiah's time and subsequently. They believe we've hijacked those verses and applied them for our own ends ...

But that's another issue ...

I'm interested in the Orthodox take on the idea that 'he who does not believe is condemned already' ...

Is condemnation or natural state or one which we acquire? What does it mean to be 'condemned already'?

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Well yes, God the Father didn't somehow take a direct participation in the wielding of the hammers, the scourging and the plaiting of the crown of thorns ... it's not as if He sent the Holy Spirit to 'influence' the actions of the exectutioners or Pilate or the Sanhedrin ...

But in some mysterious way these things occurred 'at the hands of wicked men' and according to 'God's set purpose and foreknowledge.'

God didn't crucify Christ. People did. We did.

On this: I wonder how we get to this idea that "we" crucified Christ. We've had various models of who did the crucifying - including shamefully accusing all Jews being responsible - but I can't think of a biblical paradigm which suggests that.

Indeed, I come back to this idea that we're taught to consider ourselves crucified with Christ. An idea which doesn't seem to make any sense if we're (somehow) also the ones that did the crucifying.

Again, to me the whole thing makes more sense if we stop talking about individuals and instead think of the atonement as being a victory against the devil (or, in my opinion, more helpfully the Powers and Dominions) to which we were enslaved. The crucifixion wasn't then at our hands exactly, but was at the hands of those powers which we were helpless to resist and with which we were fatally compromised.

The atonement frees us from the chains of those oppressive forces and instead of blaming us for contributing to hammering nails into his hands shows us the way we should live. Which, startlingly, is to carry our own cross of crucifixion.

quote:
The Isaiah 53 references are a case in point. The Jews interpret those verses completely different to how Christians do, of course - they think we redact our own understandings from the NT back into it - which is of course exactly what we do.
This is true, although a bit difficult to parse in this discussion with the first principles we must accept to have a discussion of the atonement. If Isaiah 53 isn't about Christ then we've got more problems than struggling to understand the atonement.

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Barnabas62
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I note that the temperature is rising (which isn't surprising) and a couple of posts were heading towards the boundary between vigorous criticism of posts and personal attack. No names, no packdrill. All participants here have been around long enough to know there is a boundary and where it is. So please remember to "play nicely".

Barnabas62
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Gamaliel
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Sure, I get that mr cheesy ...

I suppose I could make the same point without identifying 'us' with the 'wicked men' who are blamed in Peter's Pentecost sermon.

It wasn't God who crucified Christ, people did.

And yes, 'This Jesus whom YOU crucified ...' has been taken, shamefully, as a reference to all the Jews in general rather than those responsible for his death - alongside the Romans of course.

It's an interesting point ...

We are taught to identify with Christ in his sufferings so that we might also share in his glory.

There are tropes around identifying with him in his death, identifying ourselves as being 'responsible' - because of our sin - and so on and so forth.

The main point I was making, though, was that it was people who crucified Christ.

Yet it was also in some mysterious way according to 'God's set purpose and foreknowledge.'

We're told that Jesus could have called upon legions of angels to deliver him, but he didn't ...

I s'pose it further illustrate how complex and ineffable all this is and that we can't neatly condense it all down into a convenient set of metaphors and sound-bites.

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I wonder how we get to this idea that "we" crucified Christ. We've had various models of who did the crucifying - including shamefully accusing all Jews being responsible - but I can't think of a biblical paradigm which suggests that.

I don't think that Jesus makes the Jews responsible so much as "His own people" - meaning those who supposedly follow God. The "chosen people" are stand-ins for those who have failed to obey the God they acknowledge from the start.

Matthew 13:57: "So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.”

John 1:10: "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

Luke 20:17: "Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone’?

Mark 8:31: "And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again."
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Again, to me the whole thing makes more sense if we stop talking about individuals and instead think of the atonement as being a victory against the devil (or, in my opinion, more helpfully the Powers and Dominions) to which we were enslaved. The crucifixion wasn't then at our hands exactly, but was at the hands of those powers which we were helpless to resist and with which we were fatally compromised.

Yes. It is hard to get away from the Gospel statements making humanity complicit in turning away from God. Still it is true that God came into the world to rescue us because eventually we were overcome by the power of hell.

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Martin60
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Like KC I see PSA in the NT, I see it in the quoted human thinking of Jesus, driven by His reading of the OT - Isaiah 53:4-6, 10, 11 in particular - PSA along with satisfaction easily blurs with ransom (substitutionary) atonement, of which Christus Victor is a subset, also in the NT, and moral influence. A spectrum from West to East. I'd love to see a two or three dimensional graph of this, I will play. Not sure what the axes should be.

