Thread: Moral Influence atonement theology Board: Purgatory / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by churchgeek (# 5557) on :
 
I'm thinking of this because of the Original Sin thread over in Kyryg right now - but obviously, I don't want to derail that thread.

I understand the basic ideas of Moral Influence atonement theology - that Christ's love and example influence us toward salvation. It seems to me it's largely a rejection of various kinds of substitutionary atonement theology, including any transactional ideas about God paying off the devil or Christ paying for our debts.

What I've never fully understood is why Christ's death should be so compelling, then. If you remove the "for us" part of "Christ died for us," then what is so loving or exemplary about his dying? All I can think of is that it's the way he died - forgiving those who killed him, e.g. But many, many people in history have done similarly; is it just that Jesus happens to be the one we've noticed? Does his being God come into play there? Does he have to be God in this model?

Mind you, I reject substitutionary atonement theology too. (My own view is that creation and redemption are really one action of loving creation out into existence and loving it back to Godself; that we're "saved" by God becoming human; and that what we needed saving from was the natural gap between creator and created - in particular, the fact that nothing but God is perfect, and so decay and failure and mortality are inherent in creation until God joins Godself to it.)

Anyway, I'm hoping those of you who do believe in the moral influence theory can shed some light on this for me. What is it about Christ's death that makes it so exemplary? Or do you also emphasize his life? Or do you really only emphasize his life, and see his death as an outcome of the way he lived (prophetically, etc.) in the the world he lived in (under empire)?

Let me stop putting words in your mouths. What are your thoughts, your takes on this particular (in my opinion, oft-neglected) atonement model?
 
Posted by Anglican_Brat (# 12349) on :
 
Churchgeek,

I would argue that in terms of preaching, moral influence atonement theory IMHO is the unofficial theology of many liberal protestants.

With reference to Christ's death, for me, the moral influence atonement theory powerfully doesn't separate Christ as Teacher and Christ as Savior which points to the poverty of evangelical versions of the atonement.

From a Girardian version of this model, the most powerful words of Christ's last hour is "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Christ's demonstration of love on the Cross reveals that he not only taught us to love our enemies, he exemplifies and most perfectly fulfills his way and teaching at his last hour. In this model, Christ perfectly manifests the coming of the Kingdom on the Cross because he alone, perfectly and absolutely manifests Kingdom values.

If one understands the cross this way, it would be grossly simplistic to dismiss moral influence as a sentimental, mushy "Christ changes our hearts" kind of way that some may like to jeer at it. It means that we can no longer pretend ourselves that we have excuses to not follow Christ's way. All throughout our lives, we justify not following the way of Christ by saying it is foolish and simplistic and not tailored to real world situations. I write this, not to deny the real difficulty of following His way, literally (How do we love our enemies after 9/11?) But I think the point of the atonement is to tell us that one person perfectly followed the way of the Kingdom and in the Resurrection, emerged triumphant:

Our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Anglican_Brat;
quote:
"...the poverty of evangelical versions of the atonement".
Really? Evangelical interpretations are actually very rich, not least because we see many, many, different aspects to the atonement rather than trying to limit it to just one theory which rather inevitably does not do justice to the full NT presentation....

"Moral influence" in isolation has the problem that it takes away most of the specific reason and logic of Jesus' death - raising the question why a rather pointless death should have all that much influence over us.

And the further problem that it pretty literally does nothing for us - it only sets an example and without the various other understandings a rather vague example at that.

This in my mind is related to the situation that Jesus doesn't bring ant very new moral rules for us - even "Love your neighbour as yourself" is an OT quote. The basic reason for Jesus' coming is that though we basically know the rules, we find ourselves unable to obey them and need an intervention by God and power from God if we are to keep the rules.

And again, 'forgiveness' isn't just nice feelings - in the real world forgiveness is COSTLY; it means the forgiver basically bearing the cost of the wrongs done against 'him and his'. Anyone asking "Why doesn't God 'just forgive'?" is showing they don't get what forgiveness is.

"Substitutionary atonement"
I'll agree that among many evangelicals the image of PENAL substitutionary atonement is overemphasised. To my mind this is a case where yes, things happen in human criminal legal systems which do represent a substitution in taking a penalty, and they are useful partial images of some aspects of atonement. But not THE primary image.

Debt, on the other hand, is an image that makes a great deal of sense and furthermore is much used by Jesus himself. If you do wrong you can't personally afford to compensate for, someone else paying your debt is very needed. Jesus is simultaneously God forgiving your debt by footing the bill himself AND God in Christ a fellow human being lovingly standing as your substitute. OT and NT imagery uses both ideas....

Jesus' moral influence arises precisely from the very purposeful nature of his death, achieving real forgiveness of real debt, and not arbitrary.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
I suppose for me the issue is: how is Jesus' death supposed to have any moral influence on anyone who died before him?

Most other explanations of the atonement, whatever their other weaknesses, could at least work both forwards and backwards in time.
 
Posted by Anglican_Brat (# 12349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
I suppose for me the issue is: how is Jesus' death supposed to have any moral influence on anyone who died before him?

Most other explanations of the atonement, whatever their other weaknesses, could at least work both forwards and backwards in time.

[Confused]

I think the only atonement theory that deals with those who died before Christ is Christus Victor and the descent to the dead.
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
hosting

Hi there,
this is not a Dead Horse on these boards. The only Dead Horse subjects are 'biblical inerrancy, homosexuality, the role of women in church and Christian households, creation and evolution, abortion, closed communion and bitching about church music. ' Please remember when starting a DH thread to check the guidelines before posting because only the topics in the guidelines qualify.


I'm moving this to Purgatory, apologies for the delay.

cheers,
Louise
Dead Horses Host

hosting off
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
I suppose for me the issue is: how is Jesus' death supposed to have any moral influence on anyone who died before him?

Most other explanations of the atonement, whatever their other weaknesses, could at least work both forwards and backwards in time.

[Confused]

I think the only atonement theory that deals with those who died before Christ is Christus Victor and the descent to the dead.

Wouldn't ransom theory also cover it?
 
Posted by Anglican_Brat (# 12349) on :
 
It is constructive to see the different atonement models as all partial and incomplete on their own, every atonement model has their pluses or minuses.

If I tend to seem dogmatic about the moral influence model, it is because it is sometimes dismissed as a sentimental, liberal sappy "Jesus changes your heart" model, but I think it can speak more than that.

In reflecting on atonement, the issue begins with "What is the problem that atonement is trying to solve?" The moral influence model begins with the premise that the problem isn't with people's broken relationship with God, because God is eternally loving, and our sin does not impair the glory of the Trinity. The model begins with the premise that the problem is our brokenness in our relationship with each other.

The other models begin with the premise that the problem is our broken relationship with God.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
I don't see how God's eternal super-duperness means we can't have an impaired relationship with God. Relationship takes two parties. If one party is messed up, the relationship will be impaired, even if the other is not.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
I suppose for me the issue is: how is Jesus' death supposed to have any moral influence on anyone who died before him?

Most other explanations of the atonement, whatever their other weaknesses, could at least work both forwards and backwards in time.

[Confused]

I think the only atonement theory that deals with those who died before Christ is Christus Victor and the descent to the dead.

Wouldn't ransom theory also cover it?
I would suggest that sacrifice too would cover it, because Christ descended in order to announce the news that his sacrifice validated in retrospect all the sacrifices made under the Mosaic covenant.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
It is constructive to see the different atonement models as all partial and incomplete on their own, every atonement model has their pluses or minuses.

If I tend to seem dogmatic about the moral influence model, it is because it is sometimes dismissed as a sentimental, liberal sappy "Jesus changes your heart" model, but I think it can speak more than that.

In reflecting on atonement, the issue begins with "What is the problem that atonement is trying to solve?" The moral influence model begins with the premise that the problem isn't with people's broken relationship with God, because God is eternally loving, and our sin does not impair the glory of the Trinity. The model begins with the premise that the problem is our brokenness in our relationship with each other.

The other models begin with the premise that the problem is our broken relationship with God.

I agree with this [Smile]

I have been considering what I've written elsewhere over the last couple of days in relation to original sin, etc.

It seems to me that the atonement metaphors cover different circumstances, different aspects of sin.

It has been mentioned that the Orthodox (and The Salvation Army, if I may be so bold to include them) are quite big on the healing aspect of the atonement. I might suggest that healing would cover the basic fallenness, inherent and 'natural' aspect of sin. It's not my fault that I am a sinner and so, Christ as the Great Physician, offering healing to the 'sin-sick' soul is a great help.

Another aspect of sin is that it is a falling short of the glory of God, no matter how hard we try. well maybe the Christus Victor metaphor can help because his strength within can fortify us against sin and temptation, realising that Christ gives us the victory of sin.

The metaphor of moral influence is also quite big in evangelical circles because it draws us to Jesus and persuades us to give our life to him.

I could quote Wesley's When I Survey the wondrous cross and 'see, from his head, his hands and feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down,'.
Or Love so amazing, s divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.'

Or I could quote from the Old Rugged Cross:
'O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world, has a wondrous attraction for me...'

Or General Evangeline Booth's 'There is life for a look at the Crucified One'... Look, look, look and live'.

People are very polarised about penal substitutionary atonement and I can understand why someone who says 'original sin is not my fault, so why should I be punished for it...'
Maybe therefore, PSA would cover deliberate, rebellious, transgressions, where someone purposefully breaks a known law of God. If God is a just God, a righteous God, can he leave such wilful sin unpunished, with no consequences at all?
If Christ is the one who is 'pierced for our transgressions,' then the phrase, 'the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,' is entirely appropriate - but only, as I said, in the case of those deliberate transgressions.

I accept PSA but I would and could never say it is the only metaphor - indeed, it is a limited metaphor because it does not touch my inherent sin, my weakness, my uncleanness or my slavery to the world, the flesh and the devil.

In a similar way, Moral Influence cannot cleanse my soul, Christus victor cannot heal my broken spirit and ransom cannot give me victory over said world, flesh and devil.

The theories or metaphors are simply that - theories and metaphors. There is but one atonement seen in the cross of Calvary; but like a diamond it reveals many facets; and all of them are appropriate in different ways and at different times.

Today I might be glad of healing.
Tomorrow, grateful for victory.
The day after might praise God for redemption or ransom.
But after that, I might be very glad that while 'in my place condemned he stood, sealed my pardon with his blood, hallelujah what a Saviour,' Jesus took the punishment that my deliberate sin deserved.

I don't think we should throw any of the metaphors out. They all have something to say.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I would suggest that sacrifice too would cover it, because Christ descended in order to announce the news that his sacrifice validated in retrospect all the sacrifices made under the Mosaic covenant.

And PSA would (for the same reasons as ransom and any other transaction ones)
(Any of the battle ones would as CV)

[ 08. January 2017, 14:05: Message edited by: Jay-Emm ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
It was Watts not Wesley who wrote 'When I survey the wondrous Cross ...'

On the idea of overlapping and complementary atonement models - well yes, that makes a lot of sense to me. We are dealing with the ineffable here. It stands to reason that no single atonement model is going to exhaust the issue or cover all the bases.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Another aspect of sin is that it is a falling short of the glory of God, no matter how hard we try. well maybe the Christus Victor metaphor can help because his strength within can fortify us against sin and temptation, realising that Christ gives us the victory of sin.

Not sure how that requires CV. God sends us his indwelling Spirit, which points us and guides us and sometimes drags us toward theosis. Heals us. Back to the sickness/healing model.

quote:
If God is a just God, a righteous God, can he leave such wilful sin unpunished, with no consequences at all?
Why not? Does the father of the Prodigal Son punish him? Proponents of PSA create an imaginary God who is all hung up on his dignity.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Another aspect of sin is that it is a falling short of the glory of God, no matter how hard we try. well maybe the Christus Victor metaphor can help because his strength within can fortify us against sin and temptation, realising that Christ gives us the victory of sin.

Not sure how that requires CV. God sends us his indwelling Spirit, which points us and guides us and sometimes drags us toward theosis. Heals us. Back to the sickness/healing model.

quote:
If God is a just God, a righteous God, can he leave such wilful sin unpunished, with no consequences at all?
Why not? Does the father of the Prodigal Son punish him? Proponents of PSA create an imaginary God who is all hung up on his dignity.

It's called justice
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Anglican_Brat;
quote:
"...the poverty of evangelical versions of the atonement".
Really? Evangelical interpretations are actually very rich, not least because we see many, many, different aspects to the atonement rather than trying to limit it to just one theory which rather inevitably does not do justice to the full NT presentation.....
While I am entirely sympathetic to this view, I would have to concede its not the most commonly articulated evangelical view, at least in US. Steve L is correct-- among American evangelicals anyway, substitutionary atonement is generally the be-all and end-all.

That being said, this American evangelical would agree with Anglican Brat: moral influence on it's own is probably the weakest of the five metaphors for the atonement. But as part of a multi-faceted approach that embraces all the metaphors as telling us something true about Jesus' death & resurrection, it's a powerful and rich teaching.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I would suggest that PSA, or at least substitutionary atonement, is the main atonement model among UK evangelicals too.

I think that both Anabaptists and Wesleyans may take a more nuanced view, with PSA being supplemented by other models - but some of the more Reformed types of evangelical seem to be all about PSA and very little else ...

I've even heard evangelical Anglican clergy preach on the subject without any reference whatsoever to other models or ways of understanding the atonement.

On the 'justice' thing - well, yes, but even that needs more unpacking. It's hardly 'just' to punish someone else for something they haven't done.

The whole idea of God the Father punishing Jesus the Son is an awkward one, even though it's emphasised that Christ willingly died in our place. It could be argued that this does violence to the doctrine of the Trinity.

However, not all PSA proponents put things as crudely as that. John Stott, for instance, in 'The Cross of Christ' is careful to maintain that God in Christ is taking on the role of sacrificial victim - and stepping down into our pain and mortality. So the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are involved - we're not talking about some kind of dislocation ...

However, to my mind this is where PSA is weakest. Like any metaphor or model - and that's what any atonement theory is - it can only be stretched so far.

Stretch it too far and it snaps.

The 'justice' thing is a biggie, but if we're not careful we can end up with God 'trapped' or diminished by his own sense of injustice or limited by it in some way.

We can put no limitations on God.

The same applies, I would suggest, to very full-on forms of Calvinism where God ends up being trapped in a corner by his own eternal decrees and sense of injustice as if these are somehow extrinsic to him.

No, no, a thousand times no.

We cannot limit the eternal and immutable God in any way - not even by his own sense of holiness or propriety.

That's not how these things work, surely?

Ok, I know I have been deliberately crude, but taken too far PSA ends up as an incredibly crude model.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
quote:
If God is a just God, a righteous God, can he leave such wilful sin unpunished, with no consequences at all?
Why not? Does the father of the Prodigal Son punish him? Proponents of PSA create an imaginary God who is all hung up on his dignity.
It's called justice
Let me ask again, since you missed it in your vocabulary lesson. Does the father of the Prodigal Son punish him?
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
On the 'justice' thing - well, yes, but even that needs more unpacking. It's hardly 'just' to punish someone else for something they haven't done.

The whole idea of God the Father punishing Jesus the Son is an awkward one, even though it's emphasised that Christ willingly died in our place. It could be argued that this does violence to the doctrine of the Trinity.

It only does that if one has a faulty view of the Trinity.
Jesus is not the innocent victim unless he was the adopted Son. I am sure there are ,ore learned people than I who could articulate it better but 'God was in Christ reconciling the world'; Jesus laid down his life: 'no-one takes it from me.'
Jesus is not the only victim - as Moltmann said, the Father also suffered the loss of his son.

It is as much a heresy to say the Father punished the Son as it would be to say that the Father is the Creator and the Sin is the Redeemer.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
quote:
If God is a just God, a righteous God, can he leave such wilful sin unpunished, with no consequences at all?
Why not? Does the father of the Prodigal Son punish him? Proponents of PSA create an imaginary God who is all hung up on his dignity.
It's called justice
Let me ask again, since you missed it in your vocabulary lesson. Does the father of the Prodigal Son punish him?
PSA is irrelevant in the story of the prodigal son.
My comment was not about the prodigal son per se but in response to your comment about the 'imaginary'(?) God who is all hung up on his dignity.

In PSA it's not God's dignity that's offended, it's his law. None of this has anything to do with the prodigal son.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
quote:
If God is a just God, a righteous God, can he leave such wilful sin unpunished, with no consequences at all?
Why not? Does the father of the Prodigal Son punish him? Proponents of PSA create an imaginary God who is all hung up on his dignity.
It's called justice
Let me ask again, since you missed it in your vocabulary lesson. Does the father of the Prodigal Son punish him?
Going through the synoptic parables

Sower
Here (assuming the sower is godly, our response is prebuilt, and 'punishment' is natural)

Weeds
Here God (and it is explicitly God) is the antagonist to those not saved. It's a bit predestininy

Treasure
Here God is entirely passive. But (assuming we are the man) there's something to discover. Actually I've just thought (and I bet it's not original) while the first is like that, the second has the kingdom as the merchant, are we the pearl (who God gives everything up for)?, if so it's definitely the most atony/ransomy of these early parables, but even without the most gospelly one

Net
Is basically the same as the weeds.

Unforgiving Servant
While the crux of this is on human behaviour and the response to forgiveness. It has forgiveness (by God presumably), but apparently spontaneous, a financial metaphor is used, it isn't mentioned why the debt is owed (I guess God is the antagonist like in PSA/satisfaction in that sense, but he does what he doesn't do in those models)

(2 Sons)
On human behaviour without any real input

Labourers in Vinyard
Again no real input on atonment or kingdom or heaven, except that we might get sulky about it

Vinyard Tenants
Here we have an explicit, crucifiction like situation, but no atonement.
Unlike PSA it's the father's choice to send him, like PSA the son is punished, unlike PSA the father didn't expect this. Unlike PSA the death is a bit of a failure, and a bit of an anti-atonement)
(similar comments can be made about it's relationship to Moral influence)


(Coming of son of man)
Nothing really on why Jesus is special.

10 Virgins
Here it's Jesus who's offended (rightly or not). Any atonement type thing would be wrapped in the hosting of the feast.

Talents
Ditto? (not really sure what to make of it)

Sheep&Goats
Here again, it's Jesus who's offended (it's clear what by in practical terms!).

Feast
Here, unlike the virgins, it's our choice (again any atonement thing would be wrapped up in the feast)

(Samaritan)
Is all about us?

(Sign of Jonah)

(Rich fool)
Is all about us? I guess it's God who "calls' time"

Lost sheep&coin
Here the father or son, takes an active part, in the sheep I guess it's the sheeps (us) fault, in the coin it's no-one or the woman's (God) fault. In neither, does God punish the sheep or coin for being lost and it's all God's* effort

Lost sons
Here clearly neither 'son' is The Son (or if it is we need to rework our theology). However compared with the initial ones where Jesus&the Father are the enemy of 'sinners', here the Father distinctly does not punish the son (and that's when it's us who have gone wrong, so how much more so would that apply to the Son). There actually is a death caused by the father in the story, but it's clearly not instrumental in the return (except in it's affect on elder son), that would fit a metaphor more if we were screwed to get a prodigal Jesus back.

Persistant widow
[/i]

(Camel&Needle)
[i]



*I was going to put his, but in the context it seemed ill fitting.

[ 08. January 2017, 18:36: Message edited by: Jay-Emm ]
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
I don't think it's possible for God to simply say "oh that's all right" and leave it at that. It's rather like that scientific law about equal and opposite reactions. But he does take care to see the worst of it falls on himself.

Consequences exist and the prodigal is surely going to face some (that inheritance is still gone and he's going to be dependent on the mercy of an offended brother for a while.) But things are on the upswing for him.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, and I was always taught that we have to be care about building doctrine on the Parables. Like analogies, you can only stretch them too far.

On the Moltmann thing, yes, I get that ...

I'm not sure what Mudfrog means when he apparently describes Christ as the 'adopted Son' - so I must have misunderstood what he's saying or read it the wrong way ...

However we understand the atonement the Holy Trinity is involved in His entirety, if I can put it that way.

My understanding of the Orthodox 'take' on these things is that it's more akin to someone diving into a river to rescue someone and then perishing themselves, or pushing someone out of the way of a speeding train and being struck by it themselves - rather than someone being punished in our place.

It all depends on how we understand some of the verses in Isaiah 53 and the 'expiation' or 'propitiation' thing from Romans. Opinion seems divided among scholars on that one.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Proponents of PSA create an imaginary God who is all hung up on his dignity.

It's called justice
There may be ways in which you can describe PSA to explain the attraction, but 'justice' is one of the things it isn't.
It is never just for an innocent person to be punished for something they haven't done.

I can see the emotional appeal as a metaphor for some other model of the atonement, or even as a metaphor for something essentially beyond our comprehension: but not as anything you would want to use to explain beyond the emotional reaction.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
PSA is irrelevant in the story of the prodigal son.

Yes. And in the rest of the bible also. Or so one could argue. BUt you've got the question the wrong way around. The question is not whether PSA is relevant to the Prodigal Son, but whether the Prodigal Son is relevant to PSA. And if not why not? It's about someone sinning and being received back into fellowship without punishment, and without any mention of or fulfillment of justice. Which makes it a counterexample to your claim. Which therefore should be addressed if your claim is to be taken seriously.

quote:
In PSA it's not God's dignity that's offended, it's his law. None of this has anything to do with the prodigal son.
Bullshit. The prodigal son disproves PSA.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I don't think it's possible for God to simply say "oh that's all right" and leave it at that. It's rather like that scientific law about equal and opposite reactions. But he does take care to see the worst of it falls on himself.

Consequences exist and the prodigal is surely going to face some (that inheritance is still gone and he's going to be dependent on the mercy of an offended brother for a while.) But things are on the upswing for him.

Consequences <> Fulfillment of justice. Unless you want to say that God's justice is just what kindergarten teachers call "natural consequences." You were running when you should have been walking and you fall down and skin your knee. That's the end of it as far as justice is concerned. The teacher at that point might scold you, but mostly she'll give you a bandaid and a hug. There's consequences, but there is no "justice" in question at all. (Actually this fits in nicely with the sickness and healing model.)

In the story of the Prodigal Son, the father's reaction to the son's return is simply joy.

One might say the older brother's reaction is sinful. Or natural and understandable. But if he acts shittily toward his returned brother, that's not God's justice, it's the older brother being an asshole.

[ 08. January 2017, 20:13: Message edited by: mousethief ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Are you proof-texting, Mousethief?

The Parable of the Prodigal Son neither proves nor disproves any of the various atonement models.

If we want to address the legitimacy or otherwise of PSA then we can't simply pick out one particular Parable.

The issue if PSA or not PASS doesn't hinge on that.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I don't think it's possible for God to simply say "oh that's all right" and leave it at that. It's rather like that scientific law about equal and opposite reactions. But he does take care to see the worst of it falls on himself.

Consequences exist and the prodigal is surely going to face some (that inheritance is still gone and he's going to be dependent on the mercy of an offended brother for a while.) But things are on the upswing for him.

Consequences <> Fulfillment of justice. Unless you want to say that God's justice is just what kindergarten teachers call "natural consequences." You were running when you should have been walking and you fall down and skin your knee. That's the end of it as far as justice is concerned. The teacher at that point might scold you, but mostly she'll give you a bandaid and a hug. There's consequences, but there is no "justice" in question at all. (Actually this fits in nicely with the sickness and healing model.)

In the story of the Prodigal Son, the father's reaction to the son's return is simply joy.

One might say the older brother's reaction is sinful. Or natural and understandable. But if he acts shittily toward his returned brother, that's not God's justice, it's the older brother being an asshole.

First of all, the prodigal son story doesn't address PSA or any other atonement theory at all. It's not dealing with the "how" of forgiveness and reconciliation--that's not its focus. To put it a different way, you're trying to prove a positive point from a simple absence. Not logically do-able.

But as for consequences. When it comes to human beings dealing with one another, it makes sense to draw a line between natural consequences and stuff "done" by the teacher or parent. But that doesn't work well with God. The universe and its laws have no existence outside of him. Their very design grows to some extent out of his own nature (that is, no universe can exist which contradicts it). And so we expect to see certain attributes of God mirrored (even if only darkly, post-Fall) in this universe.

Take justice. Christ said something about reaping what you sow, which is an analogy from the natural world. We know ourselves that there are consequences to what we do, good or bad. Somebody generally ends up paying the piper. And that sucks if they haven't got the wherewithal to pay that bill without being wiped out (yes, I realize we've wandered into debt analogies, and that's okay with me, theories of the atonement all interweave anyway, it seems).

But that cosmic bill--or consequence, if we're taking that model--is going to be footed by somebody. If you want to extend the Prodigal Son story, it's foreseeable that the next morning kiddo no. 2 is going to hop out of bed and have to deal with the fact that he's got his way to make in this world without the benefit of an inheritance now. Time to get a job.

Or if he's very, very lucky, time to discover that his elder brother has had his heart grow four sizes overnight, and now Dad and big bro together are willing to "foot the bill for him," to deal with the consequences that rightly belong to him and not them. In which case the Dad and big bro end up taking the consequence (which means less money now and a smaller inheritance for the big brother).

What I'm trying to say is that consequences exist, even and especially when it comes to sin; and other people may step in and take those consequences on themselves, but that does not mean that the consequences stop existing. It merely means that the burden of suffering has been transferred to somebody else. Usually God. Because that's how he rolls.

And that willingness to bear our consequences is what enables him to welcome us home with joy without ripping up the basic fabric of the universe--or of his own nature.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Oops, xpost with LC -- this is to Gamaliel

True enough, and I was overstating my case. Nevertheless proponents of any given theory can't wave their hands at verses or pericopes that tell against their theory as if they weren't even there, or didn't have any implications concerning soteriology.

To LC:

You seem to be creating a theory of Christian karma. How is your consequence theory any different from karma?

[ 08. January 2017, 21:56: Message edited by: mousethief ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
That's not what I understood Mudfrog or any other poster here to be doing, Mousethief.

my impression wasn't that people were waving the Parable of the Prodigal Son aside but reacting against the weight you were putting on it as an argument against PSA.

However, there are verses we all could cite, I'm sure that don't appear to fit neatly into any particular atonement theory.
 
Posted by mark_in_manchester (# 15978) on :
 
quote:
And that willingness to bear our consequences is what enables him to welcome us home with joy without ripping up the basic fabric of the universe--or of his own nature.

I find that very helpful - thanks LC
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

However, there are verses we all could cite, I'm sure that don't appear to fit neatly into any particular atonement theory.

There are verses where the Father is to be thanked and verses where Jesus is to be thanked (which is fairly easy to reconcile, if it were the only thing to merge).

And verses where the problem is in God's control, and verses where it's not.
(which is again reconcilable, but then puts stress on the top condition)

Again verses that talk of redeemed, atoned, forgiven, rescued, set free, reconciled, accounted, justified, delivered, adopted, sanctified, reborn, gifted, . (and that's just Romans).

Not insurmountable to unite, but hard not to miss off or relegate some to second place (and most of them having different natural subjects and objects).

[ 08. January 2017, 22:55: Message edited by: Jay-Emm ]
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
ISTM a problem with moral influence atonement theory lies in explaining how the moral example of Christ impacts upon the behaviour of those who observe it to produce the experience of atonement and its sanctifying power. Mindful of Paul’s frustration at being unable to do the good he wishes, (Romans 7: 18-20), it would seem that more is needed than the approbation and desire to emulate the example of Christ. It requires the added capacity to achieve the transformation. There needs to be something stronger than mere objective example.

Mudfrog has pointed elsewhere to the role of mysticism in meditations on the suffering of Christ, particularly in hymns. Mysticism, of course, links the mystic to the spirit of god in a profound, transcendental way that defies the limitations of logic and language. When Isaac Watts contemplates the “wondrous cross” he moves from observation to “dead to all the globe” to complete personal absorption in Christ’s suffering and its “demands” on his soul. Similarly subjective is Charles Wesley’s lesser known hymn, printed below, “Thou shepherd of Israel and mine…” : “ My spirit to Calvary bear/ To suffer and triumph with Thee.” I suspect that for many people the experience of personal atonement is of such a character, and is by no means confined to the evangelical tradition.

Consequently, while I’m attracted to Moral Influence atonement and am unimpressed by PSA and the tradition leading to it, I believe Moral Influence requires an infusion of power that comes with the linking of an individual’s spirit to that of Christ.

Thou Shepherd of Israel divine,
The joy and desire of my heart,
For closer communion I pine,
I long to reside where Thou art:
The pasture I languish to find,
Where all, who their Shepherd obey,
Are fed, on Thy boson reclined,
And screened from the heat of the day.

2 Ah! show me that happiest place,
That place of Thy people's abode,
Where saints in an ecstasy gaze,
And hang on a crucified God!
Thy love for a sinner declare,
Thy passion and death on the tree;
My spirit to Calvary bear,
To suffer and triumph with Thee.

3 'Tis there with the lambs of Thy flock,
There only I covet to rest,
To lie at the foot of the Rock,
Or rise to be hid in Thy breast;
'Tis there I would always abide,
And never a moment depart;
Concealed in the cleft of Thy side,
Eternally held in Thy heart.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
fwiw, I find it helpful to distinguish the direction of each of the five metaphors for the atonement.

• substitution and satisfaction are directed "God-ward"-- the impact of the atonement is on God-- to appease his wrath and/or justice/holiness. The limitations of that are noted above.

• moral influence is directed "human-ward"-- the impact of the atonement is on us-- we are changed as we are able to see/comprehend divine love

• ransom and Christus victor are directed "Satan-ward"-- the impact of the atonement is on Satan-- restraining him or causing him to release us from bondage.

I personally resonate most with the two "Satan-ward" theories, primarily because it has a more positive (IMHO) view of God as the rescuing one, rather than God as the one whose wrath/justice must be satisfied. But I can see truth in all of them-- which is why I think we have all five in Scripture. Like the multiple metaphors for God himself, we are describing something so complex, so transcendent, so beyond our comprehension, that it takes multiple images for us to even begin to grasp it.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
moral influence is directed "human-ward"-- the impact of the atonement is on us-- we are changed as we are able to see/comprehend divine love

Well, yes, but it is only the prior reality of atonement that gives Moral Influence Theory any point.

It is empty in itself.

As the late Leon Morris pointed out in his The Cross Of Jesus, if someone loses their life in an attempt to save you from drowning, then it is reasonable to regard this as a sacrificial act of love for another human being, but if they jump in the riuer and die while you are safe on the bank, then awe for their love is likely to be replaced by sympathy for their idiocy.

quote:
ransom and Christus victor are directed "Satan-ward"-- the impact of the atonement is on Satan-- restraining him or causing him to release us from bondage.
"Satan-ward"?

It is highly questionable whether any theologically sound ransom theory of the atonement sees the ransom as payable to Satan.

It is reminiscent of the crude patristic imagery of mousetraps and fish-hooks, and veers dangerously close to dualism.

Ransom theory should be seen as God, in Christ, undertaking to pay the necessary price of release to himself.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
cliffdweller, you leave out the sickness/healing model. Who-ward is that?
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
ransom and Christus victor are directed "Satan-ward"-- the impact of the atonement is on Satan-- restraining him or causing him to release us from bondage.

"Satan-ward"?

It is highly questionable whether any theologically sound ransom theory of the atonement sees the ransom as payable to Satan.

It is reminiscent of the crude patristic imagery of mousetraps and fish-hooks, and veers dangerously close to dualism.

Well, of course, everything is "questionable", but it is the standard interpretation of both the ransom and the Christus victor images. And it seems to me to be the logical conclusion of the relevant biblical texts.

If you take

quote:

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

and put that together with

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.”

I think it seems readily apparent that the one who holds us in bondage, the one to whom the ransom is paid, is Satan. This is put even more clearly here:

quote:
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.

of course, as with the other four, it is a metaphor and therefore subject to all the limitations that are inherent to metaphors. Just as substitutionary breaks down in the way it portrays God's nature, so the "Satan-ward" theories are subject to distortions simply by nature of being metaphors.

otoh (and this is probably grist for another thread), I'm not as precious as some about positing a real Satanic element-- whether personified or more generalized (as in Walter Wink's work on systemic evil), even as I am wary of the excesses of the spiritual warfare movement. I'm quite partial to Greg Boyd's work in (the unfortunately named) God at War for rethinking this so-called "dualism".
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
cliffdweller, you leave out the sickness/healing model. Who-ward is that?

hmmm... yes, it's not addressed in the sources I've used in thinking this way about the atonement. Off the top of my head, I'd probably say "human-ward" as it seems like humans are the ones who are moved/changed by the atonement in that paradigm. But since it's more integral to your tradition, I'd be interested in your take on it-- do you see it fitting into any one of those three paradigms-- God-ward, human-ward, or Satan-ward?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Sin-ward?
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Sin-ward?

Well, all the theories of the atonement are dealing with the problem of sin. The question is, what precisely is the problem? And who (in a personal sense) is being impacted or moved by the force of the atonement?

The God-ward metaphors posit the "sin problem" as something like this: "God’s wrath (or holiness or justice) against human sinfulness puts us in danger of eternal punishment". Thus, the force or direction of the atonement is toward God-- to appease his wrath or justice or holiness. It is God who is moved.

The human-ward metaphors posit the "sin problem" as something like this: "Humans need to know God’s love for us, but are incapable of comprehending it". Thus, the force or direction of the atonement is toward us-- to help us know what we could not otherwise comprehend. We are the ones who are moved.

The Satan-ward metphors posit the "sin problem" as something like this: "Humanity is trapped and oppressed by spiritual forces beyond our control." Thus, the force or direction of the atonement is toward Satan-- to defeat his power over us and release us from captivity. Satan is the one who is moved.

I could see the "cure of souls" notion of the atonement fitting in either the human-ward or Satan-ward paradigms. Does that fit for you?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
If those are my only choices, then Satan-ward is the one that fits best, I think.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
If those are my only choices, then Satan-ward is the one that fits best, I think.

Is there another option I'm missing? Because there very well may be.

The thing with all the metaphors is that they are looking at the atonement from different perspectives helping us understand this massive, transcendent, cosmic event that is so divine, so beyond us, we can never really comprehend it. Which is why, I think there are 5 (or 6-- or more) metaphors. So I'm certainly not trying to limit the perspectives-- the more we have, the better, Just trying to systematize it a bit cuz that's the way my brain works, it appeals to me.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Well let me toss this around a bit.

Let's say I'm on the playground and Satan comes and sprays his Gogurt all over my shirt. Then he sees Jesus coming, and takes off. Jesus comes and washes my shirt (with me still in it, but hey that's baptism for you).

Is his action Satan-ward? Well, he's not so much addressing Satan as the mess Satan left behind.

Is it human-ward? Well, aren't all atonement theories human-ward inasmuch as we're the ones getting atoned for?

Is it God-ward? Well, let's say God requires us to have clean shirts to get in the door (a really bad analogy to sin preventing fellowship with God). Then it's God-ward inasmuch as it allows us to have fellowship with God.

I dunno. It doesn't seem like any of the three really fit.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Well let me toss this around a bit.

Let's say I'm on the playground and Satan comes and sprays his Gogurt all over my shirt. Then he sees Jesus coming, and takes off. Jesus comes and washes my shirt (with me still in it, but hey that's baptism for you).

Is his action Satan-ward? Well, he's not so much addressing Satan as the mess Satan left behind.

Is it human-ward? Well, aren't all atonement theories human-ward inasmuch as we're the ones getting atoned for?

Is it God-ward? Well, let's say God requires us to have clean shirts to get in the door (a really bad analogy to sin preventing fellowship with God). Then it's God-ward inasmuch as it allows us to have fellowship with God.

I dunno. It doesn't seem like any of the three really fit.

Yeah, I think I'd agree it sounds most like Satan-ward.

Or maybe it's all three? Maybe the Orthodoxen are parsing it differently-- instead of focusing on the direction of the atonement (by embracing all three) it's focusing on the nature of the sin problem itself-- what is the "thing" that needs to be taken care of? Sort of like slicing the cake in a different direction?
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Satanic Gogurt.

Hmm.

That explains a lot. (Have you ever tasted that stuff?)
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I think justice is a difficult idea to overlay with the atonement.

First, we are saying that something done in finite time is so incredibly awful that it deserves an infinite punishment. That's almost impossible to be justice on its own, comparable to saying that some distance walked in planet earth deserves being pushed into infinite space forever.

Second we some saying that there is something broken about humanity which amounts to a crime deserving of an infinite punishment before you've even done anything. Which also doesn't really sound like justice.

Next, at least some theories of the atonement are saying that a perfect individual is needed to pay the price of everyone else. Not just.

Next, that his death -an ordinary part of human existence albeit in a very cruel way - was somehow equivalent to an everlasting punishment. Almost by definition that can't be justice.

Finally, the idea that the creator-god who set up the who system of eternal punishment somehow also gave himself as a sacrificial victim to satisfy his own punishment. That's not justice either.

I appreciate that we are struggling to understand a mystery, but just saying "because justice" is in no way answering the question.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
Is Gogurt, yogurt that has been eaten and then reGurgitated? I 'like' the picture of Satan regurgitating foulness on people like an angry Fulmar.


I suspect I'm with Cliffdweller on much of this debate. The atonement took place. It has an objective, ontological, cosmic effect. It is bigger, 'infinitely' bigger than our attempts to understand it and explain it. That's a major reason why all the explanations people give are inadequate and incomplete.

The most important thing is that we don't have to understand to be able to receive and say thank you - and that is far more important.

The bread and wine proclaim Christ's death until he comes.


I'd go further, and say that if somebody tells you 'this explanation (whichever of them) is the right one' the one thing you can say is that they are wrong.

The particular weakness of moral influence on its own as an explanation is that it has nothing to say to the lost, spiritually distressed, spiritually disturbed or the human predicament as a whole. It's basically a gospel for the well who have no need of a physician - or at worst, the complacent.

However, if you take it away, if you totally reject it, you lose much of the basis of Christian morality and ethics. The cross becomes just a transaction. It ceases to have anything to say to holy living.
 
Posted by Evensong (# 14696) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by churchgeek:

What I've never fully understood is why Christ's death should be so compelling, then. If you remove the "for us" part of "Christ died for us," then what is so loving or exemplary about his dying?

The Christ died for us is part of the moral influence theory: died to show us the way the truth and the life.

I recall a particular lecturer saying what people need most in the world and in life is to be loved. To be loved is the core of transformation. So this theory can be the springboard for that.

Romans 2:4

Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?


quote:
Originally posted by churchgeek:

All I can think of is that it's the way he died - forgiving those who killed him, e.g. But many, many people in history have done similarly; is it just that Jesus happens to be the one we've noticed? Does his being God come into play there? Does he have to be God in this model?

Were there many that forgave those who killed them in history before Jesus? Maybe there were. But you could say they were Godly too then if so.

The difference with Jesus was the resurrection. Which was God's affirmation of all that came before. Making it clear as it were.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I think justice is a difficult idea to overlay with the atonement.

First, we are saying that something done in finite time is so incredibly awful that it deserves an infinite punishment. That's almost impossible to be justice on its own, comparable to saying that some distance walked in planet earth deserves being pushed into infinite space forever.

Second we some saying that there is something broken about humanity which amounts to a crime deserving of an infinite punishment before you've even done anything. Which also doesn't really sound like justice.

Next, at least some theories of the atonement are saying that a perfect individual is needed to pay the price of everyone else. Not just.

Next, that his death -an ordinary part of human existence albeit in a very cruel way - was somehow equivalent to an everlasting punishment. Almost by definition that can't be justice.

Finally, the idea that the creator-god who set up the who system of eternal punishment somehow also gave himself as a sacrificial victim to satisfy his own punishment. That's not justice either.

I appreciate that we are struggling to understand a mystery, but just saying "because justice" is in no way answering the question.

Those are all concerns of the "God-ward" images that are based in defining the "sin problem" as "God's wrath/justice/holiness against human sinfulness"-- you don't find those problems in the other metaphors. IMHO the problem with the God-ward metaphors is a faulty view of God. But again, I think that's a limitation of metaphor, and why we need more than just the two God-ward explanations.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
Those are all concerns of the "God-ward" images that are based in defining the "sin problem" as "God's wrath/justice/holiness against human sinfulness"-- you don't find those problems in the other metaphors. IMHO the problem with the God-ward metaphors is a faulty view of God. But again, I think that's a limitation of metaphor, and why we need more than just the two God-ward explanations.

Well, yes I do think other metaphors are better - but evangelicals in particular seem to lack a sense of consistency.

I don't mean to say that things perfectly line up together (I don't believe they do), but too often evangelicals seem to push PSA to the exclusion of all other metaphors and seem blinded to the biblical text which does not seem to back up the narrow view.

For example, I've heard many times (too many to count, probably) that sinful man cannot approach the perfect deity. Therefore, this trope goes, sacrifice is necessary.

However, a cursary glance at OT stories and characters shows that this isn't backed up by the text. Almost nobody is pictured as having a sacrifice to purify themselves before meeting with God, and indeed in the vast majority of cases God is pictured meeting with man and not the other way around.

The idea that God is contaminated by man's sinfulness seems to be the opposite of the truth (in my view supported by stories and metaphors in the NT as well), namely that God is a "disinfectant" and reaches out to those who are contaminated.

Of course I appreciate that this is an oversimplification and not every Evangelical thinks like this, but I think this way of explaining the atonement is very widely used.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
If those are my only choices, then Satan-ward is the one that fits best, I think.

I think that the payment of ransom has as little to do with paying anything personally to the Devil as going to jail and being 'detained at her majesty's pleasure' has anything to do with her majesty, pleasurable or otherwise.

Ransom and satisfaction and even the penal aspect of PSA is basically saying that Christ took on the consequences. We might say that someone falling off a cliff will 'pay the price' of his foolishness, but he didn't have to pay anything to anyone for the privilege of dashing his brains out at the bottom!
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I think that the payment of ransom has as little to do with paying anything personally to the Devil as going to jail and being 'detained at her majesty's pleasure' has anything to do with her majesty, pleasurable or otherwise.

Ransom and satisfaction and even the penal aspect of PSA is basically saying that Christ took on the consequences. We might say that someone falling off a cliff will 'pay the price' of his foolishness, but he didn't have to pay anything to anyone for the privilege of dashing his brains out at the bottom!

OK, but surely can say the same about "paying the price" to God as well. What you're saying here seems to apply to the idea of Jesus' death paying a price in any direction.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Yes, I'd agree.
In the modern hymn, 'the wrath of God was satisfied' means that the requirements of wrath, the consequences of wrath, were satisfied. Jesus didn't satisfy the Father.

God himself, as trinity of FS&HS were satisfied only in the sense that justice was done and seen to be done.
I don't think the Father got any personal satisfaction at seeing his only begotten die - in fact he suffered the loss just as much. What satisfied God was the same thing that satisfied Jesus in the moment just before his death, when he breathed out 'It is finished.'

The satisfaction of God was the knowledge that justice was fulrfilled and the sinner can go free.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
If those are my only choices, then Satan-ward is the one that fits best, I think.

I think that the payment of ransom has as little to do with paying anything personally to the Devil as going to jail and being 'detained at her majesty's pleasure' has anything to do with her majesty, pleasurable or otherwise.

Ransom and satisfaction and even the penal aspect of PSA is basically saying that Christ took on the consequences. We might say that someone falling off a cliff will 'pay the price' of his foolishness, but he didn't have to pay anything to anyone for the privilege of dashing his brains out at the bottom!

Yeah, but there's a huge difference between picturing that "God-ward"-- i.e. Christ takes the penalty to appease God's wrath-- and picturing that "Satan-ward"-- Christ rescues us from our captor. It says a lot about the way we view God and even more so the way we think God views us.

But, again-- metaphors.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
Those are all concerns of the "God-ward" images that are based in defining the "sin problem" as "God's wrath/justice/holiness against human sinfulness"-- you don't find those problems in the other metaphors. IMHO the problem with the God-ward metaphors is a faulty view of God. But again, I think that's a limitation of metaphor, and why we need more than just the two God-ward explanations.

Well, yes I do think other metaphors are better - but evangelicals in particular seem to lack a sense of consistency.

I don't mean to say that things perfectly line up together (I don't believe they do), but too often evangelicals seem to push PSA to the exclusion of all other metaphors and seem blinded to the biblical text which does not seem to back up the narrow view.

For example, I've heard many times (too many to count, probably) that sinful man cannot approach the perfect deity. Therefore, this trope goes, sacrifice is necessary.

However, a cursary glance at OT stories and characters shows that this isn't backed up by the text. Almost nobody is pictured as having a sacrifice to purify themselves before meeting with God, and indeed in the vast majority of cases God is pictured meeting with man and not the other way around.

The idea that God is contaminated by man's sinfulness seems to be the opposite of the truth (in my view supported by stories and metaphors in the NT as well), namely that God is a "disinfectant" and reaches out to those who are contaminated.

Of course I appreciate that this is an oversimplification and not every Evangelical thinks like this, but I think this way of explaining the atonement is very widely used.

Very much agree.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Mudfrog
quote:
In the modern hymn, 'the wrath of God was satisfied' means that the requirements of wrath, the consequences of wrath, were satisfied. Jesus didn't satisfy the Father.
Come off it, Mudfrog! I've never read such sophistry in ages.

What does it mean to say "Jesus didn't satisfy the Father" but satisfied the Father's wrath?
(What, by the way, are "the consequences of wrath").

You talk about "the Father's wrath" and "justice" as if they entities independent of God.

Surely, "wrath" is an attribute of God, ditto his sense of "justice"

If the Father's wrath is satisfied does it not mean the Father is satisfied?


Haven't you got yourself into this mess because you realise that PSA tests Trinitarianism to distraction?

Mudfrog .
quote:
The satisfaction of God was the knowledge that justice was fulrfilled and the sinner can go free.

Why couldn't he just let the prisoner go free? Or let him go free provided he repented? Why it required the death of his innocent son is not obvious. Nor, incidentally, is it obviously just that a sinner should suffer eternal torment for being subject to original sin i.e. a condition for which he/she is not responsible.

Incidentally, you place a construction on "It is finished" that is not at all obvious. It could simply mean "my life is over".
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Mudfrog
quote:
In the modern hymn, 'the wrath of God was satisfied' means that the requirements of wrath, the consequences of wrath, were satisfied. Jesus didn't satisfy the Father.
Come off it, Mudfrog! I've never read such sophistry in ages.

What does it mean to say "Jesus didn't satisfy the Father" but satisfied the Father's wrath?
(What, by the way, are "the consequences of wrath").

You talk about "the Father's wrath" and "justice" as if they entities independent of God.

Surely, "wrath" is an attribute of God, ditto his sense of "justice"

If the Father's wrath is satisfied does it not mean the Father is satisfied?


Haven't you got yourself into this mess because you realise that PSA tests Trinitarianism to distraction?

Mudfrog .
quote:
The satisfaction of God was the knowledge that justice was fulrfilled and the sinner can go free.

Why couldn't he just let the prisoner go free? Or let him go free provided he repented? Why it required the death of his innocent son is not obvious. Nor, incidentally, is it obviously just that a sinner should suffer eternal torment for being subject to original sin i.e. a condition for which he/she is not responsible.

Incidentally, you place a construction on "It is finished" that is not at all obvious. It could simply mean "my life is over".

Wrath is not an emotion, nor is it an attribute of God's personality: he is not 'wrathful'. Wrath is his just attitude to sin.

Just as I said that a prison sentence is at her majesty's pleasure without any pleasure being involved, so I believe that wrath, God's permanent antipathy and aversion to sin, is not a personal emotion felt by God.

You said yourself: "Surely, "wrath" is an attribute of God, ditto his sense of "justice".
Well indeed! But justice is not an emotion, so neither is wrath.

PSA is no way tests the Trinity. It would if, as the womanist theologian (whose name escapes me) theorised, it was a case of 'cosmic child abuse'. (A charge ridiculously parotted by Chalke). For then, the charge of God the Father punishing his innocent Son would divide the Trinity and be shown to be adoptionism - i.e. God chooses an innocent man to be his victim.

But that cannot be (and is not) true, because the father, Son and Spirit were at one, literally, in the atonement: God (the Father) was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.
Jesus was not the innocent victim used by God he was the willing divine victim, God himself as victim.

Finally, 'It is finished.' does not mean your very weak, limp, defeated, 'My life is over' in the slightest. It's a triumphant cry of satisfaction: 'Consummatum est!'

See


Here

and

Here
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
The thing is, whatever stress or emphasis we place on 'It is finished' it isn't at all immediately obvious in the context of the text itself.

Whether we take it in the rather 'loaded' way that Mudfrog does or the 'lame' way that Kwesi appears to, then we are equally taking a hermeneutic leap as to what it actually means.

I'm happy to go along with it not as a cry of dereliction so much as an indication of 'mission accomplished' - but then, given the circumstances, it could be both of course ...

Or is that too predictable a Gamalian response?

[Hot and Hormonal]

I'd suggest that aspects like this aren't implicit in the text so much as conditioned by our particular traditions yet again.

Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I'm aware there are no corrolating or explicitly parallel texts which 'explain' what the author had in mind in recording this detail.

FWIW, though, I don't find Mudfrog's angle on this issue any more prone to sophistry than any other viewpoint - whether RC, Protestant or Orthodox.

I think there are problems with the PSA model which are not quite so easily resolved, but for my money Mudfrog makes a better case for it than many evangelicals I've heard preaching and teaching down the years.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
One could, of course, argue that the curtain in the Temple being torn in two from top to bottom was a physical 'endorsement' of Christ's statement - 'It is fulfilled' - because it demonstrates that the requirements of the Jewish Law had been met and 'satisfied' at Calvary.

All sorts of stuff to get our teeth stuck into there ...
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
If those are my only choices, then Satan-ward is the one that fits best, I think.

I think that the payment of ransom has as little to do with paying anything personally to the Devil as going to jail and being 'detained at her majesty's pleasure' has anything to do with her majesty, pleasurable or otherwise.

Ransom and satisfaction and even the penal aspect of PSA is basically saying that Christ took on the consequences. We might say that someone falling off a cliff will 'pay the price' of his foolishness, but he didn't have to pay anything to anyone for the privilege of dashing his brains out at the bottom!

I don't see how your response has owt to do with my post that you quoted. I wasn't talking about ransom theory or satisfaction.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
I'll probably have some lengthier things to say later, but for now

Mudfrog's discussion of God's wrath seems akin to something I often say - that the word for God's love, which we in turn are meant to emulate, doesn't mean sloppy slushy sentiment but deep caring. If you really care for the good, you will have something like 'wrath' for evil; not a petty spat kind of anger, but a deep opposition to something which itself is opposite to everything true and good.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I'll probably have some lengthier things to say later, but for now

Mudfrog's discussion of God's wrath seems akin to something I often say - that the word for God's love, which we in turn are meant to emulate, doesn't mean sloppy slushy sentiment but deep caring. If you really care for the good, you will have something like 'wrath' for evil; not a petty spat kind of anger, but a deep opposition to something which itself is opposite to everything true and good.

Yes, that's where the substitutionary metaphor gets it right.

Where it gets it wrong is framing that "wrath" as something that distances us from God (how many have seen the lazy evangelist diagram of a cliff with God on one side and us on the other, with a cross-shaped bridge?). Substitutionary atonement gets it wrong when it pictures God as pushing our sinful selves away until Jesus covers it over. The "Satan-ward" theories get it right by picturing God (like the Father in the parable of the 2 sons) as running toward our sinful selves to rescue us, rather than turning away from our disgusting sin.

Again, that's true of all metaphors-- they get some things right, they get some things wrong. That's why, in addition to all sorts of metaphors and images for God, we have the incarnation-- God himself. Seeing the way Jesus responds to sinners helps shape not only our view of God, but also our understanding of how God views us.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Steve Langton
quote:
f you really care for the good, you will have something like 'wrath' for evil; not a petty spat kind of anger, but a deep opposition to something which itself is . opposite to everything true and good.
I'm OK with that so long as you maintain a distinction between evil and the fate of the sinner.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
quote:
Seeing the way Jesus responds to sinners helps shape not only our view of God, but also our understanding of how God views us.
And how we should aspire to see each other, with the caveat that we probably shouldn't accept abuse because we also need to love ourselves.

[ 09. January 2017, 18:04: Message edited by: Lyda*Rose ]
 
Posted by ThunderBunk (# 15579) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I'll probably have some lengthier things to say later, but for now

Mudfrog's discussion of God's wrath seems akin to something I often say - that the word for God's love, which we in turn are meant to emulate, doesn't mean sloppy slushy sentiment but deep caring. If you really care for the good, you will have something like 'wrath' for evil; not a petty spat kind of anger, but a deep opposition to something which itself is opposite to everything true and good.

How does this square with the crucified Christ, who was crucified alongside the repentant and the unrepentant sinner, and by his crucifixion showed equal love for both? His reported words can be said to demonstrate some favour to the repentant thief, but he is still nailed to the cross between them.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
quote:
Seeing the way Jesus responds to sinners helps shape not only our view of God, but also our understanding of how God views us.
And how we should aspire to see each other, with the caveat that we probably shouldn't accept abuse because we also need to love ourselves.
Yes, good point.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
PSA tests Trinitarianism to distraction?

Trinitarianism tests Trinitarianism to distraction.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Touche, Kaplan!
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
The context to the triumphant 'Consummatum est!' words of Jesus who believed his mission was not fulfilled and complete is verse 28, te verse that introduces the reader to the two final sayings of Jesus. Here is the entire passage:

Later, know that all was completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, 'I am thirsty.' A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.

A couple of observations:

It could mean of course that he had simply finished the drink. But this is john we're talking about - everything has a meaning. There's no way that John would have bothered to record something that wasn't a significant word at such a significant time.

Tie that in with the 'complete' of verse 28, and you get a case for the cry to be 'It is complete, it is accomplished.'

I don't think it's wrong to tie this is in with the loud cry of the synoptics.

It is that detail - the loudness - that suggests it wasn't resignation, but rather a triumphant, or simply emphatic, cry.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Emphatic, certainly. I'm not sure we can speculate whether it was triumph, dereliction or whatever else - but it's all academic anyway as we've got a lot more than one particular utterance on the cross to go on - the Resurrection for a kick-off ...

'He arose, he arose, with a shout of triumph o'er his foes.
He arose victorious o'er the dark domain,
Now he lives forever with his saints to reign.
He arose, he arose' (altogether now) 'Hallelujah Christ arose!'
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I'll probably have some lengthier things to say later, but for now

Mudfrog's discussion of God's wrath seems akin to something I often say - that the word for God's love, which we in turn are meant to emulate, doesn't mean sloppy slushy sentiment but deep caring. If you really care for the good, you will have something like 'wrath' for evil; not a petty spat kind of anger, but a deep opposition to something which itself is opposite to everything true and good.

A wrath for evil, or a wrath for people who do evil, or a wrath for evil people? One of the chief teachings of the Orthodox Church, which we repeat several times during the Divine Liturgy, is that God loves mankind. I think John 3:16 echoes the same sentiment. One might also mention a number of Psalms that say his lovingkindness endures forever. I have always had a hard time squaring that view of God with the one with the eternal, undying, forever-and-ever wrath towards mankind. Maybe somebody can unsquare this circle for me.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Lamb Chopped, I really am interested in your answer here.

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
You seem to be creating a theory of Christian karma. How is your consequence theory any different from karma?


 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Sheesh, Mousethief. I was at work. Can't go composing long screeds when I'm supposed to be composing them for somebody else!

Okay, karma. I can't say I know all the ins and outs of what this means past the popular definition, as I've not studied it in any depth. What I do think is that our actions produce consequences, not all of which may be visible, and some of which may be spiritual.

Jesus spoke often of reaping what you sow (and Paul after him, etc.) This suggests to me that there is some principle in the universe which I think of as balance, for want of a better term. Plant weed seeds and you'll get weeds; yell at a coworker and you'll get into a fight; live by the sword and you're likely to die by the sword. These things are observable, and plenty of people have observed them--both in Christianity and outside it. Which is possibly where the idea of karma came from.

Now I don't think there is some sort of spiritual bookkeeper up there keeping track of my bads and goods and making sure I get a precisely calculated payback in this life or another. But I do think that when God undertakes to clean up our spiritual toxic dump, he has to deal with more than just what our eyes can see on the surface.

Let's take that biblical image of sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind. All of the times I "sowed the wind" through my evil actions? Well, the whirlwinds that result are still out there, spinning like mad, waiting to pounce on me sooner or later. What goes around, comes around. Except that now God has stepped in to save me from my own folly, and I am forgiven, and the whole process has gotten short circuited.

Anyway, what happens to those pre-existing twisters that have been sniffing around the edges of my life, waiting to pounce? Do they just suddenly go "poof!" and tidy themselves away into oblivion on their own? I don't think so, no. Someone's got to shut them down.* That someone is God.

Let's take a different image. If I deliberately create a toxic chemical dump on my property, there are two issues to deal with. One is my personal evil choice which led to the disaster; the second is the clean-up.

If I do the spiritual equivalent by falling into evil, God can forgive me for my evil choice. But somebody's still got to clean up the dump. It can't just be left there. It won't go away on its own. I believe that God does that, too--cleans up our spiritual toxic chemical dumps, restores the site, recreates what was ruined. I don't think it happens by itself. I think God actively gets out there and deals with it. And it costs him something--just as it would cost me in ordinary human life if I had to do Superfund clean up.

I hope this makes some sense, as I really ought to be in bed. Good night.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Mousethief, I know the Orthodox view on these issues and I think I may have already cited the repeated line from the Liturgy about God being good and loving mankind ...

I don't think Western Christians in general, or evangelical Christians in particular, are disputing that.

I'll concede that in the outer reaches of ultra-TULIP TULIP-dom one does get the impression that God rubs his hands with glee every time someone sins as it gives him yet another opportunity to turn up the temperature in Eternal Hell Fire ...

Heck, you've only got to read Jonathan Edwards's 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God' for one's eyes to boggle at the analogies he uses, God being like a vicious schoolboy torturing a spider over a flame before dropping it into the fire ...

I mean, steady on ... we don't have to be wishy-washy liberals to baulk at that kind of portrayal of the Almighty.

