Thread: One Atonement Board: Purgatory / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
This isn't a rights and wrongs of PSA thread, but it does concern it. I sometimes get the very strong impression - perhaps even more than just an impression - that some Christians desire to translate and understand the atonement within one single parameter; that being PSA. I have my own issues with PSA on a philosophical and theological level, but such concerns are essentially irrelevant to this thread because what I'm asking isn't the rights and wrongs of it, but rather why some, appear at least, to want to make this the closed doctrine of atonement and the only one that should be considered correct? I guess it interests me because the doctrine has never really been 'settled' of fixed in any real terms and so I'm struggling to understand why you might want to do that now, two thousand years later.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I am not aware that anybody has ever said that there is only one correct interpretation of what happened n the cross, or the meaning behind the birth/life/death/resurrection of Jesus.

What I do see from many evangelicals like myself is an appreciation of each and every one of them because they reveal a different angle on the atonement and are all founded on Scripture.

However, accepting each one, you will find that evangelicals will probably say that all of them are useful but substitutionary atonement is the one that actually effects a change in the heart of the penitent and transfers the transgression of the individual to Christ in a way that other theories do not.

Evangelicals, being conversionists would see that as necessary to the salvation process.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
What I've observed where I live (which includes people who don't live here) is thats some Christians (not necessarily Evangelicals), see PSA as the litmus test for Christian authenticity. Now to a degree, here where I live, there is an element of cultural and historical reasoning to this and also a fair amount of sectarian drive, but it's not always quite a simple as all that. PSA is spoken of by them as the only way atonement is to be considered. So I'm trying to understand why anyone would want to fix atonement within this single parameter. The fact that I have seen this written of and heard it spoken of by other Christians, sometimes well outside my own context here, makes me think it is not just a cultural or geographically historical phenomena to here.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I don't know where your 'prefecture' is - so I can't comment on the sectarian nature of where you live.

Perhaps rather than saying that PSA is the only theory worth considering, it might be better t say that when one looks at all the theories, if there was one or two that had to discard the last one would be PSA.

It's not a litmus test per se, but an evangelical would ask, how can Jesus take my sins away if they are not transferred to him? How can he take my guilt away if he doesn't take it on himself?

It's not a case of PSA being the only one, or indeed the mark of orthodoxy, but is the one that evangelicals cannot live without.

I think you will find in hymnody used by evangelicals everything from moral influence, victory, sacrifice, satisfaction, and recapitulation, these may all be included. All these will be alongside the truth of PSA, but you will never have an evangelical hymnal without PSA, simply because it fits the evangelical experience of the Gospel and our basis for evangelism.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
There was extensive discussion on this topic in this recent thread.

My take is that while many Evangelicals, at least in the States, will say they value all theories of atonement, PSA is treated as non-negotiable—or as fletcher christian said, a litmus test of orthodoxy—while all other theories are treated as optional add-ons.

[ 22. April 2017, 12:11: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
It depends on the type of evangelical. As a rough rule of thumb, the more Calvinist they are the more the weight put on PSA as the defining feature.

That doesn't mean that Arminian evangelicals hold any less to PSA but in my experience it's more likely to be more Calvinistically inclined evangelicals who use it as a litmus test as to whether someone is 'saved' or not.

As I've said before, Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones doubted that C S Lewis was a true believer because Lewis didn't sign up for PSA.

It's become a convenient who's in/who's out litmus test for a particular kind of hyper-Calvinist or fundamentalist evangelical.

Hence the emphasis on it.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Surely, it reflects one's opinion on what Jesus' death actually does.

If you believe that God's love in Christ is a demonstration, an example, an encouragement to accept that love, then that's the area of atonement theory you will go for:

You will love to sing:
Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul m life, my all, etc.


If you believe that Jesus' life was a re-run of how a life should be lived, breaking the power of evil upon humanity, then you will happily go for a more recapitulation type of atonement.

You will sing lustily:
A second Adam to the fight and to the rescue came.


If you believe that the death of Jesus actually removes one's sins, satisfies the penalties for deliberate transgressions and removes all condemnation, then PSA is going to inspire you.

You'll happily sing:
Bearing shame and scoffing ride, In my place condemned he stood,
Sealed my pardon with his blood,
Hallelujah! What a Saviour.


If you are an evangelical, it's not a case of a litmus test, a mark of orthodoxy, it's a matter of this is what evangelicalism is about and therefore we emphasise it.

Other churches, like Orthodox churches, for example, highlight the healing aspect of the atonement. It would be as wrong for me to say that this is their litmus test as it would be for someone to say that PSA is mine.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I think it is a truism that Calvinist evangelicals generally only accept PSA. Indeed, I can prove this as I have several theology books from Calvinist publishers (including the infamous Banner of Truth) which say so.

In fact, I only became aware that there were more than one theory of the atonement by reading one of these books - which did a reasonable job of explaining what they were, and then trashed them all except PSA.

But then I also accept what Mudfrog says to the extent that there are a wide variety of people who self-identify as Evangelicals and there are self-evidently various thoughts and views on the atonement.