Time and space for a start. Literalism for another.

If you can see it, it's there. Jesus could, as could Paul and Peter and everyone else. They're all there.

None of which means that any of it is forensic (and yes, I do know that's from an early term for PSA) in Heaven.

In fact none of it is.

Fact.

God is bigger than we are.

For me Jesus is the only possible proof that life is not meaningless; is sublimable. A proof only possible by the impossible claims of His birth, life, death and resurrection. Each and all of the above theories utterly deconstruct to that.

To pretend that PSA isn't obvious and always has been to the majority disposition - including in individual minds, including Jesus' - by far, is in the same ball park as pretending that the NT isn't homophobic, sexist, pro-slavery, patriarchal, violent, dualist, damnationist. How could it NOT be on a good day? Luckily - thanks be to God in Christ - the trajectory from that culture has kept going.

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Love wins

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Mudfrog
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It is very true (is the 'very' necessary?) - anyway, there is truth in the idea that historicaly there are references to hellfire, pitchforks, demons, etc, etc - and et the painters of the pictures didn't necessarily believe in PSA...

Might I suggest that if it ain't necessarily so that the unbaptised, the heathen, the fornicator, the adulterer and the glutton will not roast in hell, then it also aint necessarily so that people like me who do believe that PSA is a useful metaphor and a theory that helps to understand the atonement, alongside all the other metaphors and theories, also do not believe in lakes of burning sulphur, winged demons and echoing laughter around the chamber of the lowest pit of hell (no more than we believe in white-roved martyrs waving golden crowns and casting them down before the glassy sea!

PSA does not necessitate a mediaeval view of the Inferno.


As far as 'who killed Christ' - there are two issues;
the first, which I will get out of the way quick, is the anti-Semitism of the Church that has branded our Jewish brothers and sisters as Christ-killers who have been replaced by the Church which is now the elect of God. The charge that peter spoke, 'This Jesus whom you crucified' can and must only be laid at the feet of those men who were actually in Jerusalem at the time and who cried Crucify.

So, 'were you there when they crucified my Lord?' No I was not.
I did not shout Crucify.
I did not hold lift the cross, not drive in the nails; I did not thrust the spear,
I did not crucify Christ, but my sin did.

For it was not Jesus who was condemned, but my sin within him. He became sin for us and God (the Father) condemned (my) sin in the flesh (of the Son). Jesus took on my sin and that was the reason for his death.


As for the interpretation of Isaiah 53 and the Jewish interpretation of that, for the last 2000 years, being nothing to do with Jesus but everything to do with 'My servant Israel', well, of course that's how they will interpret it.
As with the prophecies that we say foretell the Incarnation, the Jews will only look to immediate context and applicaton. They are hardly going to look at Isaiah 7, 9 and 53 and say, 'Oh right, yes, the Messiah. But we're ignoring that.'

They will understandably reject our view that these verses also refer to the Messiah,
The problem for Christians who agree with them on Isaiah 53 - and especially because of the punishment that bought us peace was on him - is that to be consistent they will also have to agree with Jewish thinking and reject any idea that Jesus is Immanuel, Wonderful Counsellor, the Prince of Peace, etc.


I would also like to hear the Orthodox interpretation of 'is condemned already' and also 'the wrath of God remains upon him (or her)'.

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Mudfrog
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It has been gently pointed out to me that I may have been proof-texting.

I understand the point. Proof texting s not usually a good idea if one were to clip out a Bible verse that says a specific thing and then suggest 'there you go, that's what the Bible says.'

It reminds me of a story I read about some people who wanted to get to a mission meeting in Africa but there had been heavy rains and the river was swollen and the crusade ten was on the other side. So they went to the Bible for guidance; what should we do about crossing the river?
well, of course, the prooftexter among them turned up the story of Jesus calling Peter out of the boat to walk to him...
And yes, you guessed it some of them drowned in the torrent.
We should never prooftext.
Instead we should gain an overall picture - Scripture interpreting and illumining Scripture.

So, by taking a number of verses on a theme, it's easier to see that theme running consistently through the Bible.

A proof text would be just one verse that supports PSA and would be as authentic as the one verse that tells you to pluck your eye out!

I felt that what I was doing was gathering some 'like-minded verses' that suggest there is no one prooftext.

Any of us could do the same for verses about God's mercy, or his forgiving nature. We could gather together all the verses about God as shepherd or a s king or judge.

That is not prooftexting, that's referencing.