I can see the issue you're raising and I can see the dilemma, but from my reading of what they've written here, I don't see how Lamb Chopped, Steve Langton or Mudfrog have gone 'overboard' on the wrath of God thing - nor have any of htem suggested, as far as I can see, that wrath is somehow part of God's nature in an intrinsic sense - ie. he is ontologically petulant, moody or some kind of cosmic Mr Angry.

Ok, I know I share a background in Western Christianity with all these posters and I'll have inevitably been shaped by that. Consequently, for all the flaws I can see in it, I have been very reluctant to abandon a PSA-ish approach to these issues.

Perhaps it's because I have some kind of inveterate and deeply entrenched belief that if we remove that we somehow leave 'the problem of sin' unresolved and also create some kind of latitude towards sin and the effects of sin.

Orthodox clergy have tried to convince me that this isn't the case. I'm not saying that the Orthodox are any more lackadaisical about the seriousness of sin than anyone else, but from a Western perspective - which may or may not be flawed, I don't know - it can appear as this is one of the bases they don't cover as 'well' or as comprehensively if you like, as the Western tradition.

Again, I might be completely barking and completely wrong on that ... but I do have some sympathy with Lamb Chopped's assertion that these things can't simply be 'left' but that God, in some way, and at some cost to Himself (not in a Patripassian way) actively deals with them ...

As the Wesleyan hymn puts it, 'He breaks the power of cancelled sin, he sets the captives free ...'

I dunno, maybe I'm looking for greater levels of certainty than are actually available ... but I can see some comfort in both the Calvinist and Wesleyan schemas as they provide some kind of indication that God is on our case in order to sort us out ...

Sure, I appreciate the Orthodox tradition offers that too, in terms of theosis and our synergistic collaboration with the divine energies and so forth ... but due to my background, I'm obviously conditioned to see these things more from a Western perspective rather than an Eastern one - although obviously aspects of the latter do appeal to me and resonate with me at a very deep level.

Of course there are dangers with an overly Augustinian 'take' on things - and not only in hyper-Calvinism either. I can think of Arminian traditions which incline to the puritanical and the nit-picking ... my wife's paternal ancestors had strong Wesleyan roots and there are all sorts of family horror stories (undoubtedly exaggerated in the telling I suspect) of whacky Holiness practices, of a doll being tossed onto the fire because a toddler was playing with it on the Sabbath ... of brothers not speaking to one another for years and years because of minor differences of opinion over this, that or the other tangential teaching ...

But let's put everything on the table in the cool light of day.

I don't see how a righteous anger against sin somehow makes God out to be a monster, any more than the Orthodox understanding of these things makes him out to be some kind of cosmic Santa Claus.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I'll probably have some lengthier things to say later, but for now

Mudfrog's discussion of God's wrath seems akin to something I often say - that the word for God's love, which we in turn are meant to emulate, doesn't mean sloppy slushy sentiment but deep caring. If you really care for the good, you will have something like 'wrath' for evil; not a petty spat kind of anger, but a deep opposition to something which itself is opposite to everything true and good.

A wrath for evil, or a wrath for people who do evil, or a wrath for evil people? One of the chief teachings of the Orthodox Church, which we repeat several times during the Divine Liturgy, is that God loves mankind. I think John 3:16 echoes the same sentiment. One might also mention a number of Psalms that say his lovingkindness endures forever. I have always had a hard time squaring that view of God with the one with the eternal, undying, forever-and-ever wrath towards mankind. Maybe somebody can unsquare this circle for me.
The way some people put this, it's as if because of love for one of my children, when child 2 nicks their book and upsets them I beat that child into a bloody pulp, because I'm so angry with them because of my love for child 1. And then do it the other way round when child 1 offends.

Except that through PSA they somehow allow me to beat myself into a bloody pulp instead and somehow that makes everything all right.

No, I don't get it either.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
All these things are metaphors and analogies, and like all analogies you can only stretch them so far.

In fairness to the proponents of PSA, whatever else may be laid to its charge, I do think that proponents like John Stott in his book, 'The Cross of Christ' do steer well clear of the cruder and more grotesque analogies that are sometimes used - particularly in evangelistic presentations.

Some of the court-room illustrations or depictions of Christ willingly taking the rap in some kind of whipping-boy sense are crude and grotesque in the extreme.

To be fair, not all PSA proponents descend into such crudity but they have to try pretty hard to distance themselves from it.

They aren't alone in that. There are crude and populist presentations of things within other traditions too, of course - I can't speak for the Orthodox but I wouldn't be surprised if they have their equivalents.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I was struggling with how to put this into words yesterday, but I'm very unconfortable with the idea that we can somehow share in God's redhot burning wrath.

For one thing, I don't know that this is a very healthy idea, and tends to thought processes that project our values onto the deity of our imagining - which we then use to castigate people who don't meet our standards. God is better than that.

For another, I'm not really convinced that God burns with redhot anger at the silly, dumb and stupid things we do in our individual lives. It isn't that they're unimportant (they often are) but I think they're more often a symptom of wider malaise.

Most of the time I think God is burning with anger at injustice and systematic human weaknesses in the world and doesn't care a whole lot (in a burning-anger sense at least) about individual weakness and pettiness - particularly self-defeating actions by wealthy individuals who should know better.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I am worried that there seems to be developing an idea that God can only be loving if he has no wrath, or that he cannot be loving if there is any wrath at all.

The wrath of God is seen in action in the cleansing of the temple - I see no contradiction in the life and character of Jesus between that and when he wrote in the sand refusing to condemn the adulteress for her sin.

(For what it's worth, there is a hint of the wrath of God in that episode in the very thinly veiled warning to her to 'go and sin no more.' I can't help but feel there is an unspoken 'or else...'
If Jesus were displaying the kind of God who merely reprieves for no other reason than he is a loving and slightly indulgent grandfather, then why would he admonish her in such a way?

I've never been into Rob Bell but I have heard some of his live stuff and I was offended by his rant, sorry 'sermon' given on his 'The gods are not angry' tour where he appeared to rubbish the allegedly Biblical doctrine that sacrifices in the OT and The Sacrifice in the NT were basically designed to appease an angry God.
So many people nowadays take this view and ascribe it to PSA - Jesus was the innocent victim of an angry Father. "How bloody unfair is that? It's nothing short of Cosmic Child Abuse!!"

Well apart from that charge only sticking - like I've aid a couple of times recently - if we are adoptionists, and Jesus is the innocent man dragged out from the crowd and chosen to be the newly-deified sacrifice to save the souls of all the others people - it is not what PSA is about anyway.

Justice demands a consequence and when people ask 'where is the love'? The simple answer is that the love is shown in the giving of the Son by the Father, combined with the self-giving of the Son in total unity.

God SO loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

- as has been quoted almost as if only the Orthodox have that verse in the Bible.

But let's not forget the next bit:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

So, even while God is loving the world 'so much that he gave', the wrath of God has already condemned the world (that's why it's not the task of Jesus to condemn - it's there already) The love of God is shown entirely in the gift of his Son (in incarnation and atoning work) so that the condemned (by the wrath of God) might believe instead and so be saved from perishing.

Rob Bell moves from his falsehood of 'the gods are not angry' to 'Love Wins'.
Oh yes, it's a lovely idea, but to me the idea that love (always) wins actually reveals a petulance and selfishness that would be even more unattractive than a god who gets angry in a fit of pique. In fact, 'love wins' actually requires us to believe in a god that stamps his feet, demands that people are loved and love him back and insists on having his own way to the detriment of personal choice.

That's a god who stalk his creation, not loves it.


If you watch The Big Bang Theory you'll know it's a sitcom about a group of nerdy scientists with severely impaired social-skills.
One lf them, Sheldon Cooper, is the most 'impaired'. I'm not sure what his diagnosis is (even though his mother had him tested LOL)
Anyway, in one episode, he has a near meltdown because a bluejay (we don't have these in the UK) has settled on his windowsill and, because he is petrified of it, he tries all manner of ways to get rid of it.

Eventually, however, through the help of his friends, he comes to accept, appreciate and even love his new pet - that has now come into the living rom.

None of the above is an analogy for God; but the next bit shows, I think, Rob Bells' 'Love Wins' petulant god.
After Sheldon has spent time petting his new pet, ordering 20 pounds of bird seed and planning his future with his lovely new pet, the bird suddenly flies out of the window to freedom. Sheldon thinks the bird has consciously and deliberately rejected his love and RUSHES TO THE OPEN WINDOW

Does God's love really insist on winning, on forcing us to love him n return?
Is he so possessive that, regardless of our desires, opinions, will and even our deliberate sin, he will, on no other basis that he wants to satisfy his love, will sweep us into his arms never to escape?

To my mind, the most heartbreakingly loving thing to do is to provide the way for love to be received and returned, but without the demand that it be so.

One of the most telling episodes in the life of Jesus - one that will be repeated again and again at the Judgment Seat is this:

quote:
Mark 10:17-22
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’
18 ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good – except God alone.
19 You know the commandments: “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honour your father and mother.”’
20 ‘Teacher,’ he declared, ‘all these I have kept since I was a boy.’
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him.
‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus loved him, gave him the answer to allow him to find life, but allowed him to go away rejecting him.

That's love.
It wins for those who accept it, but doesn't always get its own way and allows us to carry on to face the consequences.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I am worried that there seems to be developing an idea that God can only be loving if he has no wrath, or that he cannot be loving if there is any wrath at all.

The wrath of God is seen in action in the cleansing of the temple - I see no contradiction in the life and character of Jesus between that and when he wrote in the sand refusing to condemn the adulteress for her sin.

(For what it's worth, there is a hint of the wrath of God in that episode in the very thinly veiled warning to her to 'go and sin no more.' I can't help but feel there is an unspoken 'or else...'
If Jesus were displaying the kind of God who merely reprieves for no other reason than he is a loving and slightly indulgent grandfather, then why would he admonish her in such a way?

I think most parents can tell you the answer to this. You stop them doing something stupid and they're expecting anger in return. Instead you take away the spoon and say quietly don't do it again.

quote:
I've never been into Rob Bell but I have heard some of his live stuff and I was offended by his rant, sorry 'sermon' given on his 'The gods are not angry' tour where he appeared to rubbish the allegedly Biblical doctrine that sacrifices in the OT and The Sacrifice in the NT were basically designed to appease an angry God.
So many people nowadays take this view and ascribe it to PSA - Jesus was the innocent victim of an angry Father. "How bloody unfair is that? It's nothing short of Cosmic Child Abuse!!"

I've been "into" Rob Bell for a long time, and he makes far more sense than you do on this to me. If you're offended then maybe stop telling other people what they should be thinking on this topic and stop watching things that make you offended.

quote:
Well apart from that charge only sticking - like I've aid a couple of times recently - if we are adoptionists, and Jesus is the innocent man dragged out from the crowd and chosen to be the newly-deified sacrifice to save the souls of all the others people - it is not what PSA is about anyway.
It certainly reflects the PSA that I've experienced throughout my years in Evangelical church. If it isn't your belief, well, meh.

quote:
Justice demands a consequence and when people ask 'where is the love'? The simple answer is that the love is shown in the giving of the Son by the Father, combined with the self-giving of the Son in total unity.
Justice doesn't demand anything when there is nothing to be gained from it. It is not an inevitable transaction whereby you do something and there is a cost tied to it.

That's the fundamental flaw in your thinking.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
All these things are metaphors and analogies, and like all analogies you can only stretch them so far.

But the problem is all the analogies seem to me to be very fragile and brittle - you can't stretch them at all. Indeed, they seem to break as soon as you look at them, like a rubber band that's been left on top of a radiator for weeks. Not much bloody use.

Or am I stretching the stretching analogies analogy too far?
[Razz]

I refer the reader to my sig.

[ 10. January 2017, 11:22: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I am worried that there seems to be developing an idea that God can only be loving if he has no wrath, or that he cannot be loving if there is any wrath at all.

The wrath of God is seen in action in the cleansing of the temple - I see no contradiction in the life and character of Jesus between that and when he wrote in the sand refusing to condemn the adulteress for her sin.

(For what it's worth, there is a hint of the wrath of God in that episode in the very thinly veiled warning to her to 'go and sin no more.' I can't help but feel there is an unspoken 'or else...'
If Jesus were displaying the kind of God who merely reprieves for no other reason than he is a loving and slightly indulgent grandfather, then why would he admonish her in such a way?

I think most parents can tell you the answer to this. You stop them doing something stupid and they're expecting anger in return. Instead you take away the spoon and say quietly don't do it again.

quote:
I've never been into Rob Bell but I have heard some of his live stuff and I was offended by his rant, sorry 'sermon' given on his 'The gods are not angry' tour where he appeared to rubbish the allegedly Biblical doctrine that sacrifices in the OT and The Sacrifice in the NT were basically designed to appease an angry God.
So many people nowadays take this view and ascribe it to PSA - Jesus was the innocent victim of an angry Father. "How bloody unfair is that? It's nothing short of Cosmic Child Abuse!!"

I've been "into" Rob Bell for a long time, and he makes far more sense than you do on this to me. If you're offended then maybe stop telling other people what they should be thinking on this topic and stop watching things that make you offended.

quote:
Well apart from that charge only sticking - like I've aid a couple of times recently - if we are adoptionists, and Jesus is the innocent man dragged out from the crowd and chosen to be the newly-deified sacrifice to save the souls of all the others people - it is not what PSA is about anyway.
It certainly reflects the PSA that I've experienced throughout my years in Evangelical church. If it isn't your belief, well, meh.

quote:
Justice demands a consequence and when people ask 'where is the love'? The simple answer is that the love is shown in the giving of the Son by the Father, combined with the self-giving of the Son in total unity.
Justice doesn't demand anything when there is nothing to be gained from it. It is not an inevitable transaction whereby you do something and there is a cost tied to it.

That's the fundamental flaw in your thinking.

No, it's just a different opinion and those two words 'Rob Bell' are the fundamental flaw in your thinking.

I'd rather read Moltmann than him.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
No, it's just a different opinion and those two words 'Rob Bell' are the fundamental flaw in your thinking.

I'd rather read Moltmann than him.

OK so you're entitled to get huffy about Rob Bell and call him names but you don't actually want to engage in a discussion about it.

Personally I think Kierkegaard was a better theologian than anyone else I've ever read. What's that got to do with PSA and judgement? Nothing. We can all pass off our favourite bible verses and castigate or praise theologians.

So?
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
You said,
quote:
I've been "into" Rob Bell for a long time, and he makes far more sense than you do on this to me. If you're offended then maybe stop telling other people what they should be thinking on this topic and stop watching things that make you offended.

Well, you can say that he makes a lot more sense than me but that's all you say - and it's basically just an insult.
I, however, give my reasoning why I don't like his belief. What I am offended by is his setting up a straw man and then using his buy-a-ticket-only book-launching tour, to knock it down.

He might be popular (at one time) but he's hardly a mainstream theologian.

When I state some of my position on the PSA thing, trying to open up dialogue and express it in a way that lays to rest some inaccurate, though sincerely held misconceptions, all you can do is basically react with 'meh'.

So, no real discussion from the Rob Bell fanclub then.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Well, you can say that he makes a lot more sense than me but that's all you say - and it's basically just an insult.
I, however, give my reasoning why I don't like his belief. What I am offended by is his setting up a straw man and then using his buy-a-ticket-only book-launching tour, to knock it down.

I don't think it is a strawman. And I reject this characterisation of someone who wrote a book that you don't like.

quote:
He might be popular (at one time) but he's hardly a mainstream theologian.
And yet he sells books and people pay to go to his tour. Even people who disagree are moaning about what he wrote, therefore by most definitions he has influence.

quote:
When I state some of my position on the PSA thing, trying to open up dialogue and express it in a way that lays to rest some inaccurate, though sincerely held misconceptions, all you can do is basically react with 'meh'.

So, no real discussion from the Rob Bell fanclub then.

No, Mudfrog, stop. I am prepared to have a discussion with you, but I'm not prepared to allow you to paint someone as being a fraud because you don't happen to like their writing. Steve Chalke and Rob Bell are honest, even if you don't like them.

If you can't accept that basic premise, then I'm not interested in fueling your rant about them.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
And yet, and yet.... for the last few days I have had to read caricature after unfair libel after snide comments about PSA the doctrine and those who propose it.

Bell may have had influence - I wonder how much longer.
He's hardly talked about now since the Mars Hill thing and his association with Oprah.
And as for Chalke, I believe he's no longer in the EA, so he might be hold an honest, in the sense of well-publicised' viewpoint but theologically it is indeed a straw man.

Cosmic Child Abuse comes from womanist theology and has at its basis the total rejection of all violence, especially male violence. That, without question is a laudable and honourable view. But to project male violence and its rejection onto the motive of God in the death of his Son Jesus is not appropriate.

And Chalke, to my recollection, does not credit the foundation of the Cosmic Child Abuse scenario but passes it off as his own.
There are books that have refuted his assertions about CCA and, to my mind, the arguments against his writings are far more biblically and theologically literate than his own in proposing it.

I simply believe that both Bell and Chalke, and a whole bunch of other anti-PSA writers have misunderstood and indeed misrepresented what evangelicals actually believe about PSA.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
You are entitled to that belief - and I am entitled, as someone who has been in Evangelical churches a long time to say that their characterisation is accurate.

I'm not defending either of them, but to say that they've somehow lost influence because you've not heard about them recently is a pretty poor way to measure it.

Anyway, if you'd like to talk about these points, then I'm willing to engage. But if you want to continue ranting about Bell and Chalke, then I'm not playing.

[ 10. January 2017, 12:37: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
An Orthodox priest once observed to me that he thought part of the problem was that there's never been an opportunity for an Ecumenical Council to 'settle' the issues around our understandings of the atonement.

The chances of that happening any time over the next 500 years are pretty remote, if you ask me ...

I have some sympathy with Mudfrog's view that some anti-PSA types have misrepresented what evangelicals actually believe on the issue - but I'm afraid I'd lay a great deal of the blame for that squarely within the evangelical camp, given the rather reductionist and often crudely grotesque way the whole thing has been framed in many evangelical circles.

In many ways, I'd suggest that it's as crude and grotesque as some late RC/Counter Reformation treatments of the sufferings of Christ.

As with anything else, people tend to drift into extremes.

And yes, some of the Patristic analogies about what has come to be known as the 'Classic' or Ransom Theory are equally as crude - Christ being set like bait on a hook to trick the Devil and such like ...

I don't take as dim view of the analogies as Karl Liberal Backslider does but I can see why he'd consider them to be somewhat worn and lacking in elasticity.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
An Orthodox priest once observed to me that he thought part of the problem was that there's never been an opportunity for an Ecumenical Council to 'settle' the issues around our understandings of the atonement.

Which shows how important the early church thought it was. Which says something.

quote:
originally quoted by Gamaliel
I can see the issue you're raising and I can see the dilemma, but from my reading of what they've written here, I don't see how Lamb Chopped, Steve Langton or Mudfrog have gone 'overboard' on the wrath of God thing - nor have any of htem suggested, as far as I can see, that wrath is somehow part of God's nature in an intrinsic sense - ie. he is ontologically petulant, moody or some kind of cosmic Mr Angry.

Everything about God is intrinsic. He has no accidental characteristics. That's part of what it means to be God. Everything he is, he is by nature. If he is wrathful, he's wrathful to the bone.

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
All these things are metaphors and analogies, and like all analogies you can only stretch them so far.

In fairness to the proponents of PSA, whatever else may be laid to its charge, I do think that proponents like John Stott in his book, 'The Cross of Christ' do steer well clear of the cruder and more grotesque analogies that are sometimes used - particularly in evangelistic presentations.

One might say he is careful not to notice all of the conclusions that follow from his position. Sometimes it's not a matter of stretching analogies, but seeing where the logic leads. If you believe A, and B follows from A, then you're stuck with B.

quote:
To be fair, not all PSA proponents descend into such crudity but they have to try pretty hard to distance themselves from it.
Because it's right there staring them in the face.

quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I am worried that there seems to be developing an idea that God can only be loving if he has no wrath, or that he cannot be loving if there is any wrath at all.

As I said above, it depends on the object of that wrath. If God is mad at sin, that makes sense. If God is wrathful at humans, then it doesn't make sense. You would have a God who would send to Hell some middle-class punter for the sorts of milquetoast sins that some basically well-meaning middle-class punter can get up to. All the while saying "I'm angry at you because I really love you!" as the punter falls into the flames. The punter says, "If this is your love, I'd hate to see your hate."

quote:
The wrath of God is seen in action in the cleansing of the temple - I see no contradiction in the life and character of Jesus between that and when he wrote in the sand refusing to condemn the adulteress for her sin.
Okay, you don't see any contradiction.

quote:
(For what it's worth, there is a hint of the wrath of God in that episode in the very thinly veiled warning to her to 'go and sin no more.' I can't help but feel there is an unspoken 'or else...'
This is called eisigesis. Reading your pre-existing theology into a passage where it cannot be seen to exist.

quote:
If Jesus were displaying the kind of God who merely reprieves for no other reason than he is a loving and slightly indulgent grandfather, then why would he admonish her in such a way?
Because sin damages people and he doesn't want her to be further damaged.

quote:
So, even while God is loving the world 'so much that he gave', the wrath of God has already condemned the world (that's why it's not the task of Jesus to condemn - it's there already)
Aren't we told somewhere that God doesn't condemn us, but we condemn ourselves?

(I am leaving out all the stuff about Sheldon Cooper and the Rich Young Ruler, as it appears to be about Rob Bell or if not it's a huge straw man.)
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Wrath seems to me to go beyond righteous anger when we talk about the divine and eternity. However bad something is in the temporal realm, an eternal punishment cannot be anything other than an overreaction, and therefore hardly just.

If we add this picture to that from a good number of evangelicals, then we get the idea that God's primary reaction to human individuals is red-hot anger - and therefore he is angry with most people most of the time.

It isn't then a stretch to see this deity who is primarily exhibiting anger, to the extent that even small infractions (and some say human existence itself as per original sin) is enough to set him off on perpetual and never-ending punishment. It has no purpose, those who suffer never learn the lesson, never have an opportunity to reform, never can change their situation for something that increasingly (in the context of eternity) becomes something that happened in a microscopic pinprick of an instant.

If we somehow add into the mix the atonement, using the common evangelical formulations, we don't get a loving God, we get one who is so red-hot angry that he is forced to punish someone, even if it is himself. The who idea has nothing to do with justice never mind sense.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Thanks mousethief and mr cheesly you've said it form me. ISTM that PSA does not draw a distinction of any importance between the sinner and the sin respecting God's wrath because the former incurs the penalty for his/her sins.

As I understand PSA, having incurred the wrath of God for our sinful ways justice demands that we be condemned to hell, or extinction, or whatever as an eternal punishment; and because that sentence has to be satisfied, there is no way round it, the severity of that punishment is borne by Christ on our behalf. In that way the wrath of God is satisfied and he can now be generous towards those who believe.

A problem I wish to raise is to question God’s sense of justice in this theory. Is it just that a human being whose bias towards sinfulness is inevitably inherited through original sin, however understood, should face such an extreme sentence? Why do his/her actions incur God’s wrath on him/her rather than his sympathetic understanding?

ISTM that the God of PSA is not a God of Justice, so that the theory rests on at least one false premise.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Ok, I get all that, both mr cheesy and Mousethief ...

Although ...

@Mousethief, are you using middle-class in a US sense or a UK sense?

[Biased] [Razz]

Seriously, though, I'm not always sure what the Orthodox are getting at when they talk about the essences/energies thing when it comes to the nature of God.

Sure, God is all-loving, I don't see how it should follow that if he's angry about something that means that he's all-wrathful.

I don't wish to anthropomorphise, but if thee or me were angry with a friend or partner for some reason, that doesn't mean that our over-riding characteristic is one of anger.

We are told that God's 'anger is but for a moment, his favour is for a lifetime.'

I do sometimes think that the Orthodox can be overly squeamish about attributing any 'angry' qualities to God - in an equal and opposite way to how certain kinds of uber-Puritanical Protestant seem to derive some kind of sick satisfaction from the idea ...

It's like the old story of the Baptist deacon at a chapel where there's an interregnum between ministers and two candidates are invited to 'preach with a view' ...

A few days after the Sunday when the first candidate came to preach, he bumps into an old friend from another Baptist chapel across town. The friend asks him how it went and what the candidate preached on.

'Oh, he preached that sinners will suffer a lost eternity and be shut out from the presence of the Lord,' the deacon told him.

The following week, after the subsequent Sunday, he again bumps into his friend in town. Again, he's asked how it went and what the candidate preached on.

'Oh, he preached that sinners will suffer a lost eternity and be shut out from the presence of the Lord,' the deacon replied.
'So which one did you choose?' asked his friend.
'The first.'
'The first? Why was that, when he preached on exactly the same topic as the second?'
'The second seemed rather pleased about it ...'

Now, I know that we aren't 'cast out from the presence of the Lord' in a literal sense - 'where can I go from your presence?' and all that ... and yes, I do like the Orthodox idea that the presence of God is eternal bliss to the redeemed but a source of horror and torment to those who do not love God ...

But you get my point.

I also take your point that the Early Church must have been happy enough with some form of the 'Classic Theory' or 'Ransom Theory' as not to see the need to debate it at Nicea or Chalcedon ...

And yes, I do think that Mudfrog is over-egging the pudding to some extent - although I'm not sure I'd accuse him of full-on eisegesis so much as making the kind of hermeneutical leaps that we all make from time to time over all manner of issues.

You can't tell me the Orthodox don't do that as well.

Or perhaps you can? [Help]
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Gamaliel
quote:
I'm not sure I'd accuse him of full-on eisegesis so much as making the kind of hermeneutical leaps that we all make from time to time over all manner of issues.

Mais oui! [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
And what you'll find is that I am trying to reflect Biblically and theologically; using Scripture and my own thoughts. Yes, there may be some eisegesis - but that's what all theologians do when they ask 'what does this mean?

Sadly, what I am not seeing is Biblical reflection from the other direction from some people; merely a restatement of the rather tired 'We hate PSA because all evangelicals we've met see God as a petulant, angry God.'

I'd like to see some Scripture (not the prodigal son) brought into this. I would also like to see a moratorium on words like 'red hot burning wrath'.

They are not helpful - and indeed, are part of the straw man. I do not believe in God who has red hot burning wrath.

I do believe that the wrath of God is an attitude, that is consistent, constant, held rationally and entirely compatible with God's holiness.
His love provides the perfect and infallible redemption from wrath that is based on justice and righteousness.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I think my definition is entirely consistent with the way some evangelicals use the term wrath. J I Packer, for example:

quote:
Wrath’ is an old English word defined in my dictionary as ‘deep, intense anger and indignation’. ‘Anger’ is defined as ‘stirring of resentful displeasure and strong antagonism, by a sense of injury or insult’; ‘indignation’ as ‘righteous anger aroused by injustice and baseness’. Such is wrath. And wrath, the Bible tells us, is an attribute of God.


[ 10. January 2017, 16:07: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I wrote above:
quote:
I do believe that the wrath of God is an attitude, that is consistent, constant, held rationally and entirely compatible with God's holiness.

This is what the IVP Bible dictionary says (an extract):
quote:
WRATH.
The permanent attitude of the holy and just God when confronted by sin and evil is designated his 'wrath'. It is inadequate to regard this term merely as a description of 'the inevitable process of cause and effect in a moral universe' or as another way of speaking of the results of sin. It is rather a personal quality, without which God would cease to be fully righteous and his love would degenerate into sentimentality. His wrath, however, even though like his love, has to be described in human language, is not wayward, fitful, or spasmodic, as human anger always is. It is as permanent an element to his nature as is his love.

The writer goes on to say that manifestations of the divine wrath must follow 'the injustice and impiety of men', that in this life wrath is tempered with mercy, and that Jesus delivers from the wrath to come.

He also says that unredeemed man is in a state of persistent rebellion against God and that they are inevitably the objects of his wrath.

The love for sinners is the dominant theme of the NT and that by grace all can cease to be the objects of wrath.


My objection to the objectors to PSA is that they caricaturise this wrath into a fitful and bad-tempered personality trait. That is not true.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
My problem is not whether God is wrathful or loving or whatever, but whether he has the grounds to condemn all humans to eternal torment. It's just not fair given the inevitability of human sinning. It's like condemning the lion for being a carnivore.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
As I'm sure you're aware, Kwesi, Calvin tries to address that point in his Institutes. I'm not sure how successfully ...

Without looking up chapter and verse, he says something to the effect that Original Sin and so forth in no way removes individual culpability ... so it's not like criticising a fox for eating a chicken or a rabbit for eating your lettuces.

On the anti-PSA thing, yes, I'm sure that many anti-PSA people, including some on these boards, can caricature the position that evangelicals take on this one ...

But I return to an earlier observation that I'm afraid I would have to concede that those from within a broadly evangelical camp who have begun to question PSA - the likes of R*b B*ll and Steve Chalke seem to be doing so not simply under the influence of 'womanist' theology but partly because they've been exposed to the wider Christian traditions and also because so many evangelicals DO present a very crude version of PSA.

I mean, even given the exaggerations that have undoubtedly developed in the family history of my in-laws, there's no smoke without fire.

Snatching a doll from a toddler's hands and flinging it on the fire has to come from somewhere.

One could argue that it comes from a somewhat paranoid vein within Western Christianity that fixates on sin and judgement and takes it to a pernickety level ...

I'm sure we could find examples of daft things in Eastern Christianity too, so I'm not singling my own Western tradition out for special censure.

There has to be a way of acknowledging God's justifiable and righteous anger against sin whilst holding it in balance with his justice, mercy and inherent goodness.

'In your anger do not sin ...'

If we, as fallen humanity, can be exhorted not to sin when we are angry then surely it's possible for the Almighty and immutable God to show wrath without being flawed or sinful in some way ...

Besides, if we want to challenge PSA there are other grounds for doing so - and again, I'm not throwing it out entirely - simply suggesting that like other atonement models it can only be stretched so far ...
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Gamaliel
quote:
Without looking up chapter and verse, he says something to the effect that Original Sin and so forth in no way removes individual culpability ... so it's not like criticising a fox for eating a chicken or a rabbit for eating your lettuces.
I don't think this answers my point, does it? You merely assert that somewhere Calvin deals with the objection without saying how he does it. I'm sticking to my objection.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
As I'm sure you're aware, Kwesi, Calvin tries to address that point in his Institutes. I'm not sure how successfully ...

Without looking up chapter and verse, he says something to the effect that Original Sin and so forth in no way removes individual culpability ... so it's not like criticising a fox for eating a chicken or a rabbit for eating your lettuces.

Not successfully at all, IMHO. The example there seems to only make the point-- we DON'T blame the fox in any moral way for eating the chickens. We EXPECT foxes to eat chickens, and therefore take necessary precautions to prevent their access. This goes to the "natural consequences" (karma) point made above.


quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

On the anti-PSA thing, yes, I'm sure that many anti-PSA people, including some on these boards, can caricature the position that evangelicals take on this one ...

But I return to an earlier observation that I'm afraid I would have to concede that those from within a broadly evangelical camp who have begun to question PSA - the likes of R*b B*ll and Steve Chalke seem to be doing so not simply under the influence of 'womanist' theology but partly because they've been exposed to the wider Christian traditions and also because so many evangelicals DO present a very crude version of PSA.

I mean, even given the exaggerations that have undoubtedly developed in the family history of my in-laws, there's no smoke without fire.

Absolutely. In fact, in my circles I'm hearing far more arguments from simply acknowledging the shortcomings of PSA and being exposed to the rich history of other imagery than I'm hearing coming from a womanist pov. (Not really sure why you're blocking out Rob Bell's name-- is he somehow He Who Shall Not be Named?).


quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
There has to be a way of acknowledging God's justifiable and righteous anger against sin whilst holding it in balance with his justice, mercy and inherent goodness.

I'm not sure "anger" is the best word for it. I think "grief" fits the bill much better-- something along the lines, again, of the natural consequences thing. I think of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. God knows how much our sin costs us-- whether small scale broken relationships or large scale horrible violence-- and his heart is broken. Of course, you might redefine "anger" somewhat along those lines but I think we run into problems communicating the gospel when we do too much of that. Using "grief" fits better I think the biblical picture of God's response to sin-- but fits much better with the "Satan-ward" metaphors than the "God-ward" metaphors.


quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

Besides, if we want to challenge PSA there are other grounds for doing so - and again, I'm not throwing it out entirely - simply suggesting that like other atonement models it can only be stretched so far ...

That would be my position. I think the real problem comes when we stress any one model over the others. The fact is, all five (or six?) are biblical-- and there's a reason for that. The "Satan-ward" metaphors balance the problems of the "God-ward" metaphors, and vice-versa. They are all giving us glimpses of the fuller reality.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
Lamb Chopped's post here fits well with what I'm talking about above:

quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:


Okay, karma. I can't say I know all the ins and outs of what this means past the popular definition, as I've not studied it in any depth. What I do think is that our actions produce consequences, not all of which may be visible, and some of which may be spiritual.

Jesus spoke often of reaping what you sow (and Paul after him, etc.) This suggests to me that there is some principle in the universe which I think of as balance, for want of a better term. Plant weed seeds and you'll get weeds; yell at a coworker and you'll get into a fight; live by the sword and you're likely to die by the sword. These things are observable, and plenty of people have observed them--both in Christianity and outside it. Which is possibly where the idea of karma came from.

Now I don't think there is some sort of spiritual bookkeeper up there keeping track of my bads and goods and making sure I get a precisely calculated payback in this life or another. But I do think that when God undertakes to clean up our spiritual toxic dump, he has to deal with more than just what our eyes can see on the surface.

Let's take that biblical image of sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind. All of the times I "sowed the wind" through my evil actions? Well, the whirlwinds that result are still out there, spinning like mad, waiting to pounce on me sooner or later. What goes around, comes around. Except that now God has stepped in to save me from my own folly, and I am forgiven, and the whole process has gotten short circuited.

Anyway, what happens to those pre-existing twisters that have been sniffing around the edges of my life, waiting to pounce? Do they just suddenly go "poof!" and tidy themselves away into oblivion on their own? I don't think so, no. Someone's got to shut them down.* That someone is God.

Let's take a different image. If I deliberately create a toxic chemical dump on my property, there are two issues to deal with. One is my personal evil choice which led to the disaster; the second is the clean-up.

If I do the spiritual equivalent by falling into evil, God can forgive me for my evil choice. But somebody's still got to clean up the dump. It can't just be left there. It won't go away on its own. I believe that God does that, too--cleans up our spiritual toxic chemical dumps, restores the site, recreates what was ruined. I don't think it happens by itself. I think God actively gets out there and deals with it. And it costs him something--just as it would cost me in ordinary human life if I had to do Superfund clean up.

I hope this makes some sense, as I really ought to be in bed. Good night.

This would be my view as well-- and one that I think fits well with the "Satan-ward" metaphors.

The reason sin is a problem is not that it's "breaking rules" or it's "being naughty" or whatever. The reason sin is a problem is that it has horrible consequences. Some of those consequences are experienced by the sinner him/herself, e.g. if I lie/cheat, people will stop trusting me, which will have relational consequences. Other consequences are experienced of course, by the victims of our sin or by society or even creation as a whole. I suspect Lamb is correct that we often do not recognize the full extent of the natural consequences of our sin, both for ourselves or for others.

This is why I think the best way to picture God's response is grief, rather than anger. God hates sin not because he is boiling mad at us for being such nasty, disobedient, disgusting creatures. God hates sin because his heart is broken as he sees the utter destruction caused by it.

Again, the God-ward theories picture God as repelled by sin. Whether you frame that in terms of "wrath" or more softly in terms of "justice" or "holiness", it still comes down to God being made distant from us by our sin. But the Satan-ward theories picture God as heartbroken by our sin, moved by compassion, and therefore rushing TO us rather than away from us-- running to us to rescue us from sin. It is the picture of the Father in the story of the Prodigal Son, not filled with anger for his profligate ways, not even waiting for him to say "sorry", but running to meet him and welcome him home.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Cliffdweller, that resonates very strongly with me, and with the Orthodox soteriology that I was taught. God is mad at sin because of the damage it does. That's reflected in the fact that the times we see Christ really go off on people, the reason he gives for his anger is the harm they are causing others. (You may find it interesting that I have written your name enough times that it is now offered up by my phone's predictive speller.)

Mudfrog, I'm not interested in your "discuss this using my rules or I'll take my ball and go home" offer. Your rules seem designed to prevent anyone pointing out your position is not internally self-consistent.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I have acknowledged elsewhere that the atonement , like a diamond, has many facets.
I have also acknowledged, or proposed that different atonement metaphors seem to 'apply' to different definitions or metaphors of sin.

I would now after further reflection, like to suggest that the different metaphors may apply to differing situations, either devotional or missional. It might be better if you, my Shipmate friends, were the ones to suggest which metaphor might well fit within a communion service, within a covenant service, within a confirmation, within personal prayer for healing, forgiveness, sanctification, etc, etc, etc.

I would like to propose a reason why evangelicals seem to favour the penal substitutionary atonement model whilst non-evangelicals might favour the more 'spiritual/devotional' metaphors - though many of us in the evangelical churches are also very enamoured by the moral influence metaphor.

And the reason, I suggest, is in the very name, 'evangelical'. If the evangelical movement is a mission/conversion movement within the Church, then it stands to reason that they will favour a picture of the cross that focuses on sin and forgiveness and the need for decisive repentance, faith and conversion. I could go on and expand this, but I think you'll appreciate what I'm saying.

Evangelicals want to persuade, to convince, to show the need for forgiveness and the natural sinful state of mankind and its need of a Saviour; the PSA metaphor fits very well with passages such as Isaiah 53, and Father forgive them for they know not what they do, and hymns such as Man of Sorrows (in my place condemned he stood) and And Can It Be (Died he for me who causedhis pain), etc.

I am fully aware that not all churches are missionary/conversionist in nature and splace a low priority on what we would call 'Saving Faith', preferring a more sacrametal approach to the reception of grace; but for those of us who are heavily into calling people to conversion, the model shown in PSA is a powerful metaphor that may well have less significance in the more reflective, liturgical traditions.

And I think I can understand that; as long as my liturgical, sacramental friends can appreciate that some of the softer metaphors do not necessarily lend themselves to evangelical mission-type sermons and appeals for people to repent and follow Christ.

Just a thought.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I don't think it can be fully explained by that though, Mudfrog. There are many evangelicals who think that PSA is the only acceptable theory of the atonement and get very cross and defensive when asked to consider other ideas.

Personally, I find PSA the worst of the many theories of the atonement and would never use it under any circumstances.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Mudfrog, your explanation sounds rather circular. We like PSA because we're evangelists and have to present people with the Gospel, and after all, PSA is the Gospel. Also it fails to explain, since there are evangelists in other traditions who try to present the Gospel to people, but who don't believe in PSA. By your logic they should.

It's not that you like PSA because you use it in evangelizing. It's that you use it in evangelizing because you like it.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Well, I can only speak for this particular evangelical whose church hymnal includes songs that cover just about every metaphor of atonement you can think of!

And to be frank, if you can make a list of well-known Good Friday hymns that the evangelicals will use, you will find that they will sing about moral influence, ransom, satisfaction, Christus victor and recapitulation as much as PSA.


Again, I have tried to make reasoned, reflective and balanced arguments that take others' ideas as well as affirm my own, that are inclusive of all kinds of ideas, without just accepting indiscriminately something that hasn't been argued cogently - (I have yet to see an exposition of Scripture that supports Bell or Chalke) - but yet again you have rejected my reasoned suggestion and, without expanding on why, have just intolerantly said I will not believe.

I have not said I disbelieve in any of the atonement theories - they all have merit in various settings and circumstances - even the ones favoured by Bell and Chalke have validity), but liberal intolerance again says 'I will not believe.' and implies that we who believe PSA as well as all the other metaphors are simply wrong for believing it too.

I think that's sad.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Mudfrog, your explanation sounds rather circular. We like PSA because we're evangelists and have to present people with the Gospel, and after all, PSA is the Gospel. Also it fails to explain, since there are evangelists in other traditions who try to present the Gospel to people, but who don't believe in PSA. By your logic they should.

It's not that you like PSA because you use it in evangelizing. It's that you use it in evangelizing because you like it.

I disagree.
I think you misunderstand what I say.

We who are evangelical will use the parts of the Gospel in evangelical mission that will be useful, specifically, in that context.

We will talk about the love of God
We will talk about the sin of man
We will talk about the cross as an example f the greatest love(See from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down)
We will also talk about Jesus as substitute (in my place condemned he stood)
We will talk about redemption, being bought at a price.
We will talk about Christus Victor - (though probably more in terms of sanctification)
Bit we will also talk about healing.

There are a number of atonement metaphors there but we will use PSA in certain circumstances but not every time.
But we will use it because it's a powerful message to give someone who knows they are a sinner and want to know that Jesus can forgive them. To tell that person that Jesus has taken their sins is a wonderful thing for them.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Strangely or not, I was only thinking along those lines when I first engaged with this thread, Mudfrog and can certainly identify with what you are saying - not only about evangelicalism in general but the Salvation Army in particular.

This doesn't necessarily mean the Salvation Army is reductionist - it's a lot more holistic I would say than many 'newer' revivalist movements - but as with any Protestant 'sect' (understood in socilogical terms) - it does do what it says on the tin. You know what you are going to get - an emphasis on individual conversion and personal piety.

On a personal level, whilst I increasingly incline towards a more contemplative or sacramental approach, I certainly don't want to ditch the clear call to conversion and to personal piety that evangelicalism embodies.

Which is probably why I haven't been prepared to throw PSA out entirely with the revivalist bath-water.

As ever, though, I am always inclined to try to combine apparent contradictions and find complementarity as it were.

My usual both/and mantra ...

That can be an awkward place to be as fences tend to have sharp pointy bits at the top ...

I s'pose my question would be whether it is possible to display evangelistic fervour and to preach for conversion etc, without so much emphasis on a PSA model?

In some parts of the world the RCs and Orthodox seem to do so to some extent - particularly in Africa.

I'm also reminded of something I read about some of the Anglo-Catholic 'slum priests' in London's East End. They thought nothing of shamelessly adopting techniques and strategies from the Salvation Army and other revivalist groups for their parish missions, but would switch back to bells and smells once they'd got converts through the door ...
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
X-x-post! This is re Mudfrog's "liberal" slam.

I hope that was a cross post and you're not calling me liberal because that would be great folly.

Your argument at this point seems to be, "You're not being fair. I accept your favorite atonement theories, so you should accept mine. Otherwise you're just being a liberal meanyhead."

From where I sit, it looks like a handful of people on this thread find fault with PSA. And they have laid out pretty cogently why. Accusing them of not loving the Bible, or calling them Liberal, is not engaging in Purgatory-stye argument.

[ 10. January 2017, 21:57: Message edited by: mousethief ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
@Cliffdweller, I am only rendering 'Rob Bell' as 'R*b B*ll' because he seems to be persona non grata as far as Mudfrog is concerned.

@Mudfrog, Bell and Chalke are popular and populist preachers and presenters, they are not top-drawer theologians - but there are serious theologias and serious and venerable Christian traditions, such as Mousethief's which don't buy into PSA and can make out a case for not doing so - and yes, using the scriptures to back that up.

You may not agree with them but that doesn't mean that they are somehow deficient in their approach to scripture compared with those who agree with you.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

From where I sit, it looks like a handful of people on this thread find fault with PSA. And they have laid out pretty cogently why.

I disagree.
I have found prejudice, straw men, and not much attempt to see the positive in those who do believe in PSA.

Gamaliel, as ever, is a paragon of thoughtful balance whilst not being afraid to challenge me; he does it rationally and thoughtfully and gives reasons.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
@Cliffdweller, I am only rendering 'Rob Bell' as 'R*b B*ll' because he seems to be persona non grata as far as Mudfrog is concerned.

@Mudfrog, Bell and Chalke are popular and populist preachers and presenters, they are not top-drawer theologians - but there are serious theologias and serious and venerable Christian traditions, such as Mousethief's which don't buy into PSA and can make out a case for not doing so - and yes, using the scriptures to back that up.

You may not agree with them but that doesn't mean that they are somehow deficient in their approach to scripture compared with those who agree with you.

My reason for saying that they are not as popular is simply because they don't seem to be making the same waves in the evangelical world as they were 5 years ago. That's not to say that they have fallen out of favour with the people who like their writings - though I reckon that Bell's leaving Mars Hill and Chalke's expulsion from the Evangelical Alliance will have dented their credibility with some - it's more that outside that circle people are not really talking about them; except here of course [Smile]
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
Sorry I've been away for a bit - it took a while to put together the following;

Whatever the biblical words you may refer to, 'atonement' in English means basically “What it takes to reconcile two people when things have gone wrong between them”. In human terms part of the reconciliation may be that either

1) the wrongdoer 'atones for' his wrong by doing something to put it right; in a simple example, if he's damaged something, he pays for it. This is also known as 'justice'. OR

2) Especially where the wrongdoer can't do much to put things right, eg when he simply can't afford to pay, the person wronged decides to 'forgive', and in essence, HE pays for the damage in order to offer reconciliation to the other party.

Full reconciliation and restoration of relationships may require a lot of other stuff to go on around that either payment or forgiveness of debt. A lot of what we've been discussing here is this 'payment of debt' aspect – which is virtually absent in the 'moral influence' notion.

In dealing with the debt payment aspect the Bible uses all kinds of analogies. To my mind the 'debt payment' or as Lamb Chop has been saying (I think) sin creating 'consequences' - a mess that somebody has to take on the burden of cleaning up – is the major metaphor that gives a fairly straightforward account of what's going on. Other metaphors/images can also be helpful but should usually not be pushed to the limits or they can produce questionable results.

We should also bear in mind that older societies developing and changing tended not to be as sophisticated as we've become (partly precisely through the Christian understanding). For example many early societies wouldn't have a clear division between 'civil' and 'criminal' law.

In effect, the criminal law has various aspects which are necessary to deal with 'law and order' in human societies – for example, penalties for breaking traffic rules even though in the particular case nobody may have suffered harm – but which are not entirely appropriate to the God/Man relationship. Yet some aspects even of those parts of the law may provide a useful partial example for an aspect of the atonement; but as I say should not be pushed too far....


'Penal Substitution Atonement' is one of these. Older less individualistic legal systems had many situations where one person might, voluntarily or involuntarily, substitute for another in taking a criminal penalty and such basic situations offer a parallel to Jesus taking our place in dealing with those 'consequences' of sin. But treating those as the primary metaphor is unsatisfactory.

The Jehovah's Witnesses provide an interesting example. By denying the Trinity they have also rejected the idea of God himself forgiving by footing the bill/taking the consequences of sin. But as purported Biblical fundamentalists rather than the liberal theologians of 'Unitarianism' as such, they still need an explanation why a Jesus who is not divine had to die. And as far as I can understand it, they use a variant of PSA.

In their version they rather portray God as having set a law saying sinners must die. And then God is faced with lots of sinners who he wants to forgive, and doesn't want to kill them – but to satisfy the law, someone must die, and of course according to the Bible that 'someone' is Jesus. So in their explanation Jesus, some kind of archangel, offers his voluntary death in place of the sinners.... And the problem is that killing an innocent third party ain't exactly justice; and further it ain't exactly forgiveness either, because God isn't forgiving in a sense of footing the bill himself. In fact it makes God look much like a Shylock figure, determined to have his 'pound of flesh' but not caring very much whose flesh it is....

The JWs of course have the problem that unlike 'liberal' theologians they are committed to at least appearing biblical. The liberal Unitarian church and many liberals in the mainstream churches get over the problems by effectively ignoring the biblical atonement teaching and reducing the atonement to little more than a 'moral influence' based on a totally vague idea of what Jesus might actually achieve by dying.

So the basic point is that, among quite a few other things, Jesus' atoning death is God demonstrating, in a carefully prepared way in our world and our history that yes, he really will foot the bill/sort out the consequences of our sins at his own expense. Passages like Hebrews 9; 11 suggest that what was seen on earth/in history was but 'tip of an iceberg' of the whole payment for sin involved.

Problem is, the 'payment' is only part of what is needed for reconciliation between God and Man. There also needs to be practical reconciliation in which men change their hearts. Which is why John 3;16, the passage about how “God so loved the world”, is followed by v 17ff

quote:
17 For God did not send His Son to the world that he may judge the world, but that the world may be saved through him; 18 he who is believing in him is not judged, but he who is not believing hath been judged already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 `And this is the judgment, that the light hath come to the world, and men did love the darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil; 20 for every one who is doing wicked things hateth the light, and doth not come unto the light, that his works may not be detected; 21 but he who is doing the truth doth come to the light, that his works may be manifested, that in God they are having been wrought.'
John 3:17-21 (YLT)

Especially that bit in v19-20, that “And this is the judgment, that the light hath come to the world, and men did love the darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil; 20 for every one who is doing wicked things hateth the light, and doth not come unto the light, that his works may not be detected”

Or in simple terms, it's not just a case of a nasty God throwing people into hell, it's also a case that they are so opposed to God, they throw themselves into the darkness. This appears to relate to the point made by Gamaliel that

[QUOTE]and yes, I do like the Orthodox idea that the presence of God is eternal bliss to the redeemed but a source of horror and torment to those who do not love God …[QUOTE]

Neither heaven nor hell are just 'places' equally pleasurable or equally distasteful to the redeemed and to the unrepentant. The unrepentant, through no fault of God, simply cannot live in the light of heaven; their choice to sin has so changed them that they can't enjoy heaven unless they repent and change. And note, BTW, that this is about the sinners' internal state of mind and will, and how out of tune with God that is, rather than about how massive external damage to other people and to the world they may have done....

And it is my experience that those who most object to the idea of hell are also the people who most object to the idea of God coercing anyone. But if people won't change, then what? And I can see a serious possibility that people can be so changed from what they should be by their sinful choice that both they can't change themselves, AND God changing them would be so drastic as to be meaningless – the changed person would have no real continuity with the sinner they were before....

Whence that the atonement is presented as it is – it is a challenge to change while that is still meaningfully possible.

This has got a bit long – I'll leave it for now....
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Mudfrog
quote:
Evangelicals want to persuade, to convince, to show the need for forgiveness and the natural sinful state of mankind and its need of a Saviour; the PSA metaphor fits very hymns such as Man of Sorrows ..... And Can It Be (Died he for me who causedhis pain), etc.
Mudfrog, I must protest your interpretation of the quotation from "And can it be........." because you fail to complete the couplet:

"Died he for me who caused his pain,
For me, who him to death pursued."

In PSA the son is sent by the father to die on the cross in order that his wrath/ the demands of justice be satisfied. The immediate cause of the pain is the requirement for extreme punitive punishment by the father.

Charles Wesley, however, sees the death of Christ as demanded by sinners like himself, "me who him to death pursued." Wesley is with the Sanhedrin, the howling mob, the soldiers banging in the nails. For Wesley, the death of Christ is demanded by the wrath of men. In so doing he endorses the words of Peter at Pentecost: "Know for sure that this Jesus, whom you crucified, is the one that God has made Lord and Messiah." In this strand the Father thwarts the wrath of men which caused his Son's death by raising him from death. The dreaded condemnation Wesley refers to in the final stanza reflects the fear of the hearers at Pentecost: "When the people heard this [that they had killed the Messiah} they were deeply troubled, and said to Peter and the apostles "What shall we do, brothers?" Peter said in reply "turn away from your sins and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, and you will receive the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2: 36-37).

Don't restrict the evangelical tradition to the Evangelistic pharisees, and don't claim Charles Wesley for PSA.

"And can it be....." is perhaps helpful to this thread's search for an understanding of the atonement when Wesley comments:

'Tis mystery all! The immortal dies:
Who can explore his strange design?
In vain the first-tborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more."

************************************************************************
On a different note, there been a lot of reference to 'metaphors' and 'theories' in this discussion. Are metaphors and theories inter-changeable or are they different? To my mind a theory is a logically developed explanation of how something works and to a large extent is different from other explanatory theories of the same phenomenon. Contending theories vie for supremacy leading to some being cast aside or the creation of a new theory which incorporates elements of the old ones in a new and more coherent theory. Metaphors, on the other hand, more poetic in character, presenting various likenesses of a phenomenon but are essentially subjective and do not claim to have a rational explanation for the matter being discussed. In discussing various approaches to the atonement I think we need to make it clear whether we are dealing with theories or metaphors.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Cliffdweller, that resonates very strongly with me, and with the Orthodox soteriology that I was taught. God is mad at sin because of the damage it does. That's reflected in the fact that the times we see Christ really go off on people, the reason he gives for his anger is the harm they are causing others. (You may find it interesting that I have written your name enough times that it is now offered up by my phone's predictive speller.)

Yes, that's why I'm more and more thinking you were right in saying the "Satan-ward" direction fits better with Orthodox soteriology. A good doctor is not repelled by disease, doesn't act like a germophobe afraid of being contaminated. No, a good doctor is moved by compassion for the sick and dying to enter straight into the disease-filled ebola ward. Similarly, God is not repelled by sin, but moving toward sinners (as we see Jesus do throughout the NT) to heal us.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
What cliffdweller said. There is no obligation to reward sin with punishment. See Jesus,who did not come to punish us but to save.

It's the two gospel thing again: if you are poor, wretched and broken, the good news is that God's going to love you and heal you.

The good news is slightly different if you are self-righteous, finger-pointing, rich and have it all together.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Mudfrog
quote:
Evangelicals want to persuade, to convince, to show the need for forgiveness and the natural sinful state of mankind and its need of a Saviour; the PSA metaphor fits very hymns such as Man of Sorrows ..... And Can It Be (Died he for me who causedhis pain), etc.
Mudfrog, I must protest your interpretation of the quotation from "And can it be........." because you fail to complete the couplet:

"Died he for me who caused his pain,
For me, who him to death pursued."

In PSA the son is sent by the father to die on the cross in order that his wrath/ the demands of justice be satisfied. The immediate cause of the pain is the requirement for extreme punitive punishment by the father.

Charles Wesley, however, sees the death of Christ as demanded by sinners like himself, "me who him to death pursued." Wesley is with the Sanhedrin, the howling mob, the soldiers banging in the nails. For Wesley, the death of Christ is demanded by the wrath of men. In so doing he endorses the words of Peter at Pentecost: "Know for sure that this Jesus, whom you crucified, is the one that God has made Lord and Messiah." In this strand the Father thwarts the wrath of men which caused his Son's death by raising him from death. The dreaded condemnation Wesley refers to in the final stanza reflects the fear of the hearers at Pentecost: "When the people heard this [that they had killed the Messiah} they were deeply troubled, and said to Peter and the apostles "What shall we do, brothers?" Peter said in reply "turn away from your sins and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, and you will receive the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2: 36-37).

Don't restrict the evangelical tradition to the Evangelistic pharisees, and don't claim Charles Wesley for PSA.

"And can it be....." is perhaps helpful to this thread's search for an understanding of the atonement when Wesley comments:

'Tis mystery all! The immortal dies:
Who can explore his strange design?
In vain the first-tborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more."

************************************************************************
On a different note, there been a lot of reference to 'metaphors' and 'theories' in this discussion. Are metaphors and theories inter-changeable or are they different? To my mind a theory is a logically developed explanation of how something works and to a large extent is different from other explanatory theories of the same phenomenon. Contending theories vie for supremacy leading to some being cast aside or the creation of a new theory which incorporates elements of the old ones in a new and more coherent theory. Metaphors, on the other hand, more poetic in character, presenting various likenesses of a phenomenon but are essentially subjective and do not claim to have a rational explanation for the matter being discussed. In discussing various approaches to the atonement I think we need to make it clear whether we are dealing with theories or metaphors.

"That thou, my God, shouldst de for me."
"No condemnation now I dread."

The bit about "me who him to death pursued" is not so much about joining in with the crowd for his crucifixion, but about my sin that placed him on the cross - died he for me (i.e. for my sin).
I was the one who "caused his pain"
And we can go to Isaiah 53 for that one:

The chastisement of our peace was laid upon him.


As far as the question regarding theories and metaphors goes, when I was studying 5 years ago I came across a number of references that said that what were once called 'theories' of atonement are now called 'metaphors.'
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
What cliffdweller said. There is no obligation to reward sin with punishment. See Jesus,who did not come to punish us but to save.

Indeed, but that's because we are already under condemnation - read John 3 16 - 18
The condemnation is in force, to escape it and not 'perish' we must believe in the only Begotten Son
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
Might I throw four stones into this bucket and see how the ripples spread - that is if anyone is going to do anything with them.

First, is there any difference between those who say PSA is the only model of the atonement, and those who are determined to reject it totally - largely because they personally don't like it? If someone else finds a model helpful, who are we to deny them that?

Second, I'm quite surprised nobody has quoted Sidney Carter,
quote:
"It’s God they ought to crucify instead of you and me
I said to the carpenter, a-hanging on the tree"

Part of the mystery of that refrain is that we know it is saying something very profound, but none of us are quite sure what.

Third, if scripture seems to speak of a lot of different metaphors and understandings, who are we to insist on explaining something on our terms - or for that matter rejecting the bits we don't like - rather than accepting scripture, gratefully and with our palms open, on its own terms?

Finally, if the sacrificial system of the old temple foreshadows the death of Jesus, what do the whole or burnt offering, the shared or peace offering and the mysterious red heifer say to us about the cross? We're used to hearing the sacrificial system interpreted to us in terms of either the sin offering or the Day of Atonement.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
There's nothing wrong with theories being metaphors. They can be both ...

[Big Grin]

And at the risk or irritating everyone, it strikes me that one can 'read' both Kwesi's interpretation into that Charles Wesley hymn as well as Mudfrog's. It's capable of being interpreted in both those ways at one and the same time - which is fine, that's how poetry works - and it is poetry - of a high standard.

It is also a hymn, something intended for use as an act of worship. It can function as poetry and as a hymn at one and the same time ...

So the same applies to theories and metaphors.

Just because something is a metaphor doesn't mean it's not true.

On the issue of Chalke and Bell not being as visible these days - I'm not so sure about that - although I think interest in them has peaked and people have moved on - both within evangelicalism itself and within what we might call post-evangelicalism or within those onlookers from within the liberal tradition who were peeking over the fence at the developing spat ...

I'd also, gently, caution Mudfrog about assuming that those who oppose PSA - or are at least wary about it to some extent - are necessarily liberal in their theology.

The Orthodox aren't noted for their liberal theology, although there is a more liberal wing within that Church as there is among all others - only it's expressed in a different terms.

Yet they tend to be wary at best of PSA or out-and-out opposed to it.

The position I now take on the issue is similar to Cliffdweller's. I'd also agree with Kwesi that it wasn't God who crucified Christ - wicked and sinful men did so - yet, as Peter's Pentecost sermon tells us, it was through 'God's set purpose and foreknowledge'.

Acts 2:23 http://biblehub.com/acts/2-23.htm

God allowed it to happen, indeed intended it to happen ... and, gloriously, raised Christ Jesus our Lord from the dead.

Now then - there are some interesting connections here with the Original Sin thread. I find it fascinating, for instance, that some who might baulk at the traditional Western view of Original Sin are more than happy to accept that Wesley or ourselves were somehow 'present' or tacitly involved in some way with the crucifixion of Christ ... an event that took place 1,700 years before Wesley and 1,900 or 2,000 years before our own time.

I don't have a difficulty with that. The Cross of Christ is effective past, present and future. As far as God is concerned - who is above and beyond time as it were - the whole thing is happening 'contemporaneously' as it were. Hence the emphasis in sacramental circles about the events of Christ's Passion being 're-presented' - RE-presented to us in the Eucharist.

There's a rich vein of theology and devotion there and I'm not going to get into the ins and outs and how literally or how Neo-Platonically we take it ...

But you get my drift.

However we understand the atonement, we are all agreed that it has to do with sin and the rectifying and reconstitution of our fallen humanity into a renewed and restored relationship with God - 'ransomed, healed, restored forgiven ...'
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Might I throw four stones into this bucket and see how the ripples spread - that is if anyone is going to do anything with them.

First, is there any difference between those who say PSA is the only model of the atonement, and those who are determined to reject it totally - largely because they personally don't like it? If someone else finds a model helpful, who are we to deny them that?

Second, I'm quite surprised nobody has quoted Sidney Carter,
quote:
"It’s God they ought to crucify instead of you and me
I said to the carpenter, a-hanging on the tree"

Part of the mystery of that refrain is that we know it is saying something very profound, but none of us are quite sure what.

Third, if scripture seems to speak of a lot of different metaphors and understandings, who are we to insist on explaining something on our terms - or for that matter rejecting the bits we don't like - rather than accepting scripture, gratefully and with our palms open, on its own terms?

Finally, if the sacrificial system of the old temple foreshadows the death of Jesus, what do the whole or burnt offering, the shared or peace offering and the mysterious red heifer say to us about the cross? We're used to hearing the sacrificial system interpreted to us in terms of either the sin offering or the Day of Atonement.

I'm not fond of the "because you don't like it" bit - like I dislike PSA in the same way that I dislike tuna or rap. It's more that I see that it leads to bad conclusions about God - that his justice is unjust, that he demands punishment for punishment's sake, that his punishments are utterly disproportionate, that he can be satisfied by a horrific execution method devised to maximise human suffering.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
For me the issue is that all the theories of the atonement are impositions on the text, and I can see no good reason why PSA should be used. Ever. The texts are not obvious, hence the resorting to hymns in the posts above - as if that's telling us anything about the theory in-and-of-itself. It isn't. Hymns reflect the theology within which they were written.

It is only possible to interpret the biblical texts about sacrifice and atonement with the aid of a metanarrative, and frankly I don't think the one which is proposed by PSA - in fact the package within which PSA is usually offered - is worth believing. If we're going to have a metanarrative, I think we should have one that makes a bit more sense and doesn't turn the deity into an ogre. Probably just me then.

With regard to the sacrifice, I think this is part of the problematic metanarrative so pervasive in Evangelical churches which is essentially residual impacts of Calvinism.

If we go back to first principles; first God doesn't actually need the sacrifice. Evidence: OT characters were accepted by God before they got around to doing any animal sacrifices, Amos etc.

Second, things (humans, animals) die all the time, and if God is beyond time then it is hard to see how an animal dying now is somehow good enough to pay for sin whereas an animal dying some time in the future of old age isn't.

Personally, I don't think sacrifice made any difference to God. I think he could (and did/does) choose to forgive sinners without the animal sacrifice.

So then the question is asking what the animal sacrifice was for if it wasn't to placate the justice/wrath of God and to open that bridge between man and God.

I think the sacrifice was for man not for God. It isn't a perfect analogue, but it runs along the lines of "something for nothing is worth nothing". Telling someone that they're forgiven without any corresponding cost to them is likely to lead to "taking it for granted", therefore something costly (a perfect animal) was required.

Now, we might then question what the atonement was about - why did God need Jesus' sacrifice if he could have just chosen to forgive the pentitent. Again, I think the incarnation and the atonement was for humanity rather than for God.

In this metanarrative formation, God is not an ogre and does not "require" a payment for sin. Forgiveness is freely offered to those with broken hearts and awareness of their unworthy status. BUT the flip side is that this "free" gift costs everything. We need to take up our cross and consider ourselves sacrificed with Christ.

Not because the alternative is an eternity of darkness - but because our calling is to be light in this world, to keep our heads and vision whilst others are losing theirs, to be temples of Christ.

"I'm condemning you because God hates Gays" is not the good news.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
The thing is, of course, is that however we interpret the scriptures we are interpreting them according to one or other or several of the available metanarratives.

We all have metanarratives. We can't avoid that.

The issue, of course, is which of the metanarratives most closely accord with the scriptural data and/or - if we are honest with ourselves - tradition - either small t or Big T - plus whatever else we put into the mix according to where we are coming from ... be it Bishop Hooker's 'three-legged stool' of Scripture, Reason and Tradition or the famous Wesleyan Quadrilateral - Scripture, Reason, Tradition and Experience ...

Or whatever other model or framework we are working within.

I would suggest that judged in that way and according to the most elastic metanarratives we can avail ourselves of without bursting the bounds of the Christian tradition entirely - then all of the various atonement theories/metaphors are to be found 'wanting' in some way.

We can only stretch any of them so far.

The Moral Influence model will take us a fair way down some avenues, but not very far along others. The same applies to Christus Victor, or to PSA or to whatever other model we use.

Which is why I'm in broad agreement with Cliffdweller about weaving the various models together. I'd also agree with Mudfrog that groups like the Salvation Army and other evangelical churches do use a range of models ... not just PSA.

Where I might part company with Mudfrog is on the suggestion that we might wish to adapt or apply a selection of models for different circumstances/uses ... using a different one at a communion service, say, than we might in some other context ...

I can see what he's getting at but in the more sacramental traditions - in theory at least - the whole thing is meant to form an holistic corpus ... the thing that strikes me about the 'Higher' or more 'realised' forms of Eucharist is that whilst they are stand-alone to some extent they don't try to cover all the bases, but at the same time the key aspects, if you like, of salvation history or proclaimed and 're-presented' there ...

Sure, we might wish to highlight or focus on this, that or the other aspect in preaching or catechesis, but in terms of an holistic approach to worship then I'd suggest that some kind of liturgical framework, Church Calendar approach does help us to cover the ground.

We ain't ever going to pack everything there is into a single sermon, preaching series or anything else. We're only ever going to scratch the surface at best.

For some reason, any discussion about the atonement here tends to end up as a discussion about PSA. I can understand why that might be and can understand why some people are repulsed by the idea and others find it a source of great comfort.

The issue though, isn't our own subjective responses but whether it 'fits' the biblical narratives and the understanding of Christian people down the ages as they've sought to make sense of these things.

It clearly wasn't seen as a major issue in the early centuries, though, as it doesn't appear to have been discussed at the great Ecumenical Councils. As Mousethief says, whatever the reasons for that it must tell us something.
 
Posted by venbede (# 16669) on :
 
My problem with PSA, why I find it totally unconvincing is not that it makes God an ogre, but it makes him into an accountant.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
I would never have believed it until I saw it with my own eyes that people would do theology by proof-texting Protestant hymns.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
[Big Grin]

Or an ogre-accountant? Both/and ...?

Heh. I can see that as an objection too, venbede in the sense that Western theology per se, in its Augustinian sense, is highly juridical.

From what I can gather, Eastern theology is more 'mystical' and indeed relational ... (although I'm not for a moment suggesting that there is nothing of the Incarnational and relational in the Western tradition/s.

Of course, images of profit and loss, debt and payment are there in the scriptures - but there has been a tendency in the West to over-emphasise some of those aspects, I would suggest.

At the extreme it leads to the medieval Indulgence system (and some of the Orthodox toyed with versions of that for a time, I'm reliably informed by some Orthodoxen) or to the various forms of prosperity-gospel teachings found at the outer limits of Protestantism where all sorts of strange transactional models come into play ...
 
Posted by gorpo (# 17025) on :
 
It looks like the criteria for the choice of one´s prefered version of atonement is: what version makes God look better in the eyes of our 21st century progressist culture?

If Jesus´ death wasn´t really sacrificial or vicarious, then it was unnecessary. God could have done something to prevent it. Why he didn´t? God letting his son die an unnecessary death is even more cruel then God requiring his death because it was necessary for our salvation.

Jesus´ death merely as a moral example is ridiculous. Simply because good examples are only effective if we follow them. And since I´m not aware of any of us actually giving our lives in favour of others, that must mean Jesus´ salvation cannot reach anyone except real martyrs. Unless doing some charity and sharing cool social justice memes in facebook is our idea of "giving our lives for others".
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I would never have believed it until I saw it with my own eyes that people would do theology by proof-texting Protestant hymns.

Come on, Mousethief, you ought to know that we quote our own hymnody just as much as the Orthodox do.

Only with us they don't necessarily form part of a Big T Tradition ...

But they are certainly there as part of small t tradition and it wasn't uncommon at one time - less so these days - for preachers to conclude their sermons with some rousing quote or other from the hymnodic canon.

It could form an interesting Ecclesiantics thread to discuss the role of hymnody in shaping and forming various forms of Protestant theology. I suspect we'd find that Charles Wesley in particular has been among the most influential - at least within the English-speaking or English-influenced traditions.

Luther's hymns probably occupy a similar place in the Lutheran canon.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:
It looks like the criteria for the choice of one´s prefered version of atonement is: what version makes God look better in the eyes of our 21st century progressist culture?

If Jesus´ death wasn´t really sacrificial or vicarious, then it was unnecessary. God could have done something to prevent it. Why he didn´t? God letting his son die an unnecessary death is even more cruel then God requiring his death because it was necessary for our salvation.

Jesus´ death merely as a moral example is ridiculous. Simply because good examples are only effective if we follow them. And since I´m not aware of any of us actually giving our lives in favour of others, that must mean Jesus´ salvation cannot reach anyone except real martyrs. Unless doing some charity and sharing cool social justice memes in facebook is our idea of "giving our lives for others".

That would only apply, Gorpo, if those who were wary about aspects of PSA solely came from 'progressivist' or liberal stables.

They don't.

The Orthodox don't hold to PSA and you can't accuse them of trying to appeal to a progressivist 21st century culture, whatever else they might be accused of ...

So no, I don't think that applies at all. There were people in the 18th and 19th centuries who didn't like the idea of PSA, for whatever reason.

C S Lewis was very chary about the whole idea of PSA, to the extent that Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones doubted that Lewis was actually 'saved'.

Whilst Mudfrog is right to remind us that evangelicals do deploy other models, it's certainly the case that many (most?) evangelicals see PSA as a non-negotiable to the extent that they will even doubt the salvation of those who don't hold to it in the same way as they do.

As per my example in the case of Lloyd Jones and Lewis.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I think they are all non-negotiable.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:
It looks like the criteria for the choice of one´s prefered version of atonement is: what version makes God look better in the eyes of our 21st century progressist culture?

Where some others consider themselves superior to those progressives because they can stomach the idea of God tormenting their nearest and dearest for eternity in the pits of Hell for not signing on the right doctrinal line.

If that's "21st Century Progressist culture" then it sounds damned good to me. Better than the alternative, anyway.
 
Posted by gorpo (# 17025) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:
It looks like the criteria for the choice of one´s prefered version of atonement is: what version makes God look better in the eyes of our 21st century progressist culture?

If Jesus´ death wasn´t really sacrificial or vicarious, then it was unnecessary. God could have done something to prevent it. Why he didn´t? God letting his son die an unnecessary death is even more cruel then God requiring his death because it was necessary for our salvation.

Jesus´ death merely as a moral example is ridiculous. Simply because good examples are only effective if we follow them. And since I´m not aware of any of us actually giving our lives in favour of others, that must mean Jesus´ salvation cannot reach anyone except real martyrs. Unless doing some charity and sharing cool social justice memes in facebook is our idea of "giving our lives for others".

That would only apply, Gorpo, if those who were wary about aspects of PSA solely came from 'progressivist' or liberal stables.

They don't.

The Orthodox don't hold to PSA and you can't accuse them of trying to appeal to a progressivist 21st century culture, whatever else they might be accused of ...

So no, I don't think that applies at all. There were people in the 18th and 19th centuries who didn't like the idea of PSA, for whatever reason.

C S Lewis was very chary about the whole idea of PSA, to the extent that Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones doubted that Lewis was actually 'saved'.

Whilst Mudfrog is right to remind us that evangelicals do deploy other models, it's certainly the case that many (most?) evangelicals see PSA as a non-negotiable to the extent that they will even doubt the salvation of those who don't hold to it in the same way as they do.

As per my example in the case of Lloyd Jones and Lewis.

I didn´t mention Anselm´s PSA specifically, but any form of belief that Christ´s death was a vicarious and expiatory sacrifice. Of course, that can be explained in many different ways.

I´m not aware that evangelicals reject other metaphors of the atonement. They don´t. But none of these other metaphors exclude the fact it was a expiatory sacrifice.

On the other hand, I can´t remember any big tradition, except liberal protestantism, where Christ´s expiatory sacrifice is controversial. Denying this requires denying biblical authority, and the only tradition that can do it explicitly is liberal protestantism.

I admit I know nothing about orthodox theology, but I´ve found this intersting article: https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxyandheterodoxy/2014/02/24/the-death-of-jesus-as-sacrifice-an-orthodox-reading-of-isaia h-53-and-romans-325/

Just like with every eastern religious tradition, us westerners have to take care to make a difference between the authentic tradition and what western converts make it look like. Many times, a westerner will convert to a eastern tradition as a rejection against something he dislikes in his own family tradition. It´s natural that western evangelical converts to orthodoxy will emphasize the differences of their new faith compared to their old.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:
It looks like the criteria for the choice of one´s prefered version of atonement is: what version makes God look better in the eyes of our 21st century progressist culture?

Where some others consider themselves superior to those progressives because they can stomach the idea of God tormenting their nearest and dearest for eternity in the pits of Hell for not signing on the right doctrinal line.

If that's "21st Century Progressist culture" then it sounds damned good to me. Better than the alternative, anyway.

That might be better than 21st Century Progressist(sic?) culture and I would wholeheartedly agree with you!
What your comment actually is, to put it kindly, is an outrageous, prejudicial, provocative and rather ill-informed caricature of what the judgment is, or the consequence of being unredeemed, having no basis in truth, in Scripture, in rational theology or doctrinal study. We do not believe God is like that.

Where do you get such an idea as God tormenting people from?
Where do you get the idea that people have to sign on the right doctrinal line?

Yes, it may well be true that there are certain truths to be received but it is quite a hostile accusation to make against evangelicals, who teach 'you must be born again', and to suggest that all we're interested in is mental assent to a correct set of doctrinal statements.

I think most evangelicals would turn quite swiftly and suggest to you that what you believe in your mind will never save your soul, even if you 'understand all mysteries.'

In fact, out of all along the spectrum of the Church, I think you'll find that it is the evangelicals who are among the many groups who will teach that if your heart is not moved by grace through faith, and if you do not love the Lord your God, etc, etc, no signing along any doctrinal line will ever save you.

Indeed, the demons assent to all those 'evangelical' and other doctrines too; but that won't save them in their trembling.

[ 11. January 2017, 13:51: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:
It looks like the criteria for the choice of one´s prefered version of atonement is: what version makes God look better in the eyes of our 21st century progressist culture?

No. It's what version of the atonement is consistent with the character of God as revealed in Scripture, and particularly as evidenced in the incarnation of Jesus. Jesus is the clearest, best picture of God we have. Jesus tells us if you've seen him, you've seen God; if you know him, you know God. 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-- as opposed to the picture of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. We need to allow our picture of God to be shaped by Jesus.


quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:
If Jesus´ death wasn´t really sacrificial or vicarious, then it was unnecessary. God could have done something to prevent it. Why he didn´t? God letting his son die an unnecessary death is even more cruel then God requiring his death because it was necessary for our salvation.

Jesus´ death merely as a moral example is ridiculous.

I agree that moral influence alone is inadequate to explain Jesus' death-- but then, I don't think anyone here is arguing for moral influence alone in the same way that many/most of my fellow evangelicals will argue for PSA alone.

But, as we've seen, it's not just PSA vs moral influence. There are several other biblical and historic metaphors for understanding the atonement. Jesus' death is just as necessary, just as redemptive, just as efficacious in the two Satan-ward metaphors (ransom and Christus victor) as it is in the two God-ward metaphors of satisfaction & substitution. We cannot save ourselves-- we cannot ransom ourselves, heal ourselves, defeat sin & death on our own. We need Jesus to do that.

But where the two paradigms differ is in the portrayal of God. In fact, I would say the portrayal of the Trinity is radically different. In substitution and satisfaction you have almost a biforcation within the members of the Trinity-- with Jesus the Son having to intervene out of love and grace to appease the Father's wrath/justice. No matter how many times you might call it "two sides of the same coin" the reality is those are two very different dispositions toward humanity which present two very different views of the heart and character of God.

Whereas in ransom and Christus victor you have a more consistent portrayal of God's character. Jesus' compassionate move TO and FOR us is not in opposition (or appeasement) of the Father's move away from us-- rather it is the ultimate expression of the Father's compassionate, heart-broken response to the utter devastation of sin. The Son moves to us to rescue us from sin precisely because he is God-- precisely because that is who God is-- the rescuing, redeeming, gracious, loving One.

Again, I and most other shippies here are are not wanting to throw out substitution (although penal substitution may be fatally flawed), but rather give it it's proper place alongside the other metaphors that balance out its errors. The problem is not substitution per se, which is one of several biblical ways to talk about the atonement. It's really the way PSA has come to be the exclusive way evangelicals talk about the atonement, and the way we tend to talk about it not as metaphor but as a transaction in almost consumerist terms (pay X to get Y) which has really exasperated and magnified the inevitable errors of a metaphor and created a very false picture of God.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Are you telling me you don't believe that non-Christians go to Hell?

Because that's what I was taught as one, and one of the reasons I no longer consider myself one.

No, they didn't say that adherence to a specific doctrinal line was necessary, but they did take the view that if you don't consciously commit yourself to Christ then you're toast, and whilst a proportion of them were annihilationist, a goodly proportion would have no truck with such things and insisted on eternal conscious torment.

But I know far too many people who can't, for various very good reasons, make such a commitment to Christ, but in no way deserve any such fate.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Ok, Gorpo, I can see more where you are coming from, now, but I think it is a bit simplistic to see Anselm as holding to PSA in the way contemporary evangelicalism does - although Anselm's views certainly laid much of the foundation for the way ideas about the atonement developed during the mediaeval period and into the Reformation and beyond.

I'll look up your link to the Ancient Faith article when I have more time.

I know a number of evangelical converts to Orthodoxy and yes, it does hold true that they tend to distance themselves to some extent from things they previously held, but I know cradle-Orthodox too who are genuinely puzzled by the way the Western mindset works on these things.

It took me a while to realise that they read Romans in a different way to how we tend to interpret it.

Which may be what your article link is about ...
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
(X-posted with Muddy)
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Oh, and Muddy, don't call me ill-informed. I was an evangelical for years. I do bloody well know what they believe. I just express it differently, but it's what MT alluded to earlier; just because you don't say Y, if X implies Y then saying you believe X doesn't leave you open to reject Y. I'd say my "caricature" is Y to conservative evangelicalism's X.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I get all that, Karl, but I also get what Gorpo is getting at ...

However we cut it, it seems to me that we either have some kind of theology and soteriology that seeks to address the issue of sin or we don't ...

Mudfrog observed upthread that it is a tremendous thing to be able to say to someone, 'Your sins are forgiven ...'

Heck, whether that's done in a sacramental context, through sacramental confession, say, or in the context of a Protestant evangelist declaring that it's possible to 'know' one's sins are forgiven, it can smack of hubris ...

But to all intents and purposes, so much hinges on that. Otherwise we might as well be completely secular and have no concept of sin whatsover in the traditional sense.

Ok, I'm painting things with a very broad brush there, but as a former evangelical you'll see what I'm getting at.

FWIW, my experience of evangelicalism - mixed as it has been - is that other than those at the extremes, very few will declare that they definitely know of a certainty where this, that or the other person has ended up in eternity, as it were.

Sure, you'll get some characters like the bloke my brother knew who was convinced his own daughter wa reprobate and among those eternally predestined to Hell - and who seemed almost pleased about it ...

But by and large, most evangelicals I know don't indulge in speculation as to the eternal fate of everyone they come into contact with.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
No, but it's that MT thing again. If you believe that (a) humanity's default condition is Hellbound, because sin, and (b) the only escape is through faith in Christ, you can't escape the conclusion that people without faith in Christ go to Hell. Even if you can't bring yourself to claim you know about Bob, specifically; he may have had a deathbed conversion or whatever, the logical conclusion of your religious beliefs is that if Bob didn't come to faith, he is burning in Hell.

When it's people you're a bit distant from, you can live with that uncertainty for a bit. But when you're talking about people you know really well, and you know they think the whole idea of God in general and Christianity in particular is that it's a bit silly and not something they can believe in, you cannot escape the conclusions of the above-mentioned Evangelical theology. And you know damned well it's not fair, it's not just, and it's not deserved.

In a way of course, the scope of the Atonement and the manner in which it works are completely orthogonal and a limited scope as against universalism doesn't have to align with PSA as opposed to other models; it's just that in reality they do seem to line up. Perhaps it's because it's easier to believe a God who's well pissed off with humanity and needs his pound of flesh and pint of blood will condemn most of humanity to Hell.

[ 11. January 2017, 15:26: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Oh, and the bloke your brother knew is presumably a sociopath.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I suspect he was a sociopath, and there was probably a lot of other things wrong with him besides ...

On the atonement issues again, sure, I'm in the process of trying to sift, sort and assess my own position on these things.

I can certainly see what you are getting at, re evangelicalism but there does seem to be some wriggle-room there ... although I take your point that it's a lot easier to consider people being lost for eternity and so on until it comes to those nearest and dearest to you ...

However, I do think that some evangelicals entertain a more elastic position than hoping for some kind of last minute, death-bed conversion and so on.

My own view tended towards the whole thing being God's business and not mine - and yes, I did tend to interpret Romans 2 in a 'wider hope' kind of way - whilst not being a full-on universalist.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I long since gave up trying to work out whether this, that or the other person 'deserves' anything - be it either punishment or reward.

It strikes me that the rain falls on the just and the unjust ...

It ain't for me to determine what becomes of people after they die - I've got enough sins and shortcomings of my own to contend with.

I still find it hard to square passages like Ephesians 2:23 http://biblehub.com/ephesians/2-3.htm with the idea that our natural state is not a sinful one.

The passage doesn't say that our sins are objects of wrath, but that we ourselves are ...

Ok, that has to be balanced up with everything else we read about God in the scriptures and what we see in the example of Christ.

I no more want to get into proof-texting with that reference as I do hymn-texting (as much as I like the hymns) ... but I'd be interested to hear interpretations of verses like that which differ in some way from the standard evangelical line on these issues.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Mudfrog
quote:
As far as the question regarding theories and metaphors goes, when I was studying 5 years ago I came across a number of references that said that what were once called 'theories' of atonement are now called 'metaphors.'
I would suggest they are now called "metaphors" because they can no longer survive as "theories."

Gamaliel
quote:
Just because something is a metaphor doesn't mean it's not true.

But it does mean it's a metaphor and not a theory or model, and as such has weak explanatory power.

Is not the attraction of PSA that it is a theory. It seeks to explain how atonement works in a coherent, logical manner, which metaphors do not?

Gamaliel
quote:
I'm in broad agreement with Cliffdweller about weaving the various models together. I'd also agree with Mudfrog that groups like the Salvation Army and other evangelical churches do use a range of models ... not just PSA.

This looks like theology by negotiation and seems to me intellectually lazy. Models as theories are not "woven together", though several models may be used to construct a better model that supersedes them. I also find the notion of "using a range of models" to explain the atonement or anything as bizarre.

I think in the final analysis that metaphorical language is about as good as it gets as to how the atonement works because it is an unfathomable mystery. No wonder the historic creeds ducked the issue.

Mousethief
quote:
I would never have believed it until I saw it with my own eyes that people would do theology by proof-texting Protestant hymns.
If that is aimed at my remarks re Wesley's "And can it be..." I was not using the hymn as an argument for or against PSA, and would not use hymns in that way. Hymns are not theologically authoritative. I was merely commenting on what I saw as a misinterpretation of Wesley's theological position expressed in the hymn. My comment was a footnote rather than a contribution to the wider discussion.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I would never have believed it until I saw it with my own eyes that people would do theology by proof-texting Protestant hymns.

I've been watching this from afar, but your comment has considerably revived and fructified my day. And made me laaf.
 
Posted by tessaB (# 8533) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
]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.

It fits what I've experienced. YMMV.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
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.

So in what sense is that a "saving" atonement?
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
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.

It has echoes. You have the parable with the vinyard (except for the ending! I guess you could have a variant where it's the last chance but it wouldn't be a great gospel). "God showed his love in this, while we were still sinners ...", "that to lay down his life for his friends".

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).
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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.

On the systematic thing and intellectual laziness - well thanks ...

I agree that PSA as it is often applied does seek to provide a coherent and systematic theory, but I do feel sorry for some of the evangelicals here who maintain that they use it alongside other models only to be told by non-evangelicsls or former evangelicals that they darn well don't ...
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I do feel sorry for some of the evangelicals here who maintain that they use it alongside other models only to be told by non-evangelicsls or former evangelicals that they darn well don't ...

I'm not exactly sure who you are talking about, but I'm damn sure that I've never said anything of the kind about people here. I fully respect that some say they use other models.

My point in many years of interactions with Evangelicals is that PSA is heavily pushed as being the only way to understand the atonement and I have a book on the shelf - from one conservative evangelical publisher - which boldly states this. It goes through all the other theories, says they're crap and that PSA is the only orthodox explanation.

I'm in no sense doubting Mudfrog - or others - when they say that they have a mix of understandings of the atonement, bully for him. I am saying that that is unusual and that the explanation I've given is by far the most common I've encountered around evangelicals.

As I said above, YMMV. There is no contradiction in saying that other evangelicals exist whilst at the same time saying that I've personally not encountered them.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
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;

 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
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).
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
@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.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I think they're the Common English
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
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.

 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by mark_in_manchester (# 15978) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Ok I've re-read what I wrote and understand your reaction.

As for what he left out ... That's the issue? Ok.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
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!
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
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:
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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'?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
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
Purgatory Host
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Freddy (# 365) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
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)'.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
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).
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
God The Son didn't sacrifice Himself. The son of man did.

[ 12. January 2017, 14:19: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
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!
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I probably should have consulted wikipedia first, but isn't Semicha the laying on of hands to the sacrificial victim to transmit sins?
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
quote:
Dafyd:
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.

Very well said, Dafyd.

[ 12. January 2017, 16:07: Message edited by: Lyda*Rose ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Interesting developments in this thread ...

Meanwhile, to go back to a point Mousethief raised about Evangelicalism having a trope about God the Father crucifying Jesus the Son ...

No, I won't try to tell you that this trope doesn't exist, because I have heard it taught explicitly within evangelicalism too.

What I haven't heard/read is Mudfrog suggesting any such thing - in fact he's made it clear that he doesn't believe that.

In fact, I don't see any of those who propose a PSA or sub-PSA understanding of the atonement suggesting any such thing.

Ok, one might quibble and say that PSA proponents are being disingenuous because Christ 'taking on' our sins and the penalty for our sins effectively amounts to the same thing ...

But I've said several times that a PSA approach suffers from the crudity and often grotesque way in which it can be applied ... and I'm sure all of us with any exposure to evangelicalism have come across very crude presentations of it at times - more times than we might care to remember ...

But if we are going to have a crack at PSA, let's deal with what its less crude proponents have to say, not the wilder and whackier aspects we may have encountered in the field as it were.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
In fact, I don't see any of those who propose a PSA or sub-PSA understanding of the atonement suggesting any such thing.

What I should have typed was 'I don't see any of those HERE who propose ...'

I'm sure there are plenty of others who would. In fact, I know there are.
 
Posted by Freddy (# 365) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Then what exactly is it that Christ's death saves us from, on the view of PSA?

I suppose we could say that it saves us from the consequences of our own sin. But I'm not sure who it could be said to satisfy.

A far preferable reading, to my mind, is one that sees the human race as having suffered a moral and spiritual decline, and has God working to reverse the decline.

The end result is that people become morally and spiritually better, and are therefore in a happy condition and not in hell.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
I'm on my cell so I can't cut and paste and do a really satisfactory job answering a lot of questions and points. I'll pick up the slack when I get home and can type on a real keyboard.

For the moment I'd like to ask, what are the biblical arguments for (a) the Aaronic sacrifices being substitutionary, and (b) hell being separation from God?


Oh, and to say that the whole thing about equating damnation with Dante is a straw man. Nobody here had done so.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Dafyd:
The problems with penal substitutionary atonement are I think twofold:
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.

Quite a few of the (P)SA verses are more fiscally transactiony, (and indeed at least one of the common modern tellings explicitly is). Where it does work fairly well with that objection (the law doesn't care where my speeding fine comes from, or the metric martyrs). Of course then the question is how does that tie in with the crucification (which is why Roman's isn't 5 verses long).

FWIW I think they should be split into 2 'atonement theories', (Penal Subs Atonement and Fiscal Subs Atonement) and it's that selective merging that gives PSA a fake double portion among the rest. Like modalism or other trinitarian theories each (not just these 2) by their own simultaneously more heretical than useful, together (with all the others) and with some acknowledgement of the mystery useful.

[ 12. January 2017, 18:39: Message edited by: Jay-Emm ]
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I probably should have consulted wikipedia first, but isn't Semicha the laying on of hands to the sacrificial victim to transmit sins?

I think that wikipedia page pretty much says that there's no evidence for it transmitting sins in any case other than the scapegoat.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jay-Emm:
Quite a few of the (P)SA verses are more fiscally transactiony, (and indeed at least one of the common modern tellings explicitly is). Where it does work fairly well with that objection (the law doesn't care where my speeding fine comes from, or the metric martyrs).

PSA is supposed to stress the seriousness of sin; that leads to bathos when sin is compared to a speeding fine.

(I think the reason the law doesn't care - apart from convenience and that the contrary would be unworkable - is that it assumes that someone who is willing to spend money paying your fine would have made that money available to you anyway for any sufficiently important purpose and thus you are losing out even if only at one remove.)
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
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!

The divine and human were perfectly united in natures in a new human person. God the Son was where He's always been. Everywhere. Minding the store. He did not collapse to an insensate sperm or imprison Himself in one. Trans-infinite God cannot do that any more than He can die. Presumably the divine nature was His. How one differentiates a nature from a person I have no idea. But this has all been eclipsed on this thread by Dafyd's contribution.

[ 12. January 2017, 20:20: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
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!

The divine and human were perfectly united in natures in a new human person. God the Son was where He's always been. Everywhere. Minding the store. He did not collapse to an insensate sperm or imprison Himself in one. Trans-infinite God cannot do that any more than He can die. Presumably the divine nature was His. How one differentiates a nature from a person I have no idea. But this has all been eclipsed on this thread by Dafyd's contribution.
So...the one who died on the cross was just the human Jesus?
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:


For the moment I'd like to ask, what are the biblical arguments for (a) the Aaronic sacrifices being substitutionary, and (b) hell being separation from God?

Time permits me to answer only the second question, and with a 'proof text' I'm afraid.

Take it or leave it. I know it won't be sufficient for you.

quote:
2 Thessalonians 1:8-9
8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might


 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
As He was the only person there, then who else? That's an open question. But you mean did the human nature die and the divine nature continue. A nature can't die. A person dies. The nature ends with them. This unique person had human and divine nature. Two natures. Natures do not exist apart from persons. Or Persons ... irreducibly complex isn't it? How does a person have the nature of a Person as well as their own?
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:


For the moment I'd like to ask, what are the biblical arguments for (a) the Aaronic sacrifices being substitutionary, and (b) hell being separation from God?

Time permits me to answer only the second question, and with a 'proof text' I'm afraid.

Take it or leave it. I know it won't be sufficient for you.

quote:
2 Thessalonians 1:8-9
8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might


That seems to answer b but not a, IMHO. The Aaronic sacrifices would I believe fall under the satisfaction metaphor, not substitution, even though the two are similar in their God-ward focus.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
As He was the only person there, then who else? That's an open question. But you mean did the human nature die and the divine nature continue. A nature can't die. A person dies. The nature ends with them. This unique person had human and divine nature. Two natures. Natures do not exist apart from persons. Or Persons ... irreducibly complex isn't it? How does a person have the nature of a Person as well as their own?

Just as long as you're not saying that the divine somehow 'left' the human to suffer on the cross; because that would, of course, as you know, be an old heresy.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
How could the divine nature detach itself from its person until He was dead? Jesus died as alone as any of us do of course.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
That passage from Thessalonians is pretty clearly about annihilationism. And of course if you've been nichted, you're not in God's presence. From this passage I don't think you can derive a person existing eternally outside of God's presence.

As for "who" died on the cross, of course patripassionism is heresy. God cannot die,or we'd all stop existing. Indeed what would it mean for God to die? He's not alive. It's only by being incarnate that the Son could experience death at all, so the church teaches that the human nature died on the cross, but not the divine.

There is no such thing as "the human Jesus."
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'm being crudely literal now, but if God isn't 'alive' then what is he?

'I am, Who I am ...'

The One who Is.

Ok, I get that God is somehow beyond 'existence' ... But if it is the case that our own life and existence depends upon him, then surely it makes sense to think of him as being alive, not in a creaturely flesh and blood sense - but in that way through the Incarnation ...?

My brain is beginning to ache ...
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
That passage from Thessalonians is pretty clearly about annihilationism. And of course if you've been nichted, you're not in God's presence. From this passage I don't think you can derive a person existing eternally outside of God's presence.

As for "who" died on the cross, of course patripassionism is heresy. God cannot die,or we'd all stop existing. Indeed what would it mean for God to die? He's not alive. It's only by being incarnate that the Son could experience death at all, so the church teaches that the human nature died on the cross, but not the divine.

There is no such thing as "the human Jesus."

An open question or two: How was the Son incarnate? And how does a nature die? And God isn't alive?! That's a rhetorical reaction.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

For the moment I'd like to ask, what are the biblical arguments for (a) the Aaronic sacrifices being substitutionary, and (b) hell being separation from God?

Probably proper to Keryg, but I'll take a swing at it.

a) Leviticus 16 (The Day of Atonement). All the sacrifices (including the scapegoat) seem to me to be substitutionary, for the sins of the people of Israel.

b) Luke 16:19-31 (The rich man and Lazarus). Appreciating it is a parable, the telling scriptures are v 23 [In Hades, where he (the rich man) was in torment] and v 26 [And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place].

Taken together, they suggest that Hades in a place of torment and unbridgeably separate from "Abraham's side".

(That being said, I quite like the Orthodox understanding about Heaven and Hell)
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

For the moment I'd like to ask, what are the biblical arguments for (a) the Aaronic sacrifices being substitutionary, and (b) hell being separation from God?

Probably proper to Keryg, but I'll take a swing at it.

a) Leviticus 16 (The Day of Atonement). All the sacrifices (including the scapegoat) seem to me to be substitutionary, for the sins of the people of Israel.

Again, I can't see how this is anything other than
satisfaction theory as opposed to substitution.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Just because something is for someone doesn't mean it's instead of, or in the place of, that person. To take a biblical example, the father killed the fatted calf for the Prodigal Son, but he didn't kill it instead of the Prodigal Son. So saying a sacrifice is made for the sins of Israel by no means implies that the animal was sacrificed in Israel's stead.

The rich man is separated from Abraham's side, but can still see and converse with him. I don't think this makes a very good argument for the absence of God.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Just because something is for someone doesn't mean it's instead of, or in the place of, that person. To take a biblical example, the father killed the fatted calf for the Prodigal Son, but he didn't kill it instead of the Prodigal Son. So saying a sacrifice is made for the sins of Israel by no means implies that the animal was sacrificed in Israel's stead.

Yes, precisely. That's why we differentiate between the Temple imagery of satisfaction theory and the law court imagery of substitution.
 
Posted by Anglican_Brat (# 12349) on :
 
I guess, the question is what is the cost of sin?

Classical theology insists that God is wholly independent of our choices and actions, our sins do not injure Him, because as absolute perfection and complete love, He does not need our righteousness for His glory.

And so, the cost of sin can only be to our detriment, to our loss, God thus redeems us for our sake, not His.

To imply that God must punish us because of "justice", would make justice higher than God. God has no obligation to any objective form of justice, that sounds suspiciously like Latin/Roman ideas of justice or fate as a grim, objective figure who the gods bow down to.

I don't believe God bows down to "Justice" or "Fate."

[ 12. January 2017, 23:56: Message edited by: Anglican_Brat ]
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
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.

I would point out that the Lake of Fire and Hell are two quite different things in the Revelation, as the latter is thrown into the former.

quote:
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.

You have not satisfactorily shown that "separation from God" is biblical words (phrase).

quote:
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.
Irrelevant. Straw man.

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.

This.

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

Your own link tells against this -- semicha was performed over non-sin-offerings as well as sin-offerings. Unless one wants to say it meant transference of sins in the one case but didn't mean transference of sins in the other, it seems difficult to support that interpretation.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
The age of PSA is irrelevant.

All that matters is whether or not it is taught in the NT, not how long it took for the church to grasp it.

There might well have been Christians during the period between Nicaea and Chalcedon asking why their particular understanding of the nature of the Godhead, or of the Two Natures was being jettisoned after some sections of the church had held to it for centuries.

The separation of God and humanity as a result of sin is clearly taught in verses such as Isaiah 59:2, and in the judgement passages in the NT, such as Revelation 22:15.

The sacrifice passages in the NT (eg II Corinthians 5:21) obviously provide the solution to this crisis, and PSA is the obvious way to understand them.

If sacrifice does not involve some sort of vicarious retributive suffering, then it is pointless - instead of being executed, Jesus might just as well have done something else difficult and public, like standing on his head o the Temple, or walking backwards to Rome.

It is obvious from this thread that some posters imagine that denying PSA solves the problem of a God who condemns and judges, but the rest of the Bible indicates otherwise.

As for the "cosmic child abuse" crap, such criticism only exposes the crudest and falsest understanding of the nature of the Trinity.

Ignoring the overwhelming scriptural evidence for some sort of PSA understanding of Jesus's death is obtuse, and can only be explained by a dislike for it because it is evangelical, and therefore untrendy, or because it reveals a holy God who takes sin seriously, won't sweep it under the carpet, and judges it, which is unpalatable.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:

The separation of God and humanity as a result of sin is clearly taught in verses such as Isaiah 59:2, and in the judgement passages in the NT, such as Revelation 22:15.

But not obviously anywhere else. We can all cherry pick verses, that dies not mean that the idea is biblical.

quote:
The sacrifice passages in the NT (eg II Corinthians 5:21) obviously provide the solution to this crisis, and PSA is the obvious way to understand them.
Stating your opinion is not reasoned argument. Not obvious at all to many Christians.

quote:
If sacrifice does not involve some sort of vicarious retributive suffering, then it is pointless - instead of being executed, Jesus might just as well have done something else difficult and public, like standing on his head o the Temple, or walking backwards to Rome.
But nobody here has argued that the sacrifice was pointless, I certainly have not. I see Jesus' life, death and resurrection as the centre if the faith.

The point I'm discussing is whether it was substitutionary or penal. That's not in any sense saying it is pointless.

quote:
It is obvious from this thread that some posters imagine that denying PSA solves the problem of a God who condemns and judges, but the rest of the Bible indicates otherwise.
Nope.

quote:


As for the "cosmic child abuse" crap, such criticism only exposes the crudest and falsest understanding of the nature of the Trinity.

Ignoring the overwhelming scriptural evidence for some sort of PSA understanding of Jesus's death is obtuse, and can only be explained by a dislike for it because it is evangelical, and therefore untrendy, or because it reveals a holy God who takes sin seriously, won't sweep it under the carpet, and judges it, which is unpalatable.

That's hilarious. There are many Christians who exist who are not Evangelical and whose theology was in place long before Evangelicals turned up. There are others who have considered things long and hard and have concluded PSA doesn't add up. Nothing about being trendy, everything about trying to make the pieces of the faith fit together in a better way than PSA manages.

The alternative for me us rejecting the while thing as bullshit. And, quite honestly, I don't need your permission to think out my theology for myself, thanks.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
[Overused] [Overused]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
The age of PSA is irrelevant.

All that matters is whether or not it is taught in the NT, not how long it took for the church to grasp it.

There might well have been Christians during the period between Nicaea and Chalcedon asking why their particular understanding of the nature of the Godhead, or of the Two Natures was being jettisoned after some sections of the church had held to it for centuries.

... The sacrifice passages in the NT (eg II Corinthians 5:21) obviously provide the solution to this crisis, and PSA is the obvious way to understand them.

If sacrifice does not involve some sort of vicarious retributive suffering, then it is pointless - instead of being executed, Jesus might just as well have done something else difficult and public, like standing on his head o the Temple, or walking backwards to Rome.

It is obvious from this thread that some posters imagine that denying PSA solves the problem of a God who condemns and judges, but the rest of the Bible indicates otherwise.

As for the "cosmic child abuse" crap, such criticism only exposes the crudest and falsest understanding of the nature of the Trinity.

Ignoring the overwhelming scriptural evidence for some sort of PSA understanding of Jesus's death is obtuse, and can only be explained by a dislike for it because it is evangelical, and therefore untrendy, or because it reveals a holy God who takes sin seriously, won't sweep it under the carpet, and judges it, which is unpalatable.

(Sighs) No, the age of PSA isn't irrelevant at all.

And of course there were Christians around who rejected or opposed the understanding of Christology and of the Holy Trinity thrashed out at the early Ecumenical Councils. Arius for one.

Arius was, or became, an 'heretical Christian' judged by the standards of what became received orthodoxy.

The NT doesn't 'stand-alone'. The NT itself is a Church document if you like. It was written in the context of a particular faith community - or communities - and served the needs of those communities in terms of preserving and passing on the faith. It didn't do that by sitting on a shelf somewhere, but by being preached, applied, debated and discussed.

So, of course there were differing interpretations and differing views, we can see that from the pages of the NT itself. Who the heck were 'The Nicolaitans' for instance?

I've heard that some scholars reckon there to have been at least 30 different iterations/strands within early Christianity, some of them Gnostic, some of them closer to what we know today as received orthodoxy - Big O and small o.

Let's face it, Nicea was a close-run thing. The vote could easily have gone a different way.

So where does that leave us? Either we reject Nicea or hold loosely to it and try to reconstruct what we imagine the early church to have been like - or we start to pick and choose our own favoured interpretations based on our own understanding of scripture. Which is what has happened across the Protestant world of course.

Now, there is of course wriggle-room and there are going to be issues where there is considerable leeway - but however we cut it, whether we are RC. Protestant or Orthodox there has to be some kind of central core that we gather round and believe.

The only choice we have is how tightly we draw the line.

One could just as easily argue that if PSA is so 'obvious' from the scriptures then Arianism is equally obvious - or, staying within the bounds of small o orthodoxy, Dispensationalism is obvious or whatever else we may choose to focus on.

Over on the Dispensationalism thread a Shipmate is arguing that Dispensationalism is obvious and represents the clear teaching of scripture and that the rest of Christendom has been at fault for not recognising it sooner ...

Indeed, there's an implication that there's some kind of agenda there as Dispensationalism is the only schema that gives 'natural Israel', the Jews a particular role in the way things unfold.

In a similar way, Kaplan, you have implied that there is an agenda among people who are wary of PSA to undermine and discredit it because it's trendy to do so.

The Orthodox have never held to a PSA-style understanding of the atonement as far as I can make out.

Now, Mousethief will undoubtedly beg to differ, but part of me still holds out the hope that there can be complementarity and a squaring of various circles between the Western and Eastern understanding of these things. We may both need to adjust where necessary.

Whether or not that is the case, the onus is on any of us who thinks their own 'take' or interpretation is the 'obvious' one to take into account objections and to seek to understand them - without dismissing them out of hand because we suspect them to carry some kind of 'agenda'.

We all have an 'agenda'.

Dialogue becomes possible when we acknowledge that and are upfront about it.

I'm still interested in how the Orthodox understand verses like 'he who does not believe is condemned already' and 'we were by nature objects of wrath' - and if MT doesn't have the term to research them properly - which is fair enough - I will ask one or other of my other Orthodox contacts.

Whatever 'agenda' I have, I'm not out to undermine evangelicalism or anyone who understands the atonement in a PSA way, I'm out to understand how and why it is that so many Christians - beyond evangelicalism - understand these things in a different way to the way I've been taught.

Surely we can all do that without becoming overly defensive of our own positions?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Superb. Dispensationalism is an illusion entirely created by our flawed perspective projected back in to the text. It's an effect of cultural evolution and we erroneously make it a Ptolemaic cause. PSA and all the other atonement theories that the original writers and audience perceived are in the texts. How could they not be? So what? PSA, damnationism, homophobia, sexism, patriarchy, violence are all in the cultural womb. They are the all but inescapable matrix of the time that the son of man struggled to transcend, to be born from. That struggle continues here.

[ 13. January 2017, 09:10: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

For the moment I'd like to ask, what are the biblical arguments for (a) the Aaronic sacrifices being substitutionary, and (b) hell being separation from God?

Probably proper to Keryg, but I'll take a swing at it.

a) Leviticus 16 (The Day of Atonement). All the sacrifices (including the scapegoat) seem to me to be substitutionary, for the sins of the people of Israel.

Again, I can't see how this is anything other than
satisfaction theory as opposed to substitution.

You have the advantage over me in terms of formal theological training, but my understanding is that the satisfaction theory of atonement is still a substitution theory, just different from ransom.

I'm not sure either about mousethief's distinction between "for" (identification) and "on behalf of" (substitution). "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." I can easily see elements of both identification and substitution in the scripture and the tradition.

Making it clear (and most of you who have ready this stuff over the years will know this), I'm SA plus CV (rather than PSA) in my understanding of atonement. I don't like theories which separate the crucifixion from the resurrection. That seems to be a one-eyed look at atonement. But I'm really not hung up on any of the theories - they are all attempts to grasp a mystery which we somehow share in.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I am always amused at the argument that says that the age of a doctrine somehow adds authority to it and f it's formulised recently then it's evidently not orthodox.

What I see here s a desire among the churches with traditions that were set in stone long before protestant evangelicalism to somehow assert their own self-importance.

The fact that doctrines such as PSA, pre-millennial tribulation and rapture and justification by faith only came into the forefront of the consciousness of many in the last 500 years does not mean that those churches who for 1500 years before that should control, denigrate or condemn the development of these 'new' ideas - and certainly not attack, criticise or burn at the stake those who put those ideas forward.

It seems to me that Martin Luther, 500 years ago this year, who taught, against all church instruction, that 'the just shall live by faith', faced the same kind of criticism as those who believe in PDSA do n here:

Oh, I don't believe in a God like that.
Oh, that's easy believism.
Oh I prefer what the church fathers taught (not that any of them agreed with one another on anything anyway)
Oh, you shouldn't proof text Hebrews 10 v 38 and Habakkuk 2 v 4
Those verses can be interpreted other ways and what about James?
Ah you can't read Habakkuk through Hebrews.
What did the Jews believe? (As if that should influence us post-Pentecost)
Ah well, justification by faith, that's why I'm no longer a believer.
And don't quote Scripture at me, it's just my opinion that carries sufficient weight.

You see?

And to the more Catholic brethren here who would criticise 'new' doctrines even though they carry the weight of Scripture, I would suggest they look to the dogma of the Assumption of Mary (only declared in 1950) and the Immaculate Conception (declared as far back as 1854).

Now I am fully aware of the long, traditional and highly apocryphal origins of these beliefs but that doesn't make them right. They are not supported by Scripture and the authors of the Bible verses that are sometimes twisted to support these assertions about Mary. So, those of you who do genuinely and sincerely believe these things to be true please consider that in believing something that is a 'newly formulated' belief is not something that applies to Evangelicals (even though we have clear Scripture to support what we believe).
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I failed to check my spelling and notice that I referred to PDSA.

UK Shipmates will recognise that as the Peoples' Dispensary for Sick Animals

I did , of course, mean PSA.

A sick animal would not be accepted as a sacrifice, penal or otherwise [Biased]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I have a lot of sympathy with Barnabas62's view as expressed here ...

Thing is, I can't speak for all sectors of evangelicalism but in the circles in which I moved the crucifixion and resurrection certainly weren't separated from one another or 'opposed' to one another in the way in which some suggest is the case within evangelicalism per se.

Mudfrog is the keenest proponent of PSA here but I don't see him dislocating the cross from the resurrection nor seeing the later as some kind of bolt-on extra or something that simply 'proves' Jesus to have been who he claimed to be.

I don't doubt that there are some within the evangelical constituency whose take on PSA magnifies the penal and substitutionary aspects to the extent that it almost eclipses everything else - but in the circles in which I moved we were always careful to put the cross and the resurrection together - albeit sometimes clumsily and to some extent, with some of our number, in a somewhat crudely over-realised way ...

I'm guessing and I might be completely wrong, but if there are evangelicals who minimise the resurrection and reduce it to some kind of bolt-on extra, I suspect they are more likely to come from the more Reformed end of the evangelical spectrum than the more Wesleyan end ...

That doesn't mean that I am accusing Big R Reformed people of doing such a thing, by and large I've found the Reformed to be pretty holistic on these issues, if a little dry and juridical at times ...

I'm thinking Reformed here in broader terms than simply Reformed Evangelicals. The latter tend to be exceptionally unholistic in my experience ...

I don't doubt MT's experience of evangelicalism for one minute, nor the experiences of other Shipmates when it comes to how these things are presented in evangelical circles.

Evangelicalism is no more consistent than any other tradition within Protestantism.

What I would say, from observation and personal contact with the Orthodox, is that they do seem to hold both the Cross and Resurrection together in - I dunno - a more integrated way than be the case in some evangelical circles.

I don't know whether this reveals a fatal flaw in the evangelical approach so much as the tendency to fillet and segment things that one finds within Western theology in general and in evangelicalism in particular.

I mentioned Dispensationalism earlier. Without getting into the ins and outs of that - there's another thread elsewhere on that topic - it strikes me that this is a view that could only emerge within Western Christianity in general or Protestantism in particular?

Why? Because of the particular modus-operandi that prevails in the parsing and interpretation of biblical texts. Sure, it's true that the more Reformed / reformed traditions do compare scripture with scripture and so forth, but it seems to me that they often remove them from their settings - rather like taking a ruby or diamond out of brooch to peer and poke at it rather than admiring it in the setting in which the jeweller placed it.

I'm not saying there isn't a place for doing that, so long as we don't isolate the gem from its original setting and treat it as some kind of stand-alone item.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I am always amused at the argument that says that the age of a doctrine somehow adds authority to it and f it's formulised recently then it's evidently not orthodox.

That's sort-of the definition of orthodoxy, Mudfrog. Nobody can come along with a brand new idea and say "ah - but you guys, who have records showing that you've believed this stuff for centuries are unorthodox because you don't immediately accept what I'm saying".

Orthodox christianity is not Evangelicalism, however much you want it to be*.

quote:
What I see here s a desire among the churches with traditions that were set in stone long before protestant evangelicalism to somehow assert their own self-importance.
Not really, chap. You're pushing a theory that has been around for a few centuries. And bully for you, it doesn't bother me.

But that's just not orthodox. It isn't. That's not how it works.

Nobody is saying that you're not allowed to hold those view, that you should be denegrated for holding those views or anything else. But, like it or not, those views are not the historic and orthodox view of the church.

Yes, you can say that the orthodox view is wrong - fair play to you. But the one thing you can't do is introduce a new idea and claim it is orthodox all along.

quote:
The fact that doctrines such as PSA, pre-millennial tribulation and rapture and justification by faith only came into the forefront of the consciousness of many in the last 500 years does not mean that those churches who for 1500 years before that should control, denigrate or condemn the development of these 'new' ideas - and certainly not attack, criticise or burn at the stake those who put those ideas forward.
Don't talk rubbish, nobody got burned at the state for proposing Penal Substitutionary Atonement.

quote:
It seems to me that Martin Luther, 500 years ago this year, who taught, against all church instruction, that 'the just shall live by faith', faced the same kind of criticism as those who believe in PDSA do n here:

Oh, I don't believe in a God like that.
Oh, that's easy believism.
Oh I prefer what the church fathers taught (not that any of them agreed with one another on anything anyway)
Oh, you shouldn't proof text Hebrews 10 v 38 and Habakkuk 2 v 4
Those verses can be interpreted other ways and what about James?
Ah you can't read Habakkuk through Hebrews.
What did the Jews believe? (As if that should influence us post-Pentecost)
Ah well, justification by faith, that's why I'm no longer a believer.
And don't quote Scripture at me, it's just my opinion that carries sufficient weight.

You see?

Not really, no. Martin Luther had some interesting new ideas, which were on the borderline of being orthodox. As time has gone on, they've become arguably less orthodox.

Martin Luther therefore is hardly a standard by which the orthodoxy of the idea can be measured, that's an obvious logical fallacy.

quote:
And to the more Catholic brethren here who would criticise 'new' doctrines even though they carry the weight of Scripture, I would suggest they look to the dogma of the Assumption of Mary (only declared in 1950) and the Immaculate Conception (declared as far back as 1854).
Boring and irrelevant. I'm pretty sure absolutely nobody here is discussing Roman Catholic doctrine. Stick to the point.

quote:
Now I am fully aware of the long, traditional and highly apocryphal origins of these beliefs but that doesn't make them right. They are not supported by Scripture and the authors of the Bible verses that are sometimes twisted to support these assertions about Mary. So, those of you who do genuinely and sincerely believe these things to be true please consider that in believing something that is a 'newly formulated' belief is not something that applies to Evangelicals (even though we have clear Scripture to support what we believe).
See, the thing that gives me a headache here is that you've shown yourself, in the paragraph above, as willing to decide for yourself what interpretation of scripture is appropriate. And you've given yourself leave to make strong statements about alternative interpretations - ie strongly implying that they're "not right".

But then you're denying the right of others to do the same thing - by ruling out any possible way that your interpretation could be wrong - even when those alternative views have a long and historic basis.

*FWIW, I'm not bothered about being unorthodox in certain theological areas, where I think the orthodox view is wrong. But, make no mistake, I'm certainly not pretending that somehow my view is orthodox whereas the long-held view isn't. Because that's daft.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Not really, chap. You're pushing a theory that has been around for a few centuries. And bully for you, it doesn't bother me.

Isn't that what they said to Martin Luther?
People were indeed subsequently burnt at the stake for believing in justification by faith.

Thank God there is no Christian thought police today otherwise those who believe stuff not produced by the Vatican or Lambeth Palace would have more than a Ship of Fools discussion group to contend with!

Protestants were burnt at the stake for holding to the 'new' sola fidei, sola gratia, sola scriptura, belief that was not taught by the church in power, even though it's clearly taught in Scripture. That teaching was suppressed by the Catholic Church for centuries. Martin Luther brought back one of the great Scriptural doctrines that had been buried under centuries of teaching that said only the Church could save.

He was not wrong.
He was accused of introducing new teaching b]when it was not new and it was more in line with the Bible than what the church had peddled for centuries.

Just because PSA was not the official dogma of the church doesn't make its re-emphasis a heresy or a falsehood.

[ 13. January 2017, 11:17: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
People were indeed burnt at the stake for believing in justification by faith.

Stop it, Mudfrog. Just stop. We're talking about PSA as a thing. Nobody was burned at the stake in support of that theory.

We're not talking about anything else.

quote:
They were burnt at the stake for holding to a 'new' belief that was not taught by the church in power, even though it's clearly taught in Scripture. That teaching was suppressed by the Catholic Church for centuries. Martin Luther brought back one of the great Scriptural doctrines that had been buried under centuries of teaching that said only the Church could save.
Dear Lord, you don't put it down do you.

I'm not playing.

quote:
He was not wrong.
He was accused of introducing new teaching b]when it was not new and it was more in line with the Bible than what the church had peddled for centuries.

Just because PSA was not the official dogma of the church doesn't make its re-emphasis a heresy or a falsehood.

No, but it does make it new. Which, ipso facto, means unorthodox.

[ 13. January 2017, 11:17: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I am always amused at the argument that says that the age of a doctrine somehow adds authority to it and f it's formulised recently then it's evidently not orthodox.

What I see here s a desire among the churches with traditions that were set in stone long before protestant evangelicalism to somehow assert their own self-importance.

The fact that doctrines such as PSA, pre-millennial tribulation and rapture and justification by faith only came into the forefront of the consciousness of many in the last 500 years does not mean that those churches who for 1500 years before that should control, denigrate or condemn the development of these 'new' ideas - and certainly not attack, criticise or burn at the stake those who put those ideas forward.

It seems to me that Martin Luther, 500 years ago this year, who taught, against all church instruction, that 'the just shall live by faith', faced the same kind of criticism as those who believe in PDSA do n here:

...

And don't quote Scripture at me, it's just my opinion that carries sufficient weight.

You see?

And to the more Catholic brethren here who would criticise 'new' doctrines even though they carry the weight of Scripture, I would suggest they look to the dogma of the Assumption of Mary (only declared in 1950) and the Immaculate Conception (declared as far back as 1854).

Now I am fully aware of the long, traditional and highly apocryphal origins of these beliefs but that doesn't make them right. They are not supported by Scripture and the authors of the Bible verses that are sometimes twisted to support these assertions about Mary. So, those of you who do genuinely and sincerely believe these things to be true please consider that in believing something that is a 'newly formulated' belief is not something that applies to Evangelicals (even though we have clear Scripture to support what we believe).