One final point.
In Luke 24 Jesus meets the two followers of Jesus who haven't understood what's been going on. In the words of the Gospelwriter about the Twelve, 'they didn't understand from the Scriptures....'.
So what does Luke tell us?
"And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures about himself."

He wasn't prooftexting, but I imagine he quoted plenty of texts to prove that the OT spoke clearly over all about his death and resurrection.

And my final final point (I am a preacher after all [Biased] ) is that when Philip met the Ethiopian, the man asked if Isaiah 53 referred to Jesus or to someone else.

Firstly, Philip, a Jew, was certain Isiah 53 did in fact refer to Jesus and not only that, but he only began with that passage and then went into other OT Scriptures to tell him the good news about Jesus.

Sometimes we have to quote Scripture to actually tell the truth.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Ok, I get your gripe about some us expecting the Orthodox to debate using our own terms of reference rather than theirs

I never said anything of the sort. What I think you're referring to is my saying that we don't quote our own hymns in arguments with non-O's but only to demonstrate what it is we believe. (I suppose conceivably some non-O could argue with me saying, "You guys don't believe that," and I might quote from a kontakion or a canon. That's not what I'm referring to.)

quote:
In fact, some of us are so steeped in Western evangelical traditions that we find it hard to comprehend that it's possible to read the NT seriously without coming to similar conclusions as we have - which is effectively what Kaplan has just written.
There are plenty of non-PSA types here who can argue the non-PSA side as well as, or better, than I can. Read what they have written.

quote:
Perhaps it would help if you could outline how some of these verses and concepts are understood within Orthodoxy?
It would be helpful, perhaps, but really take more time for research than I have to give it right now.

quote:
The main point I was making, though, was that it was people who crucified Christ.

Yet it was also in some mysterious way according to 'God's set purpose and foreknowledge.'

Everything that happens is according to God's set purpose and foreknowledge. This doesn't really change anything in our understanding of God's agency. This almost tells against the "the father crucified the son" trope of Evangelical soteriology. And don't tell me that trope doesn't exist, because I was taught it explicitly when I was an Evangelical.

quote:
by Mudfrog:
PSA does not necessitate a mediaeval view of the Inferno.

Then what exactly is it that Christ's death saves us from, on the view of PSA?

quote:
He wasn't prooftexting, but I imagine he quoted plenty of texts to prove that the OT spoke clearly over all about his death and resurrection.
The difference that makes this comparison inapt is that he wasn't arguing with them, they holding a contrary position, he using verses to prove them wrong. He was explaining for various verses how they applied to him.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

quote:
by Mudfrog:
PSA does not necessitate a mediaeval view of the Inferno.

Then what exactly is it that Christ's death saves us from, on the view of PSA?


Condemnation
Hell
Separation from God.

I have no problem at all in saying that at the judgment there will be those who will not go into the 'many mansions' but who will go into torment.

All the above words are Biblical words.

So too are words like fire, brimstone, etc, etc, but in the same way that many mansions, white robes, palm branches, glassy seas, white thrones and marriages suppers of the Lamb are symbolic of the reality of heaven, so are the horrible words symbolic of the reality of separation from God.

One can easily and justifiably believe in the reality of Hell for the unredeemed - and reject the symbolic language - as one can believe in the reality of Heaven for the redeemed whilst likewise looking beyond the beautiful poetic imagery.

Penal Substitutionary atonement illuminates something of how the cross satisfies the wrath of God and leads the pentitent 'to be with Christ which is far better. Without that atonement - in fact, without any reception of redemption or forgiveness - the unredeemed remains under the wrath of God, is condemned already (both Scriptural phrases) and will perish.

Whether Hell is eternal and conscious, or whether it's annihilation, is a discussion for another thread; but as someone who defends PSA as one of the theories of atonement, I can categorically tell you that it does not require or insist on a literal hell fire.

People who do believe in the lake of fire as an actual place have their own reasons for doing so and I would suggest they would believe it on a literal reading of passages from revelation and from some of the words of Jesus; even they do not depend on a link to PSA.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Like the difference between acting as a human shield and taking the bullets that would have hit another (CV) and standing against the wall in another's place for God's Firing Squad (PSA). In both there's an element of substitution, but only in the latter is God doing the shooting, and insisting someone has to be shot. But the bullets are still real, the standing in still is needed, [i]pace[/] Gorpo's assertion

Yes, a good example/metaphor that gets to the heart of the discussion here. So in both you can talk about "Jesus taking a bullet for us" but the way we view God's disposition towards us is so very very different. And again, very different view of the Trinity, and whether Jesus' sacrifice is contrary/reactive to the Father's wrath (meaning a biforcation of the Trinity) or the fullest expression of the Father's love (consistency within the nature of the Trinity).