Thing is Mudfrog, it's not as simple as that.

For a kick-off, I don't see any Roman Catholic contributors to this thread - at least not regular contributors - and the more Catholic-ly inclined contributors here seem to be either Anglican or Orthodox - neither of whom accept the later - and innovative - RC doctrines you highlight here.

Luther didn't operate in a vacuum either. It's no accident that he was an Augustinian friar.

What Luther did was take extant late-medieval Scholastic ideas - channelled from Augustine to Anselm to Aquinas - and stretch them a bit further - something that the RCC at the time wasn't prepared to accept. Since then, there has been ongoing and quite fruitful dialogue between the RCs and Lutherans on some of these issues - although I don't expect it to be resolved in any neat and clear-cut way ...

As far as Luther and the Orthodox goes, they'd concur with him on some aspects and have a lot of sympathy with his revolt against aspects of late-medieval Roman Catholicism, but on other grounds they'd simply see him as another side of the same coin because he was dealing with the same overly juridical currency that they accuse the RCs of operating with ...

As far as Dispensationalism, Millenarianism and any other apparently new-fangled teaching - and including justification by faith for that matter - no one these days is looking to burn anyone at the stake simply for challenging the status quo.

Those who raise challenges or questions about such things do so using a wide frame of reference - including scripture. It's not as if the RCs or the Orthodox or anyone else for that matter is tearing verses out of the Bible ...

Rather, if they have a different interpretation of some passages of scripture it's not because they are ignoring them, it's because they genuinely interpret them differently.

I know that might be hard for people who are wedded to a particular interpretation of some of these texts to understand - but that's the way it is.

It might be 'obvious' to Kaplan Corday or to yourself that these texts could or should be interpreted in an evangelical kind of way, but that's because you are evangelicals. That's the way you have learned and been trained to interpret these texts.

The same principle applies to any of us.

Like the gemstone analogy I used, we all see the texts in a particular setting. MT interprets the scriptures in an Orthodox way because he is Orthodox.

Not shit, Sherlock ...

If he were an evangelical he would interpret them the way an evangelical does.

Ok, as a Protestant myself, I am less likely to be critical of the author he dismisses on that Ancient Faith blog ... and it's interesting that not all the Orthodox who interacted with the article took the same attitude as MT did. Some of them, including clergy, welcomed the author's contribution and observed that they found it complementary to what they understand to be the Orthodox position on these matters.

Some of them indeed state that they believe the Orthodox Church to have over-reacted against the penal and juridical emphases found in the West.

Darn-Darnn-Narrnnnn!!!

Does this mean that they are crypto-Protestants or does it mean that they are having a legitimate debate within the context and framework of their own Tradition?

I don't know. I'm not Orthodox.

But I don't see them dragging him out and burning him at the stake. The Orthodox tended to exile 'heretics' rather than burn them, but that's another issue ...

Wherever we stand on these issues - and yes, I struggle with interpretations that don't fit the way I've been taught or become accustomed to - I think it behoves us to acknowledge that there are clearly other ways of understanding these things and to acknowledge that we may or may not have the right 'take' on them ... or that we may need to adjust our thinking in some way.

It could be that we maintain our original position but go away with a richer appreciation of it or a richer understanding of why those who don't hold the same position as us do hold those views.

That's the whole point, surely?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I must admit that the idea of Lambeth Palace issuing anything that is likely to be 'binding' in some way did make me chuckle ...

[Snigger]

Of course, the CofE back in the time of Queen Elizabeth Ist and so on could be pretty prescriptive ... and it was pretty Erastian throughout the 18th century - read Charles Wesley's execrable poem about those who sympathised with the 'rebels' in the Colonies ...

But comparisons with the Vatican? Puh-leese ...

If anything, the Anglicans can be criticised for not having a coherent set of doctrines and policies.

The Salvation Army is probably controlled more tightly than the CofE is ...
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Ha! It seems to me that you are playing!

You are missing the point.
I'm trying to say that just because a church in error will not recognise a new (to it) truth with foundations in Scripture, doesn't make it a wrong truth, an error, a heresy.

The RC church made Luther a heretic and burnt his followers at the stake because they put dogma, opinion and power before Scripture. Is anyone today seriously going to claim that Martin Luther was wrong about justification by faith?

Yes, they can do it but can they say that the Bible doesn't teach it?

Yes, we are discussing PSA but my point is this: Scripture clearly teaches it. And if that truth has been ignored for hundreds of years well, like the rejection of sola fidei, that's not the fault of those who now teach it!

But years of neglect does not make the discovery of that truth invalid; in fact, as with the reformation, it's a much-needed restoration of a truth that for too long was ignored.

I have to say that on this thread I have not seen a lot of Scriptural argument that credibly does against PSA - especially on those texts that those who teach PSA will highlight.

We've heard how Mousethief is far too busy to answer questions about people being condemned already and the wrath lf of remaining on them - so why don't you have a stab? What does the Gospel mean in tat context? What did Jesus actually mean in John 3 18 if unbelievers are not actually 'condemned already'?

And what about the phrase from verse 36, coming again from the lips of Jesus, 'Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them.'?

And what about the verse, as interpreted by Christians (forget the Jews), from Isaiah 53?
It clearly states

quote:

4 Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

NIV

quote:

4 Surely he has borne our infirmities
    and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
    struck down by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
    crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
    and by his bruises we are healed.

NRSV

I would like to know how those verses do not contain a reference to penal substitution, and if they don't, then how do you interpret the phrases that we say do refer to penal substitution?
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
[QUOTE][QB] The sacrifice passages in the NT (eg II Corinthians 5:21) obviously provide the solution to this crisis, and PSA is the obvious way to understand them.

This would be 'obvious' used to mean 'unjustifiable'.
If it were obvious in the commonly accepted sense of the word you wouldn't need to assert it was: you would show it.

quote:
If sacrifice does not involve some sort of vicarious retributive suffering, then it is pointless - instead of being executed, Jesus might just as well have done something else difficult and public, like standing on his head o the Temple, or walking backwards to Rome.
This is a bare assertion followed by a non-sequitur, and the bare assertion is nonsense.

There is no such thing as vicarious retributive suffering. You yourself have pointed out apropos of theories of punishment that one strength of the retributive theory of punishment over the deterrent theory is that the retributive theory does not justify vicarious suffering. A deterrent theory allows the authorities to threaten or punish innocent bystanders or innocent associates if it reduces crime; a retributive theory does not.
Therefore sacrifice does not involve any sort of vicarious retributive suffering. Nor indeed is anything of the sort asserted about most of the sacrifices in the Bible.

It does not follow that sacrifice is pointless. We living in largely or at least Christian societies that do not practice sacrifice are not in a good position to understand how sacrifice was understood by those who did it. Understanding relies upon textual and anthropological work. But the chief idea seems to be to pass something over from profane use to sacred use.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:

Ignoring the overwhelming scriptural evidence for some sort of PSA understanding of Jesus's death is obtuse, and can only be explained by a dislike for it because it is evangelical, and therefore untrendy, or because it reveals a holy God who takes sin seriously, won't sweep it under the carpet, and judges it, which is unpalatable.

Bullshit.

The PSA God is a unjust monster who demands disproportionate punishment on fallible humanity, then has his bloodlust sated by the death of an innocent party.

THAT is why I reject it, because it paints a God who is abhorrent.

I tried for years - fucking YEARS - to come to terms with PSA and the God it portrays. But I couldn't. In the end I either had to jettison it or Christianity entirely.

But to you, that agonising, struggling, searching, can be dismissed in an insulting false accusation of my motives.

Disgusting. Carry on in this vein and I'll reply in the Hot Place.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
The Salvation Army is probably controlled more tightly than the CofE is ...

Sadly not, we have 11 doctrines and a conservative evangelically-minded handbook of Doctrine, but you'd be surprised at the liberal thinkers amongst us.

My goodness, we've even had people arguing against PSA...!
[Eek!]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
At any rate - it is certainly true that people were burnt at the stake for espousing Reformed doctrines in general - which included justification by grace through faith, of course.

I'm not sure why mr cheesy is contesting that, unless he's applying it to justification by faith per se rather than a range of Reformed emphases which included that.

By and large, politics tended to come into it too, of course ...

At any rate, it seems to me that those who oppose certain 'innovative' developments and doctrines aren't confined to the historic churches. Eutychus has been using the novelty / comparatively recent development of Dispensationalism as one of his arguments against it on the Kerygmania thread on that topic - and he isn't a member of one of the historic churches.

He's also using scripture.

So do the historic Churches.

It's not as if MT or any other contributor here from one of the older Churches isn't citing scripture or deploying it in their arguments.

Ok, their understanding of how scripture and tradition / Tradition relate to one another will differ, but as I've said before, at least they will acknowledge the role of tradition / Tradition and not try to make out that their views are based on 'the plain meaning of scripture' ...

I must irritate people with my mantras, I know - but alongside 'both/and not either/or' my second one is, 'We are all part of a tradition' ...

We all use the lenses of that tradition when we approach the scriptures.

The onus is on those who come up with more innovative or new-fangled ideas - be it the rapture, be it Holiness teaching or whatever else - to convince the rest of us of its validity. If they can do that, then fine.

But they shouldn't cry foul if not everyone slaps their foreheads and says, 'Of course! Silly me, it was in the scriptures all along and I didn't see it!'

That applies to Darby, to the Pope, to anyone else.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
At any rate - it is certainly true that people were burnt at the stake for espousing Reformed doctrines in general - which included justification by grace through faith, of course.

I'm not sure why mr cheesy is contesting that, unless he's applying it to justification by faith per se rather than a range of Reformed emphases which included that.

Because Mudfrog is saying something about this theory of the atonement and pointing as evidence to people who were burned for believing it.

But they weren't. Rubbish.

That's like saying Socialism somehow has credibility because Wat Tyler was executed leading the Peasant's revolt.

Of course, socialism as an idea was far more recent than Wat Tyler. The idea that he was somehow a socialist - or believed in the ideas that developed long after his death - is bogus.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
All the sacrifices (including the scapegoat) seem to me to be substitutionary, for the sins of the people of Israel.

Again, I can't see how this is anything other than
satisfaction theory as opposed to substitution.

You have the advantage over me in terms of formal theological training, but my understanding is that the satisfaction theory of atonement is still a substitution theory, just different from ransom.

I'm not sure either about mousethief's distinction between "for" (identification) and "on behalf of" (substitution).

That's not mousethief's distinction unless I utterly misread it. If anything, mousethief's distinction is the other way round. The calf dies on behalf of the prodigal son, but it isn't substituted for the prodigal son.

You make a substitute when you swap something or someone out of a role and swap something or someone else into that same role. The father could be said to substitute the fatted calf for the slop the pigs were eating, because they both fill the same role (food); but not the fatted calf for the prodigal son because the role of food is not the prodigal son's role.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
You know, I think we need to disentangle two things that have reared themselves on this thread.

Firstly there's PSA itself as a model of the atonement.

Secondly there's this human beings all deserve to go to Hell and will do barring God redeeming them through their explicit faith thing.

There's a third, which is what Hell actually is, but that's a more of a 2a than a 3.

I should clarify that my main problems are actually with the second issue. That's certainly caused more agonising and personal issues for me, what with many of my personal friends and relatives having no stated Christian beliefs, but clearly not deserving of any kind of Hell. That's quite apart from the cognitive dissonance involved in believing that God has this great love for humanity and this desperate desire to rescue them from his own wrath (if I don't want to be angry with someone I try not to be, and sometimes I succeed - surely God's better at controlling his feelings than I am?) and yet puts in place a scheme that involves believing a set of propositions that not everyone has heard about a man in a particular point in history that not everyone has even heard of with no obvious reason to accept these particular postulates than any other religious truth claims with which the world is littered. With the not surprising end result that only a minority actually do so. Couldn't he have come up with something a little more likely to succeed for a greater number?

However, I stand by the PSA issues I have raised. I really have tried to see how punishment of person X for the sins of person Y can possibly satisfy any meaningful understanding of the term "justice". It can't.

The other funny thing is how these two issues correlate; how people apparently able to believe that God condemns most of humanity to Hell also seem to be proponents of PSA. Both seem to require a sort of "Well, if that's what the Bible says* then it must be right so that's that and it must be good and just." - an attitude I don't have the mental furniture for, any more than I can make myself believe that grass is blue. The injustice, the fact that in the PSA model there is actually no forgiveness (that would be to "sweep it under the carpet", just overlooking it, wouldn't it?), they're all plain as the greenness of grass and I can't ignore them or pretend they're an illusion.

*whether it actually does or not.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Ha! It seems to me that you are playing!

You are missing the point.
I'm trying to say that just because a church in error will not recognise a new (to it) truth with foundations in Scripture, doesn't make it a wrong truth, an error, a heresy.

The RC church made Luther a heretic and burnt his followers at the stake because they put dogma, opinion and power before Scripture. Is anyone today seriously going to claim that Martin Luther was wrong about justification by faith?

Yes, they can do it but can they say that the Bible doesn't teach it?

Yes, we are discussing PSA but my point is this: Scripture clearly teaches it. And if that truth has been ignored for hundreds of years well, like the rejection of sola fidei, that's not the fault of those who now teach it!

But years of neglect does not make the discovery of that truth invalid; in fact, as with the reformation, it's a much-needed restoration of a truth that for too long was ignored.

I have to say that on this thread I have not seen a lot of Scriptural argument that credibly does against PSA - especially on those texts that those who teach PSA will highlight.

We've heard how Mousethief is far too busy to answer questions about people being condemned already and the wrath lf of remaining on them - so why don't you have a stab? What does the Gospel mean in tat context? What did Jesus actually mean in John 3 18 if unbelievers are not actually 'condemned already'?

And what about the phrase from verse 36, coming again from the lips of Jesus, 'Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them.'?

And what about the verse, as interpreted by Christians (forget the Jews), from Isaiah 53?
It clearly states

quote:

4 Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

NIV

quote:

4 Surely he has borne our infirmities
    and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
    struck down by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
    crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
    and by his bruises we are healed.

NRSV

I would like to know how those verses do not contain a reference to penal substitution, and if they don't, then how do you interpret the phrases that we say do refer to penal substitution?

I don't think I'm missing the point at all, Mudfrog.

I'm not going to 'have a go' at constructing an alternative interpretation to 'he who does not believe is condemned already' and 'we are by nature objects of wrath' because I am constrained by my own tradition in the way I interpret those verses. I am predisposed to understand them in an evangelical way because of my evangelical background.

That's why I am asking someone else from a different tradition to explain how they interpret these verses and why they do so.

That's the point, learning from other people's insights, even if, having heard and learned from them, we retain our original perspective.

So no, I don't think I'm 'playing' at all. What I am doing is trying to engage with people with different viewpoints and to learn from them.

I'm not upset by anything anyone has posted here - although I can see how feelings can run high on both sides.

I am trying to look at both sides and to learn from both sides.

If people don't understand those verses you quote in a PSA type of way, then I'm interested in finding out why.

As for the justification by faith thing, no, I don't think anyone is seriously suggesting that the scriptures don't teach justification by faith.

The issue wasn't whether it was justification by faith, but whether it was 'justification by faith ALONE' ... and as far as I understand it, Luther was accused of inserting that word unilaterally into his German translation of the NT when it isn't actually there in the Greek.

Ok, we might argue that the 'force' of the Greek suggests as much but there's been a lot of debate about that down the years - I'm not a Greek scholar so I have to bow to what others tell me on that one.

That's how these things work. We learn from other people. We learn in community.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:

4 Surely he has borne our infirmities
    and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
    struck down by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
    crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
    and by his bruises we are healed.

NRSV

I would like to know how those verses do not contain a reference to penal substitution, and if they don't, then how do you interpret the phrases that we say do refer to penal substitution?
Clearly the phrase 'by his bruises we are healed' is metaphorical in some sense. Yes? Whatever is going on in that phrase is not part of anything penal or substitutionary unless you give it a highly metaphorical interpretation.
(The penal substitutionary theory says that we get off from sin without consequence; therefore we do not need to be healed of the consequences.)
It follows that there's no intrinsic warrant for taking the earlier part of the verse as literal. The passage is using two successive metaphors to express the speaker's emotional reaction to the servant's suffering.

If Albert drives a car too fast and kills a pedestrian Albert might say in remorse that the pedestrian was punished for his wrongdoing. (Or more likely the prosecution lawyer would.) But that doesn't literally mean that the pedestrian was legally punished.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
What intrigues me is that despite PSA being obvious in the texts, it didn't break the surface for one and a half thousand years. Which makes me think that if you'd have asked any of the church fathers and doctors for the first thousand years and more about it, they'd have said 'Well, YEAH, duh! And?'.

It was so universally obvious and assumed it was never questioned.

Or is that just me looking down the wrong end of the Calvinist telescope I don't believe in?
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Which is why I have been at pains - huge pains - NOT to disagree with anything anyone has written about the other atonement theories.

Every single one of them - without exception - can be said to reflect a verse or passage from the Bible. All of them.

We do all interpret Scripture through our own 'reader response' and that means, of course, that some theories resonate more than others and some might even leave us cold or cause a bit of hostility. I can't see the point of recapitulation, for example.

But I am not going to get all hostile with anyone who says it means a lot to them, just as long as they don't get all sniffy with me when I say that for me, moral influence, healing and all kinds of substitution 'do it' for me.

My point is simply this: If all theories can find a basis in Scripture, then all must be allowed and none denied. They are important.

And as I said further up, they can be 'used' in different settings and will apply at different times.

None of them tell the whole truth and as we have said, they all fall down if pressed too hard - that's why they are theories.

2 things concern me.
1 is that very often language is used to attack PSA that none of us 'on this side' recognise.
This from Mr Backslider, for example:
quote:
The PSA God is a unjust monster who demands disproportionate punishment on fallible humanity, then has his bloodlust sated by the death of an innocent party.

THAT is why I reject it, because it paints a God who is abhorrent.

Does he really think that's the God I believe in?
Even in my most confident confirmation that I believe in PSA, that type of God simply does not figure; it's a gross distortion.

The second thing that worries me is that I can infer from some arguments - maybe I'm wrong - that any atonement theory that suggests we are sinners that need forgiveness and that God has done something remedial to deal with sin, guilt, judgment, etc; and that this must be believed in order to be effective, is rejected. The basis of this rejection is that we are not such big sinners that God needs to do this or has any right to judge us.

I'm not a sinner, therefore I don't need a saviour.
ALL that God is doing is healing the world, making us happy, showing us how to be more 'human'.
That worries me.

Jesus didn't die to tell me that God loves me.
He didn't die to make me happy.
He died to save me, rescue me, from sin and the consequences of my sin and the just judgment of Godhead.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
At any rate - it is certainly true that people were burnt at the stake for espousing Reformed doctrines in general - which included justification by grace through faith, of course.

I'm not sure why mr cheesy is contesting that, unless he's applying it to justification by faith per se rather than a range of Reformed emphases which included that.

Because Mudfrog is saying something about this theory of the atonement and pointing as evidence to people who were burned for believing it.

But they weren't. Rubbish.

That's like saying Socialism somehow has credibility because Wat Tyler was executed leading the Peasant's revolt.

Of course, socialism as an idea was far more recent than Wat Tyler. The idea that he was somehow a socialist - or believed in the ideas that developed long after his death - is bogus.

You do indeed misunderstand my point but that's the fault of my phrasing.
I wrote:

quote:
The fact that doctrines such as PSA, pre-millennial tribulation and rapture and justification by faith only came into the forefront of the consciousness of many in the last 500 years does not mean that those churches who for 1500 years before that should control, denigrate or condemn the development of these 'new' ideas - and certainly not attack, criticise or burn at the stake those who put those ideas forward.

I lumped together the doctrines of PSA, rapture and Justification by Faith as 'new doctrines'.
It was the first two that I was thinking attracted attack and criticism; the burning at the stake, in my mind as I typed it, was referring to the Justification by faith.

I did say attack, criticise 'or', and not 'and', burning at the stake, which implied that not all reactions applied to all doctrines.

Just to clear that up.
I am fully aware that nobody was ever burnt at the stake for believing in PSA.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Mudfrog
quote:
None of them tell the whole truth and as we have said, they all fall down if pressed too hard - that's why they are theories

That they "all fall down" when "pressed hard" doesn't make them theories, rather it makes them "failed" theories or, at least, "seriously deficient" theories. I don't think theories can be "pressed too too hard." If they all fall down why do we seem to get so worked up about them?

I'm intrigued, Mudfrog, as to where you see PSA falling down.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
All the sacrifices (including the scapegoat) seem to me to be substitutionary, for the sins of the people of Israel.

Again, I can't see how this is anything other than
satisfaction theory as opposed to substitution.

You have the advantage over me in terms of formal theological training, but my understanding is that the satisfaction theory of atonement is still a substitution theory, just different from ransom.

I'm not sure either about mousethief's distinction between "for" (identification) and "on behalf of" (substitution).

That's not mousethief's distinction unless I utterly misread it. If anything, mousethief's distinction is the other way round. The calf dies on behalf of the prodigal son, but it isn't substituted for the prodigal son.

You make a substitute when you swap something or someone out of a role and swap something or someone else into that same role. The father could be said to substitute the fatted calf for the slop the pigs were eating, because they both fill the same role (food); but not the fatted calf for the prodigal son because the role of food is not the prodigal son's role.

I always thought the fatted calf was killed as a celebration, not a sacrifice.

It was food not a ceremony!
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I'm not sure either about mousethief's distinction between "for" (identification) and "on behalf of" (substitution). "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." I can easily see elements of both identification and substitution in the scripture and the tradition.

If I made a dichotomy between those two phrases then I misspoke. "for" and "on behalf of" mean the same thing. Neither are substitutionary. When I buy a candy bar for my son, I'm not buying it instead of something else. The distinction is between "for" or "on behalf of" and "instead of" or "in place of." The latter two phrases are substitutional. The former two are not. Some of the PSA advocates see substitution every time they see the words "for" or "on behalf of" in Scripture. That's not what those words mean. If the Hebrew or Greek words being translated mean substitution, then the translator has failed in his or her job.

quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I am always amused at the argument that says that the age of a doctrine somehow adds authority to it and f it's formulised recently then it's evidently not orthodox.

What I see here s a desire among the churches with traditions that were set in stone long before protestant evangelicalism to somehow assert their own self-importance.

St. Vincent of Lerins existed a full thousand years before the Protestants. It was he that created the threefold rule of thumb for judging theology, the first thumb of which is antiquity. (the other two being ubiquity and unanimity (or nearly so -- he was a pragmatist)). So, no. The idea that the emphasis on older doctrines is an attempt to squelch protestantism is fatuous. It's not all about you. Some knowledge of church history would stand many Protestants in much better stead.

quote:
It seems to me that Martin Luther, 500 years ago this year, who taught, against all church instruction, that 'the just shall live by faith', faced the same kind of criticism as those who believe in PSA do n here:
The idea that Martin Luther's 'the just shall live by faith' is against all church instruction shows once again a lack of knowledge of church history and theological history.

"New" doctrines do not carry the weight of scripture -- what a strange idea.

quote:
Yes, we are discussing PSA but my point is this: Scripture clearly teaches it.
SAYS YOU. Hello? You're not getting the point here. Not everybody gets this from Scripture. Indeed more than half of all Christians do not believe it. Therefore, by the definitions of the words, Scripture DOES NOT CLEARLY TEACH IT.

quote:
We've heard how Mousethief is far too busy to answer questions about people being condemned already and the wrath lf of remaining on them
I could answer them. But it would be just my opinion. I don't know how the Church interprets them and am not quite sure how I'd go about finding out. There's the thing. They don't all that much matter. Not everybody gives the same importance to the same bits of Scripture. That's absolutely necessary because Scripture is not, pace your "clearly" claim, self-interpreting.

quote:
I would like to know how those verses do not contain a reference to penal substitution, and if they don't, then how do you interpret the phrases that we say do refer to penal substitution?
If I bear your bags at the airport, am I being punished? As for "for" I've already covered that. But really the last bit -- "upon him was the punishment that made us whole and by his bruises we are healed" -- here's a non PSA interpretation: dying on a cross is rather nasty. Punishing, even. Yet it's his death that saves us.

Gotta go to work. Will pick back up with Karl's "You know, I think we need to disentangle two things that have reared themselves on this thread."
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Interesting points again ...

@Martin60, I've got no particular axe to grind but I must admit it does set my teeth on edge when I see arguments such as, 'There's no evidence of any contention among the Church Fathers on this issue, so they must all have believed it and been in favour of it just like I am ...'

I've seen that argument applied to PSA and to a belief in the pre-tribulation rapture.

I'm not suggesting anyone here on this thread is doing it, but it's something I have come across before, both from Reformed Evangelicals and other conservative evangelicals.

I don't think anyone here is suggesting that the Fathers were all uniformly agreed on all points, although I've come across some of the more 'fundamentalist' Orthodox who give that impression.

But there can be a very Protestant tendency to redact one's own Calvinist or broadly evangelical beliefs back onto the Fathers (and into the NT? [Biased] [Razz] ) as though it's self-evident that they all believed exactly the same as they do - or at least did before something or other went badly wrong and the Church became all nasty and Catholic ...

I don't buy that at all.

So yes, you are using the wrong end of a Calvinist telescope that you don't belief in.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Ha! It seems to me that you are playing!

You are missing the point.
I'm trying to say that just because a church in error will not recognise a new (to it) truth with foundations in Scripture, doesn't make it a wrong truth, an error, a heresy.

The RC church made Luther a heretic and burnt his followers at the stake because they put dogma, opinion and power before Scripture. Is anyone today seriously going to claim that Martin Luther was wrong about justification by faith?

Yes, they can do it but can they say that the Bible doesn't teach it?

Yes, we are discussing PSA but my point is this: Scripture clearly teaches it. And if that truth has been ignored for hundreds of years well, like the rejection of sola fidei, that's not the fault of those who now teach it!

But years of neglect does not make the discovery of that truth invalid; in fact, as with the reformation, it's a much-needed restoration of a truth that for too long was ignored.

I have to say that on this thread I have not seen a lot of Scriptural argument that credibly does against PSA - especially on those texts that those who teach PSA will highlight.

We've heard how Mousethief is far too busy to answer questions about people being condemned already and the wrath lf of remaining on them - so why don't you have a stab? What does the Gospel mean in tat context? What did Jesus actually mean in John 3 18 if unbelievers are not actually 'condemned already'?

And what about the phrase from verse 36, coming again from the lips of Jesus, 'Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them.'?

And what about the verse, as interpreted by Christians (forget the Jews), from Isaiah 53?
It clearly states

quote:

4 Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

NIV

quote:

4 Surely he has borne our infirmities
    and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
    struck down by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
    crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
    and by his bruises we are healed.

NRSV

I would like to know how those verses do not contain a reference to penal substitution, and if they don't, then how do you interpret the phrases that we say do refer to penal substitution?

I don't think I'm missing the point at all, Mudfrog.
No, you weren't. That's because I was directing my comment at Mr Cheesy, whose name I should have mentioned at the top.

He said he wasn't playing -I commented that he was (because he was still replying to me)

Whilst I was writing my response to him you posted your next contribution and mine appeared subsequently. Had mine appeared 10 minutes earlier, the discussion would have flowed from one to another, and it would have been event that I was reply to him.

My apologies

[ 13. January 2017, 12:54: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
No apologies needed, Mudfrog. I'd mistaken your reply to mr cheesy as one to myself, but it gave me an opportunity to think aloud (thinking allowed?) and frame some further thoughts ...

Whether that's been helpful to anyone other than myself, I don't know.

Perhaps it's me who should be apologising.

I'll bob back later, but before I do, here's a thought/question triggered by one of your earlier posts ...

Does it necessarily follow that not believing in PSA means that we don't see the need for a Saviour or become as it were, soft on sin, soft on the consequences of sin?

The Orthodox don't share a belief in PSA but in the Liturgy the priest acknowledges his own and the people's sins - and asks God to have mercy upon sinners, 'of whom I am chief.'

Whatever disagreements Protestants may have with the Orthodox, I don't see any indication that they don't see the need for a Saviour nor for the remission of sins.

As for liberal Protestants, well, that might be another matter ...

But among the posters here it seems to me that most do acknowledge the efficacy and idea of sacrifice and atonement - it's just that they do so in a different kind of way.

But hey ...
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
mousethief

Oh I see. There may be some pond differences coming in here. "On behalf of my friend, I'd like to express his appreciation". "Instead of my friend saying it, I'd like to express his appreciation".

In colloquial parlance, those are pretty identical statements. Why do we speak on behalf of a friend, or instead of a friend? Normally because they can't. but would like to. So we stand in for them. We substitute.

Or so it seems to me. There is a linguistic distinction, I suppose, but there is also overlap.

I'd see the problem with the word substitute if it was inextricably weddded to penal, but it isn't. I heard Timothy Ware talk about atonement a few years ago and make the point, from an Orthodox understanding, that the concept of substitution could indeed be supported by scripture, though it had its limitations and its dangers. Christus Victor was, he thought, a more comprehensive model for the atonement.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
Mudfrog, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm not aware of anyone having been burnt at the stake either for believing in the Rapture or not doing - though personally, I regard the Rapture as untenable.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Mudfrog, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm not aware of anyone having been burnt at the stake either for believing in the Rapture or not doing - though personally, I regard the Rapture as untenable.

I believe I already covered that misunderstanding.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

For the moment I'd like to ask, what are the biblical arguments for (a) the Aaronic sacrifices being substitutionary, and (b) hell being separation from God?

Probably proper to Keryg, but I'll take a swing at it.

a) Leviticus 16 (The Day of Atonement). All the sacrifices (including the scapegoat) seem to me to be substitutionary, for the sins of the people of Israel.

Again, I can't see how this is anything other than
satisfaction theory as opposed to substitution.

You have the advantage over me in terms of formal theological training, but my understanding is that the satisfaction theory of atonement is still a substitution theory, just different from ransom.
The distinction between substitution and satisfaction is more subtle, yes. Both are "God-ward" theories-- i.e. seeing the force or impact of the atonement as directed towards God, to appease God's wrath or satisfy God's justice. If you think of them as "theories" then, the difference is minimal. But if you think of them as metaphors they are using very different imagery-- law court vs. Temple sacrifice. The fact that we have both is relevant in this context where posters are trying to weigh how many passages support each of the metaphors in order to build a strong case for PSA, when in fact at least 1/2 of the verses cited utilize the Temple imagery rather than the law court imagery.

Ransom, otoh, is quite different. Like Christus victor it is a "Satan-ward" theory, seeing the force or impact of the atonement as directed towards Satan to either release humanity from spiritual oppression or to defeat the power of sin and death.

Again, the reason why these distinctions are important is simply to demonstrate/reinforce the rich layers of biblical imagery surrounding the atonement, which should guard against treating PSA or any other metaphor in strictly transactional terms.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
cliffdweller

Thanks, that's helpful. I suppose the language has collected baggage on the way. I don't like propitiation concepts, but I don't see substitution as implying propitiation. Certainly not as a common use colloquial term.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
Bit of a recap, as at the moment I'm not getting to my computer too often....

As I see it we have all pretty much agreed that 'moral influence' doesn't really explain Jesus' death. Even with Resurrection added, a death with no other purpose/achievement than 'having moral influence' is something of an empty gesture. The death needs to either achieve some concrete purpose - which can then have moral influence in various ways - or it needs to somehow very strongly make a moral point that makes the death worthwhile.

As an example of achievement, albeit fictional, there was Mrs Watson 'taking a bullet' for Sherlock the other night (also a pretty clear example of 'substitution' though not necessarily in the PSA sense). As an example of making a point, being put to death by a tyrant rather than approve of the tyranny. But the death needs to have some such point in order to have moral influence - just putting yourself in the way of death voluntarily doesn't do it and can even be just silly.

So in effect we've ended up discussing what is that other achievement of Jesus' death, or that point he makes, as a result of which the death can - very likely 'among other things' - bring moral influence to bear on us; or from another perspective, can we identify the problem(s) that Jesus' death was meant to solve?

And my on thinking is both
1) that God may have proverbially killed a lot of birds with one stone - that there are several different (but not wholly separate) things achieved, and
2) that at least some of what is achieved is somewhat outside our everyday experience and is presented to us in Scripture by examples from the everyday experience in terms of "It is something like this...", and sometimes "It is VERY like this...." And we can get a fair and useful idea of what the main thing is by combining all those "like this" things - and trying to identify the ones 'most like', and being a bit careful about some of the more superficial details of the metaphors.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
cliffdweller

Thanks, that's helpful. I suppose the language has collected baggage on the way. I don't like propitiation concepts, but I don't see substitution as implying propitiation. Certainly not as a common use colloquial term.

Certainly it's gathered baggage among my evangelical circles.

The notion of "propitiation" is where Lamb's distinction between the two senses in which something can be done or given "for" someone is relevant I think. The sacrifice can be given "for" us and can be something that is doing for us what we can't do for ourselves, without it being done in our place. Which again, frames God's basic disposition towards fallen humanity differently-- a stance of grief as opposed to wrath.

It's helpful, too, to think about the different groups of people the different images would speak to. For the first Christians-- Jews-- the Temple imagery of satisfaction theory would obviously resonate. As the gospel expanded beyond that group to various other cultures things like the law court imagery of substitution might make more sense. It has been suggested that the slave block imagery of ransom theory would resonate with poor and marginalized people, including obviously, slaves.

We see this same dynamic throughout the subsequent centuries of Christian witness. Apparently, there was something about the law court imagery that resonated for some of the Reformers (although Luther has a strongly Christus victor image in some of his writings) and evangelicals. Today the "Satan-ward" images of ransom and Christus victor seem to resonate more, particularly with younger Christians.

That's not some acquiescence to "culture"-- it's the way metaphors are intended to work. Drawing on what is familiar, what resonates, to help explain/ comprehend the unfamiliar and transcendent.

[ 13. January 2017, 15:50: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I think most of us here feel that the Moral Influence model has some legs, it's just that it doesn't have the momentum to take us all the way around the track. It needs a combination of the other theories to take us further.

Meanwhile, on some of the other issues here, I've heard Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware a few times and always with profit. For my money, he is one of those Orthodox who is very clear on his own Church's teaching without being in any way arsey towards anyone else - although I've heard that in private he can be more critical ...

Some of the Orthodox regard him as dangerously liberal and far too 'Western' but that's the Orthodox for you. You can't be Hyperdox enough for some of them ...
 
Posted by Anglican_Brat (# 12349) on :
 
No one has mentioned one big flaw in PSA:

PSA doesn't make people stop sinning.

That's my suspicion when I hear hymns about PSA where Jesus "paid it all", and he completed the price. However, PSA doesn't make anyone, anyone magically perfect and sinless.

In the model, it might make God no longer angry at us for our sin, but what if the fundamental issue isn't God's wrath, but about the harm that sin does to creation?

Where does PSA address that?

[ 13. January 2017, 19:09: Message edited by: Anglican_Brat ]
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
And to the more Catholic brethren here who would criticise 'new' doctrines even though they carry the weight of Scripture, I would suggest they look to the dogma of the Assumption of Mary (only declared in 1950) and the Immaculate Conception (declared as far back as 1854).

the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception are peripheral whereas atonement is central
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Isn't that where sanctification comes in? It's the other side of the coin to justification - which is what atonement is about. It's all part of the process to a holy life..
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
And to the more Catholic brethren here who would criticise 'new' doctrines even though they carry the weight of Scripture, I would suggest they look to the dogma of the Assumption of Mary (only declared in 1950) and the Immaculate Conception (declared as far back as 1854).

the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception are peripheral whereas atonement is central
Yes, but my point was about consistency.
We either allow new or re-emphasised truths (as long as they are based on Scripture and don't deny the creeds) or we don't.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
PSA doesn't make people stop sinning
No theory of anything does that. If you want to stop sinning that's the first step,wanting to. God won't deliver us from our friends.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
...
And my on thinking is both
1) that God may have proverbially killed a lot of birds with one stone - that there are several different (but not wholly separate) things achieved, and
2) that at least some of what is achieved is somewhat outside our everyday experience and is presented to us in Scripture by examples from the everyday experience in terms of "It is something like this...", and sometimes "It is VERY like this...." And we can get a fair and useful idea of what the main thing is by combining all those "like this" things - and trying to identify the ones 'most like', and being a bit careful about some of the more superficial details of the metaphors.

That would be how I see it.

I'm not sure (2) is always so. Paul in Romans* doesn't use 'like' a lot, but it's always short, he also never says it the same way twice and always has to follow with a 'That doesn't mean ...'. So it's at least somewhere between (1) and (2).

*To use a block that is by the same person in the same(ish) mind, so it's not disagreements.
 
Posted by Freddy (# 365) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
PSA doesn't make people stop sinning.

Excellent point.

The purpose of the Advent was to put humanity back on the right track. Or so said Jesus. So the explanation needs to be how that happened.

It would also be helpful to explain why we don't see impressive results to this point. [Biased]
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
And to the more Catholic brethren here who would criticise 'new' doctrines even though they carry the weight of Scripture, I would suggest they look to the dogma of the Assumption of Mary (only declared in 1950) and the Immaculate Conception (declared as far back as 1854).

the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception are peripheral whereas atonement is central
Yes, but my point was about consistency.
We either allow new or re-emphasised truths (as long as they are based on Scripture and don't deny the creeds) or we don't.

I'm not sure what is meant by "the more Catholic brethren." Are there any Catholics among the prominent posters on this thread? Certainly the Orthodox have no truck with either of those dogmas, or indeed with creating new dogmas at all. We've had 7 councils, dammit. That should be enough dogma for anyone's needs. Kindly don't lump us in with any "more Catholic brethren."
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
But nobody here has argued that the sacrifice was pointless, I certainly have not. I see Jesus' life, death and resurrection as the centre if the faith.

Unless Christ's sacrifice on humanity's behalf contained elements of representation and punishment, then it was most certainly pointless.

The only remaining ways of explaining it are in terms of some sort of crude cosmic sadism/masochism, or by hiding in meaningless sentimentality or mystical waffle.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
The only remaining ways of explaining it are in terms of some sort of crude cosmic sadism/masochism, or by hiding in meaningless sentimentality or mystical waffle.

I'm curious as to what you think this adds to the discussion.
 
Posted by Anglican_Brat (# 12349) on :
 
If we go to the early layers of Christian tradition, I think the Cross was the first major crisis point of the apostolic movement, how did the early Christians deal with the fact that their founder was crucified on the Cross.

Bear in mind, before Christianity, there is no evidence in my study that the Jews believed that the Messiah would die a cruel death, even for the sins of the world. Isaiah 53 refers to the suffering servant but to my knowledge before the advent of Christianity, the suffering servant was not equated to the Messiah, (in all probability, it might have indeed originally referred to Israel or the Prophet who was persecuted for proclaiming a message against the dominant forces in Israel).

But the historical fact remains that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. Indeed it might be the strongest evidence that Jesus existed because there is no conceivable reason why any completely fictional messiah would be written to suffer a dreadful death as crucifixion.

Peter's speech in Acts (Acts 2) may point to the earliest tradition that sees crucifixion as a violent response by the powers to be to the coming Messiah and the Resurrection as God's ultimate response of validation and exaltation, the atonement story being the story of Jesus as the ultimate Martyr. Paul in his writings, sees the Cross as the stumbling block (1 Corinthians). He didn't see the Cross as a response to an angry God, but rather a part of the divine plan from the beginning as if God saw that the response of humanity to the coming of his Son will involve violent attack and resistance. The Cross then is God accepting that violence without responding in kind.

The risen Christ didn't punish Pontius Pilate or the Roman soldiers for murdering him.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
God is a unjust monster

FWIW, I agree that eternal punishment is the most cogent argument against Christianity, and I hold on to the faith by my fingernails ("rancid with doubt", in Philip Yancey's words) not because I have an answer to it, but despite the fact that I don't.

quote:
THAT is why I reject [PSA]
Belief in eternal punishment is not inseparable from belief in PSA.

My wife, for example, believes in PsA and annihilationism as did, more relevantly to this context, the late John Stott.

quote:
Carry on in this vein and I'll reply in the Hot Place.
If calling me names in Hell makes you feel better, then go for your life.

Knock yourself out.

Go nuts.

I really don't care.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
St. Vincent of Lerins existed a full thousand years before the Protestants.

I would have thought that members of the Orthodox and RC churches would have more sense than to invoke the Vincentian Canon ("Quod ubique..."), since in either case it involves sawing off the branch they are sitting on.

That is because their rival monolithic ecclesiastical putative repository of authoritative tradition, as well as Christians who are members of neither church, can always turn it back on them, over the issues on which they differ - such as the papacy.

Some knowledge of church history would stand some believers, of whatever tradition, in much better stead.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
For God's sake K.C., in the bowels of Christ, they are ALL just stories we made up. Let go. Take flight. What fear keeps you conservative?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Anglican_Brat. YES.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
St. Vincent of Lerins existed a full thousand years before the Protestants.

I would have thought that members of the Orthodox and RC churches would have more sense than to invoke the Vincentian Canon ("Quod ubique..."), since in either case it involves sawing off the branch they are sitting on.
You appear to have missed the point of why I referred to Vinny in your rush to excoriate our ancient asses. I'll be happy to discuss the former. I'm not interested in descending to the level of the latter.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
But nobody here has argued that the sacrifice was pointless, I certainly have not. I see Jesus' life, death and resurrection as the centre if the faith.

Unless Christ's sacrifice on humanity's behalf contained elements of representation and punishment, then it was most certainly pointless.

The only remaining ways of explaining it are in terms of some sort of crude cosmic sadism/masochism, or by hiding in meaningless sentimentality or mystical waffle.

AH! It's not just mere fear driven conservatism. It's disbelief.
 
Posted by Freddy (# 365) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Unless Christ's sacrifice on humanity's behalf contained elements of representation and punishment, then it was most certainly pointless.

The only remaining ways of explaining it are in terms of some sort of crude cosmic sadism/masochism, or by hiding in meaningless sentimentality or mystical waffle.

I think a better way of explaining it is as a battle in which Christ appeared to be defeated but was actually the victor. He overcame "the world" or "the power of darkness."

The sacrifice is the most common kind of all - the same kind of sacrifice made by people all over the world for the sake of some worthy cause.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
What intrigues me is that despite PSA being obvious in the texts, it didn't break the surface for one and a half thousand years. Which makes me think that if you'd have asked any of the church fathers and doctors for the first thousand years and more about it, they'd have said 'Well, YEAH, duh! And?'.

Catholicism had the politics,the thought police and the literacy.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Unless Christ's sacrifice on humanity's behalf contained elements of representation and punishment, then it was most certainly pointless.

The only remaining ways of explaining it are in terms of some sort of crude cosmic sadism/masochism, or by hiding in meaningless sentimentality or mystical waffle.

Really? A ransom paid to release someone from bondage does not contain any element of representation and punishment, but I sure wouldn't call it pointless-- especially as the one who is set free. An act that in some cosmic way defeats the power of sin an death does not contain any element of representation and punishment, but again, as someone subject to both sin & death, I find it far from pointless. Nor do I see how either theory leads to meaningless sentimentality or mystical waffle.

If you're going to try that one here, you're going to have to do a much better job of demonstrating why that is so.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
*tangent alert*

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
]St. Vincent of Lerins existed a full thousand years before the Protestants. It was he that created the threefold rule of thumb for judging theology, the first thumb of which is antiquity. (the other two being ubiquity and unanimity (or nearly so -- he was a pragmatist)).

St. Vincent had three thumbs!?! That's amazing! The best us Wesleyans can come up with is a lousy boring old quadrilateral. Jealous.

*end tangent*
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
What intrigues me is that despite PSA being obvious in the texts, it didn't break the surface for one and a half thousand years. Which makes me think that if you'd have asked any of the church fathers and doctors for the first thousand years and more about it, they'd have said 'Well, YEAH, duh! And?'.

Catholicism had the politics,the thought police and the literacy.
So you're saying that they knew about PSA but hushed it up. What's your evidence?
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
And why the hush up?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Mousethief

So you're saying that they knew about PSA but hushed it up.
Nope,

[ 14. January 2017, 05:04: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
So St Vincent of Lerins was a Protestant then, was he, Kaplan?

What was he if he wasn't Catholic/Orthodox, the two terms being coterminous before the Schism.

That doesn't mean that absolutely everything was uniform from Day One.

I don't think the RCs or the Orthodox are claiming that either. As MT has said, Vinny was a pragmatist.

I think it behoves all of us to learn more church history. You included.

An Orthodox priest once observed to me that 'Catholicity' might better be defined as 'Towards Catholicity' as it is a state that is in progress, a process of it 'being achieved' if you like.

It hasn't actually fully 'arrived'.

If that is the case then it might, I suspect be seen as some kind of 'Semper Reformanda' in reverse ... 'Semper Work in Progress' or 'Semper striving towards greater Catholicity'.

What doesn't help, I'd suggest, is when either side calls 'Yah Boo! Sucks!' and insists on caricaturing the other's position ...

'You Catholics ... The Pope tells you want to believe ...'

'You Orthodox, you haven't had an original thought since ...' (well, actually ...)

'You Protestants, all you do is proof-text ...'
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Of course the RCs didn't know about PSA or knew about it and hushed it up.

PSA in its current form is effectively a Reformation development that draws on earlier RC theology derived from Augustine and Anselm and mediated through Aquinas and others.

Anselm wouldn't have understood PSA in the way that conrempory Protestant evangelicals do, but Anselm's teaching on the atonement fed into the subsequent development of Western theology around the issue and Reformed and later evangelical emphases derived from that.

It isn't that the RCs ignored the Bible, simply that they didn't interpret it in the way the Reformers and later evangelicals did.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Unless Christ's sacrifice on humanity's behalf contained elements of representation and punishment, then it was most certainly pointless.

The only remaining ways of explaining it are in terms of some sort of crude cosmic sadism/masochism, or by hiding in meaningless sentimentality or mystical waffle.

I'll agree in passing that Anselm's original theory is one in which Jesus represents humanity but is not substituted for humanity (because Jesus is human). It is little better from the point of view of modern conceptions of justice, but is less internally incoherent.

The main point is that it is better to have a theory that is upfront about its 'mystical waffle', that one that hides the 'mystical waffle' under a bubble of conceptual rigour that pops when you touch it. And PSA is the latter case. The requirement that God cannot just show mercy is when you look at it 'mystical waffle'; the claim that Jesus' death satisfies the demands of justice is if not false then 'mystical waffle'.
As 'mystical waffle' is inevitable, it is better to foreground it.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
One thought: it occurs to be that part of the emotional power of penal substitutionary expressions and metaphors is the recognition that what happens is not just.
The Isaiah passage, all we like sheep have gone astray, we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all, loses much of its poignancy if we react by thinking that this is perfectly acceptable from the point of view of justice.
 
Posted by ThunderBunk (# 15579) on :
 
"art thou well apaid? Then I am well apaid."

That is the approach which makes sense to me. It's probably moral influence on speed: it places the desire for reconciliation with a creator whose love for his creation is not limited by that creation's indifference, or their obsessive tendency to reject themselves as the creator's primary gift to them, and expression of that love.

This recreation of relationship fits perfectly into the flow of incarnation/crucifixion/death and tomb/resurrection/ascension. The ascension then becomes the end of a seamless process, rather than any part distorting the perception of the whole.

It also has the huge advantage of not requiring the trinity to be a place of self-recrimination and repugnance. I cannot express how close PSA came to killing my faith because of the angry, self-hating deity it requires if the unity of the trinity is simultaneously taken seriously.

I think this will be the extent of my contribution to this thread, so apologies to those who wish to defend PSA as dogmatically necessary. I just wanted to make people aware of what it can do, and of the alternative understandings that are available.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
One thought: it occurs to be that part of the emotional power of penal substitutionary expressions and metaphors is the recognition that what happens is not just.
The Isaiah passage, all we like sheep have gone astray, we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all, loses much of its poignancy if we react by thinking that this is perfectly acceptable from the point of view of justice.

Is getting what you don't deserve (negatively) justice? Is getting what you don't deserve (positively) justice? Is not getting what you do deserve (positively or negatively) justice?

I think the only way one can say any of these cases is truly justice is when one subverts the whole definition of justice.

Which is a tad problematic if one's base position is that God is Just - and assert that there is some independent measure if justice that the deity conforms to.

Either God is just, in which case any of the above is not just. Or God is the definition and author if justice. Can't be both.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:


This recreation of relationship fits perfectly into the flow of incarnation/crucifixion/death and tomb/resurrection/ascension. The ascension then becomes the end of a seamless process, rather than any part distorting the perception of the whole.

I'm not really following. Are you saying that the life, death and resurrection of Christ is a part of the whole project of saving mankind? Or something else? I apologise for not really following.

quote:
I think this will be the extent of my contribution to this thread, so apologies to those who wish to defend PSA as dogmatically necessary. I just wanted to make people aware of what it can do, and of the alternative understandings that are available.
Prob just me, but I'd like to have a bit more detail of how your explanation fits all the pieces. Thanks.
 
Posted by ThunderBunk (# 15579) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
I think this will be the extent of my contribution to this thread, so apologies to those who wish to defend PSA as dogmatically necessary. I just wanted to make people aware of what it can do, and of the alternative understandings that are available.

Prob just me, but I'd like to have a bit more detail of how your explanation fits all the pieces. Thanks.
It's not mine, it comes from Julian of Norwich, and the main reason for my hesitancy is trying to do justice to this without the whole of the Revelations, or Rowan Williams's lecture in Norwich Cathedral in May 2014. However, I'll have a go (the answer to your first question is "yes", by the way). Actually, starts from Julian's confident assertion that there is no wrath in God. She is led to locate all the wrath, all the rejection, in us, in our rejection of ourselves as unloveable, denatured, sinful objects. The parable of the Master and Servant in Chapter 51 is her longest exploration of this. The whole process of Christ's incarnation then becomes a declaration of love on God's part, at increasing volume until the ascension becomes the deafening proclamation resonating throughout time and space. Just as well the tabernacles were not built - they would have exploded. Julian also hears Christ saying "if I could have done more, I would have done more" in the sixth showing, which changed my understanding of crucifixion fundamentally, placing God's love of his creation definitively above the crucifixion in the order of priority.

For those whose theology must be exclusively biblical, this will be anathema, I know. Personally, I can trace the outlines of this in the gospel accounts - I needed to in the process of digesting Julian's words. It is also there in the epistles.

This isn't a fully worked reply, and I do apologise for this, but a fully worked reply would take an exceptionally long time, and I do need to do things in daylight. However, I will at least consider returning later, and hope that this makes some degree of sense.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Dafyd;
quote:
The requirement that God cannot just show mercy
That is the flaw in 'PSA'; the idea that in effect God is so stupid he has put himself into a bind whereby he can't show mercy to law-breaking humanity without killing someone to satisfy an abstract sense of honour or some such. Of course God can show mercy.

But what if the law-breaking has real consequences which have to be dealt with by someone? Ezekiel says "The soul that sins shall die". If this is just an arbitrary statement that God will kill the sinner, then God can also 'just show mercy'. But if this means there is something inherent in the situation that brings death upon the sinner, unless something is done on the sinner's behalf that he can't do for himself, then whatever that thing is will need to be done, not as an arbitrary penalty but as a very real necessity. (and yes, I'm not ignoring the context in Ezekiel where a major point is that God isn't going to penalise one human for the sins of another).

This is where the imagery of 'debt' comes in. If you break somebody's window, you should, in justice, be the person who pays for the new window. Anyone denying that is simply not taking the situation seriously. And the point is that if there is a real broken window that needs replacement, then there is a real cost that has to fall on someone.

In that kind of situation there is no 'mere forgiving' (the phrase is usually 'just forgiving', as in Dafyd's phrase 'just show mercy'; but I'm trying to avoid confusion between two uses of the word 'just'); forgiveness/mercy is going to be costly to the forgiver.

And there is of course also an issue about reconciliation, the nature of the relationship between God and the sinner. In effect, meaningful reconciliation requires the sinner to recognise his sin, accept that he owes a debt, accept that he truly needs mercy; and he has to put that very much into practice by repentance. And a complacent attitude of "God has to forgive; that's his job" or similar is not repentance but treating God with arrogant scorn. In achieving reconciliation that's really going to work.... [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
But what if the law-breaking has real consequences which have to be dealt with by someone? Ezekiel says "The soul that sins shall die". If this is just an arbitrary statement that God will kill the sinner, then God can also 'just show mercy'. But if this means there is something inherent in the situation that brings death upon the sinner, unless something is done on the sinner's behalf that he can't do for himself, then whatever that thing is will need to be done, not as an arbitrary penalty but as a very real necessity.

This may be true, but if so the consequences, as something inherent in the situation, are no longer usefully described as 'punishment', and the action to deal with them is not substitution. Punishment I take to be a sanction imposed by an authority as opposed to an inherent consequence which happens whether or not any authority wills it.

You're now describing not PSA but rather a variety of what Kaplan Corday perjoratively described as 'mystical waffle'.
Which is what I was saying in my post.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

And there is of course also an issue about reconciliation, the nature of the relationship between God and the sinner. In effect, meaningful reconciliation requires the sinner to recognise his sin, accept that he owes a debt, accept that he truly needs mercy; and he has to put that very much into practice by repentance. And a complacent attitude of "God has to forgive; that's his job" or similar is not repentance but treating God with arrogant scorn. In achieving reconciliation that's really going to work.... [Roll Eyes]

No. You are still talking in terms of transactions - satirising my position by suggesting that God must do something because it is his job description.

I said nothing of the kind and doubt anyone here is suggesting any such thing.

God is merciful and forgives the penitent not because he has to but because he wants to. It isn't his job, it is his nature.

And frankly, I refuse to believe in a deity you can order around. God does what he wants, but it turns out that he just wants to be merciful.

[ 14. January 2017, 12:04: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Freddy (# 365) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
But if this means there is something inherent in the situation that brings death upon the sinner, unless something is done on the sinner's behalf that he can't do for himself, then whatever that thing is will need to be done, not as an arbitrary penalty but as a very real necessity.

You are on the right track.

An important premise of the Incarnation is that without it humanity would have been destroyed. PSA makes God the destroyer. I think a better angle is to say that we would destroy ourselves.

The solution, then, and the purpose of the Incarnation, is not just "mercy" but an action by God that actually changed the situation - so that humanity would not destroy itself.

The core of that change would have to be something that made it so that people would no longer be sinners, but would change for the better.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
Isaiah 53 refers to the suffering servant but to my knowledge before the advent of Christianity, the suffering servant was not equated to the Messiah


He didn't see the Cross as a response to an angry God...


The risen Christ didn't punish Pontius Pilate or the Roman soldiers for murdering him.

1) They didn't see Isiah 7 and 9 as referring to the Messiah either; it doesn't stop us from doing so.
2) God is not angry.
3) No, he forgave them - because there was something to forgive.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, he forgave them ...

Now, are we saying that he forgave them out of his own prerogative, as it were, or because he is God and to forgive is divine, to err human ...

Or are we saying that Jesus forgave them on the basis of the sacrifice for sins he was about to make on their behalf - and, from what we can gather, no sign of faith or repentance on their part ... ?

You see, whilst I'm not in any wise dismissing the need for atonement, it does seem that the whole thing about God loving people and forgiving people and so on transcends any of the models we might want to line up to explain how it 'works' ...

If the Roman soldiers who nailed Christ to the tree and who'd tortured and scourged him beforehand are forgiven, or among the Elect without knowing it - and sure the Centurion at least showed faith 'Surely this man was the Son of God' - and if Pilate is forgiven and the Sanhedrin 'for they know not what they do' ... then who are we to say who is or isn't forgiven or who is condemned etc ...?

It's not an escape into mushy, wishy-washy mysticism to acknowledge that we can't work out all the ins and outs and nuts and bolts - because the whole Gospel narrative and tenor of scripture doesn't lend itself to being tacked down like a carpet.

As soon as we see one element we think we've got a handle on, we see another one where we have to acknowledge that we haven't ...

If it wasn't like that then there'd be something wrong.

'Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift ...'
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:

It also has the huge advantage of not requiring the trinity to be a place of self-recrimination and repugnance. I cannot express how close PSA came to killing my faith because of the angry, self-hating deity it requires if the unity of the trinity is simultaneously taken seriously.

I think this will be the extent of my contribution to this thread, so apologies to those who wish to defend PSA as dogmatically necessary. I just wanted to make people aware of what it can do, and of the alternative understandings that are available.

This.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Dafyd;
quote:
The requirement that God cannot just show mercy
That is the flaw in 'PSA'; the idea that in effect God is so stupid he has put himself into a bind whereby he can't show mercy to law-breaking humanity without killing someone to satisfy an abstract sense of honour or some such. Of course God can show mercy.

But what if the law-breaking has real consequences which have to be dealt with by someone?

But this is why the "Satan-ward" theories work better. They similarly hold that sin has a price, it has consequences-- deadly ones. But the consequences are not the punishments by a vengeful God, they are the natural consequences of aligning ourselves with the evil one (Lewis' depiction in LWW is apt here). So it requires active, sacrificial action on God's part to save us--to rescue, to ransom, or to heal us.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief
So you're saying that they knew about PSA but hushed it up.

Nope,
Thanks for clearing that up then. I completely understand what you were getting at now.

quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
2) God is not angry.

Whoa. Wait. What? What the hell is "wrath" then? Are we speaking the same language?
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:


quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
2) God is not angry.

Whoa. Wait. What? What the hell is "wrath" then? Are we speaking the same language?
This is common among inconsistent theologies. I tend to see it among Calvinists who are presenting a very different worldview than my Open/Wesleyan view, but it's probably true of all of us. The common tendency is to dogmatically pursue a particular line of thinking unflinchingly until you arrive at it's natural conclusion-- but when that leads to a particularly nasty natural conclusion, instead of acknowledging that and/or re-examining your core convictions, simply redefine the terms. It's double-speak, and the end result is to make the gospel unintelligible.

This is exasperated when you fail to treat metaphor as metaphor. Again, if we see PSA as a metaphor, the fact that it breaks down at some point is not problematic, and the fact that there are other biblical metaphors only helps. But when you treat PSA as a transaction rather than a metaphor, you end up with some really problematic results which requires this sort of linguistic gymnastics.
 
Posted by Freddy (# 365) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
This is exasperated when you fail to treat metaphor as metaphor.

Thank you cliffdweller!

If PSA is a metaphor there is not necessarily any "wrath" in God. "Wrath" is a metaphor for something else. In this case it is a way of speaking of the way that love appears to the wicked.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Gamaliel.

Perfect.

Even tho' you ent where I'm at.

That last post, if one is indulgent (what do you mean we can't say?!), is way on the trajectory.

Drink has been taken (a blended, but from the Lost Distilleries Blended Batch 8, I could have just breathed it in), but I reckon like all good liberal folk thou refuse to see PSA when it's starin' thee in't' face.

Where I'm at is seein' it and raisin' it. Staring it in the face and transcending it. It's pretty obvious that as Christianity was almost exclusively damnationist, patriarchal, sexist, homophobic, racist, classist, placist, warmongering, name it, it was PSA and Christus Victor and ransom and moral influence.

May be not. The point is, even if PSA were the dominant atonement theory since it obviously was in the Bible and the mind of Jesus, it's now useless. Thanks be to God.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
if we see PSA as a metaphor, the fact that it breaks down at some point is not problematic, and the fact that there are other biblical metaphors only helps. But when you treat PSA as a transaction rather than a metaphor, you end up with some really problematic results which requires this sort of linguistic gymnastics.

For your information, I have just invoked the above in Kerygmania.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
if we see PSA as a metaphor, the fact that it breaks down at some point is not problematic, and the fact that there are other biblical metaphors only helps. But when you treat PSA as a transaction rather than a metaphor, you end up with some really problematic results which requires this sort of linguistic gymnastics.

For your information, I have just invoked the above in Kerygmania.
I liked it. : )
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
I suspect most supporters of PSA regard it as The Theory which explains how the atonement works rather than a metaphor which attempts no such thing. For its believers PSA is not a metaphor or a facet, it is The Irrefutable Answer underscored by inerrant scripture, as demonstrated in this thread. That is why some Evangelical (capital 'E) churches and organisations seek to make a declared belief in PSA a sine qua non of leadership if not membership, having a status equal to that of the historic creeds. It also explains why Evangelicals who renounce PSA are anathematised and treated as apostates. Of course such a sectarian mindset betrays a fear that its critics might have the scintilla of a point. For my part PSA is a poor theory and an appalling metaphor which presents God in a most unappealing light and has caused immense psychological and spiritual harm.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
I think it can get overlooked that Jesus as God incarnate is very much NOT ONLY representing God to man, BUT ALSO standing as man's representative before God. In that capacity it does seem appropriate to regard him as in some sense, for example, propitiating God's wrath; even while agreeing that PSA is a minor metaphor compared to the imagery of debt and of the substitute who stands for us in the way of real harm.

And there's also the metaphor of the Passover - Jesus IS 'the Lamb of God' and his death at Passover no accident. The concept behind Passover is pretty indubitably one of substitution even if not of 'penal' substitution.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
And there's also the metaphor of the Passover - Jesus IS 'the Lamb of God' and his death at Passover no accident. The concept behind Passover is pretty indubitably one of substitution even if not of 'penal' substitution.

Yes. As St. Paul says, and we repeat more than once as Pascha (literally "Passover" or Easter) approaches, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us."
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
The concept behind Passover is pretty indubitably one of substitution even if not of 'penal' substitution.

No, it isn't.

For the simple reason that the Passover lamb or kid could itself be a "firstborn", and therefore marked for death anyway, if not selected for sacrifice. It did not have to be the case that a non-doomed victim was being substituted for an otherwise-doomed one, so substitution was not of the essence of the Passover sacrifice.

The Passover seems to me to be more about identification as God's people, about inclusion in the group being saved, than it was about swapping one death for another. And the New Testament similarly has a lot more about being included, about being "in Christ", about being united with him in his death and resurrection, than it does about him dying in our place.


That said, I wouldn't be without PSA. In my insecure moments, I do feel that it would be unsatisfactory for my nastier sins to be simply discharged without some sort of penalty, which I fear I would be unable to bear myself. And in my (more numerous) vindictive moments, while I don't want the people who have most hurt me to go to Hell exactly, I do want them to pay. And the Cross, understood as punishment, silences both my spite and my lack of faith in God's mercy. If there is punishment due to me or my enemies (and sometimes I either fear or wish that there were), and Jesus tells me that he has taken that punishment on himself, then that's enough.

I don't know whether there's some real underlying justice which is inarticulately expressed in these unworthy feelings, and that PSA satisfies, but even if this need is entirely a product of my own weakness, it is still a real need, that PSA meets better than any other atonement theory. It's not the main way that I see the atonement, but there's value in it.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:

That said, I wouldn't be without PSA. In my insecure moments, I do feel that it would be unsatisfactory for my nastier sins to be simply discharged without some sort of penalty, which I fear I would be unable to bear myself.

That seems a bit like a strawman-- none of the theories of the atonement are discharging sins w/o a penalty-- they all carry the same price for sin, and all acknowledge that we cannot pay it ourselves.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
At the Passover wasn't the lamb sacrificed so that the sentence passed on the guilty Egyptians was not mistakenly executed on the innocent Israelites as well. Not much substitution there!
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
A ransom paid to release someone from bondage does not contain any element of representation and punishment

It certainly does in the Bible, where ransom consists of God, in Christ, paying the required release price - the punishment for humanity's sin.

The price is paid by God to himself in vindication of his holiness, not to Satan.

Satan is not a rival deity to whom God owes a debt as a result of some sort of cosmic parity covenant.

That is the heresy of dualism.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The requirement that God cannot just show mercy is when you look at it 'mystical waffle'

You are evading the fact that God chose, for whatever reason, to not "just show mercy", but to effect it through Christ's sacrifice.

If that sacrifice does not contain penal and substitutionary elements, then it is a meaningless death without salvific significance, and requires "mystical waffle" to cover up the underlying soteriological lacuna and give it pseudo-relevance.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
So St Vincent of Lerins was a Protestant then, was he, Kaplan?

You are overreacting and making unnecessarily heavy weather of this, Gamaliel.

My rather obvious point, which I would have thought anyone with any knowledge of church history would regard as commonplace, is that every Christian tradition falls short of Vinny's formula in some area or another, and therefore anyone from one tradition accusing another, de haut en bas, of believing something that has not always been believed everywhere and at all times and by all people, is going to be met with an inevitable "tu quoque".
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
You are evading the fact that God chose, for whatever reason, to not "just show mercy", but to effect it through Christ's sacrifice.

If that sacrifice does not contain penal and substitutionary elements, then it is a meaningless death without salvific significance, and requires "mystical waffle" to cover up the underlying soteriological lacuna and give it pseudo-relevance.

I can't see how you can possibly say this.

A man jumps in front of a lorry to push aside a child. The child survives, the man dies.

The man has not deliberately substituted himself, there is no penal requirement that someone needs to die in that moment.

This can properly be described as a tragedy, and yet the man's selfless actions have saved the child.

I don't think we would describe it as meaningless on the basis that it doesn't include a penal or substitutionay aspect.

[ 15. January 2017, 08:51: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
I would assert that the significance of Christ's death depends neither on substitution or punishment but on the resurrection - Christ's defeat of death first requires that he die himself. Death is broken because "death had no power to hold him", and once death is broken all are set free.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Arethosemyfeet: above all, this.
 
Posted by Freddy (# 365) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
I would assert that the significance of Christ's death depends neither on substitution or punishment but on the resurrection - Christ's defeat of death first requires that he die himself. Death is broken because "death had no power to hold him", and once death is broken all are set free.

Yes, that's it.

But so many questions need to be answered.

How, exactly, does the resurrection defeat death?

I think that there are three answers:

1. Christ's murder exposes the murderers.

2. Christ's willingness to die expresses the primacy of spiritual life over physical life.

3. Christ's resurrection makes it clear that God and the truth cannot die.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The requirement that God cannot just show mercy is when you look at it 'mystical waffle'

You are evading the fact that God chose, for whatever reason, to not "just show mercy", but to effect it through Christ's sacrifice.
That is question-begging or straw-manning or both.

On the other hand, you are reiterating assertions without acknowledging that I've responded to them, which looks awfully to me like you are evading my responses.

quote:
If that sacrifice does not contain penal and substitutionary elements, then it is a meaningless death without salvific significance, and requires "mystical waffle" to cover up the underlying soteriological lacuna and give it pseudo-relevance.
The New Testament contains much of what you dismiss as 'pseudo-mystical' waffle. (e.g. Rom 6:6-8, 'For we know that our old self was crucified with him' - not substitutionary in the slightest - 'But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him') Take it up with Paul.
Your response seems to be that it can't possibly mean what it means at face value, because that would be 'pseudo-mystical waffle', and so it has to mean what you say it means.

Your argument doesn't show that your proposed explanation is on any better footing. And it isn't on any better footing. There is no way that an explanation containing penal and substitutionary elements can be made coherent without lashings of 'pseudo-mystical waffle' holding it together under the surface. For example: 'The price is paid by God to himself in vindication of his holiness' is as pseudo-mystical waffle as pseudo-mystical waffle gets. It does not cease to be pseudo-mystical waffle merely because it's the only thing left after you've issued a blanket dismissal of everything else.

God is under no obligation to 'vindicate his holiness' whatever that is supposed to mean. God is under no obligation that God has not freely assumed. A more coherent interpretation of the Romans 3 passage that I assume you're thinking of is that God is vindicating God's fidelity to God's covenants with humanity and Israel (which God has assumed).
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
I would assert that the significance of Christ's death depends neither on substitution or punishment but on the resurrection - Christ's defeat of death first requires that he die himself. Death is broken because "death had no power to hold him", and once death is broken all are set free.

Yes, that's it.

But so many questions need to be answered.

How, exactly, does the resurrection defeat death?

I think that there are three answers:

1. Christ's murder exposes the murderers.

2. Christ's willingness to die expresses the primacy of spiritual life over physical life.

3. Christ's resurrection makes it clear that God and the truth cannot die.

At the most basic level, I would say it is because Christ is risen, never to die again. As to how it applies to us, I've used in the past the image of death as a prison, one that in this case has had the locks broken and the bars pulled out. Once it has been done once, anyone can get out by following the one who did it first.

[ 15. January 2017, 12:19: Message edited by: Arethosemyfeet ]
 
Posted by ThunderBunk (# 15579) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:

That said, I wouldn't be without PSA. In my insecure moments, I do feel that it would be unsatisfactory for my nastier sins to be simply discharged without some sort of penalty, which I fear I would be unable to bear myself.

This is no less than idolatry. This is creating a deity in the image of one's own insecurities. It is also PSA all over.

Nail God to the cross and keep him there because that way at least you know where the bastard is. All that unpredictable creativity and loving. How dare he.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Eliab.

I liked what you said. It had pathos, it was honest, real. Thunderbunk's right mind.

[ 15. January 2017, 12:43: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
You are evading the fact that God chose, for whatever reason, to not "just show mercy", but to effect it through Christ's sacrifice.

If that sacrifice does not contain penal and substitutionary elements, then it is a meaningless death without salvific significance, and requires "mystical waffle" to cover up the underlying soteriological lacuna and give it pseudo-relevance.

I can't see how you can possibly say this.

A man jumps in front of a lorry to push aside a child. The child survives, the man dies.

The man has not deliberately substituted himself, there is no penal requirement that someone needs to die in that moment.

This can properly be described as a tragedy, and yet the man's selfless actions have saved the child.

I don't think we would describe it as meaningless on the basis that it doesn't include a penal or substitutionay aspect.

And yet the cross was not a tragic accident.

The example you give of the lorry is no way a picture of penal substitutionary atonement - you just made it up to pull PSA down. But that's just par for the course: you and others use daft illustrations or inflammatory language and then say, if that's what PSA is then we reject it. Of course you do! So do I if couched in those terms.

But after you've denigrated the doctrine, what you do not do is offer Scriptural support for te rejection of PSA. Yes, there is support for the other theories as there is for PSA.

What I also see in this board is where people will mention certain aspects of the atonement that don't apply to PSA and then say,'You see, there is no PSA there, so it must be a false doctrine!'

PSA does not exist in every verse in the Bible that speaks of PSA - why should it? That doesn't mean that it doesn't exist in other verses. But we're till waiting for an exegesis on those verses that doesn't just dismissively say 'Oh it's a metaphor.'

And as for the anecdotal 'evidence' that evangelicals (even when you say 'some' we know you mean 'all') insist on pain of excommunication that PSA is the only One True Theory.

The Salvation Army believes in total depravity. It believes in the wrath of God and in the general judgment at the end of the world, and in Hell, but whilst we accept PSA and all the theories, this is what our relevant doctrine says:

quote:
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has by his suffering and death made an atonement for the whole world so that whosoever will may be saved.
We don't make it the benchmark for Salvationist belief - because it's just one way.

And, I agree, it's not the way that is always uppermost but it's not one we can just jettison through personal preference or squeamishness; certainly not through prejudice because the theory has actually been misrepresented by inflammatory and emotive language.

Cosmic child abuse indeed! It's pathetic.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
A ransom paid to release someone from bondage does not contain any element of representation and punishment

It certainly does in the Bible, where ransom consists of God, in Christ, paying the required release price - the punishment for humanity's sin.

The price is paid by God to himself in vindication of his holiness, not to Satan.

Satan is not a rival deity to whom God owes a debt as a result of some sort of cosmic parity covenant.

That is the heresy of dualism.

The problem with dualsim is not that it posits two spiritual powers-- that concept is well represented in Scripture. The problem with dualism is that it posits two eternally equal powers.

Ransom very much does posit the price as paid to Satan-- that is the very thing that distinguishes it from PSA. This passage among others is quite explicit that the ransom is directed "Satan-ward":

quote:
Heb. 2:14-15: ...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…

 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
I would assert that the significance of Christ's death depends neither on substitution or punishment but on the resurrection - Christ's defeat of death first requires that he die himself. Death is broken because "death had no power to hold him", and once death is broken all are set free.

Yes. This is the aspect of the atonement that Christus victor in particular brings to the table.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

But after you've denigrated the doctrine, what you do not do is offer Scriptural support for te rejection of PSA. Yes, there is support for the other theories as there is for PSA.

What I also see in this board is where people will mention certain aspects of the atonement that don't apply to PSA and then say,'You see, there is no PSA there, so it must be a false doctrine!'

I'm not hearing anyone here saying that, although a few have indicated their distaste for the imagery of PSA. For the most part posters are doing the exact same thing you did in your first para-- bringing the other images in to show that PSA is, in fact, just one of several images, and therefore to be treated as a metaphor and not a transaction.


quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
PSA does not exist in every verse in the Bible that speaks of PSA - why should it? That doesn't mean that it doesn't exist in other verses. But we're till waiting for an exegesis on those verses that doesn't just dismissively say 'Oh it's a metaphor.'

Well, then you're probably waiting in vain. Because it IS a metaphor. Again, the existence of all these other, very different, images that we've presented point us to that. And so it SHOULD be treated as a metaphor. We have pointed out the things about the metaphor that are true-- that sin has a price, that Jesus paid the price, that Jesus' death is necessary and saves us, etc. But we have also pointed out the weaknesses-- things that are not a problem as long as you remember that it is a metaphor, not a transaction.


quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
And as for the anecdotal 'evidence' that evangelicals (even when you say 'some' we know you mean 'all') insist on pain of excommunication that PSA is the only One True Theory..

Well, maybe not excommunication cuz that's not really a thing in most evangelical churches.

I've been an evangelical for 30 some years, in various denominations, and have degrees from 2 large evangelical seminaries. That's not exhaustive knowledge, but it's certainly fairly widespread. So I feel fairly comfortable stating that among most but not all American evangelicals, PSA is by far the primary metaphor that is taught, although that has been changing in recent years, particularly among younger evangelicals. And again, the problem is not so much that PSA is taught or that it's taught exclusively, but that it is so often treated as transaction rather than metaphor. Hence our continued repetition of the "metaphor" thing.


quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Cosmic child abuse indeed! It's pathetic.

Not really responsive to what is one of the primary obstacles that keeps people from responding to the gospel. If we can't articulate the gospel in a way that is meaningful, that speaks to the people of this culture and generation, without it sounding like cosmic child abuse, we have a real problem. If we can't articulate the gospel without framing it in a way that sounds like God is an angry, rageaholic who must be placated, whose default stance toward us is not one of compassion or love but of disgust, then we are preaching a false gospel.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
If we can't articulate the gospel without framing it in a way that sounds like God is an angry, rageaholic who must be placated, whose default stance toward us is not one of compassion or love but of disgust, then we are preaching a false gospel.

Exactly.
And I find that it's only the opponents of PSA that caricaturise God in such a way, because THIS believer in PSA certainly does not see God in that way!
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
If we can't articulate the gospel without framing it in a way that sounds like God is an angry, rageaholic who must be placated, whose default stance toward us is not one of compassion or love but of disgust, then we are preaching a false gospel.

Exactly.
And I find that it's only the opponents of PSA that caricaturise God in such a way, because THIS believer in PSA certainly does not see God in that way!

Well, but that's how people are hearing it. That's WHY the opponents of PSA are raising it, and even worse, that's why many of those who reject Christianity are doing so. So again, if your intent in advocating for PSA is to present God as loving or compassionate, there is an epic fail there somewhere. There is a disconnect between what you are wanting to communicate and what a large portion of people are hearing.

I think the disconnect is treating PSA as transaction rather than one of several metaphors. If you have another way of dealing with the disconnect, let's hear it. But simply saying "that's not what we believe" does not address the fact that the opponents of PSA are simply articulating the logical implications of the image. Your comment I was responding to above "Pathetic!" without any further explication is dismissive, and that's a problem for those of us who believe that the atonement offers a life-changing, life-saving message for all of humanity.

[ 15. January 2017, 14:49: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
and yet the cross was not a tragic accident.

The example you give of the lorry is no way a picture of penal substitutionary atonement - you just made it up to pull PSA down. But that's just par for the course: you and others use daft illustrations or inflammatory language and then say, if that's what PSA is then we reject it. Of course you do! So do I if couched in those terms.

If you look, I was replying to the point that the atonement had to be substitutionary and penal otherwise it must be worthless. I was giving an example of a sacrifice that was not meaningless but not penal or substitutionary.

I happen to believe the atonement was more similar to my example than PSA.
 
Posted by gorpo (# 17025) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
If we can't articulate the gospel without framing it in a way that sounds like God is an angry, rageaholic who must be placated, whose default stance toward us is not one of compassion or love but of disgust, then we are preaching a false gospel.

Exactly.
And I find that it's only the opponents of PSA that caricaturise God in such a way, because THIS believer in PSA certainly does not see God in that way!

Well, but that's how people are hearing it. That's WHY the opponents of PSA are raising it, and even worse, that's why many of those who reject Christianity are doing so. So again, if your intent in advocating for PSA is to present God as loving or compassionate, there is an epic fail there somewhere. There is a disconnect between what you are wanting to communicate and what a large portion of people are hearing.

I think the disconnect is treating PSA as transaction rather than one of several metaphors. If you have another way of dealing with the disconnect, let's hear it. But simply saying "that's not what we believe" does not address the fact that the opponents of PSA are simply articulating the logical implications of the image. Your comment I was responding to above "Pathetic!" without any further explication is dismissive, and that's a problem for those of us who believe that the atonement offers a life-changing, life-saving message for all of humanity.

There seems to be a lot of mainline denominations where PSA is not popular at all. Why don´t these "PSA opponents" just make a good job in sharing their own particular version of the atonement and show people this God of love that us bloody evangelicals (and confessional protestants) hide them? Why don´t "PSA opponents" focus in their own problems instead of bothering what us bloody evangelicals believe?

Then you point to one fact: people who reject Christianity are raising the problems of PSA.

Do you seriously expect christian churches to base their doctrines on the issues raised by people who reject christianity? What else would we have to give up? Monotheism? Theism? Mainline churches are so good at rejecting every little bit of Christianity that might not be palatable to a secular society, and guess what, it´s not working.
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
Maltheism, pretty much a requirement of PSA taken to its logical conclusion, ought to repel anyone with a shred of decency.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Nothing will mate. Carrying on with projected Bronze Age psychosis certainly won't but if it were accompanied by incarnationality, I'd buy that for a dollar.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:
Do you seriously expect christian churches to base their doctrines on the issues raised by people who reject christianity?

No. Only to jettison unnecessary ideas that are harmful. The gospel is a stumbling block in and of itself; no need to bundle it with unnecessary stumbling blocks.

And if you say PSA is a necessary part of the gospel, you have just proved to be true what Mudfrog says isn't.

quote:
What else would we have to give up? Monotheism? Theism?
This is a bit shrill, don't you think?

quote:
Mainline churches are so good at rejecting every little bit of Christianity that might not be palatable to a secular society, and guess what, it´s not working.
So you're against basing doctrines on what is palatable to the unsaved, and yet you excoriate the mainline churches for not attracting the unsaved in sufficient number. I can't square that circle. Can you?

What appears to "work" best right now is the prosperity gospel. Which is heretical.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
@Kaplan, I am perfectly aware that St Vincent's observation was an ideal - Mousethief had already indicated as much too.

The point I was making was that however we cut it there is a basic core of Nicene creedal belief to which we all ostensibly adhere.

That doesn't stipulate which model of the atonement we should favour. But it does include the atonement.

The reason those of us who espouse some form of adherence to a PSA model isn't because we woke up one morning, opened our Bibles and thought, 'Aha!'

Rather it's because we have been heavily influenced by traditions that strongly espouse PSA or came to faith in such a tradition.

That's why we have difficulty understanding how other people don't see those verses in the same way. And because we don't understand that, we try to make out that they are deficient in some way - either they don't read the Bible properly - unlike us - or because they don't want to accept that they are sinners or in need of a Saviour or are trying to justify themselves by their own efforts or ...

You know how it goes as well as I do.

I agree with Mudfrog that there is some over the top objections to PASS - cosmic child abuse and so on.

But for the most part, that'd not what I see here. What I see here are people making a good fist of either stating their objections or reservations about PSA or else in all sincerity trying to defend it.
 
Posted by gorpo (# 17025) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:
Do you seriously expect christian churches to base their doctrines on the issues raised by people who reject christianity?

No. Only to jettison unnecessary ideas that are harmful. The gospel is a stumbling block in and of itself; no need to bundle it with unnecessary stumbling blocks.

And if you say PSA is a necessary part of the gospel, you have just proved to be true what Mudfrog says isn't.

Rejecting biblical witness is a little bit more then "rejecting unnecessary ideas". Even atheist scholars of the new testament agree that the vicarious sacrifice of Chirst is well stated in the whole New Testament, and was the "mainline" version of the atonement in the new testament church.

As of it being harmful... Millions of people still believe it to this day and I´m not aware of any of them suffering any harm. Many of them were converted under this from of Christianity and claim to be much happier persons now. Sure, there are a lot of people who strongly rejects it as "harmful", but they will say so of a lot of other christian beliefs, INCLUDING MONOTHEISM.

For example, there are a lot of liberal "christian" who state that John 14.6 equals "religious bigotry". There are not limits to hipersensibility.


quote:
What else would we have to give up? Monotheism? Theism?
This is a bit shrill, don't you think? [/quote]
No. It isn´t actually rare to find atheist clergy in mainline denominations. There is a denomination in Canada with a serious movement of atheist congregations and ministers. There is a lutheran bishop in scandinavia who has said belief in God is "optional" for christians. As our society becomes more and more secular, I suppose liberal theologians will get more and more uncomfortable with a belief in God. They´ll rather reinterpret it as a metaphor or dismiss it altogether. Oh, and of course, rewrite christian history to make it look like only fundamentalists and evangelicals ever believed in a personal God.


quote:
quote:
Mainline churches are so good at rejecting every little bit of Christianity that might not be palatable to a secular society, and guess what, it´s not working.
So you're against basing doctrines on what is palatable to the unsaved, and yet you excoriate the mainline churches for not attracting the unsaved in sufficient number. I can't square that circle. Can you?

What appears to "work" best right now is the prosperity gospel. Which is heretical.

I was just pointing the fact that changing doctrines to appeal to the wider society doesn´t work. Secular people are not desperately seeking for churches that reflect their secular beliefs.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
cliffdweller
quote:
PSA is, in fact, just one of several images, and therefore to be treated as a metaphor and not a transaction.
Forgive my ignorance, but could you explain what is meant by "a transaction"?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
gorpo for God's sake would you learn how to use the quote feature? "Preview Post" is good, too.

quote:
Rejecting biblical witness is a little bit more then "rejecting unnecessary ideas".
This is just question-begging. We are discussing whether or not something is ncessary. Saying "It's necessary therefore it's necessary" doesn't prove anything.

quote:
As of it being harmful... Millions of people still believe it to this day and I´m not aware of any of them suffering any harm.
I didn't mean harm to the believers. I mean harm to people it drives away from Christ. Which was pretty obvious in what I said.

quote:
It isn´t actually rare to find atheist clergy in mainline denominations.
This is irrelevant. That's not what I was talking about and I think you know it.

quote:
I was just pointing the fact that changing doctrines to appeal to the wider society doesn´t work. Secular people are not desperately seeking for churches that reflect their secular beliefs.
You were "just" making a logically inconsistent demand. Here you are "just" not acknowledging my criticism of it.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
cliffdweller
quote:
PSA is, in fact, just one of several images, and therefore to be treated as a metaphor and not a transaction.
Forgive my ignorance, but could you explain what is meant by "a transaction"?
I'm thinking of transaction as a sort of consumerist exchange, like buying shoes-- I give you X and you give me Y. In this case, PSA is often (at least in my evangelical circles) described this bluntly-- Jesus gives his life and we get eternal life. It's very transactional and very literal-- without the nuance of metaphor or the depth of an act that is an expression of deep emotion (whether that be anger, grief or compassion). It's just a simple transition-- X for Z-- with no more nuance or emotion to it then handing over your debit card to the cashier. It's that sort of numbing down of the nuance and depth that I'm objecting to, and which I think exasperates the problems of PSA, which are much more surmountable if you think of it simply as one metaphor among many.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:
]There seems to be a lot of mainline denominations where PSA is not popular at all. Why don´t these "PSA opponents" just make a good job in sharing their own particular version of the atonement and show people this God of love that us bloody evangelicals (and confessional protestants) hide them? Why don´t "PSA opponents" focus in their own problems instead of bothering what us bloody evangelicals believe?

Well, again, I am an evangelical so I'm not talking about "them", I'm talking about "us."

It actually seems to me like non-evangelical anti-PSA folks are doing precisely what you're suggesting. I haven't seen a lot of non-evangelicals hanging out in our churches trying to badger us into punting PSA. Where it comes up is usually on theonerd chat rooms like this, where we're inviting that sort of inter-denominational discussion, and among evangelicals themselves, where younger evangelicals are questioning our PSA-only emphasis as inconsistent with core evangelical principles themselves. iow, outside of the Ship, it is primarily evangelicals themselves who are raising the issues with evangelical PSA-emphasis, and doing so precisely because they are evangelicals and care about the disconnects in our theology. From best I can tell, non-evangelicals are pretty much happy to let us believe whatever we want (it's when we start screwing up elections they get steamed, but that's another thread...)

To that point:


quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:

Then you point to one fact: people who reject Christianity are raising the problems of PSA.

Do you seriously expect christian churches to base their doctrines on the issues raised by people who reject christianity? .

Well, again, it's not primarily non-Christians who are raising the objections, it's evangelicals. But I do think evangelicals in particular should care about whether we're communicating the gospel in ways that are intelligible, precisely because we are evangelicals. One of our four cornerstones-- four corners of the "quadrilateral"-- is supposed to be being evangelistic-- sharing the gospel. For us to share the gospel, it needs to be intelligible. When our theology is so convoluted and internally inconsistent that we have to start redefining terms like "wrath" then we have stopped to communicate much of anything.


quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:
What else would we have to give up? Monotheism? Theism? Mainline churches are so good at rejecting every little bit of Christianity that might not be palatable to a secular society, and guess what, it´s not working.

I don't think we're "supposed" to give up anything. No one is asking us to do anything. We are having a discussion on a theonerd chat room. And that discussion isn't about what evangelicals should or should not do, it is about what is true. And, interestingly, that discussion has primarily been framed in very very evangelical terms (although not exclusively so): i.e. what does the Bible say is true?

So yeah, I would agree-- Christianity should be and in fact IS distinctive. We have unique beliefs that can and should set us apart. The atonement, whether framed as PSA or Christus victor or ransom, IS unique and distinctive.

So no, no one here is suggesting we need to accommodate our beliefs to make non-Christians happy or conform to some larger cultural norm. What we are saying is we need to accommodate our beliefs to what is true-- which requires us to really look at what our central source of authority actually says with humility rather than stubborn dogmatism.

[ 15. January 2017, 23:49: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
That doesn't stipulate which model of the atonement we should favour. But it does include the atonement.

Precisely.

As C.S. Lewis put it: "The central Christian belief is that Christ's death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start. Theories as to how it did this are another matter".

It is possible to believe, as I do, that PSA is the central and basic theory which makes most scriptural sense in understanding the atonement, while recognising that there are other, supplememntary aspects to it (such as Christus Victor), and while also recognising that those who disagree with it are not heretics, or unsaved, or pseudo-Christians.

What is essential is to recognise the fact of the atonement and to apprehend it personally
by faith.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I was replying to the point that the atonement had to be substitutionary and penal otherwise it must be worthless. I was giving an example of a sacrifice that was not meaningless but not penal or substitutionary.

No you weren't.

You were using a trivial example of the obvious fact that the term sacrifice can be used in many ways in different contexts, some of which don't require any penal or substitutionary element at all.

Other examples might include someone sacrificing nights out at the pub in order to save for a holiday, or a chess-player sacrificing a bishop to save a queen.

In the context of the Bible, however, ie sin, guilt, death, judgement, priesthood, the OT sacrificial system, etc., and the language of writers such as Paul and the author of Hebrews, a concept of sacrifice which includes a substitutionary and penal element is the only one which makes any sense of the term.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The New Testament contains much of what you dismiss as 'pseudo-mystical' waffle. (e.g. Rom 6:6-8, 'For we know that our old self was crucified with him' - not substitutionary in the slightest - 'But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him')

This passage is not remotely incompatible with PSA, any more than are Paul's other teachings which he draws from the crucifixion which don't make central its penal or substitutionary elements (eg "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucfied to me, and I to the world" Gal. 6:14) - or for that matter with Christ's ("Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me" Matt. 10:38).


quote:
God is under no obligation that God has not freely assumed.
Is this supposed to be some revolutionary theological insight?

What on earth is your point?

Who on earth is your imaginary opponent?

We are all agreed that God "freely assumed" (as he, by his nature, freely assumes everything he does) to save humanity by Christ's atoning death and resurrection, and are merely disagreeing on how to best understand how he did it.

[ 16. January 2017, 05:21: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
No you weren't.

You were using a trivial example of the obvious fact that the term sacrifice can be used in many ways in different contexts, some of which don't require any penal or substitutionary element at all.

Other examples might include someone sacrificing nights out at the pub in order to save for a holiday, or a chess-player sacrificing a bishop to save a queen.

I don't consider a men's life to be comparable to playing chess or saving money. Indeed, I reject the idea that my example is trivial. Of course the atonement has complex spiritual significance, but it is entirely possible to posit a theory of the atonement that is not substitutionary or penal, and which resembles a man stepping in front if a lorry to save humanity from itself.

quote:
In the context of the Bible, however, ie sin, guilt, death, judgement, priesthood, the OT sacrificial system, etc., and the language of writers such as Paul and the author of Hebrews, a concept of sacrifice which includes a substitutionary and penal element is the only one which makes any sense of the term.
Are you seriously suggesting that this must be the correct explanation because it is your opinion, therefore it must be?

Why are you not engaging - at all - with the posters who are saying the opposite.

Assertion is not argument.

[ 16. January 2017, 06:44: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Hmmm ...

If we say that it is the 'only' way to understand the atonement that fully makes sense if all the scriptural data and imagery, then aren't we in fact saying that those who do accept that to be the case are - if not outright heretics or some kind of pseudo-Christians - then at least deficient in their understanding n some way and need to adjust their thinking and approach in order to be just like us?

That's not going to go down very well with the Orthodox or with non-PSA Protestants any more than it would go down well with stringent PSA supporters if the boot were on the other foot and people were insisting that they drop it.

If we are part of a tradition which has taken a Kaplan / Mudfrog type view then we are bound to be vehement in its defence. Equally, if we come from a tradition where PSA has never been part of the landscape then we are bound to challenge or question the idea.

If we are in the middle somewhere, like Cliffdweller and others then we will look to retain elements of PSA whilst questioning or reframing those aspects we no longer feel are adequate.

That doesn't imply bad faith on either side.

I have some sympathy with Mudfrog's view that some more Kerymanic contribution with chapter and verse might help - but for all the noise I think we have seen some alternative interpretations or understandings put forward. MT has indicated another way of understanding Isaiah 53, for instance.

The thing I can't get away from is the extent to which our tradition shapes and determines our response.

To someone strongly committed to PSA no objection or alternative insight is going to sway them. The same is true in reverse, of course.

For my money, I think we're seeing examples of intransigence on both sides.

I have to say, I found MT's rebuttal of that bloke on Ancient Faith radio to be rather scoffing and dismissive. Whereas on the site itself I find Orthodox, including clergy, engaging respectfully with the guy's contribution and assessing the extent to which it resonates with their own understanding or with Tradition as they see it.

The 'as they see it' is the operative phrase there and may raise the spectre of personal choice or 'Protestant' approaches for some - but to all intents and purposes we are all saying 'This is how I read it, how does it seem to you?' within the context and framework of one tradition or other.

The issue is in the elasticity of our frameworks.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'm reminded of something I read in an account of a former US Episcopalian of their journey into Orthodoxy. She was chatting with an Orthodox bishop shortly after being received and, unfamiliar with certain aspects of Protestantism he asked her about it. In the course of the conversation she mentioned the evangelical understanding of PSA.

The bishop raised an eyebrow in some surprise, 'Really? Is that what they believe?'

He went on to say that he could see where they got the idea from in terms of certain scriptures and conceded that 'there might be an element of that there' but felt that they might be over-stating their case or putting too strong a slant on certain passages and jumping to the wrong conclusions.

Now, I'm not using that as an example to attack or defend any particular stance, rather, I cite it to show how we all tend to operate.

We react with surprise when we find out that other people understand things differently to ourselves, particular if we hold those things to be 'self-evident' as it were ...

We then reflect and think, 'Ok, I think I get that to some extent ...' after which we either modify our own position - 'there might be an element of that there, I've never thought about it that way before, but come to think of it ...' and make an adjustment before concluding, 'Well, there might be some truth in that but they've pushed it too far ...'

Or else, we say, 'Well, I never, I hadn't clocked that before, I think I'm going to have to adjust or abandon my own position in the light of this ...'

Or we settle at various stages in between.

It's interesting that the bishop didn't say, 'Phoo-ey! Do they believe that? Don't make me laugh! Pull the other one ...'

Or, 'They believe that do they? Heretics! Apostates! Reprobates!'

But he was surprised when he heard what they did believe.

Which tells us something. That it's perfectly possible to interpret these things in a different way. He had. He did. His Church had and did.

Ok, that might cut much ice for those who imagine that it's physically possible for us to go 'by the plain-meaning of scripture' and take a completely Sola Scriptura approach.

But even if we were able to take such an approach - and yes, I know that Sola Scriptura is not Solo Scriptura - it'd be perfectly possible to arrive at an alternative scenario for understanding the atonement than that espoused by evangelicals.

Darnn-darrnn-Narrnnnn!!

Waits for the sky to fall in ...
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
As always we're on a liberal-conservative continuum of disposition. I've been moved from the fundamentalist far right to the postmodern far left and there's nowt I can do about that. I see PSA clearly in the texts and the mind of Jesus (ooh, something nobody picked me up on! *) and know in every neuron of my being now that that Bronze Age - Classical narrative is completely ours, not God's.

The propaganda of the deed narrative of Jesus IS His. * talking of Whom, way up stream I was robustly orthodox in saying that the son of man son of God was NOT God the Son.

Is there a problem there?
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
The feature that most troubles me in this thread isn't actually the various different explanations of the atonement. As I've said earlier, this is much bigger than any of us. No, what troubles me more is the tendency some of us have of wanting to reject those parts of anyone's explanations which we don't like, not because they aren't in scripture, but rather, just because we don't happen to like them.

The various explanations are cumulative, not alternative. I've already explained, earlier in the thread, why I don't think moral influence is adequate as anyone's foundation understanding. But if on that ground one rejects it altogether, one removes the connection between the cross and Christian ethics.

To what extent, though, do the various analogies
I once encountered an article by a Quaker. He took the line that, as a Quaker, he had to be committed to a theological interpretation that was wholly non-violent. That is to say, that if scripture, tradition or the realities of human nature got in the way of that aspiration, non-violence would have to prevail, because God has to be non-violent - whether he actually is or not.

It isn't only certain sorts of Neo-Calvinists and Neo-Thomists who can take the line of insisting that God fits in with their theology rather than letting God be God on his own terms, irrespective of where he take us.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
The feature that most troubles me in this thread isn't actually the various different explanations of the atonement. As I've said earlier, this is much bigger than any of us. No, what troubles me more is the tendency some of us have of wanting to reject those parts of anyone's explanations which we don't like, not because they aren't in scripture, but rather, just because we don't happen to like them.

The various explanations are cumulative, not alternative. I've already explained, earlier in the thread, why I don't think moral influence is adequate as anyone's foundation understanding. But if on that ground one rejects it altogether, one removes the connection between the cross and Christian ethics.

I don't see why it should trouble you, it is hardly a novel idea: some theories about philosophy and theology are just wrong.

I don't think the "various explanations are cumulative", I think some are just plain wrong.

Which is fine, of course, wrong ideas exist widely in the wild and you are fully entitled to believe something I believe is total humbug. You don't need my approval and I don't need yours.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The New Testament contains much of what you dismiss as 'pseudo-mystical' waffle. (e.g. Rom 6:6-8, 'For we know that our old self was crucified with him' - not substitutionary in the slightest - 'But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him')

This passage is not remotely incompatible with PSA, any more than are Paul's other teachings which he draws from the crucifixion which don't make central its penal or substitutionary elements (eg "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucfied to me, and I to the world" Gal. 6:14) - or for that matter with Christ's ("Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me" Matt. 10:38).
The question isn't whether they are compatible with PSA. (As it happens I think the passage I quoted, and indeed the passages you quote, are not compatible with a PSA reading. If Paul is crucified to the world then Jesus' crucifixion was not a substitute for Paul's crucifixion.)

The question is whether or not they are instances of what you call 'pseudo-mystical waffle'.

quote:
quote:
God is under no obligation that God has not freely assumed.
Is this supposed to be some revolutionary theological insight?

What on earth is your point?

Maybe if you read the sentence you quote in context you might find a clue to the answers to your questions.

Clue: 'God is under no obligation that God has not freely assumed' is supposed to be a premise that you and I share.

[ 16. January 2017, 13:31: Message edited by: Dafyd ]
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
The feature that most troubles me in this thread isn't actually the various different explanations of the atonement. As I've said earlier, this is much bigger than any of us. No, what troubles me more is the tendency some of us have of wanting to reject those parts of anyone's explanations which we don't like, not because they aren't in scripture, but rather, just because we don't happen to like them.

The various explanations are cumulative, not alternative. I've already explained, earlier in the thread, why I don't think moral influence is adequate as anyone's foundation understanding. But if on that ground one rejects it altogether, one removes the connection between the cross and Christian ethics.

To what extent, though, do the various analogies
I once encountered an article by a Quaker. He took the line that, as a Quaker, he had to be committed to a theological interpretation that was wholly non-violent. That is to say, that if scripture, tradition or the realities of human nature got in the way of that aspiration, non-violence would have to prevail, because God has to be non-violent - whether he actually is or not.

It isn't only certain sorts of Neo-Calvinists and Neo-Thomists who can take the line of insisting that God fits in with their theology rather than letting God be God on his own terms, irrespective of where he take us.

I think there's a great deal of truth to this, but tend to see even this tendency as a mixed bag.

On the one hand, yes, we should be about seeking truth, not about defending an ideology. Gamaliel's beautiful story above about the Orthodox priest (and his thoughtful parsing of it) is instructive, I think (and what I hope to do for my theology students).

otoh, we do read Scripture thru a lens, and I want that lens to be Jesus. Arguably, the purpose (or one purpose) of the incarnation is to show us God. Scripture is there to reveal God to us, but we need more and that's why we have Jesus who tells us if we have seen him, we've seen the Father. And that's important. So I think it's not only OK but vital that we assess our interpretations of Scripture thru the lens of what has been revealed to us in Christ. If our theory of the atonement or anything else yields a picture of God at odds with what we see in Jesus, we have very good reason to question it.

This goes to what I was saying before re the damage that PSA does to our view of the Trinity. PSA (when taken alone as a transaction, rather than as one of several metaphors) tends to create a biforcation in the members of the Trinity-- with Jesus the gracious and loving one placating the angry and wrathful Father. Jesus is moving towards us in love because the Father is moving away from us in anger or disgust. That's a pretty significant disconnect. The "Satanward" theories, otoh, present a more unified picture of the Trinity and therefore of the heart of God that is with and for us, rescuing us.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I have to say, I found MT's rebuttal of that bloke on Ancient Faith radio to be rather scoffing and dismissive. Whereas on the site itself I find Orthodox, including clergy, engaging respectfully with the guy's contribution and assessing the extent to which it resonates with their own understanding or with Tradition as they see it.

You don't live with blokes like this week in and week out, and see the change they are wreaking on our ancient faith, and see how they are hitching the star of Orthodoxy to the far end of excess, hate, and bigotry to be found under the Protestant tent. These culture warriors would sell out our birthright for the mess of pottage that is gained by being thought "on the right side" by homophobes and sexists and racists and other Trump fellators. This guy is another brick in that wall.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
The feature that most troubles me in this thread isn't actually the various different explanations of the atonement. As I've said earlier, this is much bigger than any of us. No, what troubles me more is the tendency some of us have of wanting to reject those parts of anyone's explanations which we don't like, not because they aren't in scripture, but rather, just because we don't happen to like them.

I haven't noticed a lot of that. Most people who are rejecting part or all of another person's theology have reasons that at least seem cogent to them beyond "I just don't like it."

quote:
Originally posted by clifdweller:
otoh, we do read Scripture thru a lens, and I want that lens to be Jesus.

Yes. This.

quote:
Arguably, the purpose (or one purpose) of the incarnation is to show us God.
A purpose, yes. THE purpose, no. The purpose of the incarnation, at base, is to reconcile man to God by destroying the power of death and uniting the two natures. There are many other purposes it accomplishes and they are not nothing. But the main purpose is the atonement.

quote:
If our theory of the atonement or anything else yields a picture of God at odds with what we see in Jesus, we have very good reason to question it.
Yes. This also.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
... otoh, we do read Scripture thru a lens, and I want that lens to be Jesus. ....

I agree, but we also have the limitation that the lenses we all start with are out own spectacles.

Those who advocate moral influence as their favourite theory, tend to be those who wish to demythologise. The thought that the Cross might have objective ontological consequences seriously upsets their cosmology. That is also the reason why others are suspicious of moral influence.

To what extent therefore does PSA perhaps speak more conversionally to people whose psyche is haunted by a particularly authoritarian model of patriarchy. It would be understandable that it might resonate with the typical picture go God of the late medieval and early modern period, or for those who see him as rather like a C19 Headmaster.

Did Christus Victor not cut quite the same mustard for generations who no longer felt they shared their universe with terrifying demigods and demons, the time when people no longer feared the old gods? What would have been conversional amidst the superstitious terrors of the provincial Roman Empire might have had rather less to say to the spiritual anxieties of a C15 East Anglian merchant's wife.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Ok, MT, I don't know the back-to-back and don't know that guy from Adam, so I have no idea whether he is doing unhygienic things to the President elect ...

All I had to go on was what he posted on that site, which I found interesting as it was obviously closer to the way 'beyond' understood things as a Western Christian who has been deeply immersed in evangelicalism.

Besides, whilst I am aware that there are some right-wing evangelical jerks who have crossed the Bosphorus in recent years, it strikes me that there are plenty of nutters there already who are waiting to receive them. Call me over-sensitive if you like, but the nefarious and delinquent West can't be blamed for all the ills on the opposite bank. It seems to me you've already got enough fruit-cakes of your own. Not that you've ever tried to deny that or play it down, of course, nor have any of the Orthodox I know.

I can understand your distaste, but I s'pose the Anglican, several steps removed part of me was expecting you to say, 'Yes, interesting points, I agreed with this, that and the other but what he doesn't address properly is X, Y and Z ...'

But then, I could imagine situations where I might react as you did if the boot was in the other foot. But there we are ...
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Doh! That should have been 'back-story' not 'back-to-back' ...
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Yes I realize we have our own home-grown nutjobs. They are a siren song to the imported nutjobs. They together make the church about fighting the culture wars rather than about achieving theosis for its members. Our home-growns don't need any more hope or encouragement. They need to be slapped down by our hierarchy, who are themselves caught up in the cultural wars for various savory and unsavory reasons. Making the rest of us all the more chary of converts with anything that smacks of cultural or theological baggage.

I fear we are speeding toward a point that will either result in schism, or a new Mark of Ephesus standing up and telling the hierarchs to fucking knock it off. Every time we the floor warmers hear a sermon about the cultural wars, we need to ask "Yes but how does that help ME achieve theosis?" Sermons about sins (if sins they be) that the vast majority of us are not tempted to are not salvific; they're self-congratulatory.

THIS is the context into which Protestant-lite attempts to redefine the faith are currently falling.
 
Posted by churchgeek (# 5557) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
hosting

Hi there,
this is not a Dead Horse on these boards. The only Dead Horse subjects are 'biblical inerrancy, homosexuality, the role of women in church and Christian households, creation and evolution, abortion, closed communion and bitching about church music. ' Please remember when starting a DH thread to check the guidelines before posting because only the topics in the guidelines qualify.


I'm moving this to Purgatory, apologies for the delay.

cheers,
Louise
Dead Horses Host

hosting off

I apologize - for some reason I was certain PSA was a dead horse, and figured (correctly, it seems) that this would stray in that direction. Thank you for moving it where it belongs.

Also, my sincere apologies to everyone here - I completely forgot that I started this thread. So much to read now!!! But there's been such great discussion.

I'm wary of jumping in, as I've read several pages but only glanced at several others.

I do think a major issue with Atonement theology is one's understanding of what justice is. There seems to be a huge assumption in our world that justice = punishment; that somehow if an offender is punished for their crime, that sets the world right. Of course, it doesn't. One could argue, in fact, that it only adds more evil (the punishment) to the world. If I steal your money, and the state locks me up, how does that help you with your missing money? And of course, even the death penalty for a murderer doesn't bring their victim back.

I really think that punishing crime is a very human concept of "justice," and not a divine one at all. But then again, only God has the ability to set the world right. But I think even we should be striving toward that - a reconciliation model of justice, rather than mere retribution. Restorative justice is what I really want, personally. We can only get there imperfectly on earth, but I have faith that God will get us there somehow, someday.

The other major premise in thinking about atonement is, as many have pointed out here, how one states the problem. The PSA model is actually built on St. Anselm's work (though it's not what Anselm put forward). He was bothered by the idea that atonement was always put in terms of paying the devil for our release. He thought it unjust (there's that word again) that the devil should have any rights to payment for what he stole in the first place. So he reconfigured the problem, basing his sense of justice on the feudal model of his own day (much like we often go with the penal model of our day). His theory is actually somewhat aesthetic: He's concerned with the "fittingness" of God's good/beautiful creation going to naught: thus the "fall," or sin, or the brokenness of our world, is God's problem. God has to find a way to fix this, or God's work will be lost - and that is not "fitting." He takes what we might consider a penal aspect - what it would take to restore the order of creation - from feudal ideas. An offense was greater if it was committed against someone higher in the hierarchy - again, because it was a more direct assault against the very order of things. So in the hierarchy of all that is, God is clearly at the top. Therefore, any offense against God (e.g., eating fruit God said not to eat) is an affront against the whole created order, and in fact, against the uncreated God. It's an offense against everything.

While some of the elements of hierarchical thinking still plague us, most of us don't accept that the cosmos is really ordered that way, so Anselm's idea has morphed as our worldview has. It's been translated into the idea that a crime against God is a crime against God's dignity; Anselm's view was more like the idea that a crime against a sovereign is not against the sovereign personally, but against the whole realm that they stand for.

So Anselm figured that in order to set things aright, human beings had to make restitution. But we can't, because we're too impoverished in our sinfulness; only God could set things right. His work was titled Cur Deus Homo - "Why the God-Man?" or, as it's more often translated, "Why God became Man." But his idea was that only a God-Man could restore the balance and beauty of the cosmos.

It's easy to see how that would pick up penal and transactional elements, but in my reading, he uses those more as metaphors.

So then Peter Abelard, his rough contemporary, posited the moral influence theory. He was bothered by Anselm's ideas primarily because he figured the cosmos couldn't be set right by a new crime being committed: the crucifixion, which is a crime against a human being AND in the case of Jesus, is also a crime against God. How could humanity be restored to relationship with God by killing God's Son? And how would adding another evil to the world balance out other evils? But I've never fully understood the positive portion of his arguments - what he's for, rather than what he's against. This thread has been helpful in getting a bit of a grasp on why one would posit the moral influence theory - and it does still seem to be somewhat of a reaction against other theories which one finds morally reprehensible. (I don't think that's dismissing it as mushy, though - I think too many imply that the truth of something lies in how much it makes us squirm, and that's, well, an assumption that usually goes undefended.)

We're still having this debate! Which probably means we need more models, not fewer.

I think ultimately, our models are metaphors. Paul mixes his metaphors; but as some scholars have argued, apparently that was considered a plus for a rhetorician at the time. The best example of his mixed metaphors, which can't be resolved if you want to be literal, is when he refers to Christ as a scapegoat and also as a sacrifice to God. Ancient Israelites would never have sacrificed the scapegoat to God; it was sent into the wilderness, bearing their sins - because the wilderness was the abode of demons. Sacrifices to God were unblemished and pure. You can't literally reconcile those images, but you can take them as a mixed metaphor, which taken together, express more of the fullness of what we experience in coming to Christ.

Frankly, what God experiences in procuring our salvation is something we can only guess at.

Personally, I favor something more like a sickness/healing model. To my mind, the problem atonement is aimed at is not entirely dissimilar to what Anselm saw, but not quite the same. I think our problem is that we're creatures. Anything that is not God falls short of perfection and is mortal; it eventually becomes nothing. But that's not what God created us for; God created the cosmos in order to dwell in it. I think the Incarnation was the whole point of creation, and it is what saves us, because it joins the divine nature to the created nature, infusing immortality into creation (us).

Which might seem to bypass the Cross. I could probably write a dissertation on that (but I'm writing one on something else, as it happens)... suffice it to say, it's not a simple dismissal. As an Episcopalian, I wrestle in part because of the centrality of the Cross in the liturgy.

But that's for another thread, perhaps. Or at least another day.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by churchgeek:
I do think a major issue with Atonement theology is one's understanding of what justice is.

Or whether atonement is about justice at all.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
That seems a bit like a strawman-- none of the theories of the atonement are discharging sins w/o a penalty-- they all carry the same price for sin, and all acknowledge that we cannot pay it ourselves.

And if what you are calling a "penalty" might include an element of punishment (despite the shared etymology, I think in English "penalty" has broader meaning than "penal"), and if you're prepared to grant that if it did, then Jesus took that punishment, then you have PSA - or something very like it.

It doesn't need to be the main or only theory (I'd argue that it shouldn't be), but it is one of several legitimate perspectives of what Christ has done for us: ransomed us, discharged us from debt, liberated us from captivity, healed our infirmities, united us with him in his death and resurrection, and taken our punishment. Not every way of seeing it resonates with everyone - I don't think that's a problem.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Those last three posts seem to recapitulate this three and a half thousand year accumulative, synergistic, dialectical, progressive revelation nicely. The word explains itself. At-one-ment.

Wherever we're at, whichever Jesus specs we wear, we have it. Thanks be to Him.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
That seems a bit like a strawman-- none of the theories of the atonement are discharging sins w/o a penalty-- they all carry the same price for sin, and all acknowledge that we cannot pay it ourselves.

And if what you are calling a "penalty" might include an element of punishment (despite the shared etymology, I think in English "penalty" has broader meaning than "penal"), and if you're prepared to grant that if it did, then Jesus took that punishment, then you have PSA - or something very like it..
No-- you only get PSA if the penalty is paid/owed to God. If the penalty is owed/paid to Satan you've got either ransom or CV. And that's really the point at which the objections to PSA hinge-- not on whether or not there is a price to be paid for sin, but rather who the price is paid to. Because the two different paradigms (Godward or Satanward) yield very, very different views of God and God's disposition toward sinners.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by churchgeek:
I think ultimately, our models are metaphors.

They have to be. Particularly because none of them "works" completely. They all fall short in one or another area. I think it's instructive that Jesus primarily taught in similes. "The Kingdom of God is like ...." and then a story. The atonement is like each of these models, in certain ways, and very much unlike each of these models in other ways.

quote:
Personally, I favor something more like a sickness/healing model.
Yay! Victory for the Orthodox position. I claim my £5.

quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
That seems a bit like a strawman-- none of the theories of the atonement are discharging sins w/o a penalty-- they all carry the same price for sin, and all acknowledge that we cannot pay it ourselves.

If you say rather that none of the models discharge sins without a cost, I could go there. But by saying "penalty" you are dragging in the whole judicial metaphor through the back door. If I buy my son a brand-new BMW, there is a high cost, but the price of the car is not a penalty I pay for not having had it before.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
That seems a bit like a strawman-- none of the theories of the atonement are discharging sins w/o a penalty-- they all carry the same price for sin, and all acknowledge that we cannot pay it ourselves.

If you say rather that none of the models discharge sins without a cost, I could go there. But by saying "penalty" you are dragging in the whole judicial metaphor through the back door. If I buy my son a brand-new BMW, there is a high cost, but the price of the car is not a penalty I pay for not having had it before.
fair 'nuff.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
I'm not happy with atonement as either 'price paid to God' or 'price paid to Satan' (because surely His Infernal Majesty can't actually be owed anything - on his part it is all "He Owes because of his own sins"!!)

Yes, the price/cost/bill for our sin is owed to God by us as sinners. But if we can't afford to pay, and God wants to forgive us, the only way it can work is that the price is paid BY God.

Jesus' death constitutes both the part of that payment that can be represented on earth, and God's declaration that he is willing to pay, and the challenge to us whether we will recognise/acknowledge the debt so that we can be forgiven, or insist, in effect, on refusing forgiveness and choosing rejection of God and 'darkness'.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I'm not happy with atonement as either 'price paid to God' or 'price paid to Satan' (because surely His Infernal Majesty can't actually be owed anything - on his part it is all "He Owes because of his own sins"!!)

Yes, the price/cost/bill for our sin is owed to God by us as sinners. But if we can't afford to pay, and God wants to forgive us, the only way it can work is that the price is paid BY God.

Seems you want to eat your cake and have it. How can there be a price owed to God, that gets paid (whoever by), without a price being paid to God? It's just a natural conclusion given what the words mean.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Mousethief;
quote:
How can there be a price owed to God, that gets paid (whoever by), without a price being paid to God? It's just a natural conclusion given what the words mean.
Because that's how forgiveness works. Consider the simple case where some yob chucks a brick through your window. He now owes you - and should pay - the price of a new window. If you decide to forgive, the price is borne by you, the owner of the broken window; you foot the bill for the window so the guilty party doesn't. Simples!!
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Mousethief;
quote:
How can there be a price owed to God, that gets paid (whoever by), without a price being paid to God? It's just a natural conclusion given what the words mean.
Because that's how forgiveness works. Consider the simple case where some yob chucks a brick through your window. He now owes you - and should pay - the price of a new window. If you decide to forgive, the price is borne by you, the owner of the broken window; you foot the bill for the window so the guilty party doesn't. Simples!!
YOu appear to have missed the point of my question. Let me try again:

You claim

(a) a price is owed to God
(b) God pays the price
but
(c) God is not paid.

These three sentences are mutually inconsistent. They can't all three be true at the same time, because Logic.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
This goes to what I was saying before re the damage that PSA does to our view of the Trinity. PSA (when taken alone as a transaction, rather than as one of several metaphors) tends to create a biforcation in the members of the Trinity-- with Jesus the gracious and loving one placating the angry and wrathful Father. Jesus is moving towards us in love because the Father is moving away from us in anger or disgust.

That is a travesty, exposing the crudest and falsest understanding of both PSA and the Trinity.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The question is whether or not they are instances of what you call 'pseudo-mystical waffle'.

"Pseudo-mystical waffle" is not using Christ's PSA-based atoning death to illustrate other spiritual truths.

"Pseudo-mystical waffle" is what it is necessary to resort to when trying to pretend, against Scripture and common sense, that Christ's death has saving efficacy in the absence of any penal or substitutionary content.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
This goes to what I was saying before re the damage that PSA does to our view of the Trinity. PSA (when taken alone as a transaction, rather than as one of several metaphors) tends to create a biforcation in the members of the Trinity-- with Jesus the gracious and loving one placating the angry and wrathful Father. Jesus is moving towards us in love because the Father is moving away from us in anger or disgust.

That is a travesty, exposing the crudest and falsest understanding of both PSA and the Trinity.
Well, yes, you have said that several times but have yet to show how PSA, when taken transactionally as I was discussing in the above (from context), is anything but that. Just saying "that's false!" doesn't really do much when, to the average reader, talking about "God's wrath" sounds a whole lot like... well, wrath.

Of course, as I said then and several other times, taken as metaphor that's not at all what it means, which is why most of us here have no problem with PSA as one of several metaphors for the atonement.
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
@KC: Stamping your feet and saying that everyone would agree with you if only they understood properly what you meant and read the Bible as carefully as you do isn't doing your argument any favours.