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Mudfrog
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If Jesus is the Incarnation of the Godhead, then would it not be more accurate to say that the Son and the Holy Spirit also share the same wrath that the Father displays?

Does the Judge not become the judged on the cross?
In Jesus, is the fullness of God not present?

In his self-sacrifice, the Son is also satisfying his own wrath.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
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Martin60
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God The Son didn't sacrifice Himself. The son of man did.

[ 12. January 2017, 14:19: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
God The Son didn't sacrifice Himself. The son of man did.

So, where was the Son when Jesus the man was on the cross?
Are you suggesting that God the Son was somehow of a different mind to Jesus the man?

I always thought the divine and human were perfectly and indivisibly united.

But nonetheless, at least we agree that the Father didn't kill him!

[ 12. January 2017, 14:28: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by tessaB:
It's a variant of the moral influence theory in that an example of a human being who is able to absent themself from the cycle of violence gives us hope that we can do it as well, but I think that the main point is the supremacy of God's love over anything.

I'd say it's more of a variant of Christus victor. Very much consistent with Walter Wink's work in the Powers that Be trilogy which I like very much.
Wink doesn't commit himself to whether he's saying the Powers have any ontological dimension beyond collective human psychology. In so far as they don't, I think the Girardian theory is more clearly a moral influence theory. It's more sophisticated than the basic Abelardian version of the moral influence theory, but it's one nevertheless.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
This doesn't mean that other models (ransom, theosis, Christus Victor etc) are not scriptural, and complementary to it, but that the elements which PSA is comprised of, such as sin, guilt, separation, enmity with God, judgement, sacrifice, atonement and sin-bearing, so saturate most of the NT writings that they cannot in good faith be ignored or rationalised away.

Sacrifice is neither penal nor substitutionary. There is no penal element to sacrifice. The only OT sacrifice that is substitutionary is the offering for the first-born. The only OT sacrifice that is sin-bearing is the scapegoat.

Sacrifice is not an element that comprises penal substitutionary atonement.
Neither is sin-bearing part of penal substitutionary atonement. Penal substitutionary atonement has Jesus bearing our punishment rather than our sins.
All the other elements you mention are intrinsic to any account of the atonement whatsoever.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Sacrifice is neither penal nor substitutionary. There is no penal element to sacrifice. The only OT sacrifice that is substitutionary is the offering for the first-born. The only OT sacrifice that is sin-bearing is the scapegoat.

Is this right? What about the Levitical sacrifices in the temple? Surely they were substitutionary, we they not?

I'm not sure they have to be understood in that framework, but it seems a bit of a blanket statement to say that there is absolutely no penal aspect to sacrifice, that only the first-born sacrifice (of lambs, presumably, to wipe the blood on the doors in Egypt?) and that only the scapegoat was sin-bearing. If there was no sin-bearing going on in the temple, what was the sacrifice for?

quote:
Sacrifice is not an element that comprises penal substitutionary atonement.
Neither is sin-bearing part of penal substitutionary atonement. Penal substitutionary atonement has Jesus bearing our punishment rather than our sins.
All the other elements you mention are intrinsic to any account of the atonement whatsoever.

I think I agree with this, and you sound like you've got it worked out better than I have!

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Can those of us who are totally repudiating anything to do with PSA as having anything possibly to say to anyone, each let the rest of us know whether you are repudiating the P, the S, the A or all three?

Largely the S, and a little bit the P.

The problems with penal substitutionary atonement are I think twofold:

1) The one most people complain about, which seems to me comparatively minor, is that it does not adequately explain what the problem is that it is trying to solve.
The premise is that God is so completely holy that he must punish our sin. It is hard to explain why God's holiness leads to a requirement that sin be punished without infringing the belief that no restraint operates upon God that God does not freely create himself. Or else you are beginning to play fast-and-loose with the 'penal' aspect by describe the consequences of sin that need to be addressed as other than punishment.

2) The second more fatal problem is that PSA does not set out to solve the problem it sets itself to solve. A requirement to punish sin cannot be satisfied by punishing an innocent non-sinner. That's just not how the concept of punishment works.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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mr cheesy
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I probably should have consulted wikipedia first, but isn't Semicha the laying on of hands to the sacrificial victim to transmit sins?

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my new book: Biblical But Bollocks. Available in all good bookshops.

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