[ 17. January 2017, 05:36: Message edited by: Arethosemyfeet ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Because that's how forgiveness works. Consider the simple case where some yob chucks a brick through your window. He now owes you - and should pay - the price of a new window. If you decide to forgive, the price is borne by you, the owner of the broken window; you foot the bill for the window so the guilty party doesn't. Simples!!

Please explain this slowly for those of us who have not reached the spiritual/mathematic heights.

You are playing football and kick a ball through my greenhouse.

The cost of repair is £50. You don't have £50 so write me an apology saying how sorry you are and that you can't pay.

I say fine, I'll pay. I have £50.

Who exactly am I giving the £50 to? The exchange of £50 from my wallet to you so that you can give it back to me is an entirely pointless transaction, isn't it?

A far simpler and more straightforward idea is that I recognise you don't have £50, that I judge that you are an honest person and that I decide not to hang the £50 debt over your head.

I have a net loss of £50 - not somehow the original £50 damage plus another £50 that I've given to/for you to give back to me for the damage.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I'm not happy with atonement as either 'price paid to God' or 'price paid to Satan' (because surely His Infernal Majesty can't actually be owed anything - on his part it is all "He Owes because of his own sins"!!)

Yes, the price/cost/bill for our sin is owed to God by us as sinners. But if we can't afford to pay, and God wants to forgive us, the only way it can work is that the price is paid BY God.

As above, this explanation fails on purely logical grounds. Even if the debt it owed to God, there is no requirement to have him pay it. In fact if you instist that God is required to pay - rather than release the debtor - you are actually saying that the debt is owed to someone else.

The atonement is not a transaction between parties who have a contract which forces them to act. There is no ransom to pay to Satan, there is no obligation to pay to God.

What there is is a whole bunch of messed up humans and the God we see in Jesus Christ who looks, and loves, and wants to heal. Not because he has to. Not because it is his job. Not because there is an inalterable contract which must be paid in the most illogical way possible. But because, strange as it may seem, God is for us not against us and is excitedly waiting for us to turn back so he can begin to heal us and continue with the process of healing all things.

quote:

Jesus' death constitutes both the part of that payment that can be represented on earth, and God's declaration that he is willing to pay, and the challenge to us whether we will recognise/acknowledge the debt so that we can be forgiven, or insist, in effect, on refusing forgiveness and choosing rejection of God and 'darkness'.

I'm not sure you really understand how debt works anyway, do you?
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Mousethief;
quote:
How can there be a price owed to God, that gets paid (whoever by), without a price being paid to God? It's just a natural conclusion given what the words mean.
Because that's how forgiveness works. Consider the simple case where some yob chucks a brick through your window. He now owes you - and should pay - the price of a new window. If you decide to forgive, the price is borne by you, the owner of the broken window; you foot the bill for the window so the guilty party doesn't. Simples!!
This almost has legs, actually, as a metaphor. But perhaps let us say that God accepts a broken window as the price of not holding the payment against the thrower for ever.

Those dear tokens of his passion
still his dazzling body bears,
cause of endless exultation
to his ransomed worshippers;
with what rapture,
gaze we on those glorious scars!


[ 17. January 2017, 09:04: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Mousethief;
quote:
How can there be a price owed to God, that gets paid (whoever by), without a price being paid to God? It's just a natural conclusion given what the words mean.
Because that's how forgiveness works. Consider the simple case where some yob chucks a brick through your window. He now owes you - and should pay - the price of a new window. If you decide to forgive, the price is borne by you, the owner of the broken window; you foot the bill for the window so the guilty party doesn't. Simples!!
It works like that on a human level. I wonder though if it makes sense beyond that level. Considering Christ's death as the price of sin on a human level lowers the value of the transaction. Somehow, you have to consider the alternative to Christ dying. ie if he does not die, we are eternally, spiritually lost.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
This is basically the fault line;

All the windows in a street are broken.

PSA says that God must seek out, find and punish the window-breakers. When he has them by the ear and they admit to breaking windows and admit that they owe him for the cost, he opens his wallet and gives them the money.. which they owe him.

Ramsom says that it was the devil wot made us break windows and God is graciously coming along and offering Satan a payment which releases the captives both from the cost of repairing the windows and from the window-breaking mafia charge he has over us.

MI says that God sees the broken windows and is already working to put things right, that he calls each of us change our ways and get involved in window repair - and that he himself has come down to do the repairs and got crucified for it. This is supposed to encourage us to follow.

CV says that this world is a mess and that the window breaking is a symptom but that God has the power to turn things around and that this is shown by Christ's life, death and resurrection.

Or something.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
But the windows were installed broken!
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by mr cheesy;
quote:
Even if the debt it owed to God, there is no requirement to have him pay it
Obviously. [Roll Eyes]

There is no 'requirement' upon God that forces him to foot a bill that we ought to take responsibility for - but unfortunately we can't afford it.

The 'requirement' is in the fact that the 'debt' or as Lamb Chopped has put it, the consequences of our sin, does actually concretely exist and must be dealt with. Justice says it ought to fall on the person who caused it; forgiveness says "I love you so I'll foot the bill". But forgiveness can never be a 'requirement' that the forgiver can be forced to do. Forgiveness, because it is costly, can only be an act of undeserved grace. That is how debt works....

And to translate the willingness to forgive into full reconciliation requires the further point that the wrongdoer admits his wrong and accepts the forgiveness - the 'footing of the bill' is only part of the 'at-one-ment' involved.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The question is whether or not they are instances of what you call 'pseudo-mystical waffle'.

"Pseudo-mystical waffle" is not using Christ's PSA-based atoning death to illustrate other spiritual truths.

"Pseudo-mystical waffle" is what it is necessary to resort to when trying to pretend, against Scripture and common sense, that Christ's death has saving efficacy in the absence of any penal or substitutionary content.

That's not in dispute. (Apart from the implication that PSA is in Scripture. Which it is not.)

What is in dispute is whether adding penal or substitutionary content makes things any less pseudo-mystical waffle.

Just because you use the words 'penal' and 'substitutionary' does not mean you have avoided pseudo-mystical waffle. The words do not have that magical power.

The fact which you have explicitly acknowledged in other contexts is that penal substitution is unjust. You cannot justly punish an innocent substitute. Even if that innocent is the judge themselves. The only way you can make it out that justice or holiness are satisfied by the punishment of an innocent person is by invoking pseudo-mystical waffle. The only way you can make it out that holiness needs to be satisfied or that justice needs to be satisfied by punishment are by pseudo-mystical waffle.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Obviously. [Roll Eyes]

There is no 'requirement' upon God that forces him to foot a bill that we ought to take responsibility for - but unfortunately we can't afford it.

Go back and read that again. PSA says that there is a cost of sin to God and that someone must pay it, even if that is God himself.

That's like the person giving you £50 to give back to him to pay for the greenhouse.

quote:
The 'requirement' is in the fact that the 'debt' or as Lamb Chopped has put it, the consequences of our sin, does actually concretely exist and must be dealt with. Justice says it ought to fall on the person who caused it; forgiveness says "I love you so I'll foot the bill". But forgiveness can never be a 'requirement' that the forgiver can be forced to do. Forgiveness, because it is costly, can only be an act of undeserved grace. That is how debt works....
The critical point you're just not getting is that God is the owner of the greenhouse. Justice may well say that you should pay for the damage you've caused, that's not in dispute.

But what clearly makes no sense is to say that the only way the greenhouse owner gets his window repaired is if he gives you money to give back to him to pay for it.

quote:
And to translate the willingness to forgive into full reconciliation requires the further point that the wrongdoer admits his wrong and accepts the forgiveness - the 'footing of the bill' is only part of the 'at-one-ment' involved.
Not sure this is particularly unique to PSA, is it?
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by mr cheesy;
quote:
The critical point you're just not getting is that God is the owner of the greenhouse. Justice may well say that you should pay for the damage you've caused, that's not in dispute.

But what clearly makes no sense is to say that the only way the greenhouse owner gets his window repaired is if he gives you money to give back to him to pay for it.

Not what I'm saying. It's not "God gives me money to give back to him"; it's simply that God foots the bill instead of me - like the way a creditor loses out if he forgives the debtor.

I'm NOT advocating PSA; the most I'm saying about that is that there are 'penal substitution' situations in human legal systems (and more so in ancient times than now) which provide useful partial analogies for the atonement.

And the bit about more being needed for full reconciliation than the 'forgiveness of debt', no that's not unique to PSA - I never said that was unique either to PSA or other schemes of atonement. In the NT God uses all kinds of analogies from human situations to explain the atonement; pretty much all of them fall down at some point. What I'm saying is that the basic idea of "We owe God because of our sins - and he graciously forgives the debt" is one of the most useful of these analogies and closest to what is basically happening.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
OK my bad, I thought you were trying to use this illustration to explain PSA.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by mr cheesy;
quote:
Even if the debt it owed to God, there is no requirement to have him pay it
Obviously. [Roll Eyes]

There is no 'requirement' upon God that forces him to foot a bill that we ought to take responsibility for - but unfortunately we can't afford it.

The 'requirement' is in the fact that the 'debt' or as Lamb Chopped has put it, the consequences of our sin, does actually concretely exist and must be dealt with. Justice says it ought to fall on the person who caused it; forgiveness says "I love you so I'll foot the bill". But forgiveness can never be a 'requirement' that the forgiver can be forced to do. Forgiveness, because it is costly, can only be an act of undeserved grace. That is how debt works....

And to translate the willingness to forgive into full reconciliation requires the further point that the wrongdoer admits his wrong and accepts the forgiveness - the 'footing of the bill' is only part of the 'at-one-ment' involved.

Interesting article. ISTM that the key word is mystery.
JI Packer
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I get told off sometimes when I use the word 'mystery' here aboard Ship ...
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Dafyd. It is. So what?
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
What is in dispute is whether adding penal or substitutionary content makes things any less pseudo-mystical waffle.

No, what is in dispute is how Christ's death in itself saves us without any penal or substitutionary significance to it.

Compared with trying to square that circle (especially in view of all the scriptural support for PSA) any problems which PSA might raise fade into insignificance.

quote:
You cannot justly punish an innocent substitute. Even if that innocent is the judge themselves.
According to God, you can in the case of the second person of the Godhead freely choosing to assume guilt, and God's choosing to accept his sacrifice.

Take it up with God.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Back to the Trinity story again then. The man Jesus WAS the entirity of God the Son? One and the same? The Second Person of the Godhead collapsed in to a Holy Spirit fertilized ovum? Either preempted the emergent human person as the ultimate cuckoo's egg hatchling or became a perichoresis with that human person? That heresy? Rather than the orthodoxy of a perichoresis of natures? Whatever they are?

Before we get to the other fictions of sin and sacrifice and redemption, crime and justice and punishment.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
According to God, you can in the case of the second person of the Godhead freely choosing to assume guilt, and God's choosing to accept his sacrifice.

Take it up with God.

As C.S. Lewis observed in a different context, you do not turn nonsense into sense by putting the words 'God can' in front of it. The point applies here.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
What is in dispute is whether adding penal or substitutionary content makes things any less pseudo-mystical waffle.

No, what is in dispute is how Christ's death in itself saves us without any penal or substitutionary significance to it. ...
I think the 'problem' is better stated the other way round.

The death and resurrection of Christ saves us, really, ontologically, and cosmologically.

It happened. However, a lot of us find it difficult really to believe it, or to believe that it works for us, rather than for someone else.

Which of the various ways of trying to explain how and why, best enable people to grasp it, receive it, give thanks and respond?
 
Posted by Freddy (# 365) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Which of the various ways of trying to explain how and why, best enable people to grasp it, receive it, give thanks and respond?

Great way to put it.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
@Enoch. Nope. That's the false dichotomy again. That Jesus' death is a legal transaction in any way. It is part of the proof in His life from conception to resurrection, the entire incarnation, that our lives have meaning and are redeemable, we can start again, prior to death. Yes His faithful, submissive death was the price of that essential demonstration, that breaking through. Everything else is stuff we make up.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
What is in dispute is whether adding penal or substitutionary content makes things any less pseudo-mystical waffle.

No, what is in dispute is how Christ's death in itself saves us without any penal or substitutionary significance to it.

Compared with trying to square that circle (especially in view of all the scriptural support for PSA) any problems which PSA might raise fade into insignificance.

quote:
You cannot justly punish an innocent substitute. Even if that innocent is the judge themselves.
According to God, you can in the case of the second person of the Godhead freely choosing to assume guilt, and God's choosing to accept his sacrifice.

Take it up with God.

This sounds all very well and good until we consider:

- That some Christian traditions have for centuries considered that Christ's atoning death and glorious resurrection are salvific without understanding it in a penal sense.

Take that up with them.

[Big Grin]

- That the way things seem 'obvious' or clear to us from our perspective / reading of scripture isn't necessarily clear or obvious to other people. If others understand these apparently clear and obvious verses differently, does it necessarily mean that they are overlooking the 'obvious' or does it simply mean that they understand those verses in a different way to how we ourselves might?

Again, take it up with them ... [Big Grin]

If we 'take it up with God' what is he going to do?

Open the clouds and shout with a booming voice, 'That person's interpretation is the right one ... ' or 'No, you're all wrong, this is how it should be understood ...'?

I rather think he'd allow us to engage our brains and try to work it all out between ourselves, which is what we are trying to do here.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
@Enoch. Nope. That's the false dichotomy again. That Jesus' death is a legal transaction in any way. It is part of the proof in His life from conception to resurrection, the entire incarnation, that our lives have meaning and are redeemable, we can start again, prior to death. Yes His faithful, submissive death was the price of that essential demonstration, that breaking through. Everything else is stuff we make up.

Martin, have I said anywhere that I think Jesus's death is a legal transaction?
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
On PSA and the Trinity, here's Milton expounding PSA (the speaker is God the Father):

'man disobeying,
Disloyal, breaks his fealty, and sins
Against the high supremacy of heaven,
Affecting Godhead, and so losing all,
To expiate his treason hath naught left,
But to destruction sacred and devote,
He with his whole posterity must die -
Die he or justice must; unless for him
Some other, able, and as willing, pay
The rigid satisfaction, death for death.
Say heavenly powers, where shall we find such
love?
Which of ye will be mortal, to redeem
Man's mortal crime, and just the unjust to save?
Dwells in all heaven charity so dear?'
He asked, but all the heavenly choir stood mute,
And silence was in heaven: on man's behalf
Patron or intercessor none appeared -
Much less that durst upon his own head draw
The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set.
(P.L. Bk III, lines 203-221.)

Is anyone going to want to argue that Milton has misunderstood PSA?

To note: it is here heavily implied that Raphael, or Gabriel, or any angel could have freely assumed the guilt had they been willing. The atonement did not need to be undertaken by God or any person of the Trinity to be effective.
And indeed Milton was an Arian himself. He did not think that the Son of God was in any meaningful sense God except as a title of honour.

Conclusion: while PSA may not force Arianism, it nevertheless is entirely compatible with Arianism. I think that's a bit of a flaw in PSA.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
@Enoch.

I apologize, I read what I was loaded to see in "The death and resurrection of Christ saves us, really, ontologically, and cosmologically.".

If that means the fact of Jesus' resurrection from death proves we have eternal life and all other meanings are secondary to that.

@Dafyd. Quality. Terribly beautiful heresy. I had no idea Milton was Arian.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I think PSA makes far more sense if Jesus wasn't God.

But then wouldn't the Ransom theory also work?

The only theory I can think of which is unambiguously trinitarian is CV. Even there, I suppose it wouldn't be too tricky to bend a model of greater-and-lesser god(s) into Christ being the Victor (although it would appear to lose something of its power if Christ was just one of many gods).

[ 18. January 2017, 17:56: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
I'm not persuaded that PSA is compatible with Arianism. Nor would I be persuaded that an angel could have died in stead. Indeed, the only one of the regularly encountered theories that just might be compatible with Arianism is Moral Influence.

If we go to the key statement, which I think comes from St Athanasius and St Gregory of Nazianzus,
"What has not been assumed has not been redeemed".
redemption itself is possible, and only possible, if Christ is fully Son of God and if in Christ, God became fully Man.

If God did not become fully Man, as in heresies like Docetism, most Gnosticism and the Cathars, he descends, but does not fully reach us. So our nature cannot be redeemed.

If the Christ is not fully God, as in Arianism and many modern heresies, the same thing happens, but for the opposite reason. Jesus has our identity but not God's and so God is not in Christ, reconciling us to God. Through Christ, we cannot reach God and so cannot be redeemed.

I'm no expert on their doctrines, but I think that is why the ultimate aspiration the JWs is not heaven, but to live on a new earth.

Moral example on its own, might say that an Arian version of Jesus can show us how to live, but there is still the fatal weakness of Moral Influence as an understanding on its own. It can inspire. It cannot deal with the profounder human anxieties. It has nothing to say to them.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
@Enoch.

I apologize, I read what I was loaded to see in "The death and resurrection of Christ saves us, really, ontologically, and cosmologically.".

If that means the fact of Jesus' resurrection from death proves we have eternal life and all other meanings are secondary to that. ...

Not quite Martin. I'm not saying that it proves anything. I'm saying that it causes it to happen, in, and of itself. Ontoloically, it is the deed that brings about salvation. It does not speak of something else. Nor does it demonstrate anything. It does it.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I'm not persuaded that PSA is compatible with Arianism. Nor would I be persuaded that an angel could have died in stead. Indeed, the only one of the regularly encountered theories that just might be compatible with Arianism is Moral Influence.

OK, but that's not really an explanation, Enoch. PSA says that someone must pay the price of sin by death. So why couldn't that someone be a sacrificial human being, after the model of Abraham and Isaac? Isaac wasn't perfect yet (presumably) he was good enough to pay for the sins of Abraham.

quote:
If we go to the key statement, which I think comes from St Athanasius and St Gregory of Nazianzus,
"What has not been assumed has not been redeemed".
redemption itself is possible, and only possible, if Christ is fully Son of God and if in Christ, God became fully Man.

Right, but without wanting to rain on your parade, this isn't anything about PSA is it.

quote:
If God did not become fully Man, as in heresies like Docetism, most Gnosticism and the Cathars, he descends, but does not fully reach us. So our nature cannot be redeemed.
Again, not really anything about PSA in isolation.

quote:
If the Christ is not fully God, as in Arianism and many modern heresies, the same thing happens, but for the opposite reason. Jesus has our identity but not God's and so God is not in Christ, reconciling us to God. Through Christ, we cannot reach God and so cannot be redeemed.

I'm no expert on their doctrines, but I think that is why the ultimate aspiration the JWs is not heaven, but to live on a new earth.

I'm no expert either, but I understood that the JWs (and, I think, various other non-trinitarians) have a rather vicious form of PSA as standard. Am I wrong to think that?

quote:
Moral example on its own, might say that an Arian version of Jesus can show us how to live, but there is still the fatal weakness of Moral Influence as an understanding on its own. It can inspire. It cannot deal with the profounder human anxieties. It has nothing to say to them.
Do you mean that the Moral Influence theory has nothing to say about human sin? If so, how do you figure that Jesus could tell people that their sins were forgiven (before the crucifixion, when, presumably they weren't according to PSA)?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
@Enoch.

I apologize, I read what I was loaded to see in "The death and resurrection of Christ saves us, really, ontologically, and cosmologically.".

If that means the fact of Jesus' resurrection from death proves we have eternal life and all other meanings are secondary to that. ...

Not quite Martin. I'm not saying that it proves anything. I'm saying that it causes it to happen, in, and of itself. Ontoloically, it is the deed that brings about salvation. It does not speak of something else. Nor does it demonstrate anything. It does it.
Ah hah [Smile] thought so. That makes it transactional.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I'm not persuaded that PSA is compatible with Arianism. Nor would I be persuaded that an angel could have died in stead. Indeed, the only one of the regularly encountered theories that just might be compatible with Arianism is Moral Influence.

OK, but that's not really an explanation, Enoch. PSA says that someone must pay the price of sin by death. So why couldn't that someone be a sacrificial human being, after the model of Abraham and Isaac? Isaac wasn't perfect yet (presumably) he was good enough to pay for the sins of Abraham.

Every PSAist I've ever met has taken it as axiomatic that
There was no other good enough
to pay the price of sin.
He only could unlock the gates
of heav'n and let us in

PSA is dependent on Jesus being without sin. Only by being divine could he be that.
quote:
quote:
If we go to the key statement, which I think comes from St Athanasius and St Gregory of Nazianzus,
"What has not been assumed has not been redeemed".
redemption itself is possible, and only possible, if Christ is fully Son of God and if in Christ, God became fully Man.

Right, but without wanting to rain on your parade, this isn't anything about PSA is it.
I've not said it was. You may have noticed on this thread that I've not been advocating PSA, neither as the only true understanding nor even the real pukka one with the others hanging round its edges. All I've been doing is trying to wean you and others away from the view that there had to be either one only true understanding or even that any of them is more pukka than the others, to which the others are merely subsidiary. The only thing that is the core is the event. Jesus was crucified and on the third day he rose from the dead. The explanations all hang round the edge of that.
quote:

quote:
If God did not become fully Man, as in heresies like Docetism, most Gnosticism and the Cathars, he descends, but does not fully reach us. So our nature cannot be redeemed.
Again, not really anything about PSA in isolation.

So?

I'm not talking about PSA.
quote:

quote:
If the Christ is not fully God, as in Arianism and many modern heresies, the same thing happens, but for the opposite reason. Jesus has our identity but not God's and so God is not in Christ, reconciling us to God. Through Christ, we cannot reach God and so cannot be redeemed.

I'm no expert on their doctrines, but I think that is why the ultimate aspiration the JWs is not heaven, but to live on a new earth.

I'm no expert either, but I understood that the JWs (and, I think, various other non-trinitarians) have a rather vicious form of PSA as standard. Am I wrong to think that?
No idea. You'd be better off asking them. For all I know, they may have a website that would tell you.
quote:


quote:
Moral example on its own, might say that an Arian version of Jesus can show us how to live, but there is still the fatal weakness of Moral Influence as an understanding on its own. It can inspire. It cannot deal with the profounder human anxieties. It has nothing to say to them.
Do you mean that the Moral Influence theory has nothing to say about human sin? If so, how do you figure that Jesus could tell people that their sins were forgiven (before the crucifixion, when, presumably they weren't according to PSA)?
Nor, on that argument does Moral Influence, or any other explanation. The chronological problem is the same irrespective of which explanation you happen to prefer. The usual explanation is that this was because the crucifixion is a temporal event that is simultaneously outside time.

However, since Jesus also says, 'so that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins', it also could be read that he just need to say the word and they would be forgiven. If so, though, why did Jesus need to go to the cross at all? When his enemies challenged him 'if you say you are the Son of Man, come down from the cross', why didn't he just do that and at the same time say 'all right, all of you. I forgive your sins'.

He didn't. We have to assume this means that there is something about the structure of reality as the Father created it, that precluded this easy answer. That we may not be able answer the question, doesn't mean we are wrong or that God is. It just means that there things that are bigger than we are. It is healthier to accept this gratefully with fear and trembling than to whittle about it. We are the created. We are better off accepting what the Father has created for us.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Ah hah [Smile] thought so. That makes it transactional.

If you wish to say so, that is up to you, but I think you are using 'transactional' in a different way from how I understand it
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
As a footnote, it is rather annoying what when we're talking about PSA people keep talking tangentially about something else, then when challenged say "ah, but I wasn't talking about PSA, I was talking about my own private understanding of the atonement".
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
I don't think so Martin. A transaction requires a counterparty, and I don't think Enoch's formulation does.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
All I've been doing is trying to wean you and others away from the view that there had to be either one only true understanding or even that any of them is more pukka than the others, to which the others are merely subsidiary. The only thing that is the core is the event. Jesus was crucified and on the third day he rose from the dead. The explanations all hang round the edge of that.

Thanks for your concern, but I don't need "weaning". I think some theology is bunk, and I put PSA in that pile. No matter how often you say it is but one of a bunch of useful ways to look at the atonement, I still think it is bunk.

And, to be honest, the fact that you don't actually want to defend it when faced with the logical impossibilities it throws up just shows that you don't think much of it as an idea either.

quote:
No idea. You'd be better off asking them. For all I know, they may have a website that would tell you.
I see. So despite saying that PSA doesn't seem very arian to you, you don't actually know if or how non-trinitarians use it. So on what basis are you determining that PSA isn't arian?

quote:
Nor, on that argument does Moral Influence, or any other explanation. The chronological problem is the same irrespective of which explanation you happen to prefer. The usual explanation is that this was because the crucifixion is a temporal event that is simultaneously outside time.
Absolutely wrong.

If Christ (his life, death and resurrection) was part of the project of redeeming the world, then there is no chronological problem with CV.

The crucifixion and resurrection then become part of the whole package rather than - somehow - uniquely atoning in-and-of-themselves.

quote:
However, since Jesus also says, 'so that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins', it also could be read that he just need to say the word and they would be forgiven. If so, though, why did Jesus need to go to the cross at all? When his enemies challenged him 'if you say you are the Son of Man, come down from the cross', why didn't he just do that and at the same time say 'all right, all of you. I forgive your sins'.
Quite so. Another problem for PSA, one might think.

quote:
He didn't. We have to assume this means that there is something about the structure of reality as the Father created it, that precluded this easy answer. That we may not be able answer the question, doesn't mean we are wrong or that God is. It just means that there things that are bigger than we are. It is healthier to accept this gratefully with fear and trembling than to whittle about it. We are the created. We are better off accepting what the Father has created for us.
Or it might even mean that the Cross - in isolation as opposed to Christ's life, death and resurrection - wasn't atoning.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Milton was muddled. As I understand it, he was more Binitarian than Arian or possibly One Point Five-ian ...
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Enoch, Honest Ron Bacardi (you a broker?).

If Christ's sacrifice ontologically is the deed that brings about salvation, then without the former we're not saved. We don't have eternal life. Oblivion are us. No?

Unless, by salvation, we mean the awareness, through Christ, of assured eternal life that we'd have been otherwise surprised by, and the hope and transformation that brings.

Which seems a bit strained.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
Mr Cheesy, I'm not keen to get involved in a long argument about this. I don't think it will be very profitable for either of us. Besides, I'm going to be quite busy over the next 48 hours, with little time to sit in front of a computer. Suffice to say, that I think you may be treating what you think I'm saying as a straw man. In some ways, I'm actually more interested in why you are so heated about the subject, when I've made it very clear, and you have recognised, that I don't think that PSA is the gold standard explanation. Nor for that matter, do I think any of the others is.

Nor have I ever suggested that I think the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension are each different events with different salvific freight. I've read people who have argued something of the sort. I'm not convinced it's even a helpful approach. After all, these things all happened. I'm not sure there is even any need to speculate on what would be missing if one of them had somehow got left out.

Anyway, I'm off to bed.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Miss any one out and nothing else follows.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by mr cheesy;
quote:
I see. So despite saying that PSA doesn't seem very arian to you, you don't actually know if or how non-trinitarians use it. So on what basis are you determining that PSA isn't arian?
Arians/Unitarians generally have problems with most Biblical representations of the Atonement. In their view Jesus is either simply human, in which case even if he's a perfect human how can he possibly have the 'resources' to pay for the sins of everybody else; or he is some kind of angelic third party brought in to do the paying in a way that can't appear just precisely because he is an innocent third party, however willing. Most Unitarians prefer the Jesus as simply - though unusually saintly - human.

Most Unitarians therefore have effectively given up on most ideas of the Atonement and are left with little but a rather vague 'Moral Influence' or 'example' idea. And increasingly they also give up on taking the Bible very seriously, and tend to become somewhat 'syncretistic' with other religions - humanism with a God rather than distinctively Christian. So to most Arians/Unitarians PSA is decidedly off the menu.

As I mentioned earlier, the Jehovah's Witnesses who are 'fundamentalist' and Bible-committed rather than liberal, and so can't with any credibility follow the liberal unitarian route, have had to come up with a way in which a non-divine Jesus can die for our sins.

They interpret him as an incarnation of an archangel (I think Michael) and they have adopted what amounts to a variant of PSA in which somebody must die to satisfy the divinely mandated death penalty for sin, but at the same time it seems more to save the divine honour if He forgives, than to pay a debt-style price.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
you do not turn nonsense into sense by putting the words 'God can' in front of it.

Nonsense in this context is claiming that Christ's death is soteriologically efficacious while simultaneously rejecting the penal and substitutionary elements which, the Bible teaches, makes it efficacious.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Conclusion: while PSA may not force Arianism, it nevertheless is entirely compatible with Arianism.

So, let's get this straight:

Milton had odd ideas about PSA.

Milton was an Arian.

Ergo,, a belief in PSA implies a susceptibility to Arianism.

Well at least it has the merit of driving us back to Paradise Lost, where we reacquaint ourselves with lines such as "Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy" in BkII (the vision of Hell).
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Conclusion: while PSA may not force Arianism, it nevertheless is entirely compatible with Arianism.

So, let's get this straight:

Milton had odd ideas about PSA.

Milton was an Arian.

Ergo,, a belief in PSA implies a susceptibility to Arianism.

Not what he said, though, is it?

I don't think it is anything about "susceptibility", it is entirely about what makes sense to people. And I still believe that PSA makes more sense in the context of Arianism.

Nobody is trying to suggest that one can't be a Trinitarian can't be a believer in PSA because that's silly. As discussed above, Trinitarians (together with others, of course) are fully able to believe contradictory things if their end position is to get all angry and frustrated and say "because this is what God did. Ask him".

quote:
Well at least it has the merit of driving us back to Paradise Lost, where we reacquaint ourselves with lines such as "Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy" in BkII (the vision of Hell).
How trite.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

As I mentioned earlier, the Jehovah's Witnesses who are 'fundamentalist' and Bible-committed rather than liberal, and so can't with any credibility follow the liberal unitarian route, have had to come up with a way in which a non-divine Jesus can die for our sins.

They interpret him as an incarnation of an archangel (I think Michael) and they have adopted what amounts to a variant of PSA in which somebody must die to satisfy the divinely mandated death penalty for sin, but at the same time it seems more to save the divine honour if He forgives, than to pay a debt-style price.

Which is more-or-less what I said; some non-Trinitarians believe in a form of PSA. Therefore it can't the the case that PSA is incompatible with some non-Trinitarian beliefs (whether we can call some of these formally Arian might be a different discussion. But clearly there exist a significant group of people who do not believe in Jesus-as-person-of-the-trinity who nethertheless are able to square it with the atonement via PSA).

Of course, there are various types of non-Trinitarian beliefs. So therefore no great surprise that some of them don't have a concept of the atonement at all and don't therefore need to explain how it works.

Err yuh.

[ 19. January 2017, 07:23: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:


Nobody is trying to suggest that one can't be a Trinitarian can't be a believer in PSA because that's silly.

Sorry, I meant nobody is suggesting that a Trinitarian can't really believe in PSA and that they're a closet Arian.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Conclusion: while PSA may not force Arianism, it nevertheless is entirely compatible with Arianism.

So, let's get this straight:

Milton had odd ideas about PSA.

Milton's ideas about PSA were not as far as I can tell in any way odd. They were entirely standard. If you think Milton's version of PSA is odd, please explain where his exposition of PSA gets PSA wrong.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
you do not turn nonsense into sense by putting the words 'God can' in front of it.

Nonsense in this context is claiming that Christ's death is soteriologically efficacious while simultaneously rejecting the penal and substitutionary elements which, the Bible teaches, makes it efficacious.
That saw him and raised him! Well played.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
you do not turn nonsense into sense by putting the words 'God can' in front of it.

Nonsense in this context is claiming that Christ's death is soteriologically efficacious while simultaneously rejecting the penal and substitutionary elements which, the Bible teaches, makes it efficacious.
You keep saying this. If you say it three times, that doesn't mean it's true.

You've told us a lot about what the Bible teaches, but you haven't actually produced any passage from the Bible teaching it.

Romans 6:4-5:
'Therefore, we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin.'

There's little that's penal there, and nothing substitutionary. If we are united with Christ in a death like his, then we will be united with him in a resurrection like his. From which it follows: if Christ dies instead of us, then Christ is raised instead of us. If Christ is crucified as a substitute for our old self, then the body of sin is not destroyed and we are still enslaved to sin.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Deuce.

(It's more tennis than poker after all.)

It's dispositional.

I see it, always have, like all ordinary people, including the High Priest and Jesus, of any denomination since the day it happened.

It just can't be true.

[ 19. January 2017, 09:54: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I've heard it said that the Orthodox emphasise union with Christ rather substitution - our identification with him in his death and resurrection.

This emphasis isn't unknown I'm the West, far from it - but it tends to be more the preserve of the mystic or those with a more Holiness form of spirituality.

I'm not saying it's absent from the Big R Reformed traditions, but they do tend to more juridical and propositional in tone.

At the extreme this can reduce the Gospel to a set of 'sound doctrines' to which one gives assent, rather than a mystery to be embraced and embodied ...

At any rate, I'm waiting for Kaplan to engage with what people are saying, not what he thinks they are saying.

No-one has said that Milton was Arian because of PSA ...

However, it is a common charge that PSA bifurcates the Trinity and I've heard Orthodox accuse Calvinists and other Protestants of Nestorianism, modalism and lots of other things besides.ind you, some of these are Hyperdox converts from Protestantism and so keen to distance themselves from their former affiliation that they accuse it of anything and everything.

Let's have some proper listening,from whichever perspective we come from.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
you do not turn nonsense into sense by putting the words 'God can' in front of it.

Nonsense in this context is claiming that Christ's death is soteriologically efficacious while simultaneously rejecting the penal and substitutionary elements which, the Bible teaches, makes it efficacious.
You keep assuming your interpretation of the Bible is the only possible interpretation. The Bible teaches a lot of things, depending on who's reading it. Yours is not the only reading.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
You keep assuming your interpretation of the Bible is the only possible interpretation. The Bible teaches a lot of things, depending on who's reading it. Yours is not the only reading.

I was half wondering whether it was possible to read the bible* without other input and come up with PSA. I don't think it is possible.

* and yes, I also don't think it is possible to read the bible without context. But just as a mental exercise I was wondering if a quote unquote "straight" reading would give PSA.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
mt will respond I'm sure.

I don't see how it could be avoided from virtually any point of view apart from an enlightened one. It wasn't at the time by the Jews and Jesus Himself. I can't see how anybody actually familiar with the text, even just read to them in liturgy, East and West, could avoid it, would have had the impetus to.

PSA is no worse than damnationism and a host of other unenlightened beliefs of the vast majority of Christians.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
mt will respond I'm sure.

I don't see how it could be avoided from virtually any point of view apart from an enlightened one. It wasn't at the time by the Jews and Jesus Himself. I can't see how anybody actually familiar with the text, even just read to them in liturgy, East and West, could avoid it, would have had the impetus to.

That simply doesn't work, Martin, given that Orthodoxy doesn't have a notion of PSA. Simply repeating that it is the only possible reading is no better than me saying I don't think it is a possible reading.

As I see it, there are actually diverse voices in the gospels about the atonement which do not speak with one voice about it all. Picking a few verses at random seems to give PSA, picking other ones give Ransom or CV.

An person reading it alone wouldn't get PSA - why would you think that they would. And stop just saying that they would man, give some reasons.

quote:
PSA is no worse than damnationism and a host of other unenlightened beliefs of the vast majority of Christians.
Not even starting on that tangent.

I don't even really see an argument that the gospel Jesus saw the world in terms of PSA. Why do you think that?

[ 19. January 2017, 14:40: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Isaiah 53. It was unavoidable. Is that not in Orthodox liturgy?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Isaiah 53. It was unavoidable. Is that not in Orthodox liturgy?

I'm guessing it is, but then clearly there are a group of Christians who don't see this as unavoidably pointing to PSA - otherwise it'd be part of Orthodox theology.

It is a strange thing to claim something is unavoidable when clearly the "obvious" implications have been avoided for a very long time.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I'm in no sense vouching for this, but according to this link the Orthodox position (that satisfaction is "blasphemous") differs from the Western reading of Isaiah 53 because of differences in the biblical texts East uses verses West.

I've no idea if this is a loadofcrap, but it would certainly explain a lot of stuff.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
It's certainly quite strident.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Trinitarians (together with others, of course) are fully able to believe contradictory things

They have no choice, given that the doctrine of the Trinity transcends human powers of conceptualisation.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Milton's ideas about PSA were not as far as I can tell in any way odd.

If you don't find what you describe as Milton's implication that "Raphael, or Gabriel or any other angel could have freely assumed the guilt" as odd, then you have a very idiosyncratic conception of oddness.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Romans 6:4-5:
'Therefore, we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin.'

There's little that's penal there, and nothing substitutionary.

We have already dealt with this.

It is not the sort of "either/or" intolerance of ambiguity demanded by the authoritarian personality.

The fact that Christ's death represents PSA does not preclude its being used to teach or illustrate other spiritual lessons.

For example, Jesus himself in Mark 10:45 tells the disciples that "even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many".

The verse contains PSA, but in context Jesus is employing it not to teach PSA, but instead using his death as a useful picture of the humility he requires from disciples.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Kaplan Corday
quote:


The fact that Christ's death represents PSA does not preclude its being used to teach or illustrate other spiritual lessons.

For example, Jesus himself in Mark 10:45 tells the disciples that "even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many".

The verse contains PSA, but in context Jesus is employing it not to teach PSA, but instead using his death as a useful picture of the humility he requires from disciples.

I'm not sure what you are arguing, but clearly the verse refers to ransom theory, which is not related to PSA, is it?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Kaplan, you seem to be seeing PSA in every reference to the atonement in the scriptures, even those that are more than capable of being interpreted differently.

Why does the 'ransom' in that reference have to be understood in a penal way? It's not implicit nor inherent in the text. I'm not saying that it is impossible to construct a PSA understanding of the atonement from the scriptures, that's one thing ...

But to start reading it into each and every reference seems to be taking things too far.

Also, you still haven't dealt with the issue of how and why various Christian traditions have come to different conclusions to those you have come to, from the same scriptural data.

Who says your interpretation or my interpretation is THE definitive one?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Isaiah 53. It was unavoidable. Is that not in Orthodox liturgy?

I'm guessing it is, but then clearly there are a group of Christians who don't see this as unavoidably pointing to PSA - otherwise it'd be part of Orthodox theology.

It is a strange thing to claim something is unavoidable when clearly the "obvious" implications have been avoided for a very long time.

They weren't avoided by Jesus. As KC pointed out. And regardless of any theology, they weren't and aren't avoided by the vast majority of Christians. Or is it only since Calvin that Protestants alone have believed that He died for, suffered for our sins? I'm not being snotty. Just the bloke on the bus.

Ordinary Christians, in the very main, believe all manner of conservative stuff that stares them in the face when they open or hear the bible. So PSA by any other name wasn't in that until C17th Switzerland?

Are Catholics and Orthodox in particular excluded from that?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Kaplan, you seem to be seeing PSA in every reference to the atonement in the scriptures, even those that are more than capable of being interpreted differently.

Why does the 'ransom' in that reference have to be understood in a penal way? It's not implicit nor inherent in the text. I'm not saying that it is impossible to construct a PSA understanding of the atonement from the scriptures, that's one thing ...

But to start reading it into each and every reference seems to be taking things too far.

Also, you still haven't dealt with the issue of how and why various Christian traditions have come to different conclusions to those you have come to, from the same scriptural data.

Who says your interpretation or my interpretation is THE definitive one?
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Milton's ideas about PSA were not as far as I can tell in any way odd.

If you don't find what you describe as Milton's implication that "Raphael, or Gabriel or any other angel could have freely assumed the guilt" as odd, then you have a very idiosyncratic conception of oddness.
Milton has God expound PSA. Premise.
In the exposition, God states that the one who assumes humanity's guilt must be sinless.
This premise is part of the standard exposition of PSA.
Angels are sinless. This is uncontroversial (assuming the literal existence of angels).

Therefore, angels could have assumed humanity's guilt. Conclusion.
The conclusion may be odd, but it is validly drawn from the standard exposition of PSA and a statement about angels.

The only way to avoid the conclusion is to bolt on a special additional premise that only God can freely assume sin. But that, given the standard presentation of PSA, is an entirely ad hoc premise: the only reason to adopt it is to avoid the conclusion.
(Also, I've never seen or heard a presentation of PSA that states such a premise.)

Of course, you could step back a step and acknowledge that nobody can freely assume someone else's sin and guilt. (*) (Not that I've ever seen or heard a presentation of PSA that does that.) Then add as a special premise that God is an exception to that and can. But again that's an entirely ad hoc exception: you're only introducing because you need it for the theory to work. You're not giving any reason why God is a special case here. (It's not because God is omnipotent because if that allows God to assume guilt it also allow God to enable any sinless being to freely assume guilt.)

In short, either Milton is correct, or else he isn't for reasons amounting effectively to 'because I say so'. Which when God is invoked as the reason one says so counts as pseudo-mystical waffle if anything does.

(*) Because it's nonsense. Guilt is the state of having performed a sinful action. The only thing 'A assumes my guilt' can mean is that the past has changed so that A performed the action and I didn't. Which again is nonsense. Otherwise, the statement is treating guilt as if it is some substance generated by wrongdoing which can be transferred from agent to agent - which qualifies as pseudo-mystical waffle if any theory of the atonement does.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
Personally, I think when it says "ransom" we're supposed to think of, well, a ransom.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Romans 6:4-5:
There's little that's penal there, and nothing substitutionary.

We have already dealt with this.
No. We haven't. You said:
quote:
This passage is not remotely incompatible with PSA
which satisfied you sufficiently that you didn't bother to respond to the reasons I gave for thinking it was incompatible.
You also used the phrase:
quote:
Paul's other teachings which he draws from the crucifixion which don't make central its penal or substitutionary elements
which is true in the sense that Tolstoy's Anna Karenina doesn't make central dressing up as a bat to fight crime.

quote:
For example, Jesus himself in Mark 10:45 tells the disciples that "even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many".

The verse contains PSA, but in context Jesus is employing it not to teach PSA, but instead using his death as a useful picture of the humility he requires from disciples.

The verse does not contain PSA.

I repeat:
quote:
You've told us a lot about what the Bible teaches, but you haven't actually produced any passage from the Bible teaching it.
The closest you've got to responding to this is that you've asserted with no supporting argument that a verse containing a reference to a ransom is somehow a reference not to a ransom theory but to penal substitution.

[ 19. January 2017, 22:27: Message edited by: Dafyd ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Come on, Kaplan, you can do better than this ...

Or is it a case of of the only item in your toolbox is a hammer then everything looks like a nail?

The verses quoted in recent posts strike me as capable of being interpreted in various ways and according to various models of the atonement.

That doesn't obviate PSA, but it is to say that we shouldn't automatically read PSA into every single scriptural reference to the atonement purely because PSA happens to be the predominant model in our own particular tradition.

'It has to fit because I say so ...' or 'It has to fit because I'm an evangelical and my evangelical tradition says so ...'

How does that differ from, 'I don't see PSA in those verses because I'm a liberal / Orthodox / an evangelical with a broader view of the atonement [delete as appropriate] because my tradition says so?'

It's one thing to assert how biblical a particular view is, quite another to demonstrate as much in a water-tight way.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Ransom paid in sacrifice of life to God and/or death and/or Satan sure as Hell looks like the exacting of punishment. For sin. That's how ordinary people have always seen it, Jews, Greeks, Leicesterites, Papuans. Dress it up how you like, substitution is for punishment. That Gregory of Nazianzus rightly denied all of this is wonderful. Nobody else from Augustine onwards clearly, effectively, simply did in the West.

I still bet you the average Orthodox, Syriac, Nestorian, Copt believed and believes that Jesus had to die for us to be forgiven, for the wages of sin to be paid.

I'm prepared to be astounded that that isn't so, but they'd have to tell me. Their privileged, enlightened peers here cannot. I need the voices of the common, typical, Eastern Christian.

That's how badly enculturated I am by Western thinking culminating in Calvin. I can't not see PSA by any name in the bible, in the human mind of Jesus and in virtually every ordinary Christian mind.

And as in so many things, I want to be not even wrong.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Gamaliel, all we can see is hammer and nail, yes. And I don't believe it at all any more whereas KC, and even Enoch to me still, does. Ransom is penal. Substitution is penal.

I am that consistently dumb. Like most people.

[ 19. January 2017, 23:13: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Martin
quote:
Ransom is penal. Substitution is penal.
Ransom is not penal. It's not a penalty imposed on by a judge in court. It's something extorted by a kidnapper!

Substitution is not penal. It just means "instead of", as, for example, the use of an understudy in a play or replacement in a game of football. It's only penal substitution when the suffix 'penal' is applied.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
What Kwesi said.

The argument is ridiculously circular, Martin, when you say "The Orthodox must believe in PSA or else they can't believe Jesus died for our sins."

News flash. People can and do think Jesus died for our sins without believing in PSA. Because the two are not coterminous.

Imagine I believed that there was a firmament between the earth and the upper regions, and that rain was water falling through holes in this firmament, and the stars were pinpricks of light shining through these same holes. It would be absurd to say, "Ah, you believe it rains, right? So how can you not believe in my firmament?" Nor would it make any sense to say, "I don't know how the Orthodox can not believe in my firmament. Don't they believe it rains?"

So with PSA and the atonement. It's not the only explanation of the atonement. So someone can believe Christ atoned for our sins without believing in PSA. Because the two are not identical. Because the atonement can stand without PSA.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
and as in so many things, I want to be not even wrong.

Out of interest, what is the measure of wrong as applied to yourself; how could you possibly know if you were wrong?
Just read a scripture this morning in John. " My sheep hear my voice".. another they will not follow. Logic in this chapter suggests that if you don't hear it,you don't want to. On the topic, I agree with you totally, no atonement concept has any meaning if you take out the penal content.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Martin
quote:
Ransom is penal. Substitution is penal.
Ransom is not penal. It's not a penalty imposed on by a judge in court. It's something extorted by a kidnapper!

Substitution is not penal. It just means "instead of", as, for example, the use of an understudy in a play or replacement in a game of football. It's only penal substitution when the suffix 'penal' is applied.

Exactly.

And, again: both ransom and PSA suggest that sin is costly. It cannot simply be waved away, it has consequences. And both ransom and PSA suggest that Jesus paid that price-- for us. But they differ, among other things, in who that price is paid to (the "direction" or impact of the atonement). And that difference is very very significant, because the two theories present very very different views of God's disposition toward sinners:

1. ransom: God is a rescuer who frees us from our (to some degree self-imposed) bondage to the enemy through our traitorous sin. God's primary disposition towards us is one of compassion and grief for the deep destructive consequences of sin.

2. PSA: God the Father is a stern judge who condemns us to death for our sin. Jesus the Son is a compassionate brother who pays the price for our sin. As mentioned before, this suggests a biforcation within the persons of the trinity: Jesus' disposition towards us is compassion, but the disposition of the Father towards us is one of wrath that must be appeased.

Those are two very, very different views of God. That's no small difference.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Whatever texts are thrown around re the reasons for the death of Jesus, we should at least consider his own prediction regarding the circumstances of it, which he sets out in the Parable of the Vineyard Tenants (Mark 12: 1-12, Matthew 21: 33-41; and Luke 20: 9-19), that makes it quite clear that the father did not desire the death of his son, that it was the tenants who wanted the son killed, and that the tenants brought on themselves the wrath of the father as a consequence. That is in line with Peter’s sermon at Pentecost. There clearly is not the slightest hint by Jesus here that his judicial murder was in an sense penal substitution to satisfy the father’s wrath.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
PSA: God the Father is a stern judge who condemns us to death for our sin
God condemns sin. He loves us but we are collateral damage if we cannot be separated from sin. As stated on the CV thread years ago, the issue only bites if sin is underestimated as an evil force. It is God's non negotiable. No compromise is possible with sin or it would wreck his universe and destroy his essential nature. Pretty well all criticism of PSA is by people who misunderstand this or don't personally realise it. As Paul states Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom 'he' was chief. Paul strongly implies that forgiveness is contingent upon the fact that Christ is the propitiatory sacrifice for the sin of humanity, individual by individual. If one leaves out that element, one departs from The true church. One may consider oneself a believer but in fact the belief is in a lie. One may protest at the judgement seat but it will be in vain. Your name is in the book or it is not. If you choose to atone for your own sin, you are betting your life on your righteousness and according to scripture,it will not be sufficient.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Here once again you conflate PSA and the atonement, and use this conflation in a circular argument to show that PSA is equivalent to the atonement. [Snore] [Snore] [Snore]
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
]God condemns sin. He loves us but we are collateral damage if we cannot be separated from sin. As stated on the CV thread years ago, the issue only bites if sin is underestimated as an evil force. It is God's non negotiable. No compromise is possible with sin or it would wreck his universe and destroy his essential nature. Pretty well all criticism of PSA is by people who misunderstand this or don't personally realise it.

This is moving away from PSA and becoming Christus Victor.

That I think falls squarely into the category of what Kaplan Corday calls 'pseudo-mystical waffle'.
If I understand the criteria Kaplan Corday is using to claim that PSA is not pseudo-mystical waffle and everything else is - and of course I may not as Kaplan Corday hasn't explicitly told us - it goes as so:
Penal substitution just uses concepts that are part of ordinary social life: you commit a crime, you are guilty, you are punished. We can distinguish between penal consequences of a crime and intrinsic consequences. If I break the fire regulations in my flat, I might burn down my house losing my property, and then the judge might send me to prison for arson. Losing my property is an intrinsic consequence. The judge sending me to prison is a penal consequence - a punishment - because it depends upon the free decision of the authorities. Now, Christus Victor theories state the existence of intrinsic consequences of sin. PSA at a superficial level doesn't. I think that's what Kaplan Corday is getting at.

Now, if you call sin an evil force that can wreck God's universe you are saying that it is in fact an intrinsic consequence above and beyond the fact of commission. As when the arsonist burns down his neighbour's properties. That's putting us in the category of Christus Victor not PSA.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Paul strongly implies that forgiveness is contingent upon the fact that Christ is the propitiatory sacrifice for the sin of humanity, individual by individual. If one leaves out that element, one departs from The true church. One may consider oneself a believer but in fact the belief is in a lie. One may protest at the judgement seat but it will be in vain.

And here is where Jamat condemns all non-PSA believers to Hell.

Nice to have it so explicitly stated.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Guys, you're not talking to my irrational id monster. Or anybody else's. Somebody got whacked because of me. It's all my fault. I'm so guilty. I'm so ashamed. It was bad enough before the death of Christ, but now!!

Of course it's circular! All reason is. This is just more primal. More polluted with irrational feelings, fear. You're 110% right mousethief. And I still bet the vast mass of Easterners would resonate with my feelings.

I agree completely that NONE of that should be an unresolved consequence of the atonement. But it OBVIOUSLY is. Look at KC, Jamat, even Enoch.

Kwesi: a fine example in the landlord's son, but we're still left with a murderously grieving landlord who CANNOT be appeased! This swirls all over the place in the text and in our mainly irrational minds. The irredeamable darkness of it all!

You guys are fully in touch with the transcendence of the at-one-ment. I see it too. With NO ransom, no substitution of any kind. But the very word atonement is the problem. We must atone for being helpless is the strong implication. Created sick and commanded to be well, in the ironic impossible words of Fulke Greville. We need another word.

None of the language of atonement works except the play of at-one-ment in the face of our helpless incapacities.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Is 'irredeamable' redeemable?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Guys, you're not talking to my irrational id monster. Or anybody else's. Somebody got whacked because of me. It's all my fault. I'm so guilty. I'm so ashamed. It was bad enough before the death of Christ, but now!!

I'm not talking to you because you make zero sense. What does the above even mean?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
PSA: God the Father is a stern judge who condemns us to death for our sin
God condemns sin. He loves us but we are collateral damage if we cannot be separated from sin. As stated on the CV thread years ago, the issue only bites if sin is underestimated as an evil force. It is God's non negotiable. No compromise is possible with sin or it would wreck his universe and destroy his essential nature. Pretty well all criticism of PSA is by people who misunderstand this or don't personally realise it. As Paul states Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom 'he' was chief. Paul strongly implies that forgiveness is contingent upon the fact that Christ is the propitiatory sacrifice for the sin of humanity, individual by individual. If one leaves out that element, one departs from The true church. One may consider oneself a believer but in fact the belief is in a lie. One may protest at the judgement seat but it will be in vain. Your name is in the book or it is not. If you choose to atone for your own sin, you are betting your life on your righteousness and according to scripture,it will not be sufficient.
Jamat, where has anyone on this thread suggested that they are trying to save themselves by their own efforts or own righteousness or anything else?

This is a straw-man.

If any of us are saved we are saved by Christ.

What we are talking about here is how that 'works' out in practice and how the atonement works for us, as it were.

I think we need to do some kerygmanic work on Romans and whether Paul is talking about propitiation or expiation - or both. I've seen scholars argue that one in various ways and they are all beyond my pay-grade.

That doesn't mean that I don't have opinions on the issue, but that is what they have to remain - opinions. I'm wary of exalting my own opinions to the status of Holy Writ.

What I can say, though, is that some robust and earnest commentators interpret the various scriptural passages in a PSA and juridical way and others don't.

How does that, one way or another, determine whether they are part of the 'true Church' as you or I or anyone else understands it?

Why does it have to imply that if someone has an alternative viewpoint to you that this means they are bound for eternal perdition?

A questioning of PSA or a challenging of it does not necessarily imply that whoever is doing the questioning or issuing the challenge is somehow trying to save themselves by their own efforts or drag themselves into the Kingdom by their own boot-straps ...

All any of us will be able to plead at the Judgement Seat is to throw ourselves on the love and mercy of Almighty God.

Sure, I've spent the bulk of my Christian life within churches that strongly emphasise PSA. That doesn't mean I shouldn't examine or question the doctrine, nor attempt to learn from traditions which see these things differently.

Holding to some kind of belief in PSA isn't like an insurance ticket - 'I'd better hold onto it just in case, if I deviate from it then my eternal security is at stake ...'

No-one is saying that sin isn't serious or of no consequence and can simply be brushed aside. Sin is deadly. The consequences are all around us.

The issue we are discussing is how God in Christ reconciles the world to himself and deals with the issue of sin.

That's pretty cosmic.

It can't be reduced to a series of sound-bites or set of join-the-dots propositions. Yes, it's to do with the Cross, it's to do with sacrifice, it's to do with ransom, expiation ... and yes, let's discuss propitiation too ...* it's to do with the Incarnation, it's to do with the Resurrection - it's also to do with Moral Influence and the life and teachings and example of Christ ...

It's to do with all of that.

(* and when we do so, let's not simply state that it's there because I believe it to be there or because my evangelical tradition says it's there, let's look at the issue properly)

That Orthodox site with the critique of the juridical understanding of Isaiah 53 ... it was pretty strident and very partisan, perhaps very broad-brush ... but at least it was comparing translations and understandings, at least it was trying to examine the data - however clumsily.

Sure, it had an agenda - we all do - but it went beyond saying, 'Well, it's obvious because I say so ...' or 'It's obvious because it's in the Bible and the Bible says exactly what I think it does ... or want it to ...'

Don't get me wrong, I come from within the evangelical tradition, I have a lot of sympathy for the views Mudfrog has expressed, that Kaplan has outlined. The difficulty for me is that neither of them seem to appreciate that the verses they've cited can be understood in different ways to how they themselves understand them ...

What I want to get at is how and why different traditions understand these verses in different ways. To do that I need to listen to what they have to say.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Martin60
quote:
Kwesi: a fine example in the landlord's son, but we're still left with a murderously grieving landlord who CANNOT be appeased! This swirls all over the place in the text and in our mainly irrational minds. The irredeamable darkness of it all!

........but read on: "he [David} spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.....“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2).

In other words the eschatological ending to the parable for Peter, at least, has been set aside by Jesus, who offers forgiveness to those who repent and are baptised.

Incidentally, this is an interesting take on the cross because it sees salvation as being necessitated by the complicity of humanity in the death of Christ. The critical element is the refusal of the God to be defeated by the evil of men: Jesus is raised by him and forgiveness is offered to humanity. Personally, I'm attracted to this narrative because it gives a centrality to the Resurrection, which in Western (?) soteriology seems to be little more than a footnote.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
[Overused]

I would add the small observation that as he is crucified Jesus says "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.", not "Forgive them, Father, for I am dying in their place as a punishment for their sins in crucifying me."
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
[Overused]

I would add the small observation that as he is crucified Jesus says "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.", not "Forgive them, Father, for I am dying in their place as a punishment for their sins in crucifying me."

In and of itself, though, Karl, that observation neither proves nor disproves PSA - nor any other of the various atonement theories come to that ...

As I've observed upthread, none of the available models on their own can possibly cover all bases or cut the mustard.

God transcends everything.

God is God. It is up to him who he forgives and whether he forgives or not. He is not 'bound' by anything extrinsic to himself.

He is not bound by anything. Full-stop.

He doesn't 'have' to do this, that or the other.

He didn't 'need' to create us. He is entirely sufficient unto Himself. In bringing the Universe into being he wasn't doing so because he was lonely or because he was at an eternal loose-end ...

So any model that seeks to limit what God can and cannot do is bound to fall short - although of course, we must add the proviso that God cannot sin as that is against his nature.

Everything God does and is surely confirms with his nature, if we can put it that way and we can only talk about these things at all by using analogies, metaphors and anthropomorphisms to some extent ...

So, we see no particular atonement model at all in 'Father forgive them ...' nor do we see repentance, baptism nor whatever else ...

But we do find data that we can begin to examine and discuss when we look at the scriptures as a whole. The scriptures talk of repentance and faith, the scriptures talk of baptism, the scriptures use analogies that appear to draw on concepts like ransom, sacrifice and so on ... and yes, depending on how we interpret the references, propitiation, expiation and so on ...

We can no more isolate Christ's words from the Cross from the rest of the NT than we can pick out our 'favourite' verses to fight the corner for whatever our 'favourite' atonement model happens to be - whether it's CV, PSA, Moral Influence or whatever else ...

Because even if we can make them all 'fit' there'll still be loose-ends and still be aspects we find hard to reconcile or shoe-horn into place.

That's bound to be the case, whatever our particular understanding happens to be.

That doesn't mean that it's impossible to say anything about it or that it's pointless even trying to come to a conclusion. Far from it.

What it does mean is that we have to hold all the threads together as far as we can and also listen to the viewpoints of those who may be tying the threads together in a way that differs from our own. That doesn't mean that we are all going to agree on everything, of course not.

But it does mean that we are less likely to tie the knots into a flail which we then use to beat one another about the head with until one or t'other of us gives in and says, 'Right, that's it, I'm dropping my threads and my knots and accepting yours because you've whipped me into it ...'

No, it's a case of lying the threads on the table and seeing what knots we can make out of them when we try to tie up the loose ends. We may find even more knots than we anticipated. We may find that some we thought were useful weren't. We may find that we need to combine some, and reject others.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
PSA: God the Father is a stern judge who condemns us to death for our sin
God condemns sin. He loves us but we are collateral damage if we cannot be separated from sin. As stated on the CV thread years ago, the issue only bites if sin is underestimated as an evil force. . It is God's non negotiable. No compromise is possible with sin or it would wreck his universe and destroy his essential nature. Pretty well all criticism of PSA is by people who misunderstand this or don't personally realise it.
As noted above, this is a strawman. NONE of the theories being discussed here-- particularly ransom and CV-- suggests that we don't get the evil, destructive consequences of sin. ALL the theories hinge on the fact that sin is so costly that it requires nothing less than the death of God's only son. NONE of the theories suggest that we can "save ourselves" or that sin is not an evil, destructive source of the brokenness, chaos and pain of this world. Again, it cost the life of the messiah-- that is true whether the cost is paid to appease a wrathful Father (PSA) or whether it's true to ransom us from the Evil One. It is the same price in any and all of the theories so this suggestion is simply not on point.


quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
As Paul states Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom 'he' was chief. Paul strongly implies that forgiveness is contingent upon the fact that Christ is the propitiatory sacrifice for the sin of humanity, individual by individual.

Certainly Paul uses the language of propitiatory sacrifice in several places, particularly Romans. Almost everyone on this thread has acknowledged that substitution is a biblical metaphor, altho some have disputed whether or not Paul is depicting penal substitution.

But where you are falling short is in recognizing that PSA is NOT the only metaphor for the atonement found in Scripture. It's not even the most common one, Ransom is probably the most common metaphor, found in both Jesus' teachings as well as a strong element in Hebrews:

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.

But then there's this strongly CV verse in Hebrews:

quote:
• 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.
Even Paul does not limit himself to PSA, but utilizes a number of metaphors, including CV:

quote:
• 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.
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Paul strongly implies that forgiveness is contingent upon the fact that Christ is the propitiatory sacrifice for the sin of humanity, individual by individual. If one leaves out that element, one departs from The true church. One may consider oneself a believer but in fact the belief is in a lie. One may protest at the judgement seat but it will be in vain. Your name is in the book or it is not. If you choose to atone for your own sin, you are betting your life on your righteousness and according to scripture,it will not be sufficient.

Wow.

Obviously you are free to define "true church" however you like, but you are cutting off millions of Christians there, including pretty much the entire first millennia of Christianity. Glad you're not the one making the final call. Because, again, it's a strawman. CV, ransom, satisfaction are NOT "betting your life on your righteousness". They are ALL dependent upon the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to pay the price to ransom us from sin. Again, the key distinction is WHO the ransom is paid to not why or by whom. And with that key distinction the very different depiction of the disposition of God the Father towards sinners.

Again, I think the clearest picture we have of the Father is the Son. Jesus himself says this in John 10:30, John 14:9, etc. The problem with treating PSA as a literal transaction rather than one of several metaphors is that is presents a picture of the Father that is very different from the picture of the Son-- the Father is a stern and wrathful judge, while the Son is a merciful and caring advocate. The advantage of ransom and CV is that the disposition of the different members of the Trinity is consistent-- Jesus' atoning work is the natural and ultimate expression of the heart of God-- to move TO and FOR sinners to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. For both the Son and the Father, the prime disposition towards sin is one of deep grief for the destruction and alienation it causes. God is our rescuer-- something attested to throughout the OT and NT.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Guys, you're not talking to my irrational id monster. Or anybody else's. Somebody got whacked because of me. It's all my fault. I'm so guilty. I'm so ashamed. It was bad enough before the death of Christ, but now!!

I'm not talking to you because you make zero sense. What does the above even mean?
I apologize. A decade and more ago, on a similar thread, I argued viscerally for my personal need for the sacrifice of Christ. I accepted that nothing else would do. I saw it in all terms including and especially PSA. It was a big, heavy deal. I was going through my neo-Evangelical period. I'm now years beyond that, all my conservative thinking has fallen away. But not my feelings. Not the reflexes. The viscera. Will that do?
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Jamat
quote:
One may consider oneself a believer but in fact the belief is in a lie. One may protest at the judgement seat but it will be in vain.
What I find most significant about this quote is that it equates saving faith as belief in a certain set of propositions that will be tested for their accuracy on the last day. That is why Jamat is so concerned that he should get his theory of salvation right, otherwise he is doomed to eternal torture, and explains why he is so reluctant to consider other points of view. If, however, faith is understood as trust in Jesus Christ, then ignorance of the finer points of soteriology are inconsequential. The apostle reminds us that "we know in part and prophecy in part..." Don't worry Jamat, you are certainly in error like the rest of us, but it won't be held against you.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Kwesi: an excellent quantum leap. And of course the Acts account of the Jews realising that they had murdered their Messiah was in my mind and that they, we need iteratively saving from having done ... that which led to the revelation of our salvation and what we should do in its light.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, it's the check-list sound-bite approach common across certain strands of fundamentalist evangelicalism, where everything is reduced almost to the level of simple mental assent to a set of propositions.

As if St Peter is stood there at the Pearly Gates with a clip-board saying, 'The atonement: Penal substitutionary; Christ Victor; The Ransom Theory or Moral influence?'

Check ...

'Eschatology: A-millenial; Pre-Millenial or Post-Millenial?'

Check ...

And so on ...

It explains the popularity of Chick Tracts.

I can certainly understand the appeal. We all want certainty. Ultimately, though it doesn't become salvation by grace through faith but salvation by mental assent to what its proponents consider to be sound doctrine.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Jamat
quote:
One may consider oneself a believer but in fact the belief is in a lie. One may protest at the judgement seat but it will be in vain.
What I find most significant about this quote is that it equates saving faith as belief in a certain set of propositions that will be tested for their accuracy on the last day. That is why Jamat is so concerned that he should get his theory of salvation right, otherwise he is doomed to eternal torture, and explains why he is so reluctant to consider other points of view. If, however, faith is understood as trust in Jesus Christ, then ignorance of the finer points of soteriology are inconsequential. The apostle reminds us that "we know in part and prophecy in part..." Don't worry Jamat, you are certainly in error like the rest of us, but it won't be held against you.
well said, Kwesi, and spot on I think.

It seems clear to me that the disciples and early Christians didn't have all their systematic theology worked out. It took a couple of centuries for the early Church to work out an "orthodox" understanding of the incarnation, the Trinity, and yes, the atonement. But they had a profound and proven trust in Jesus-- so much so that many were willing to die for him. And trusting in him includes trusting in the last day: He is on our side.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
And right on right believing as opposed to right belief in your latest post Kwesi.

And Gamaliel [Overused]
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
It has a long pedegtee, salvation by theology. Quicunque vult anyone?
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
if what you are calling a "penalty" might include an element of punishment [...] then you have PSA - or something very like it

No-- you only get PSA if the penalty is paid/owed to God. If the penalty is owed/paid to Satan you've got either ransom or CV. And that's really the point at which the objections to PSA hinge-- not on whether or not there is a price to be paid for sin, but rather who the price is paid to.
I think I follow what you mean, but I don't think you're distinguishing "penalty" (bad consequence generally) from "punishment".

I can see how sin might put us in some way under Satan's power or captivity, and a price might be necessary to free us from that - and yes, that's ransom or CV. But I don't see why Satan has any right to punish in a judicial sense (unless he is God's appointed agent for that purpose). We don't owe Satan obedience, and we don't wrong him by sinning. It is God, not Satan, who has the right specifically to punish for sin. I might be wise to fear Satan's malice, but not his justice.

I can force in the argument that an infinitely merciful God will always forgo the right to punish (except possibly where such punishment is remedial), but I don't always feel confident of that, and as can been seen on this thread, some people would wholly reject the proposition.

PSA, if it does nothing else, silences the felt demand for punishment. Whether you think that demand is, in any particular case, masochistic, vindictive, or wholly just, the cross of Christ answers it. I can't say that the very human death of the incarnate Son of God isn't enough to cancel any call for punishment.

It's not the only atonement theory - I wouldn't argue with the view that union with Christ in his resurrection and triumph is the main emphasis of scripture, not PSA, but I don't see any good reason for rejecting something that answers a real need.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
PSA, if it does nothing else, silences the felt demand for punishment.   Whether you think that demand is, in any particular case, masochistic, vindictive, or wholly just, the cross of Christ answers it.  I can't say that the very human death of the incarnate Son of God isn't enough to cancel any call for punishment.

But not for justice. As has been pointed out, there is nothing just about killing one man for the blood guilt of another man.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Mousethief;
quote:
As has been pointed out, there is nothing just about killing one man for the blood guilt of another man.
Exactly. Which is why it is important to understand that Jesus is not in this as an external 'innocent third party', but as God incarnate, and that the primary meaning of what's going on is the essentially just business of gracious forgiveness of what is in effect a real debt rather than an arbitrary punishment.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
if what you are calling a "penalty" might include an element of punishment [...] then you have PSA - or something very like it

No-- you only get PSA if the penalty is paid/owed to God. If the penalty is owed/paid to Satan you've got either ransom or CV. And that's really the point at which the objections to PSA hinge-- not on whether or not there is a price to be paid for sin, but rather who the price is paid to.
I think I follow what you mean, but I don't think you're distinguishing "penalty" (bad consequence generally) from "punishment".

I can see how sin might put us in some way under Satan's power or captivity, and a price might be necessary to free us from that - and yes, that's ransom or CV. But I don't see why Satan has any right to punish in a judicial sense (unless he is God's appointed agent for that purpose). We don't owe Satan obedience, and we don't wrong him by sinning. It is God, not Satan, who has the right specifically to punish for sin. I might be wise to fear Satan's malice, but not his justice.

Agreed. I was using "penalty" in the sense of "price" and NOT in the judicial sense to argue that in CV and ransom the price is paid to Satan, not to God.


quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I can force in the argument that an infinitely merciful God will always forgo the right to punish (except possibly where such punishment is remedial), but I don't always feel confident of that, and as can been seen on this thread, some people would wholly reject the proposition.

PSA, if it does nothing else, silences the felt demand for punishment. Whether you think that demand is, in any particular case, masochistic, vindictive, or wholly just, the cross of Christ answers it. I can't say that the very human death of the incarnate Son of God isn't enough to cancel any call for punishment.

I'm not convinced. But I can't deny that substitution is a biblical metaphor.


quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:

It's not the only atonement theory - I wouldn't argue with the view that union with Christ in his resurrection and triumph is the main emphasis of scripture, not PSA, but I don't see any good reason for rejecting something that answers a real need.

Very few here are suggesting it be rejected, most are merely asking that it be treated as one of several metaphors rather than as the one and only, and as a transaction rather than a metaphor. I would agree that it is a biblical metaphor, and therefore must have something of value to bring to the table, although I question whether it meets a "real need". Seems like we have large swaths of Christianity historically that have focused on other biblical metaphors for the atonement and still flourished spiritually.

[ 20. January 2017, 22:21: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Eliab. I believe you're Catholic. I must be a closet heretic one. I LOVE the film Stigmata and even the Omen and the bloody high Anglican nonsense Midwinter of the Spirit I watched last night. What's the one with Walken as Gabriel? Prophecy? And as for books: Pears' An Instance of the Fingerpost. And the Exorcist by William Peyer Blatty. 10 x better than the film. Why do I mention this? What you say has that cinematic-story power.

The felt demand for punishment. Brilliant.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Ooh and John Carpenter's mesmerizing Prince of Darkness.

Funny how I'm slip sliding, to say the least, in to modern depictions of Satan.

This stuff is perversely compelling. Along with punishment.

All very Greek tragedy to Freudian, Lovecraftian. And Woody Allen.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Ooooooh and Polanski's The Ninth Gate. Mr. Depp, Frank Langella and Emmanuelle Seigner!!! (Polanski's missus)
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
ransom theory, which is not related to PSA, is it?

Yes, it is.

Ransom theory and PSA are both ways of expressing the payment of a release price.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The conclusion may be odd

Not so much odd as desperate.

To mix metaphors, you are clutching at straw men.

No advocate of PSA has ever proposed that anyone but Christ could accomplish it, including Milton (whose soteriology encompasses other models as well, such as Irenaeus's recapitulation theory).

It is obvious if you read his descriptions of Christ's person and saving work in Bk12 of Paradise Lost, and Paradise Regained, that he regarded Christ as unique - even allowing for his Arian/Adoptionist/Dynamic Momarchian Christology.

Face it, you are just trying - bizarrely - to discredit PSA by linking it with Arianism via Milton.

It would be just as silly for someone to attempt to discredit Orthodox soteriology in the form of theosis by pointing out that the Orthodox revere Constantine ("Equal to the Apostles";feast day May 21) who, as one church historian put it, "lived as a pagan and died as an Arian".

quote:
Of course, you could step back a step and acknowledge that nobody can freely assume someone else's sin and guilt.
This is a genuine, though not insuperable, objection which can be taken seriously.

Yes , it is difficult, but it is taught in the Bible, and presents no greater problem in conceptualising than do doctrines such as the Trinity and Incarnation, which broad orthodoxy has no problems in accepting, despite the fact that a philosophically sophisticated atheist (or Muslim, for that matter) can make mincemeat of them.

[ 21. January 2017, 01:41: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
ransom theory, which is not related to PSA, is it?

Yes, it is.

Ransom theory and PSA are both ways of expressing the payment of a release price.

Speaking of desperate. What's a "release price"? It sounds like a category made up ad-hoc to tie two disparate things together.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
]This is moving away from PSA and becoming Christus Victor.

That I think falls squarely into the category of what Kaplan Corday calls 'pseudo-mystical waffle'.

It does not fall into the category, squarely or otherwise.

PSA has no problem co-existing with supplementary theories such as Christus Victor, theosis and recapitulationism.

"Pseudo-mystical waffle" is the vain attempt to pretend that Christ's death was a saving sacrifice, while simultaneously denying its saving dynamic - its penal and substitutionary nature.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
The issue is how Christ reconciles the word to himself....It's to do with sacrifice, it's to do with ransom, expiation ... and yes, let's discuss propitiation too ...* it's to do with the Incarnation, it's to do with the Resurrection - it's also to do with Moral Influence and the life and teachings and example of Christ ...
Well stated Gamaliel. And The answer could not be clearer or more 'binary' in that it is 'The Gospel'. But the good news is only good news when one knows why it is necessary. The answer to that is it saves the world, individual by individual,from hell. But how? Because it forgives sin and delivers from sin. (How come there are so few sermons on sin?) But how do I know I am forgiven and delivered? Only if I recognise that Christ, the incarnation of the holy God who existed from eternity absorbed my responsibility, in himself, on the cross. I have a revelation of that, and I ask forgiveness for known sin and I put my trust in it. 1Cor 15:1-4. If I have not done that, then I'm betting there is a back door. But there is not.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
That's all very well and good, Jamat, but it still leaves us with loose ends that remain untied ...

Our Lord appears to have forgiven those who crucified him without any apparent repentance and faith on their part - except perhaps for the Centurion, 'Surely this man was the Son of God ...'

Of course, we don't know what happened to the others, nor do we know what happens to those who never get the opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel ...

As a wise RC priest once observed to me, 'We don't know where the Rich Young Ruler was on the Day of Pentecost ...'

That's not to get all universalist. I don't believe there is a 'back-door' but God is just and merciful. For all any of us know he might allow people in through the front door when we're not looking ...

For as sure as eggs are eggs we'd all probably do an Elder Brother and point out the faults and failings of the Prodigals ...

'But Lord, they weren't evangelicals, they didn't believe in PSA, they used to pray to Mary and the Saints ... They didn't read their Bibles like I did ... They didn't do this, that or the other like me ...'

Or replace those examples with whatever else is appropriate ... 'They weren't Orthodox ... They weren't RC ... They weren't ...'

Of course, having heard the Gospel it is my responsibility to respond in repentance and faith - what shall become of us if we reject so great a salvation?

At any rate, it seems to me that it's perfectly possible to understand the atonement in ways that are less prescriptive than the standard evangelical one.

Lewis did. Was C S Lewis not 'saved' - as Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones apparently doubted - because he was squeamish about PSA?

Did that mean he was trying to get in by the 'back-door' or that he was trying to justify himself by his own works?

One of the problems I have with a tightly applied evangelical schema is that rather than magnifying grace and mercy it can end up in a kind of Pharisaical judgementalism whereby we take it upon ourselves to pontificate on the eternal destiny of this, that or the other person according to our own set of rather limited criteria - the extent to which they agree with us or conform to the expectations of our own tradition.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Jamat [QUOTE. I have a revelation of that, and I ask forgiveness for known sin and I put my trust in it. 1Cor 15:1-4. If I have not done that, then I'm betting there is a back door. But there is not. [/QUOTE]

Clearly you have had a deep religious experience that speaks to your spirit and has given you the assurance of salvation. It is not my desire or intention to challenge that. What I would ask you to consider is that not all others may share your spirituality but have been led by different routes to the classic Christian experience of sins forgiven and trust in Christ as intense as yours. There may not be a back door into the New Jerusalem, but there are eleven others gates in addition to the one by which any particular individual enters.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
]This is moving away from PSA and becoming Christus Victor.

That I think falls squarely into the category of what Kaplan Corday calls 'pseudo-mystical waffle'.

It does not fall into the category, squarely or otherwise.

PSA has no problem co-existing with supplementary theories such as Christus Victor, theosis and recapitulationism.

"Pseudo-mystical waffle" is the vain attempt to pretend that Christ's death was a saving sacrifice, while simultaneously denying its saving dynamic - its penal and substitutionary nature.

If that is the case, Kaplan, then all non-evangelical Christian traditions must be guilty of 'pseudo-mystical waffle'.

How are your explanations of the atonement any less 'pseudo-mystical' or any less 'waffle' than anyone else's?

And don't say, 'Because mine is closer to the scriptures ...' because everyone here is using the scriptures as the basis for what they believe, but that doesn't mean everyone is going to come to the exact same conclusion as to what they tell us about these issues.

Whether you agree with its conclusions or not, it's salutary to read the rather strident Orthodox article that mr cheesy found which tries to dismantle a juridical understanding of Isaiah 53 using comparisons between translations. Is that pseudo-mystical waffle or is it an attempt to roll up the sleeves and do some work on the source texts?

If people have an issue with PSA it's not necessarily because they are lazy or seeking to justify themselves or because they want to slide the very deadly consequences of sin ...

It could be that they've simply arrived at a different conclusion on these things.

That's not to trivialise matters and reduce these weighty issues down to a set of menu options.

But it is to acknowledge good faith on the part of all involved - whatever side they take.

FWIW I think Dafyd over-stated his case with the Miltonic example - but his grounds for 'discrediting' PSA as you put it, are not primarily Miltonic.

Dafyd has other objections and other examples. As do others who do not believe that PSA is an adequate or wholy adequate way of understanding these things.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The conclusion may be odd

Face it, you are just trying - bizarrely - to discredit PSA by linking it with Arianism via Milton.
How about you address the arguments I put forward?

quote:
quote:
Of course, you could step back a step and acknowledge that nobody can freely assume someone else's sin and guilt.
This is a genuine, though not insuperable, objection which can be taken seriously.
You are not showing any signs of taking it seriously. Nor are you giving any reasons to think it is not insuperable.

quote:
Yes , it is difficult, but it is taught in the Bible, and presents no greater problem in conceptualising than do doctrines such as the Trinity and Incarnation, which broad orthodoxy has no problems in accepting, despite the fact that a philosophically sophisticated atheist (or Muslim, for that matter) can make mincemeat of them.
I have asked you twice now to give evidence that PSA is taught in the Bible.

I believe The Trinity and Incarnation are entirely defensible even from philosophically sophisticated atheists (or Muslims for that matter). Depending on the quality of the defence of course.

quote:
"Pseudo-mystical waffle" is the vain attempt to pretend that Christ's death was a saving sacrifice, while simultaneously denying its saving dynamic - its penal and substitutionary nature.
In other words it is whatever you say it is.

Once again, would you like put forward any argument for this position?

[ 21. January 2017, 09:05: Message edited by: Dafyd ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
OK KC: '"Pseudo-mystical waffle" is the vain attempt to pretend that Christ's death was a saving sacrifice, while simultaneously denying its saving dynamic - its penal and substitutionary nature.'.

My attempt is not vain.

After my visceral defense of PSA, or even in it, I actually moved on to realise that it was post-hoc to the fact of Christ's peerless unconditional and ultimately un-transactional NON-salvific sacrifice.

I feel dread at saying that, but it's the only thing that makes any sense of Love.

Bonhoffer's free, universal, prevenient, not cheap grace.

Jesus does what He says on the tin and the proof of that is His death and resurrection. Jesus is the living proof of eternal life. Of meaning. That there isn't anything God wouldn't do for us in our complete autonomy to show that we are all purposed in His love. In Him. What won't He do therefore in the resurrection of all the dead to paradise to bring us to transcendence?

There is NOTHING transactional in salvation, in Him, in love. Salvation is inextricable from creation, perichoretic. From the beginning. Not availed by writhing, desperate, grovelling sinners' prayers.

PSA and all other atonement theories, all the stuff we make up, are after and even before the fact of the atonement. Of salvation regardless.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Well, Martin, I agree with you... almost. I agree that salvation is the natural and inevitable consequence of who God is. So much so, that were there any other "consequence", God could not be the same God as the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, that does not, of necessity, mean that said salvation does not have an objective "mechanism". I think to reject this is to eject the infant with the soap-suds, and, in this context, I can understand KC's ridiculing of "pseudo-mystical waffle".

So I believe, and think the Bible teaches, that the Atonement is transactional and that there is a salvific sacrifice involved. I just don't agree with, in this case, KC, about what that transaction is, or about the nature of the sacrifice. Rather, I believe that PSA is predicated on the wrong assumption, that is, that the human problem is that we, as a race and as individuals, are, by because of our sin, the subject of God's wrath, and that this wrath can only be appeased by punishment. Of course, sin is serious and ultimately deadly for us, but for God, far from being some existential problem which compels Him to sacrifice His Son to deal with it, it is instead an opportunity to exercise his nature in forgiveness (Felix culpa*), which He Has always, and will always do, with or without the crucification. The problem is that, even as forgiven people, we are still dying because our nature as children of God has been corrupted by sin. The problem is not so much moral as medical. Though forgiven, we are enslaved by our sinful nature, and without Divine intervention, we are eternally perishing. The transaction, therefore, is that, through the cross, Jesus defeats the power of death, it's sting, which is sin, and through the resurrection imparts to us His eternal life. The sacrifice is the sacrifice that looks back to the OT as ratification of the covenant, that God is for His people - God will provide the sacrifice, as Abraham was told.

*happy or fortunate fault
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Jolly Jape
quote:
God will provide the sacrifice, as Abraham was told.
...........but note that the sacrifice provided by God was an animal substitute for a human being. The whole purpose of that story in Genesis was to show that Jehovah was not a God who demanded human sacrifice. What are we to make of that narrative when linking it to the death of Jesus?
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

2. PSA: God the Father is a stern judge who condemns us to death for our sin. Jesus the Son is a compassionate brother who pays the price for our sin. As mentioned before, this suggests a biforcation within the persons of the trinity: Jesus' disposition towards us is compassion, but the disposition of the Father towards us is one of wrath that must be appeased.

Those are two very, very different views of God. That's no small difference.

And again, that does not take into account the fact that Jesus is God Incarnate and not some divinely chosen 'other'. The fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily in Jesus even on the cross - the Judge becomes the Judged. God (the Father) was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.

The abandonment on the cross and the cry of dereliction was very real because it was at that moment when both Father and Son experienced humanity's own permanent state of alienation and enmity with God. Jesus took on the sin of the world and, in his suffering and death made an atonement between God and man, whilst the Father, in the words of Moltmann, 'suffered the loss of his Son' as he judged the sin that was poured out on Jesus 'who became sin for us'.

It was not

[ 24. January 2017, 00:06: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
woops... to continue:

It was not a case of the vengeful 'angry' Father standing aloof and stern in Heaven while his gentle, innocent Son was made to satisfy his temper; the Father in love was involved in that sacrifice and Jesus was the willing substitute who was already 'the lamb slain from the foundation of the world'.

I would also suggest that the wrath of God was also an attitude held by Jesus and that by the Son shouldering the sin of the world, he was also satisfying his own wrath as part of the Godhead.
One simply cannot divide the purpose and nature of the trinity, even if it is only the Son who actually suffers the wrath of God.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I would also suggest that the wrath of God was also an attitude held by Jesus and that by the Son shouldering the sin of the world, he was also satisfying his own wrath as part of the Godhead.
One simply cannot divide the purpose and nature of the trinity, even if it is only the Son who actually suffers the wrath of God.

This whole thing of the Son having wrath on himself and punishing himself has two unfortunate consequences:

1. It makes the crucifixion into suicide, and
2. It makes Jesus sound like one of those people who don't think that foot is theirs, and they cut it off.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
that does not, of necessity, mean that said salvation does not have an objective "mechanism"....

... for God, far from being some existential problem which compels Him to sacrifice His Son to deal with it, it is instead an opportunity to exercise his nature in forgiveness (Felix culpa*), which He Has always, and will always do, with or without the crucification.[sic]

To our modern Western mindset, the idea of an atoning blood sacrifice is at best embarrassing and at worst abhorrent, and we would prefer that God would simply forgive out of his forgiving nature.

But the NT (eg Eph.1:7; Col.1:14; Heb.9:22) clearly teaches that sacrifice is insparable from forgiveness, and the only "mechanism" which makes sense of this is PSA.

quote:
through the cross, Jesus defeats the power of death, it's sting, which is sin, and through the resurrection imparts to us His eternal life.
Christus Victor is certainly part of Christ's work, indeed integral to it (eg Ro.4:25), but does not stand alone.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
It makes the crucifixion into suicide

The NT makes it inescapably clear that Jesus chose to sacrifice himself: "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends".

If you choose to characterise this as suicide, that is your problem.
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
Suicide is voluntary. One may lay down one's life as a response to circumstance which isn't voluntary.

For instance, someone who stands up to thugs to defend a child and dies in the act may be said to have laid down their life, but it isn't suicide. Even if they faced hopeless odds.

If, on the other hand, they provoked the fight with the thugs without a response to circumstance one could call that "suicide by thug" or something.

In short, laying down one's life doesn't necessarily equate to suicide.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I think Mousethief might be highlighting the discontinuity rather than questioning whether or not laying down of a life* is in-and-of-itself suicide.

That discontinuity is that God needed to come to earth and die for the sake of his own wrath.

* incidentally, I've long thought that this idea of a blood payment does not really work for the atonement anyway. If you are arguing for PSA, then what exactly is Jesus' death doing? People die all the time - some in the most digusting way, and some not deserving it. So he is the one who is man-and-God who is crucified. What about that makes it the "perfect sacrifice"?
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
What I'm saying is that if God is responding to circumstances by laying down his life then that isn't suicide. If he is creating the circumstances that require his life then he it is suicide.

Hence if God is the recipient and author of wrath as the proximate cause of death that seems like suicide.

There is a question about how proximate one goes I suppose - in a sense God is the author of everything but there's no point getting all theodicean every time it's relevant to a discussion.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:


Hence if God is the recipient and author of wrath as the proximate cause of death that seems like suicide.

There is a question about how proximate one goes I suppose - in a sense God is the author of everything but there's no point getting all theodicean every time it's relevant to a discussion.

Oookay, but assuming we're all believers in the Trinity, then that proximity is as close as it is possible to get, no?

We're not talking about "God" being a family-name where the senior member of the family sends his least-favourite nephew to earth and then decides to strike him down to prove a point that nobody can fully work out for 1500 years.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
To my mind "laying down one's life" does not necessarily imply suicide, and can be rendered as "putting one's life on the line." ISTM that the latter construction most closely fits the gospel narratives.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I would also suggest that the wrath of God was also an attitude held by Jesus and that by the Son shouldering the sin of the world, he was also satisfying his own wrath as part of the Godhead.
One simply cannot divide the purpose and nature of the trinity, even if it is only the Son who actually suffers the wrath of God.

This whole thing of the Son having wrath on himself and punishing himself has two unfortunate consequences:

1. It makes the crucifixion into suicide,

Well, at risk of being accused of proof-texting, I offer these verses to suggest that whilst not exactly suicide, it seems that Jesus was fully intent of placing himself in the situation where death was inevitable. He planned it.


quote:
Matthew 20:25-29 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)
...the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many

quote:
John 10:18 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.’

quote:
Galatians 2:20 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

20 and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me .



[ 24. January 2017, 08:50: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
I agree with you, Mudfrog, that the death of Christ was not suicide. Would you also agree that the texts you quote in refutation of Mousethief and the bits you underline do not exclusively advance the case for PSA? Moreover, I don't think Mousethief believes Jesus commuted suicide. What he is suggesting is that PSA is dangerously close to such a position. The quotations you offer, therefore, in refutation of suicide might be thought to make PSA less tenable than you assume.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
I agree with you, Mudfrog, that the death of Christ was not suicide. Would you also agree that the texts you quote in refutation of Mousethief and the bits you underline do not exclusively advance the case for PSA? Moreover, I don't think Mousethief believes Jesus commuted suicide. What he is suggesting is that PSA is dangerously close to such a position. The quotations you offer, therefore, in refutation of suicide might be thought to make PSA less tenable than you assume.

Yes, I fully acknowledge that none of the texts are specifically about PSA. That wasn't my reason for choosing them. I was simply highlighting the deliberate, voluntary nature of the death of Jesus.

I do not accept that PSA 'comes dangerously close to such a position' (of being suicide) because if, as you say those verses are not PSA verses, then that would also 'accuse' ransom, moral influence, Christus Victor, etc, etc of all being suicide as well, because they all assume a willing self-giving, a deliberate act of placing himself in the path of a potentially avoidable death.

None of those verses - ransom, for example, makes PSA less tenable.
All atonement theories are truth in parallel.
They are all correct indvidually. They do not need one another, they do not feed off another, they d not deny or destroy the efficacy of any of the others.

Well they all require, however, is that Jesus went willing to a death that he expected, welcomed and required for his stated work of atonement to be accomplished.

Had his execution on the cross been a tragic event due to unforeseen circumstances, then there would have been n atonement. It had to be deliberate.

The Father gave the Son to die.
The Son gave his life.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Does 'tragic event due to unforeseen circumstances' mean anything if you're God?
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
But the NT (eg Eph.1:7; Col.1:14; Heb.9:22) clearly teaches that sacrifice is insparable from forgiveness, and the only "mechanism" which makes sense of this is PSA.

The passage from Romans 6 that I quoted earlier describes a mechanism that makes sense of it. Whether or not it is compatible with PSA (it isn't for reasons I gave) is to some extent beside the point. The point is that it makes sense on its own without PSA; it doesn't need PSA.

PSA does not make sense of anything, because PSA does not make sense on its own terms. If the best defence of a position you can muster is, 'According to God it works. Take it up with God,' then you've conceded that it does not make sense of anything.
Furthermore, any theory of the atonement that can be found in the Bible can be defended as making sense of sacrifice on those terms. The moral influence theory can be defended by saying 'According to God, it makes sense. Take it up with God.' If you claim that the Romans 6 passage I quoted does not stand up without PSA, I can simply respond 'According to God it does. Take it up with God'.

By playing the 'Take it up with God' card, you have abandoned any credibility for any 'it is the only mechanism that makes sense' argument.

[ 24. January 2017, 09:59: Message edited by: Dafyd ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Does 'tragic event due to unforeseen circumstances' mean anything if you're God?

I have seen and heard many people say that the execution of Jesus was a tragic mistake and should never happened, but that God turned it to good - as if he himself were the victim of circumstance and 'it all came right in the end.'
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
The richest, most challenging, controversial, disturbing thread.

It struck this chord.

I quake at what I've said, can't think or pray on it, can only work it out here.

Much to respond to from everyone, I intend to starting with your reply Jolly Jape.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
It makes the crucifixion into suicide

The NT makes it inescapably clear that Jesus chose to sacrifice himself: "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends".

If you choose to characterise this as suicide, that is your problem.

Well, if you continually fail to provide evidence for your assertions beyond, 'This is what it all means because I say so ...' then that's your problem, Kaplan.

I come from a tradition that strongly emphases PSA. For my money, John Stott makes the best defence of it I've come across in 'The Cross of Christ'.

For my money too, Mudfrog is making a good fist of clearing PSA proponents of some of the charges commonly levelled against them ie that they have a bifurcated view of the Trinity, that they oppose a loving, gentle God the Son against a cantankerous and judgemental God the Father ... and leave God the Holy Spirit wiggling around as some kind of after-thought ...

I'm afraid I don't see a great deal of rigour in your arguments. They simply seem to boil down to, 'The Bible teaches it, it's obvious ... if you don't see it the same way as I do then that's your problem ... it's all the fault of nasty Western liberalism ...'

Mousethief isn't coming at this from a Western liberal perspective at all. He's coming at it from an Eastern Orthodox one where the juridical assumptions and emphases we tend to apply in the West don't figure in the overall scheme of things.

You haven't even begun to address that.

All you've done is stamp your feet and claim that the way you read and interpret scripture is THE way that everyone should read and interpret it.

'It's so blindingly obvious that there must be something wrong with anyone who doesn't see it the way I do ...'

Well, it's not blindingly obvious to Dafyd and it's not blindingly obvious to Mousethief.

If you want to convince either of them that your way is the best way - or the only 'correct' way - to interpret these things then you are going to have to do better than this ...

I don't see anyone here claiming that there wasn't anything sacrificial in Christ's death on the cross - 'the righteous for the unrighteous'. What people are questioning is the extent to which it is or isn't 'penal' in the sense of God in Christ absorbing in Himself the penalty for sin.

Some of us here are convinced that this is the case. Others aren't.

We have to explore why that is the case rather than jumping to rash conclusions such as, 'Well, they obviously don't read the Bible properly ...' or 'They are obviously influenced by squeamish Western liberalism ...

It.ain't.that.simple.
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:


Hence if God is the recipient and author of wrath as the proximate cause of death that seems like suicide.

There is a question about how proximate one goes I suppose - in a sense God is the author of everything but there's no point getting all theodicean every time it's relevant to a discussion.

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Oookay, but assuming we're all believers in the Trinity, then that proximity is as close as it is possible to get, no?

Well exactly. Hence the characterization as suicide. It's only not suicide if God is responding to something inevitable and deep that doesn't immediately originate in God. If for instance there's something about the way the universe is, and the actions that human created beings have taken, that means the best option now involves his death than I don't see that as fairly characterized as suicide.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Does 'tragic event due to unforeseen circumstances' mean anything if you're God?

I have seen and heard many people say that the execution of Jesus was a tragic mistake and should never happened, but that God turned it to good - as if he himself were the victim of circumstance and 'it all came right in the end.'
In a sense, that's not a million miles away from the medieval 'Felix Culpa' idea - the Fall as something tragic yet which worked for our good in the end ...

A good example can be found in the medieval carol, 'Adam lay y-bounden ...'

Although I won't expect you to necessarily agree with its conclusion - that if the apple had never taken been, never would Our Lady been Heaven's Queen ...


[Biased]

However we cut it, though, we are told that Christ was killed 'at the hands of wicked men' but that this was according to 'God's set purpose and foreknowledge'.

Acts 2:23

http://bibleapps.com/acts/2-23.htm

This doesn't mean that God the Father 'killed' Jesus, in the sense that he somehow 'inspired' the scourging, nailing and the hanging on the tree - but it does mean that God, being God, knew all about it and 'intended' it in some mysterious way - through a combination of direct and indirect circumstances.

God didn't kill Jesus. Wicked men did.

There's a whole load of mind-blowing stuff going on here that doesn't fit into the binary categories of 'Jesus committed suicide' nor 'It was all some kind of terrible mistake ...'

For my money, the Orthodox tend to deal with issues like this - providence, 'accident' and 'design' better than some Western approaches that seem to tumble into some kind of fatalistic and wooden determinism on the one hand or else into an overly 'Open' Theism on the other where God seems to be able to be caught by surprise ...

And I apologise to Cliffdweller if I'm over-simplifying the Open Theist position, as I'm sure I am doing ... just as I apologise to any Calvinists here if I've over-simplified their approach ...

At the risk of fighting Mousethief's corner for him - and he's perfectly capable of holding his own - it seems to me that Eastern theology is able to deal with these things more elegantly as it's not hampered by some of the assumptions we Westerners bring to the table ...
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Does 'tragic event due to unforeseen circumstances' mean anything if you're God?

Maybe foreseen but inescapable rather than unforeseen.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Does 'tragic event due to unforeseen circumstances' mean anything if you're God?

Maybe foreseen but inescapable rather than unforeseen.
Does "foresee" mean anything if you're God?
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
I think omniscience is classically in the Almighty's JD, yes.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
If God incarnate in Jesus is 'the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world then that has two implications:

1)
The Son of God was 'dead' already, within the heart of God.
2)
The execution of Jesus was the visible, physical 'time and space' outworking of the Lamb already slain. It was the sacrament of an eternal truth.
2)
Being 'like God' now means being aquainted with death - part of the knowledge of good and evil'.
Genesis 3 v 22.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Does 'tragic event due to unforeseen circumstances' mean anything if you're God?

I have seen and heard many people say that the execution of Jesus was a tragic mistake and should never happened, but that God turned it to good - as if he himself were the victim of circumstance and 'it all came right in the end.'
I don't think that's the case with the cross, since it doesn't fit with any of the overall metaphors/biblical understandings of the atonement. But clearly we do think there are "tragic mistakes" (or sin/ disobedience) that God does not want but we trust according to Rom. 8, God can act in and thru them. Just don't think the atonement fits that pattern.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Gamaliel
quote:
However we cut it, though, we are told that Christ was killed 'at the hands of wicked men' but that this was according to 'God's set purpose and foreknowledge'.

'Foreknowledge" is not the same as 'intention' or 'desire'. 'Set purpose', sometimes translated as 'plan', depends on what was the 'purpose' or the 'plan'. To my mind the purpose was atonement by whatever means necessary. That it took the cross was appalling.

The text you quote, as you are aware, is part of Peter's sermon at Pentecost, and as I've pointed out before the climax is when Peter charges the assembled Jews and Proselytes with the murder of the Messiah. In other words they are charged with moral, if not blasphemous, culpability for the crucifixion. The force of that argument would be vitiated if they had simply been ciphers in a sequence of events determined (planned) by God.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, I get that Kwesi, but then there's also the reference Mudfrog made to the Lamb 'slain before the foundation of the earth' ... or 'from the foundation of the earth' as some versions have it.

Whatever else we may take that to mean it seems to imply more than foreknowledge and suggests some kind of intentionality ...

But again - these are mysterious things and I'm forced back onto my usual both/and rationalisation ...

[Biased]

I remember a Bible study group once when someone produced some postcards of artworks (shock, horror for the uber-Protestants) to help with the discussion. One was a Romanesque sculpture from medieval France, possibly Autun, I can't remember - but it had - rather unusually - a figure of God the Father with a halo containing a cruciform motif.

Someone observed that this seemed to underline the point that the Cross was somehow 'in the mind of God' from eternity.

Thing is, God is outside of time anyway, he seems to 'be' in some kind of Eternal Now if we can put it that way - past, present and future aren't 'linear' to Him in the way they are to us ... so on one level it's all very speculative and academic to even apply our own temporal concerns to the Almighty.

I'm treading carefully ... these things are areas where we should indeed 'walk softly', I think.

Whatever our respective understandings are they are all bound to be inadequate.

Nevertheless, we can still discuss ...
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
The interesting thing about it all, of course, is that up to the very second that Pilate washed his hands, Jesus was in total control. He didn't just walk into the trap, he stayed there waiting for it to spring.

The arrest, the trial, everything from Palm Sunday until Barabbas was set free, was controlled by Jesus. The Jewish leaders did as expected of them according to their prejudices - they were not made to kill Jesus, but Jesus wilfully, deliberately, encouraged them to set up the illegal trial, to force Pilate's hand, etc, etc; and Jesus by his willing acquiescence to what they were doing, just let them get on with it.

Every opportunity was given to him to get away, to go back to Galilee and to be safe.
But he took not one chance to go back.

He stood in front of the train and the train inevitably hit him.
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Every opportunity was given to him to get away, to go back to Galilee and to be safe.
But he took not one chance to go back.

But why not? Not because he had a death wish, but because there were deeper reasons why he had to die beyond the immediate temporal one of Pilate's jurisdiction.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Every opportunity was given to him to get away, to go back to Galilee and to be safe.
But he took not one chance to go back.

But why not? Not because he had a death wish, but because there were deeper reasons why he had to die beyond the immediate temporal one of Pilate's jurisdiction.
Exactly! He had to die. There is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Every opportunity was given to him to get away, to go back to Galilee and to be safe.
But he took not one chance to go back.

But why not? Not because he had a death wish, but because there were deeper reasons why he had to die beyond the immediate temporal one of Pilate's jurisdiction.
Exactly! He had to die. There is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.
But why is there no forgiveness without the shedding of blood. You,(I would guess- I don't want to put words in your mouth) would say it is because there is a penal element to the Atonement. I would say it's because of the covenant, ratified by sacrificial commitment on the part of God, is sealed with blood. OT sacrifice is not penal. The scapegoat is released to go free, not slain. The blood is a symbol of God's commitment to humankind, and, furthermore, the initiative and execution are all on God's part. This explains why Isaiah and Amos are so offended by the idea that by going through the sacrificial motions are in any way adequate to bring reconciliation between man and God. It isn't the sacrifice that matters, the sacrifice is only intended to recall, to bring into the very present, the covenant of grace, which is wholly God's initiative. Hence, Holy Communion.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Exactly! He had to die. There is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.

Rubbish, what a thoroughly unbiblical and unchristlike idea. Have you read the gospels? How often did someone only get forgiveness when they shed some blood?

Answer - never.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Well first of all, it's the Bible itself that says

quote:
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Hebrews 9 v 22

God himself said,
quote:
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.
Leviticus 17 v 11

How is the scapegoat not a picture of PSA?
The sin is placed on the goat and it is sent away to die in the desert - cut off from the herd, rejected.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Jesus forgave people. How exactly did he do that if blood was required? How many people he forgave first shed blood?

C'mon, name one gospel character that Jesus forgave who first met the blood sacrifice requirement.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Exactly! He had to die. There is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.

Rubbish, what a thoroughly unbiblical and unchristlike idea. Have you read the gospels? How often did someone only get forgiveness when they shed some blood?

Answer - never.

Don't be ignorant.
The people in the Gospels were Jews. They lived under the Torah - the entire sacrificial system and the day of Atonement - everything - was centred around that great big building in Jerusalem - what was it again? Oh yes, the Temple with the big altar in it on which thousands of animals were killed as sacrifices for sins.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Don't be ignorant.

Don't call me ignorant.

quote:
The people in the Gospels were Jews. They lived under the Torah - the entire sacrificial system and the day of Atonement - everything - was centred around that great big building in Jerusalem - what was it again? Oh yes, the Temple with the big altar in it on which thousands of animals were killed as sacrifices for sins.
If the temple sacrifice was sufficient, then Jesus wouldn't have needed to make a point of telling people they were forgiven.

Funnily enough, I have a pretty good knowledge of the New Testament despite you telling me I'm being ignorant.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Jesus forgave people. How exactly did he do that if blood was required? How many people he forgave first shed blood?

C'mon, name one gospel character that Jesus forgave who first met the blood sacrifice requirement.

He forgave by very virtue of the fact that he was the Lamb of God who takes away (through his own sacrifice) the sins of the world. The Son of Man has authority to forgive sins! He IS the sacrifice.

People were forgiven by virtue of what he was to do - he was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

My God what do they teach you in your church?
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
The sin is placed on the goat and it is sent away to die in the desert - cut off from the herd, rejected.

The goat's set free in the wilderness. Nothing says that it has to be taken all the way out into the desert. There's nothing about the goat dying (except in the Holman Hunt painting). Goats are pretty hardy animals.
We're not talking about an environment where everywhere that's fertile is intensively farmed and the rest is desert. The wilderness areas between settlements will be quite large enough to set a goat free in and for the goat to survive (if not caught by a predator).
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
He forgave by very virtue of the fact that he was the Lamb of God who takes away (through his own sacrifice) the sins of the world. The Son of Man has authority to forgive sins! He IS the sacrifice.

He forgave people before the crucifixion.

quote:
People were forgiven by virtue of what he was to do - he was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

My God what do they teach you in your church?

My God, what kind of logic did you learn in Salvation Army school. If the atonement was relevant backwards in time, what was the point of the first testament, temple sacrifice and so on?
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
By laying his hands on the head of the goat and confessing the sins of the people, Aaron, as the representative of all the people, identified with the goat and symbolically transferred the people's sins to it...
...The goat is sent away to 'a solitary place' (literally 'a land of cutting off', (Lev 16 v 22) where without a doubt it would be expected to die.

quote:
The idea of death is also suggested merely by the notion of exclusion from the camp.' To be expelled from the camp of Israel...was to experience a living death.' Gordon Wenhm, Genesis 1 - 15, Word Biblical Commentary
Bit the goat's fate has a greater significance than this. Throughout Leviticus we find that to be excluded, or 'cut off', from the camp of Israel was to experience God's punishment for sin (e.g. Lev 7 v 20- 27; 17 v 4-9, 20 v 3, 5-6, et al)

quote:
The references to Leviticus 20 are particularly striking, for here God himself threatens to 'cut off' those who sin.' Wenham
The clear implication is that the goat is depicted in Leviticus 16 v 22 as suffering this fate.


Jeffery, Ovey and Piper, eds. Pierced for our Transgressions, Nottingham, IVP, 2007


 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I think omniscience is classically in the Almighty's JD, yes.

It's more the issue of aspect that's exercising me here. If you exist outside of time, then there's no future to foresee. All is present. There is no "what might happen". There is only what happens.

[ 24. January 2017, 16:07: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I think omniscience is classically in the Almighty's JD, yes.

It's more the issue of aspect that's exercising me here. If you exist outside of time, then there's no future to foresee. All is present. There is no "what might happen". There is only what happens.
This. Yes.

In every insult, rift and war,
where colour, scorn or wealth divide,
he suffers still, et loves the more,
and lives, though ever crucified.

Brian Wren


To Mr Cheesy, who asks about the sacrifice of Jesus going backwards, as it were; this is why.

Jesus is always the Lamb slain for sins.
The Mosaic sacrifices foreshadowed the final sacrifice of Calvary; they prefigured it, they echoed it in advance, if you like.

Once Jesus died at that moment in history, he fulfilled the law, validating all the had gone before and replacing it with the sacrifice in his own blood.

Consider this: God gave the sacrificial system out of his grace as the means of atonement. Jesus is the Word of God and was also part of that giving of the laws of sacrifice.
They were never useless, though they were in themselves imperfect. It's only because they looked forward to the complete sacrifice of the cross that they had any validity whatsoever.

That's how the priests could pronounce forgiveness.
It's how Jesus himself pronounced forgiveness.
It was all flowing from the cross in our time, and from the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, in eternity.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:


Consider this: God gave the sacrificial system out of his grace as the means of atonement. Jesus is the Word of God and was also part of that giving of the laws of sacrifice.
They were never useless, though they were in themselves imperfect. It's only because they looked forward to the complete sacrifice of the cross that they had any validity whatsoever.

The very way you are explaining this is straight and temporal. If one thing was imperfect followed by another thing then it can't follow that the subsequent perfect thing was sufficient formerly. That's just logic bozo.


quote:
That's how the priests could pronounce forgiveness.
It's how Jesus himself pronounced forgiveness.
It was all flowing from the cross in our time, and from the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, in eternity.

This sounds a lot move like CV than PSA. In fact if PSA is correct - in any sense - then it cannot possibly operate backwards in time.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:


Consider this: God gave the sacrificial system out of his grace as the means of atonement. Jesus is the Word of God and was also part of that giving of the laws of sacrifice.
They were never useless, though they were in themselves imperfect. It's only because they looked forward to the complete sacrifice of the cross that they had any validity whatsoever.

The very way you are explaining this is straight and temporal. If one thing was imperfect followed by another thing then it can't follow that the subsequent perfect thing was sufficient formerly. That's just logic bozo.


quote:
That's how the priests could pronounce forgiveness.
It's how Jesus himself pronounced forgiveness.
It was all flowing from the cross in our time, and from the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, in eternity.

This sounds a lot move like CV than PSA. In fact if PSA is correct - in any sense - then it cannot possibly operate backwards in time.

Just read the letter to the Hebrews on a quiet evening sometime.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Just read the letter to the Hebrews on a quiet evening sometime.

Just cut out the sanctimony and we might actually have a reasonable conversation.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Just read the letter to the Hebrews on a quiet evening sometime.

Just cut out the sanctimony and we might actually have a reasonable conversation.
OK Bozo [Biased]
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Gamaliel
quote:
hen there's also the reference Mudfrog made to the Lamb 'slain before the foundation of the earth' ... or 'from the foundation of the earth' as some versions have it.

Whatever else we may take that to mean it seems to imply more than foreknowledge and suggests some kind of intentionality ...


But again - these are mysterious things and I'm forced back onto my usual both/and rationalisation ...

So what is your argument?
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Well first of all, it's the Bible itself that says

quote:
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Hebrews 9 v 22

God himself said,
quote:
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.
Leviticus 17 v 11

How is the scapegoat not a picture of PSA?
The sin is placed on the goat and it is sent away to die in the desert - cut off from the herd, rejected.

Where does it say the goat was sent away to die? There are any number of ways of killing a goat, but driving them off to live out their presumably happy if somewhat solitary goaty lives doesn't really cut it as a parallel for blood sacrifice. In fact, if there is any domesticated animal that would thrive in the wild, surely it is a goat. They will eat almost anything, and can pretty well hold their own against predators. And, to repeat, the point about sacrifice was to point the people back to the covenant, a reenactment of Genesis. No penal element whatsoever. Indeed, the sacrificial victim had to be spotless, a picture of innocence, not imparted sin.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Sorry, that should have read Genesis 15
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Kwesi: What I find most significant about this quote is that it equates saving faith as belief in a certain set of propositions that will be tested for their accuracy on the last day
No issue of propositions. It is always if you know the Lord. Knowing him is in the first instance, knowing what he did for you. What he did was deal with my sin issue. Like the trinity, the how of this is unfathomable and must be experienced by humble acceptance on the basis of revelation. It is not either intellectually apprehended nor hermeneutically discerned alone. You experience it and then you read it in scripture and then,at last, you realise it but the realisation is a recognition after the fact.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
My argument, Kwesi?

To quote a hymn Mudfrog might recognise ...

'I know no other argument, I have no other plea;
Jesus died for sinners, and Jesus died for me.'

Now, that doesn't explain the 'mechanics'.

I s'pose I'm trying to have my cake and eat it. I like aspects of both the Eastern and Western understandings of the atonement and I'm trying so far as I can to merge or combine the two. That might me fall over or do the splits, I don't know ... But both/and not either/or tends to me my mantra.

I don't think the case for PSA is as clear cut as some of its proponents make out but by the same token, I feel many of it's opponents overstate their case in the opposite direction.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
In fact if PSA is correct - in any sense - then it cannot possibly operate backwards in time.

I disagree; I think this is one of the flaws PSA does not have. As long as Jesus has taken the punishment, God can backdate the atonement as far as God chooses.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
I disagree; I think this is one of the flaws PSA does not have. As long as Jesus has taken the punishment, God can backdate the atonement as far as God chooses.

Well he could, but that creates more problems than it solves, particularly if you add in the God-is-outside-of-time thing.

It also doesn't answer the "why bother with the temple sacrifice" thing if he knows there is a sacrifice which already covers the sin.

[ 24. January 2017, 19:59: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by ThunderBunk (# 15579) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
In fact if PSA is correct - in any sense - then it cannot possibly operate backwards in time.

I disagree; I think this is one of the flaws PSA does not have. As long as Jesus has taken the punishment, God can backdate the atonement as far as God chooses.
And BOOM goes the trinity. The second person is cast out of it.

PSA is an irredeemable load of nonsense, or Christianity is.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Gamaliel
quote:
I don't think the case for PSA is as clear cut as some of its proponents make out but by the same token, I feel many of it's opponents overstate their case in the opposite direction.
What is the opposite direction you are on about?

Gamaliel
quote:
To quote a hymn Mudfrog might recognise ...

'I know no other argument, I have no other plea;
Jesus died for sinners, and Jesus died for me.'

Now, that doesn't explain the 'mechanics'.

But PSA supporters claim to understand "the mechanics', which is why Kaplan, for example, is so dismissive of mysticism.

Quite frankly, I find the couplet completely unhelpful and embarrassingly sentimental doggerel.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Jamat
quote:
What he did was deal with my sin issue. Like the trinity, the how of this is unfathomable and must be experienced by humble acceptance on the basis of revelation.
Jamat, if "the how of this is unfathomable," then how can you be so furled to one particular explanation? I find your position unfathomable.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, it is sentimental doggerel, Kwesi, and also very 'me-centred' and pietistic, but it did express something I was trying to say.

On the mysticism thing, I can see Kaplan's objections to that, but I don't see anyone here coming out with whishty-whishty mysticism.

Good question about the 'opposite' tendency. I s'pose I'm rather like Mudfrog and Kaplan insofar as I have been so steeped in the penal imagery that I feel nervous when it's not there ...

All this is work in progress for me ...
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Jamat
quote:
What he did was deal with my sin issue. Like the trinity, the how of this is unfathomable and must be experienced by humble acceptance on the basis of revelation.
Jamat, if "the how of this is unfathomable," then how can you be so furled to one particular explanation? I find your position unfathomable.
Explaining the atonement is impossible. PSA does not explain how it works,it denotes what it is. The centre of the gospel is the exchange it makes possible. You can't experience the ride by watching it.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Explaining the atonement is impossible. PSA does not explain how it works,it denotes what it is.

I don't have a knife sharp enough to slide between those rocks. Can you explain how one can do the latter without doing the former?
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I think omniscience is classically in the Almighty's JD, yes.

quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
It's more the issue of aspect that's exercising me here. If you exist outside of time, then there's no future to foresee. All is present. There is no "what might happen". There is only what happens.

But does casting it as foresight or current-sight-applied-to-all-time change the argument?
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
But PSA supporters claim to understand "the mechanics'

And some go even further to say that without a right understanding of the mechanics an individual is not saved.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
But PSA supporters claim to understand "the mechanics'

And some go even further to say that without a right understanding of the mechanics an individual is not saved.
And so it becomes "works" for salvation, IMO.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The passage from Romans 6 that I quoted earlier describes a mechanism that makes sense of it.

No it doesn't.

It is one of a number of examples in the NT of supplementary aspects of Christ's work, such as theosis, CV, moral influence, illustration of humility.

It does not stand alone as a model of soteriology because it leaves out the penal and substitutionary aspects which are integral to salvation in the rest of the NT (Paul, Hebrews and elsewhere), contravening the exegetical principle of the Analogy of Scripture.

quote:
PSA does not make sense of anything, because PSA does not make sense on its own terms.
As I have pointed out to you a number of times, Christianity involves believing things which are not susceptible of comprehensive demonstration, such as the Trinity, or the co-existence of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.

Your attempt to portray PSA as unique in this respect is arbitrary and inconsistent.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
As I have pointed out to you a number of times, Christianity involves believing things which are not susceptible of comprehensive demonstration, such as the Trinity, or the co-existence of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.

Your attempt to portray PSA as unique in this respect is arbitrary and inconsistent.

OK, but on that basis anyone could believe anything that they've made up with a shrug and "it doesn't have to make sense, just accept it".

At least one difference between the doctrine of the Trinity and PSA is that the former has a very long pedigree whereas the latter wasn't totally formulated for 1500+ years.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The passage from Romans 6 that I quoted earlier describes a mechanism that makes sense of it.

No it doesn't.

It is one of a number of examples in the NT of supplementary aspects of Christ's work, such as theosis, CV, moral influence, illustration of humility.

It does not stand alone as a model of soteriology because it leaves out the penal and substitutionary aspects which are integral to salvation in the rest of the NT (Paul, Hebrews and elsewhere), contravening the exegetical principle of the Analogy of Scripture.

quote:
PSA does not make sense of anything, because PSA does not make sense on its own terms.
As I have pointed out to you a number of times, Christianity involves believing things which are not susceptible of comprehensive demonstration, such as the Trinity, or the co-existence of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.

Your attempt to portray PSA as unique in this respect is arbitrary and inconsistent.

So, why isn't declaring what you obviously see as the secondary, minor or 'supplementary' aspects of the atonement - theosis, CV, moral influence etc - arbitrary and inconsistent, Kaplan?

If you are going to demand consistency and a lack of arbritariness from those who disagree with you, then why not first practice such things yourself?

So far, you have produced no other argument than, 'The Bible teaches PSA because I say so ...'

I keep chivvying at you to do better than that, but for some reason you appear unable to do so.

It's all very well and good saying that 'Paul, Hebrews and elsewhere' clearly teach PSA but you haven't demonstrated that they do.

I've been steeped in PSA for decades and you're not convincing me let alone anyone else. All you are doing is throwing out vague biblical references - 'elsewhere' - and expecting them to 'stick' because you believe they should ...

You have so far failed to come up with any convincing account as to why whole tracts of Christianity don't see these things in the same way as you do. The only explanation you seem to put forward is that, unlike you, they aren't reading the Bible properly ...

Because I like to see a balance, I'm actually willing you to do better than that.

But you keep disappointing me. You are unable to do any better. You do not have a strong case. Or if you do, you are unable to articulate it strongly enough.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
For a kick off, to claim that PSA is somehow the over-riding NT model for understanding the atonement is somehow primary and over-arching and all the others are purely supplementary is to make a whopping big assumption ...

It might be an assumption shared by your particular tradition, but it is an assumption nevertheless.

The NT doesn't offer us some neatly packaged schema, it offers us Christ - and it offers us a kaleidoscope or mosaic of glimpses, hints, tantalising suggestions and much else besides (see, I'm doing it now - 'elsewhere') - as well as moral teachings and didactic material.

There are a whole array of models available for understanding the atonement and not a single one of them - in and of itself - is sufficiently stand-alone to cover all the bases.

We can't focus on one or t'other of them at the expense of all the others.

Now, it could be that PSA is one of these models. Some people don't think it is. Why not?

Is it because they are liberal 'modernists'? Well, no, not necessarily. As I've said before, Mousethief's Church isn't liberal or modernist and they don't hold to PSA ...

So, there must be some other explanation ...

Ah! Perhaps they aren't reading the Bible properly ...

In which case, demonstrate that they aren't.

Simply chucking verses at people and saying, 'It's beyond our ken, just like the Trinity!' isn't going to get us anywhere ...
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
My argument, Kwesi?

To quote a hymn Mudfrog might recognise ...

'I know no other argument, I have no other plea;
Jesus died for sinners, and Jesus died for me.'


Can I be annoyingly pedantic?

It's actually:

We have no other argument, we want (have) no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died, and that he died for me.

These words are usually added to a Charles Wesley hymn, Jesus, the name high over all
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
But PSA supporters claim to understand "the mechanics'

And some go even further to say that without a right understanding of the mechanics an individual is not saved.
On the first point: Do they?
On the second point: Do they?

Evidence?
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
But PSA supporters claim to understand "the mechanics'

And some go even further to say that without a right understanding of the mechanics an individual is not saved.
And so it becomes "works" for salvation, IMO.
The ironic thing about that unsubstantiated comment is that the people who are more likely to propose PSA as one of the models - or even the main model - of atonement are precisely the ones who reject salvation by any kind of works at all.

Grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone.
We would be the ones to highlight our Bibles verses such as
"For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast."
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Can I be annoyingly pedantic?

It's actually:

We have no other argument, we want (have) no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died, and that he died for me.

These words are usually added to a Charles Wesley hymn, Jesus, the name high over all

Depends on which hymn one is talking about, the words appear as Gam quotes in My faith has found a resting place by Eliza Edmunds Hewitt.

Of course, I can't possibly know that, given I'm ignorant of such things.

[ 25. January 2017, 10:18: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Indeed. In the evangelical revivalist tradition a number of choruses are intertwined with other hymns and are often used for more than one hymn. We have had a number of them in our song books over the years; but isn't it interesting how one's knowledge of a subject can be increased so markedly by a couple of clicks on Google.

[ 25. January 2017, 10:23: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
but isn't it interesting how one's knowledge of a subject can be increased so markedly by a couple of clicks on Google.

Or, in fact, by a whole childhood spent singing these kinds of hymns.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
And some go even further to say that without a right understanding of the mechanics an individual is not saved.

On the first point: Do they?
On the second point: Do they?

Evidence?

I must be missing something because I only see one point in the above you're replying to - but anyway, yes it is true that Evangelicals exist who insist that only acceptance of their form of PSA is legitimate in terms of salvation.

This website lays out clearly what I've heard many times; namely that PSA is correct and every other theory of the atonement is unbiblical and wrong. This piece by the President of a Southern Baptist Seminary comes pretty close in saying that PSA is necessary for salvation.

I'm pretty sure that a few moments longer on google would find even clearer examples.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
And some go even further to say that without a right understanding of the mechanics an individual is not saved.

On the first point: Do they?
On the second point: Do they?

Evidence?

I must be missing something because I only see one point in the above you're replying to - but anyway, yes it is true that Evangelicals exist who insist that only acceptance of their form of PSA is legitimate in terms of salvation.

This website lays out clearly what I've heard many times; namely that PSA is correct and every other theory of the atonement is unbiblical and wrong. This piece by the President of a Southern Baptist Seminary comes pretty close in saying that PSA is necessary for salvation.

I'm pretty sure that a few moments longer on google would find even clearer examples.

I think you may have cut and paste the post incorrectly:

quote:
quote:

Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:

Originally posted by Kwesi:
But PSA supporters claim to understand "the mechanics'

And some go even further to say that without a right understanding of the mechanics an individual is not saved.

On the first point: Do they?
On the second point: Do they?

Evidence?

The point I was questioning was not the acceptance of the doctrine in order to be saved, but, on both accounts, but the understanding of it, implying that to be saved one must have a theological understanding of a point of doctrine.
One doesn't otherwise only the learned and academic would go to Heaven - and we know that they don't! [Biased]

One does not need an acceptable level of understanding to be saved; one needs to believe, trust and have faith.

Otherwise, not understanding the full truth of the Trinity, the Incarnation and the finer points of Sanctification would bar any of us from having any relationship with the Godhead, with the Lord Jesus Christ or even the Holy Spirit.


* No Googling was used in this post and no animals were harmed.

[ 25. January 2017, 10:48: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:


One does not need an acceptable level of understanding to be saved; one needs to believe, trust and have faith.

OK, but we'd agree that the thing we're supposed to believe in is (in this context) The Atonement, correct?

PSA is an explanation of the Atonement, so yes, if someone is saying that PSA is necessary then one is actually saying that one must have this basic level of understanding for salvation!
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
But PSA supporters claim to understand "the mechanics'

quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
And some go even further to say that without a right understanding of the mechanics an individual is not saved.

quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
On the first point: Do they?

What is PSA if not an explanation of the mechanics?

quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
On the second point: Do they?

Yes.

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Paul strongly implies that forgiveness is contingent upon the fact that Christ is the propitiatory sacrifice for the sin of humanity, individual by individual. If one leaves out that element, one departs from The true church. One may consider oneself a believer but in fact the belief is in a lie. One may protest at the judgement seat but it will be in vain.


 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
' ... Or even the Holy Spirit'?

What are you implying, Mudfrog? That the Holy Spirit is subordinate? That he isn't even part of the Godhead?

[Razz]

Now, of course I don't believe you are implying any such thing, but simply giving another example of how we have to be careful how we word things and express them.

Meanwhile, it's pretty clear that many evangelicals see PSA as the predominant way of understanding the atonement and doubt the salvation of those who believe differently.

I've cited Dr Martin Lloyd Jones's doubts about the reality of C S Lewis's faith, for instance, precisely because Lewis was squeamish about PSA and wouldn't nail his colours to that particular mast ...

One doesn't have to spend very long in evangelical circles to get the impression that it's PSA All The Way ... and that, as Kaplan has asserted, all other models are somehow 'supplementary' and subordinate to it ...

It's rather like some RCs I've come across in my time who assert that the only reason Protestants or Orthodox won't accept the ultimate authority of the Pope is because they are inherently rebellious and anti-authoritarian ...

Otherwise, why would they reject something that was so clear and obvious from scripture?

Well, the answer to that, of course, is that the rest of us don't find it so clear and obvious in scripture ...

By the same token, as I've indicated several times here on this thread, it doesn't seem to occur to some proponents of PSA that what they see as clear and unequivocal in the scriptures isn't seen the same way by everybody ...

C S Lewis didn't appear to consider it clear and unequivocal.

The Orthodox don't either.

Are/were they liberals or modernists? Are they/were they trying to justify themselves by works?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
As an aside, yes, I've heard the words you cite appended to that Charles Wesley hymn, Mudfrog.

And yes, I've heard them as I quoted them - but couldn't remember where they came from. So thanks to mr cheesy for identifying it.

To be honest, I've heard it more as a handy quote that preachers have bandied around in sermons rather than something I've actually heard sung or sung myself - although I dare say I must have sung it at one time or other ...
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The passage from Romans 6 that I quoted earlier describes a mechanism that makes sense of it.

No it doesn't.

It is one of a number of examples in the NT of supplementary aspects of Christ's work, such as theosis, CV, moral influence, illustration of humility.

It does not stand alone as a model of soteriology because it leaves out the penal and substitutionary aspects which are integral to salvation in the rest of the NT (Paul, Hebrews and elsewhere), contravening the exegetical principle of the Analogy of Scripture.

That looks like circular reasoning to me.

KC: Penal substitution is taught in Hebrews.
D: Hebrews teaches sacrifice, not penal substitution.
KC: Only penal substitution makes sense of sacrifice.
D: Why doesn't the Romans passage make sense of sacrifice?
KC: Because it leaves out penal substitution as taught in Hebrews.

quote:
quote:
PSA does not make sense of anything, because PSA does not make sense on its own terms.
As I have pointed out to you a number of times, Christianity involves believing things which are not susceptible of comprehensive demonstration, such as the Trinity, or the co-existence of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.

Your attempt to portray PSA as unique in this respect is arbitrary and inconsistent.

There is a wide gap between 'not susceptible of comprehensive demonstration' and 'doesn't make sense on its own terms'.

The Trinity is not self-contradictory. Penal substitutionary atonement is self-contradictory.
Likewise, arguments can be made that reconcile God's sovereignity and human responsibility (e.g. via the doctrine of primary and secondary causes). But I have never seen an attempt to resolve the contradictions at the heart of PSA that doesn't shift to Christus Victor (e.g. Jamat's assertion earlier in this thread that sin is a force).

Far from other explanations of the atonement being supplementary to PSA, PSA is only defensible when it is made a manner of speaking about some other more fundamental explanation.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

The NT doesn't offer us some neatly packaged schema, it offers us Christ

This.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Mudfrog
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
But PSA supporters claim to understand "the mechanics'
And some go even further to say that without a right understanding of the mechanics an individual is not saved.

On the first point: Do they?
On the second point: Do they?

Evidence?

would have thought that one of the attraction of PSA is that it describes the mechanic of the atonement more convincingly than the others because it is a theory that explains the process: the transaction.

1.God is loving and wants to save human beings from sin and its consequences.
2.The problem is that because of his just nature he finds the sinning of humans incites his wrath, so that before he can do the positive things he intends there has to be the punishment of sinners for their transgressions.
3.Unfortunately, the punishment is damnation and the eternal tortures of hell, so that the punishment of the sinner precludes the possibility of surviving the sentence in order to receive God’s Grace.
4.God is, however, prepared to accept the punishment and death of his innocent son through crucifixion as a substitute for the punishment of all the sins (past, present, and future) committed by human beings.
5.God’s wrath towards humanity is, therefore, satisfied.
6.God is now in a position to offer his salvation to sinners, provided they repent.


This seems to me pretty mechanical in character and easy to understand, which as a theory has much to commend it.

The evidence you ask for is to be found in the posts of Kaplan Corday, for example, who is clearly not speaking simply for himself.
**********************

Regarding the charge of doggerel, I guess it’s a matter of personal taste and judgement. As to the appendage to a hymn of Charles Wesley, I’m forced to concur with John Wesley “Many gentlemen have done my brother and me the honour to reprint many of our hymns. But l would desire they would not attempt to mend them: for they really are not able.”
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
My argument, Kwesi?

To quote a hymn Mudfrog might recognise ...

'I know no other argument, I have no other plea;
Jesus died for sinners, and Jesus died for me.'


The Greek for 'for' in the epistles has the sense of 'with' - i.e. we share in His death.

It does not mean 'instead'.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Well, Leo, if it's not "instead" it's not penal substitution. If so, it's not relevant to this discussion.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I'm pretty sure the hymn was written in 19 century English, not Greek, and that therefore the sense of "instead of" was intended.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I'm pretty sure the hymn was written in 19 century English, not Greek, and that therefore the sense of "instead of" was intended.

In colloquial English, 'for' means 'on behalf of'. 'I am running a marathon for a cancer charity' does not mean that the charity was going to run but you took their place.

'Jesus died for me' is an expression of the atonement as such, not of any particular theory.

[ 25. January 2017, 21:30: Message edited by: Dafyd ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
And to be fair, a brief in PSA does not preclude the idea of being united with Christ in his death so that we might also share in the resurrection.

Whether there's an 'on behalf of' or an 'instead of' thing going on, there's a sense of involvement/engagement with the whole 'Christ event' as it were ...

How that 'works' or is seen to 'work' is going to vary according to tradition and perspective, but it seems to me it's there in most approaches. Perhaps I'm naive ...
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Gamaliel
quote:
And to be fair, a brief in PSA does not preclude the idea of being united with Christ in his death so that we might also share in the resurrection.

That doesn't seem quite right to me. Isn't the point of PSA that Christ suffers punishment instead of us i.e. we are detached from it. To be united with a punishment being endured on our behalf would seem to defeat the exercise.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I'm pretty sure the hymn was written in 19 century English, not Greek, and that therefore the sense of "instead of" was intended.

In colloquial English, 'for' means 'on behalf of'. 'I am running a marathon for a cancer charity' does not mean that the charity was going to run but you took their place.
Seems a bit overbroad to me. "For" can certainly mean "in place of" or "instead of" in colloquial English—"It was my turn to do the dishes but Betty surprised me and did them for me." "The vicar was supposed to lead Morning Prayer yesterday, but she was sick so Alice Tinker took the service for her."
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I'm pretty sure the hymn was written in 19 century English, not Greek, and that therefore the sense of "instead of" was intended.

I can't in the least see how the second half of that follows from the first.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
D: Why doesn't the Romans passage make sense of sacrifice?

Romans 6:5-10 is not outlining a scheme of salvation as such, and I know of no commentator who imagines that it does.

It describes a flow-on from Christ's penal and substitutionary sacrifice, using the language of crucifixion and death.

The context, beginning with v.1, is victory over sin in the Christian life - sanctification instead of justification, to employ a quaint but still useful distinction.

As F.F. Bruce puts it in his Romans commentary, referring to v.7: "...the man[!] who has died with Christ has his slate wiped clean, and is ready to begin his new life with Christ freed from the entail of the past".

It is one of Paul's tropes, and can be found elsewhere, for instance in Gal. 2:20 and 6:14.


quote:

There is a wide gap between 'not susceptible of comprehensive demonstration' and 'doesn't make sense on its own terms'.

Not in these cases there isn't.

Explanations of both the Trinity, and the co-existence of Divine sovereignty and human freedom can take us so far, but are ultimately contradictory in terms of human logic.

Theologians have struggled for two millennia in each case to square the circle.

If you are confident that you have a final interpretation that deals with all the seeming inconsistencies of a belief in either, then please by all means publish your findings, put the matters to rest, and put the church in your debt.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I can't in the least see how the second half of that follows from the first.

I think the sense of the words in the hymn is more related to the 19 century use of the word - and very likely the Calvinist leanings of the author - than any possible alternative readings from the Greek.

I agree it is a sideissue and I'm pretty sure nobody is suggesting that this hymn is authoritative, but I also believe the sense from the hymn is that of substitution not anything else.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
In colloquial English, 'for' means 'on behalf of'. 'I am running a marathon for a cancer charity' does not mean that the charity was going to run but you took their place.

I'm not sure it is as obvious a difference as you suggest. But OK, maybe in your example that is the case, I very much doubt it is what was intended by the hymn writer.

quote:
'Jesus died for me' is an expression of the atonement as such, not of any particular theory.
That's probably true, although I suspect those words are interpeted in various ways depending on who is reading them and their conception of the atonement.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:

Romans 6:5-10 is not outlining a scheme of salvation as such, and I know of no commentator who imagines that it does.

It describes a flow-on from Christ's penal and substitutionary sacrifice, using the language of crucifixion and death.

The context, beginning with v.1, is victory over sin in the Christian life - sanctification instead of justification, to employ a quaint but still useful distinction.

As F.F. Bruce puts it in his Romans commentary, referring to v.7: "...the man[!] who has died with Christ has his slate wiped clean, and is ready to begin his new life with Christ freed from the entail of the past".

It is one of Paul's tropes, and can be found elsewhere, for instance in Gal. 2:20 and 6:14.


Of the Romans passage, it is only v 10 that seems to touch on a sacrifice that washes away sin. Galations 2:20 is hard to square with PSA as it talks about considering oneself crucified with Christ - which sounds almost blasphemous in isolation - Galations 6:14 can be read in many ways, I don't see that really touching on PSA.

So at best you've got 1 possible point out of an available 3 here.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Gamaliel
quote:
And to be fair, a brief in PSA does not preclude the idea of being united with Christ in his death so that we might also share in the resurrection.

That doesn't seem quite right to me. Isn't the point of PSA that Christ suffers punishment instead of us i.e. we are detached from it. To be united with a punishment being endured on our behalf would seem to defeat the exercise.
It might not seem quite right to you, Kwesi, but I can assure you that in the evangelical circles I'm aware of the two things do run side by side. There is a strong emphasis on our union with Christ in his death and resurrection within the Wesleyan traditions, for instance.

Sometimes on this discussion, I get the impression that opponents of PSA think that this is the only model that evangelicals use. It may be the predominant one in most instances, see Kaplan's posts for proof positive of that, but it isn't the only one.

The reality is that in pietistic spirituality in an evangelical context the various models and tropes are porous and bleed and blend into one another - sometimes annoyingly and even in the course of a single line of a worship song or chorus ..
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:


Sometimes on this discussion, I get the impression that opponents of PSA think that this is the only model that evangelicals use. It may be the predominant one in most instances, see Kaplan's posts for proof positive of that, but it isn't the only one.

The reality is that in pietistic spirituality in an evangelical context the various models and tropes are porous and bleed and blend into one another - sometimes annoyingly and even in the course of a single line of a worship song or chorus ..

This is true - I was only thinking this earlier. But then in a sense this is even worse. They often seem to claim that PSA is the only way to think about it whilst simultaneously insisting upon saying stuff that flatly contradicts it.

In fairness, I suspect this is because of the messy middle ground in Evangelicalism at the moment, where many different influences have been mashed together into incoherence. So one may well use a songbook (does anyone have those any more?) which includes songs from many different positions including the Wesleyan holiness, the Calvinistic through to more modern forms like Vineyard and Hillsongs. I've long thought that there are many Evangelicals who'd be horrified if they stopped to listen to the words that they're singing.

I don't know that it was like this in the past, there was much more denominational influence in the choices of hymns sung and I think those who assembled the books were more inclined to throw out the songs which didn't meet their standards.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Gamaliel
quote:
Sometimes on this discussion, I get the impression that opponents of PSA think that this is the only model that evangelicals use.
Remember, we are not discussing "evangelicalism" here but PSA. (Though it would be instructive for me to have a thread on what "evangelicalism" is and what "evangelicals" believe). To repeat: PSA is a distinctly dispassionate rational theory. Indeed, it is grounded in the culture of the law court and the routine execution of just sentences. There is no room for an affective dimension.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
In colloquial English, 'for' means 'on behalf of'. 'I am running a marathon for a cancer charity' does not mean that the charity was going to run but you took their place.

Seems a bit overbroad to me. "For" can certainly mean "in place of" or "instead of" in colloquial English—"It was my turn to do the dishes but Betty surprised me and did them for me." "The vicar was supposed to lead Morning Prayer yesterday, but she was sick so Alice Tinker took the service for her."
"I really wanted to play Hamlet. Benedict made friends with the director and got the part for me."
That doesn't mean 'Benedict got the part instead of me'.

The denotation of 'for' is 'on behalf of'. Sometimes the way I do something on behalf of someone else is to do it when they would have otherwise done it themselves, in which case I am doing it instead of them; but that's not the general sense of the word as opposed to the occasion.

(At the moment, the mess on my desk consists of books and papers. If someone talks about the mess on the desk, the books and papers are what they're referring to. But 'mess' doesn't mean 'books and papers'. Likewise, 'a job done for somebody' can refer to a job done instead of somebody, but it doesn't mean 'a job done instead of somebody'.)
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Gamaliel
quote:
Sometimes on this discussion, I get the impression that opponents of PSA think that this is the only model that evangelicals use.
Remember, we are not discussing "evangelicalism" here but PSA. (Though it would be instructive for me to have a thread on what "evangelicalism" is and what "evangelicals" believe). To repeat: PSA is a distinctly dispassionate rational theory. Indeed, it is grounded in the culture of the law court and the routine execution of just sentences. There is no room for an affective dimension.
If you are completely reductionist about it then no, there isn't ... but that's not how evangelicalism works and PSA is one of the dominant concepts within evangelicalism of all stripes ...

We've had plenty of threads about evangelicalism and its distinctives ... so, without going off on a tangent I hope, it has to be borne in mind that 'Crucicentricism' is one of Bebbington's defining 'Quadrilaterals' when it comes to identifying what these distinctives are.

And within that 'Crucicentric' framework it's the PSA element that is perhaps the main supporting structure.

Yes, the evangelicals inherited it from the very juridical and Scholastic emphases that preceded the Reformation in the Latin West, but they put a more affective spin on the whole thing ...

You've already expressed disgust at the cloying sentimentality of the hymn I quoted earlier, well, there's plenty more where that came from ...

Evangelical hymnody is full of tropes about how guilty I am and how relieved and grateful I am that Christ has died in my place.

'What kind of love is this? That gave itself for me. I am the guilty one, yet I go free.' Bryn Haworth

'Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned he stood,
Sealed my pardon with His blood
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!'

And so on ...

You can't separate the legal, forensic aspects of PSA from the affective way its proponents within evangelicalism wield and apply it.

The two elements are interwoven. They go together. We aren't talking about cold doctrine here or words on a page but something that means a great deal and triggers an affective reaction among its proponents.

That's one of the reasons why some of the evangelical posters here have been outraged at attempts to undermine what they value as one of their core doctrines and distinctives - and also something they see as being at the very root and core of their salvation.

Because there's this visceral sense that if it weren't for PSA we'd all be lost in our trespasses and sins and there'd be no hope for humanity whatsoever.

Now, ok, one could turn round and say, 'Well, hang on a minute, it's the Incarnation overall, it's the Resurrection ... it's the whole kit and kaboodle ...'

And yes, that would be an appropriate response.

Yet for many evangelicals PSA is up there alongside the Trinity, alongside the Deity of Christ as some kind of non-negotiable.

Hence Kaplan's posts, hence Mudfrog's principled defence of the doctrine.

I apologise if I'm stating the obvious but unless one appreciates how deep-seated a belief in PSA is among most evangelicals then it's hard to begin to discuss it with them.

It's rather like Calvinism (although a belief in PSA isn't restricted to Calvinist evangelicals of course), as George MacLeod observed, 'It's rather like a virus, you never quite get over it ...'


[Biased]
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
D: Why doesn't the Romans passage make sense of sacrifice?

Romans 6:5-10 is not outlining a scheme of salvation as such, and I know of no commentator who imagines that it does.
Do you know of any commentator who sits loose to PSA? Because I suggest that if all the commentators you know of are firm adherents of PSA then this may say more about the range of commentators that you know about.

quote:
It describes a flow-on from Christ's penal and substitutionary sacrifice, using the language of crucifixion and death.

The context, beginning with v.1, is victory over sin in the Christian life - sanctification instead of justification, to employ a quaint but still useful distinction.

That PSA interpreters can find a way of dealing with the passage is not the main point. The point is whether, if one doesn't carry a presumption of PSA to the table, one interprets the passage in that way.
Victory over sin in the Christian life is Christ's victory, Christ's work, Christ's atonement on the cross.
The distinction between justification and sanctification as two separate processes is nothing other than an artifact of evangelical theology that is required by PSA. There is little in the text itself to justify it.

There is no sharp break between Chapters 5 and 6, no turn from soteriology from ethics. The first part of chapter five is also ethical: the structure being ethical instruction (5:1-5) followed by the justification of the ethical instruction in terms of Christ's work. In 6, the structure is the same: we should not continue in sin because of the atonement.

quote:
As F.F. Bruce puts it in his Romans commentary, referring to v.7: "...the man[!] who has died with Christ has his slate wiped clean, and is ready to begin his new life with Christ freed from the entail of the past".
As I remarked before, if I have died with Christ, then Christ has not substituted himself for me. 'With' and 'instead of' are in this context contradictory propositions.

quote:
quote:

There is a wide gap between 'not susceptible of comprehensive demonstration' and 'doesn't make sense on its own terms'.

Not in these cases there isn't.

Explanations of both the Trinity, and the co-existence of Divine sovereignty and human freedom can take us so far, but are ultimately contradictory in terms of human logic.

I've already mentioned the distinction between primary and secondary causes. Debates over Divine sovereignity and human freedom are not about the logic of the distinction but about where the boundaries between the two lie.

Likewise, debates about the Trinity are not about whether one 'God' can logically be three 'persons'. They are about what 'person' or 'God' mean in this context; about whether to approach the Trinity as one and then talk about the three or the other way around.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
In colloquial English, 'for' means 'on behalf of'. 'I am running a marathon for a cancer charity' does not mean that the charity was going to run but you took their place.

Seems a bit overbroad to me. "For" can certainly mean "in place of" or "instead of" in colloquial English—"It was my turn to do the dishes but Betty surprised me and did them for me." "The vicar was supposed to lead Morning Prayer yesterday, but she was sick so Alice Tinker took the service for her."
"I really wanted to play Hamlet. Benedict made friends with the director and got the part for me."
That doesn't mean 'Benedict got the part instead of me'.

The denotation of 'for' is 'on behalf of'. Sometimes the way I do something on behalf of someone else is to do it when they would have otherwise done it themselves, in which case I am doing it instead of them; but that's not the general sense of the word as opposed to the occasion.

Thus seems to me to be very fine hair splitting. Like most prepositions, "for" carries lots of weight, and the precise meaning is determined by context and intent. Sometimes that can be very hard to parse.

"Jesus bore the weight of sin for me" can mean "Jesus bore the weight of sin for my benefit" or "Jesus bore the weight of sin in my place." Either is a perfectly acceptable understanding of the word "for" in English. Indeed, I imagine there are cases where an author or speaker deliberately plays on this ambiguity so as to allow the reader or hearer to chose how to interpret it.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
"Jesus bore the weight of sin for me" can mean "Jesus bore the weight of sin for my benefit" or "Jesus bore the weight of sin in my place." Either is a perfectly acceptable understanding of the word "for" in English.

Can you think of any use of 'for' to mean 'in my place' where 'to benefit' isn't appropriate?

My point, to be clear, is that uses of 'Jesus died for us' in the Bible are on their own evidence neither for nor against penal substitution. They don't rule any theory out or in.

[ 26. January 2017, 12:26: Message edited by: Dafyd ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Can you think of any use of 'for' to mean 'in my place' where 'to benefit' isn't appropriate?

I had a headache so my kids stood in the queue for me. I had run out of money so Mary paid the bus fare for me.

I suppose one could stretch the meaning of these to be "for my benefit" - but that seems to me to be a stretch given that the meaning was that a person did the thing because I couldn't or wouldn't.

quote:
My point, to be clear, is that uses of 'Jesus died for us' in the Bible are on their own evidence neither for nor against penal substitution. They don't rule any theory out or in.
No, but then as I think I've shown above the original intention may have been "to pay instead of me" and yet the form of words can include the possibility that the original meaning was actually "for the benefit of".

So we might read "Jesus paid for my sins" and the original author may have indeed meant "Jesus died so that the wrath of God was satisfied so that I do not have to face the consequences of my sin" (or perhaps something even more strongly PSA).

Standing alone, "Jesus paid for my sins" does not discount the possibility of a simplified wording of a complicated PSA phrase, but it also doesn't discount the possibility that the original intention was something else.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
JJ
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
Well, Martin, I agree with you... almost. I agree that salvation is the natural and inevitable consequence of who God is. So much so, that were there any other "consequence", God could not be the same God as the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So far, so good.
quote:

However, that does not, of necessity, mean that said salvation does not have an objective "mechanism".

Make your mind up! They are mutually exclusive positions.
quote:

I think to reject this is to eject the infant with the soap-suds, and, in this context, I can understand KC's ridiculing of "pseudo-mystical waffle".

So can I. But it’s a straw man.

KC: '"Pseudo-mystical waffle" is the vain attempt to pretend that Christ's death was a saving sacrifice, while simultaneously denying its saving dynamic - its penal and substitutionary nature.'.

As I stated previously, there is NOTHING (forensically) salvific in Jesus’ sacrifice. If it were salvific its penal and substitutionary overtones would be part of that; salvific. It can’t be pretended that His sacrifice was salvific while simultaneously denying its saving dynamic - its penal and substitutionary nature. So it wasn’t. Salvific. Not in any mechanistic, transactional sense. And certainly not in any time limited, now-is-the-only-day-of-salvation sense. Any sense that condemns the vast majority of humanity to hell for knowing nothing about it.

I come back to this days later and I can’t retract it. Unless the penal and substitutionary nature is incidental, not the saving dynamic. Contingent with the sacrifice in the culture of penalty and substitution, not because God’s wrath is real and has to be appeased, propitiated. The concept of God’s wrath and justice are purely cultural. Human.

Salvation is revealed in, by and after His sacrifice. In His resurrection.

The intrinsic salvation in eternal creating God that you acknowledge.

For infinitesimal humanity Jesus is the revelation of salvation, of at-one-ment. For He certainly isn’t saviour of the infinite worlds of creatures just like us. But He IS the revelation of their salvation too, to us. But not in Him. He is OUR saviour. He IS our saviour. Our rescuer from meaningless oblivion, from hopeless life where our sins cannot be undone. Who gives a damn about being forgiven if the evil that we have done is not restituted for all our victims? Because 97% of them will NEVER say the sinner’s prayer? And are damned. Such salvation is the sound of one diminished hand clapping.

Jesus – salvation in name and personified and incarnate - is far bigger than His sacrifice without which we wouldn’t know that. But OUR Jesus can’t be enough for the infinite worlds.

Which looks anti-Trinitarian. It isn’t. Jesus was God partaking by nature, whatever that is, in a completely and otherwise solely human person. It isn’t the second person of the Trinity collapsed in to a human. That is NOT orthodox. When we say that Jesus was God in the flesh, that Jesus was God, we can only mean divine, God by nature, not Person. All worlds will have such an incarnation of God. As Lewis knew 70 years ago.

I’m actually uncomfortable, aghast at what I’m saying, horrified by it, fearful, scared and so I might and should be and it probably cannot be ameliorated by my saying that I accept ALL of the imagery, all of the entirely cultural meanings we made up in the texts and since, that they are all in the beginning, timelessly forensically applied, felt by God (NOT patripassianly). Timelessly in our so recent backwater of the practically infinite universe itself a so recent backwater in the actually infinite multiverse. Timelessly as long as there is history of Christianity, as long as as a species we have the Jesus story.

It’s either that, or the death of Christ is not forensically salvific at all. It is the ultimate revelation of salvation. It frees us from oblivious death and undoable sin.

Paul made this up: "God [the Father] was reconciling the world to himself in Christ [the Son], not counting people’s sins against them. . . . God [the Father] made him who had no sin [God-the-Son] to be sin for us, so that in him [the Son] we might become the righteousness of God [the Father]." (2 Corinthians 5:19, 21), deduced it. Reasonably. For the time, for most of the time since. For now, for me now if push comes to shove. Happy for it to be mystically transactional for all time backwards and forwards, amen. That would be easier. But it needs deconstructing. God knew what we would do, what all sapient creatures do in their social evolution. We come to know that we are sinners. But the story of sin changes as we evolve. Bronze Age sins are meaningless to us apart from the last big six. And even they all blur now. The whole trope of crime and punishment is fading. Apart from for the billions of religious and social conservatives of course ...

Original sin is sapience. We did not rebel against God, sin isn’t against God. Sin is abusing power in weakness and ignorance. It isn’t a crime. It doesn’t need punishment. What Paul said above, what anyone said at the time, including Jesus Himself, ultimately doesn’t work which is why it is a tiny, minority discussion here.

Forgive me, this is all doing my head in, but legalism over what immutable forensic meaning words said thousands of years ago make it necessary.

If the death of Christ is salvific, it is NOT in any illiberal sense.

[ 26. January 2017, 12:44: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
"Jesus bore the weight of sin for me" can mean "Jesus bore the weight of sin for my benefit" or "Jesus bore the weight of sin in my place." Either is a perfectly acceptable understanding of the word "for" in English.

Can you think of any use of 'for' to mean 'in my place' where 'to benefit' isn't appropriate?
In addition to mr cheesy's examples, I am reminded of this American folk hymn:

Jesus walked this lonesome valley.
He had to walk it by Himself;
O, nobody else could walk it for Him,
He had to walk it by Himself.

We must walk this lonesome valley,
We have to walk it by ourselves;
O, nobody else can walk it for us,
We have to walk it by ourselves.

You must go and stand your trial,
You have to stand it by yourself,
O, nobody else can stand it for you,
You have to stand it by yourself.

quote:
My point, to be clear, is that uses of 'Jesus died for us' in the Bible are on their own evidence neither for nor against penal substitution. They don't rule any theory out or in.
That's my point too, because "for" allows for more than one meaning and therefore more than one theory. Your contention that "for" must mean "for the benefit of" and not "in place of" seems counter to the point you say you're trying to make.

[ 26. January 2017, 14:09: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Can you think of any use of 'for' to mean 'in my place' where 'to benefit' isn't appropriate?

I had a headache so my kids stood in the queue for me. I had run out of money so Mary paid the bus fare for me.

I suppose one could stretch the meaning of these to be "for my benefit" - but that seems to me to be a stretch given that the meaning was that a person did the thing because I couldn't or wouldn't.

Really? Mary paying the bus fare is not for your benefit? Did you have a challenge to spend a thousand pounds in one hour, and you were down to the last one pound fifty and about to spend that on the bus ticket before Mary slipped in and paid it instead?
Do you really like standing in queues, and your children took sneaky advantage of your headache to kick you out of the queue and take your place?

quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:That's my point too, because "for" allows for more than one meaning and therefore more than one theory. Your contention that "for" must mean "for the benefit of" and not "in place of" seems counter to the point you say you're trying to make.
Maybe I'm not being clear.
'Bird' doesn't mean 'flying vertebrate'. Now most flying vertebrates are birds and vice versa. But if I say something is a bird, then I'm saying it's not a bat, and I'm not saying it isn't a penguin. It probably is a flying vertebrate, but that's not what 'bird' means.

If I say that someone did something for someone else, then it may be in the intersection of 'to benefit someone else' and 'instead of someone else'. But it may not be in that intersection, and if it's not in that intersection then it's in the 'to benefit someone else' category and not in the 'instead of someone else' category. Because that's what 'for someone else' means.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Really? Mary paying the bus fare is not for your benefit? Did you have a challenge to spend a thousand pounds in one hour, and you were down to the last one pound fifty and about to spend that on the bus ticket before Mary slipped in and paid it instead?
Do you really like standing in queues, and your children took sneaky advantage of your headache to kick you out of the queue and take your place?


Please assume I am slow because I am not getting what you are going on about.

I didn't stand in the queue, my children stood in the queue for me. They stood there so I didn't have to, they took my place in the queue.

Assume for the moment that this is not in dispute. They are there in my place.

It would be correct to say that "they stood in the queue for me".

However hearing that phrases "they stood in the queue for me" does not necessarily convey the (correct) sense that they were standing in my place. Indeed you might understand from it that they were standing in the queue for the good of my family. They were standing there because that's what I expect them to do. In those latter options, there is no direct subsititution, I was never going to stand there.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Well, Leo, if it's not "instead" it's not penal substitution. If so, it's not relevant to this discussion.

How so - it is entirely relevant and saying that PSA is unscriptural (as is 'moral influence', which is what this thread is about)
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
If I say that someone did something for someone else, then it may be in the intersection of 'to benefit someone else' and 'instead of someone else'. But it may not be in that intersection, and if it's not in that intersection then it's in the 'to benefit someone else' category and not in the 'instead of someone else' category. Because that's what 'for someone else' means.

That's what it sometimes means. Sometimes it means "in the place of someone else," and in those instances it may or may not overlap with "to benefit someone else." I don't dispute that. But I have used "for [someone]" to mean "in place of [someone]," and heard it used with that meaning, far too often to agree that cannot in some instances be its primary intended meaning in colloquial English.

If a teacher says "I was sick so a colleague subbed for me," the teacher means the colleague took his or her place teaching the class. The collegue's action, though, was for the benefit of the class, not of the teacher.

That's why "Jesus died for me" neither requires nor rules out any specific atonement theory. "For me" is flexible enough to encompass them all.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
And none.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
If a teacher says "I was sick so a colleague subbed for me," the teacher means the colleague took his or her place teaching the class. The collegue's action, though, was for the benefit of the class, not of the teacher.

That's a bit more convincing but not entirely. I think there is some connotation that the colleague was helping the teacher out by making it possible for them to stay at home. It would be polite for the teacher, for instance, to thank their colleague afterwards.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
But it sounds like you've decided that this phrase can only possibly mean what you say it means - even when I've stated that I have actually used it in a substitutionary sense..
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
' ... Or even the Holy Spirit'?

What are you implying, Mudfrog? That the Holy Spirit is subordinate? That he isn't even part of the Godhead?


Indeed I wasn't!
To quote myself:
quote:
Otherwise, not understanding the full truth of the Trinity, the Incarnation and the finer points of Sanctification would bar any of us from having any relationship with the Godhead, with the Lord Jesus Christ or even the Holy Spirit.


1)Finer points of the Trinity - relationship with the Godhead.
2)Finer points of) the Incarnation - relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
3)Finer points of sanctification - relationship with the Holy Spirit.

I was simply trying to say that a theological understanding of the finer points of those doctrinal subjects is not necessary for a relationship with the Father, Son or Holy Spirit.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Yet for many evangelicals PSA is up there alongside the Trinity, alongside the Deity of Christ as some kind of non-negotiable.

Hence Kaplan's posts

I have neither said nor implied that it is a credal non-negotiable like the Trinity or the Deity of Christ.

And I went out of my way to explicitly state that no-one's salvation or Christian identity hinges on their acceptance or non-acceptance of PSA.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
In which case, I apologise, Kaplan. But that's how your posts read to me.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The point is whether, if one doesn't carry a presumption of PSA to the table, one interprets the passage in that way.

In 6, the structure is the same: we should not continue in sin because of the atonement.

My point stands whether one accepts PSA or not. ie that the atonement, however it is interpreted, is the jumping-of point for a new life of not continuing in sin.

The atonement does not in itself consist of not continuing in sin, which is an impossibility, but instead marks the point of beginning a process of resisting sin
"because" (as you put it) of the atonement.

quote:
'With' and 'instead of' are in this context contradictory propositions.
No, they are complementary propositions.

It is because our "old (sinful) self" is joined "with" Christ, that he is able to suffer "instead of" us.

quote:
Debates over Divine sovereignity and human freedom are not about the logic of the distinction but about where the boundaries between the two lie.
No, the debate is about whether boundaries exist, or whether they are just a useful but limited semantic distinction.

Any belief in God's ultimate omnipotence and omniscience is logically incompatible with a distinction between primary and secondary causes, because the latter are necessarily subsumed by the former.

quote:
Likewise, debates about the Trinity are not about whether one 'God' can logically be three 'persons'. They are about what 'person' or 'God' mean in this context; about whether to approach the Trinity as one and then talk about the three or the other way around.
Only from inside the Christian bubble, and by arbitrarily assigning fixed meanings to ambiguous terms such as hypostasis, ousia, subsistentia, substantia and personae.

To a Jew, a Muslim or an atheist, the proposition that God is three and one at the same time makes no logical sense.

Orthodoxy accepts dcotrines such divine sovereigny/human freedom, and the Trinity, despite the fact that they can't be logically defended beyond a certain point, not because they can.

[ 26. January 2017, 22:43: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Explaining the atonement is impossible. PSA does not explain how it works,it denotes what it is.

I don't have a knife sharp enough to slide between those rocks. Can you explain how one can do the latter without doing the former?
The atonement IS an exchange. If it is not then Jesus did NOT need to die. But as he did need to die, i.e. The cup could not pass then whatever was accomplished was by his death. However, the intricacies of how God enabled the new creation in each of his children, though a consequence, is as incomprehensible as the trinity. We can experience the rewards but never grasp the mechanics.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Jamat
quote:
We can experience the rewards but never grasp the mechanics.
Of course we can: the wrath of God was satisfied by the crucifixion, so he can be eternally nice to us because everyone's sins past, present and future have been dealt with punishment-wise, whether we like it or not.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
How is the reconciliation, the at-onement (which IS the correct etymology) of humanity and God in the death AND resurrection of Jesus, a transaction beyond that it happened and as a result a minority of humans begin to darkly see that there is transcendent hope? Why is any magic cosmic forensic mechanism required beyond that?

[ 26. January 2017, 23:35: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
How is the reconciliation, the at-onement (which IS the correct etymology) of humanity and God in the death AND resurrection of Jesus, a transaction beyond that it happened and as a result a minority of humans begin to darkly see that there is transcendent hope? Why is any magic cosmic forensic mechanism required beyond that?

The wind blows where it will John 3. The magic is in the transforming power that occurs when it does.

[ 27. January 2017, 00:42: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The atonement IS an exchange. If it is not then Jesus did NOT need to die.

Yes, you keep saying this but never defending it. Even though you have been asked multiple times to do so. This would be a good time.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The atonement IS an exchange. If it is not then Jesus did NOT need to die.

Yes, you keep saying this but never defending it. Even though you have been asked multiple times to do so. This would be a good time.
Mousethief you know by now that nothing I say will have any impact on you. But JFTHOI 1 Pet 2:24

"and he himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by his wound you were healed. For you we're continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls"

Does it not sound like a necessary transaction to you?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The atonement IS an exchange. If it is not then Jesus did NOT need to die.

Yes, you keep saying this but never defending it. Even though you have been asked multiple times to do so. This would be a good time.
Mousethief you know by now that nothing I say will have any impact on you. But JFTHOI 1 Pet 2:24

"and he himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by his wound you were healed. For you we're continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls"

Does it not sound like a necessary transaction to you?

Wait, you went from exchange to transaction. Not all transactions are exchanges, are they? What was exchanged here? I'll give you X if you give me Y. What are X and Y? Who are the people making the exchange?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The atonement IS an exchange. If it is not then Jesus did NOT need to die.

Yes, you keep saying this but never defending it. Even though you have been asked multiple times to do so. This would be a good time.
Mousethief you know by now that nothing I say will have any impact on you. But JFTHOI 1 Pet 2:24

"and he himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by his wound you were healed. For you we're continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls"

Does it not sound like a necessary transaction to you?

Wait, you went from exchange to transaction. Not all transactions are exchanges, are they? What was exchanged here? I'll give you X if you give me Y. What are X and Y? Who are the people making the exchange?
Once again, not sure I know your definitions. ISTM, a transaction is always an exchange but not always vice versa.
In the atonement X is Jesus' willingness to be a human sacrifice to represent us all to God in the adamic role. Y is God's desire to accept this as a basis for relationship with humanity, retrospectively and for all time.
However, I do not think this explains the mystery or the genius; it only denotes the fact.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I'm not sure that I'm objecting to PSA because it is transactional. In some ways of looking at things, almost everything is transactional. I do this, you do that in return.

The problem is that in PSA God is reduced to a transactional agent who is caught in a bind whereby he cannot do anything outside of that contract. He is forced to deal with sin, he must punish someone, there is nobody good enough in humanity so he (mystically) sends himself to be punished.

If one says that God has no obligation to "punish sin" then the whole idea that there is a transaction which must be paid falls away.

Again, to me this is a fault of all the theories of the atonement which say it is all about a transaction - paying the debt to God, paying the ransom to the devil. At least with the moral influence theory there it isn't claimed that there is a transaction but that the atonement is supposed to be a surpising act which wakes up sinful mankind from the stupour (I paraphrase).

My bottom line is that most healthy human relationships are not cold transactions where both parties are forced to act in certain ways by outside forces.

One might argue that a parent getting up the child to get ready for school is a transaction (and, my goodness, it sometimes feels like it). You get up so you'll go to school, so you'll learn things and make me proud, which will encourage you to learn more stuff, which will lead to you gaining enough skills to get a job which will eventually lead you you leaving home and standing on your own feet instead of draining my bank account.

But in a healthy relationship that's a poor explanation of what's going on, which cannot adequately by explained by simply talking about transactions.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
How is the reconciliation, the at-onement (which IS the correct etymology) of humanity and God in the death AND resurrection of Jesus, a transaction beyond that it happened and as a result a minority of humans begin to darkly see that there is transcendent hope? Why is any magic cosmic forensic mechanism required beyond that?

The wind blows where it will John 3. The magic is in the transforming power that occurs when it does.
When is that? Or is it chaotic? God saves whom He will? Damns the vast majority by double predestination? From eternity? Never mind the facts and their transforming impact, there are yeah buts? Stuff we make up.

[ 27. January 2017, 09:03: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
When is that?.
When it happens you know. Your straw baby is getting a bit tatty BTW.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Likewise, debates about the Trinity are not about whether one 'God' can logically be three 'persons'. They are about what 'person' or 'God' mean in this context; about whether to approach the Trinity as one and then talk about the three or the other way around.

Only from inside the Christian bubble, and by arbitrarily assigning fixed meanings to ambiguous terms such as hypostasis, ousia, subsistentia, substantia and personae.

To a Jew, a Muslim or an atheist, the proposition that God is three and one at the same time makes no logical sense.

'God is three and one at the same time' is not Christian orthodoxy. 'God is three persons and one God' is Christian orthodoxy, and that does make logical sense. If you sneer at the 'ambiguous terms such as hypostasis, ousia, subsistentia, substantia and personae' in which Christian orthodoxy is stated then it will appear to lack logic, but that is not the problem of Christian orthodoxy.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
When is that?.
When it happens you know. Your straw baby is getting a bit tatty BTW.
You know what? Is that the one you do throw away with the bathwater?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
In the atonement X is Jesus' willingness to be a human sacrifice to represent us all to God in the adamic role. Y is God's desire to accept this as a basis for relationship with humanity, retrospectively and for all time.

But that doesn't describe an exchange at all. An exchange works like this:

Before the exchange:
Person A has X
Person B has Y

After the exchange:
Person A has Y
Person B has X

Thus for instance when I buy something at the store, I start with money and they with certain goods, then after the exchange they have my money and I have their goods. We have exchanged the money and the goods.

The X and Y you give, however, are not exchanged at all. God doesn't come into possession of Jesus' willingness having given up his own acceptance, or vice versa. That's not an exchange. Therefore by your definition it's not a transaction.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
He'll win you know. He always does. No matter what we say. I have waking nightmares that aren't this bad.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
In the atonement X is Jesus' willingness to be a human sacrifice to represent us all to God in the adamic role. Y is God's desire to accept this as a basis for relationship with humanity, retrospectively and for all time.

But that doesn't describe an exchange at all. An exchange works like this:

Before the exchange:
Person A has X
Person B has Y

After the exchange:
Person A has Y
Person B has X

Thus for instance when I buy something at the store, I start with money and they with certain goods, then after the exchange they have my money and I have their goods. We have exchanged the money and the goods.

The X and Y you give, however, are not exchanged at all. God doesn't come into possession of Jesus' willingness having given up his own acceptance, or vice versa. That's not an exchange. Therefore by your definition it's not a transaction.

Well maybe you see exchange as barter or maybe I give you my banana if you give me your banana. But this is only true if the fact of an exchange depends on what is exchanged in the exchange. But if it does not, then my model works. Jesus was willing and able to give something to God the Father who was willing to accept it in order to effect an outcome which benefited humanity. In any case, in any transaction, something is exchanged for something else but to my mind in any exchange, this may not be the case in that no benefit necessarily accrues from the deal to both parties. ie, if I exchange hats with someone,we both begin and end with a hat so nothing much has changed unless they differ in quality or value. Transactions are exchanges with benefit to both parties I think. Exchanges are simply the mechanisms of transactions but I do not think either depends at all on the content of the deal.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Well maybe you see exchange as barter or maybe I give you my banana if you give me your banana. But this is only true if the fact of an exchange depends on what is exchanged in the exchange.

No, you miss the point. It's only an exchange if an exchange is made. If something passes from person A to person B, and if something else passes from person B to person A. That's what exchange MEANS. Bartering is one kind of exchange, it is true. Buying things with money is another kind of exchange. People have said that marriage is an exchange in which women exchange sex for financial security. But the bottom line is: You have X and give it to me, and I have Y and give it to you.

The whole thing about whether they're of equal value is bizarre and completely irrelevant.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
..the bottom line is: You have X and give it to me, and I have Y and give it to you.
OK then, Jesus had the ability and the willingness to offer himself as a sinless sacrifice to God. God the Father had the authority to accept this on behalf of the Godhead. What Jesus gave was his sacrificial death. What God the Father gave was his seal of acceptance. At this point there was probably a divine handshake. The benefit of the exchange is that the human race can be cleansed of sin. Now just how that is possible, remains beyond human comprehension.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I read William Barclay's Daily Study Bible's each day. I'm working my way through Hebrews at the moment and, coincidentally, a couple of days ago I read his comment on the actions of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement, specifically on the scapegoat.
quote:
Then came the most vivid ceremony. The scapegoat was brought forward. The High Priest laid his hands on it and confessed his own sin and the sin of the people; and the goat was led forth into the desert, "into a land not inhabited," laden with the sins of the people and there it was killed.
I just leave that there - he was a better scholar then me, so I guess he got his information from somewhere authoritative.

And secondly, just this morning, read this - pertaining to Hebrews 9:

quote:
Forgiveness is a costly thing. Human forgiveness is costly. A son or a daughter may go wrong and a father or a mother may forgive; but that forgiveness brings tears, whiteness to the hair, lines to the face, a cutting anguish and then a long dull ache to the heart. It does not cost nothing. Divine forgiveness is costly. God is love but he is also holiness. He least of all can break the great moral laws on which the universe is built. Sin must have its punishment or the very structure of life disintegrates. And God alone can pay the terrible price that is necessary before men can be forgiven. Forgiveness is never a case of saying: "It's all right; it doesn't matter." It is the most costly thing in the world. Without the shedding of heart's blood there can be no forgiveness of sins. Nothing brings a man to his senses with such arresting violence as to see the effect of his sin on someone who loves him in this world or on the God who loves him for ever, and to say to himself: "It cost that to forgive my sin." Where there is forgiveness someone must be crucified.

William Barclay

He's not a modern, American, Southern Baptist, Bible-Belt, Chick-tract-reading evangelical.
This is middle of the road - in some ways often quite liberal - Church of Scotland minister and also a Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
What about all the other races from eternity?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
He's not a modern, American, Southern Baptist, Bible-Belt, Chick-tract-reading evangelical.
This is middle of the road - in some ways often quite liberal - Church of Scotland minister and also a Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow.

I'm not sure why you are quoting Barclay as if this adds something to this conversation. Given what I know of you and of William Barclay (particularly his famous belief in universal salvation), I'm not entirely clear how your views match anyway.

Some bloke said something which is vaguely in agreement with PSA. Wow.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
@Mudfrog, re, the scapegoat.

I've no idea where Barclay gets the idea that the scapegoat is killed. Leviticus 16 specifically states that it is escorted into "a remote place" and released. Sounds a bit as if he is fitting the data to his preconceptions.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
He's not a modern, American, Southern Baptist, Bible-Belt, Chick-tract-reading evangelical.
This is middle of the road - in some ways often quite liberal - Church of Scotland minister and also a Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow.

I'm not sure why you are quoting Barclay as if this adds something to this conversation. Given what I know of you and of William Barclay (particularly his famous belief in universal salvation), I'm not entirely clear how your views match anyway.

Some bloke said something which is vaguely in agreement with PSA. Wow.

The point I was making is contained in what I wrote about Barclay. It was a simple comment about PSA not being the domain of fundamentalist American evangelicals.

Also, I don't see how you can get only 'vaguely in agreement with PSA' out of what Barclay said.

Try not to be too grudging.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
@Mudfrog, re, the scapegoat.

I've no idea where Barclay gets the idea that the scapegoat is killed. Leviticus 16 specifically states that it is escorted into "a remote place" and released. Sounds a bit as if he is fitting the data to his preconceptions.

The Jews evidently believe the scapegoat was sacrificed, as in THIS SITE which contains, in the summary:
quote:
"The loss of the Temple and the Holy of Holies, the fact that we can no longer sacrifice the "scapegoat" does not mean that we have entirely lost Yom Kippur."

A Quote from The Jerusalem Targum (4th to 8th Century CE)
quote:

And Aharon shall put upon the goats equal lots; one lot for the Name of the Lord, and one lot for Azazel: and he shall throw them into the vase, and draw them out, and put them upon the goats. And Aharon shall bring the goat upon which came up the lot for the Name of the Lord, and make him a sin offering. And the goat on which came up the lot for Azazel he shall make to stand alive before the Lord, to expiate for the sins of the people of the house of Israel, by sending him to die in a place rough and hard in the rocky desert which is Beth-hadurey.48

And finally, this interesting piece from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi, talking about
The Scapegoat, Atonement and Purification, where he says:
quote:
The (goat) on which the lot “To the L‑rd” fell was offered as a sacrifice. Over the other the High Priest confessed the sins of the nation and it was then taken away into the desert hills outside Jerusalem where it plunged to its death.
and then:
quote:
The two goats—the two systems, the amygdala and prefrontal cortex—are both us. One we offer to God. But the other we disown. We let it go into the wilderness where it belongs and where it will meet a violent death.
Seeing that we are discussing Jewish concepts, it might be best to trust the Jewish interpretation of the practice.

I think I stand on that historic interpretation that says quite clearly that the goat on which the sins of the people were transferred, was killed - and the thought strikes me that it happened 'outside the city wall' as it were.

[ 28. January 2017, 13:12: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
@Mudfrog, re, the scapegoat.

I've no idea where Barclay gets the idea that the scapegoat is killed. Leviticus 16 specifically states that it is escorted into "a remote place" and released. Sounds a bit as if he is fitting the data to his preconceptions.

The Jews evidently believe the scapegoat was sacrificed, as in THIS SITE which contains, in the summary:
quote:
"The loss of the Temple and the Holy of Holies, the fact that we can no longer sacrifice the "scapegoat" does not mean that we have entirely lost Yom Kippur."

A Quote from The Jerusalem Targum (4th to 8th Century CE)
quote:

And Aharon shall put upon the goats equal lots; one lot for the Name of the Lord, and one lot for Azazel: and he shall throw them into the vase, and draw them out, and put them upon the goats. And Aharon shall bring the goat upon which came up the lot for the Name of the Lord, and make him a sin offering. And the goat on which came up the lot for Azazel he shall make to stand alive before the Lord, to expiate for the sins of the people of the house of Israel, by sending him to die in a place rough and hard in the rocky desert which is Beth-hadurey.48

And finally, this interesting piece from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi, talking about
The Scapegoat, Atonement and Purification, where he says:
quote:
The (goat) on which the lot “To the L‑rd” fell was offered as a sacrifice. Over the other the High Priest confessed the sins of the nation and it was then taken away into the desert hills outside Jerusalem where it plunged to its death.
and then:
quote:
The two goats—the two systems, the amygdala and prefrontal cortex—are both us. One we offer to God. But the other we disown. We let it go into the wilderness where it belongs and where it will meet a violent death.
Seeing that we are discussing Jewish concepts, it might be best to trust the Jewish interpretation of the practice.

I think I stand on that historic interpretation that says quite clearly that the goat on which the sins of the people were transferred, was killed - and the thought strikes me that it happened 'outside the city wall' as it were.

As, believe it or not, I am an evangelical, I tend to invest the words of scripture with greater authority than other "wise writings", and I have read you expressing similar views at other times. I see no scriptural backing for the view that the scapegoat was put to death, by being pushed from height (did the writer have any experience of herding goats?) or any other method. The scripture is quite specific, a detailed description of the Day of Atonement rituals, and it is clear that the instruction was that the scapegoat was to be escorted into the wilderness and released.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Only, it's a little more complicated than that, don't you think?

Mr Tyndale may have plucked his entirely made-up word 'scapegoat' from his linguistically-imaginative mind, but the word that it now obscures is the word Azazel.

The articles I have included refer to the time before Mr Tyndale's late medieval context to the proper use - evidently unknown to him - of the word Azazel which takes us from just releasing the goat into the wilderness and brings us closer to what actually was meant to happen to the unfortunate goat.

Looking at the parallels and pre-figuring before the scapegoat ritual was instituted certainly suggests a little bit more than a bloke taking a goat and shooing it down the path a short way in the direction of the nearest sand dune.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Only, it's a little more complicated than that, don't you think?

Mr Tyndale may have plucked his entirely made-up word 'scapegoat' from his linguistically-imaginative mind, but the word that it now obscures is the word Azazel.

The articles I have included refer to the time before Mr Tyndale's late medieval context to the proper use - evidently unknown to him - of the word Azazel which takes us from just releasing the goat into the wilderness and brings us closer to what actually was meant to happen to the unfortunate goat.

Looking at the parallels and pre-figuring before the scapegoat ritual was instituted certainly suggests a little bit more than a bloke taking a goat and shooing it down the path a short way in the direction of the nearest sand dune.

No-one is suggesting that the goat was shooed off. Clearly, the intent was to escort the animal some considerable distance into the wilderness- enough to be a significant journey for its human escort, such that there was no chance of it returning to the community.

Azazel may refer to a Goat-demon, said to inhabit the wilderness, and so is, I assume, a pun, such as is common in the Old Testament, but the meaning is clearly "sent far away" - not slain or sacrificed. The bit of reading that I have done around this suggests that the later tradition of pushing the goat off a cliff came about because one year, the scapegoat returned to the camp and caused significant superstitious consternation, but, as one might say, it was not so in the beginning. There remains the fact that we are discussing around the biblical meaning, and the data for our discussion is the biblical text as is. What later communities may have done in practice does not really enter in to it. If one was to assume, as you seem to do, that one of the primary intentions of the authors of the text is that the goat should be killed, I think that it is necessary to come up with some pretty convincing argument as to why, in the midst of this very specific and detailed set of ritual instructions, there is no mention of it at all.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
..the bottom line is: You have X and give it to me, and I have Y and give it to you.
OK then, Jesus had the ability and the willingness to offer himself as a sinless sacrifice to God. God the Father had the authority to accept this on behalf of the Godhead. What Jesus gave was his sacrificial death. What God the Father gave was his seal of acceptance. At this point there was probably a divine handshake. The benefit of the exchange is that the human race can be cleansed of sin. Now just how that is possible, remains beyond human comprehension.
Sorry Jamat, you probably missed my unaddressed question in response, about the infinite other races from eternity.

Your story of a story works for you. No illiberal atonement story, no matter how textual, can work for anyone with a liberal education. Only the deed can speak. The son of God's submission to us at our helpless worst and His getting up from that.
 
Posted by J