I suppose the main issue here is that the more-Calvinist positions have in recent decades become much more vocal about claiming the term "evangelical" to mean what-the-say-it-means and have had considerable influence over more-liberal evangelicals.

For example several decades ago UCCF, the British University umbrella group for evangelicals, had a policy of refusing to allow presidents who were female and IIRC having some policy about women speakers. I also heard that some individual had various run-ins when outside people objected to a Salvation Army president.

As I observe the phenomena, these kinds of Evangelical groups are often put under incredible pressure by the more conservative (and usually more Calvinistic) local churches to conform to their norms - which may not represent the majority of the student members at all.

I therefore postulate that the more Calvinistic view on PSA = the atonement may have more observable than real strength, just because the Calvinists tend to make more of a deal about it than anyone else and tend to claim that they're speaking on behalf of all Evangelicals.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:


If you are an evangelical, it's not a case of a litmus test, a mark of orthodoxy, it's a matter of this is what evangelicalism is about and therefore we emphasise it.

I'm sorry Mudfrog, for a lot of Evangelicals it absolutely is a litmus test of belief.

I accept it isn't for you, but you're not everyone.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
But then, to be fair, it is quite interesting to wonder what theory is being discussed in individual Evangelical hymns and song in their hymnbooks.

I have a feeling we're talked about this before so I'll not say too much; but my impression is that the vast majority are talking about some version of PSA.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
But then, to be fair, it is quite interesting to wonder what theory is being discussed in individual Evangelical hymns and song in their hymnbooks.

I have a feeling we're talked about this before so I'll not say too much; but my impression is that the vast majority are talking about some version of PSA.

Which rather suggests that the problem is with those who refuse to believe in PSA: you are insisting that we evangelicals MUST only believe in PSA and you don't believe it therefore you criticise us for doing so.

If an evangelical sings When I survey the wondrous cross with that wonderful final line about Love so amazing...demands my all, do you really think we are looking behind every letter to try and fond PSA? Are you suggesting that we are looking for PSA even though it isn't there?
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
It's a personal and vague anecdote but:
I'm pretty sure I recall overhearing "Tom Wright" being described as having said something 'heretical', with the something being something to do with PSA. I can't remember what it was he was meant to have said (I know my impression then was that it was technically wrong*, but at worst well within the range of expected sermon wrongness, and if followed by a 'but' not even that) but at that instant I was much more impressed with the Liberal chapel using 'the, of course he's an evangelical' notes for a confirmation course, than by our side.

*which doesn't mean it was (or it may have been worse than I heard).
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Which rather suggests that the problem is with those who refuse to believe in PSA: you are insisting that we evangelicals MUST only believe in PSA and you don't believe it therefore you criticise us for doing so.

How do you get that? Did you read what I said above at all?

quote:
If an evangelical sings When I survey the wondrous cross with that wonderful final line about Love so amazing...demands my all, do you really think we are looking behind every letter to try and fond PSA? Are you suggesting that we are looking for PSA even though it isn't there?
Some certainly are.

If you read what I wrote above you'll note that I clearly said that I accept that you do not. But then I've also clearly said that you are not all evangelicals.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
If an evangelical sings When I survey the wondrous cross with that wonderful final line about Love so amazing...demands my all, do you really think we are looking behind every letter to try and fond PSA? Are you suggesting that we are looking for PSA even though it isn't there?

Is that, that common a song (obv in the case of Watt's songs they get everywhere, I mean in evangelical services).
In any case the fourth verse (which is actively a non-PSA model of atonement, though of course not itself anti) is ommitted allegedly starting from George Whitfield (just seen a sixth verse I've not seen before, which could be similar). So it cuts both ways

[ 22. April 2017, 15:55: Message edited by: Jay-Emm ]
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
Thinking about it's the other Easter song that has the lyrics "It was ** *** that held him there" which I've seen as "my sin" (most places), "God's wrath" (the sort of place tending to the type under discussion*) and "his love" (I can't recall where, it may even have been overlapping congregations**)

* I think there may have been some temporary justification, perhaps it was during a season on Romans? But at the same time I can't imagine them going the other way with "In Christ Alone" (although somewhere did, and again )**

**though it did have many good strengths too.

[ 22. April 2017, 16:21: Message edited by: Jay-Emm ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jay-Emm:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
If an evangelical sings When I survey the wondrous cross with that wonderful final line about Love so amazing...demands my all, do you really think we are looking behind every letter to try and fond PSA? Are you suggesting that we are looking for PSA even though it isn't there?

Is that, that common a song (obv in the case of Watt's songs they get everywhere, I mean in evangelical services).
In any case the fourth verse (which is actively a non-PSA model of atonement, though of course not itself anti) is ommitted allegedly starting from George Whitfield (just seen a sixth verse I've not seen before, which could be similar). So it cuts both ways

When I Survey is indeed popular. I've just checked: it's in Songs of Fellowship.

Not sure why you would think that it wouldn't be acceptable to evangelicals. Is the 4th verse really omitted??

In the context of modern worship it's now often sung to the tune of O Whaley Waley

You might also like this arrangement from the Gaither fold - . Southern Bible-belt Gospel no less.

[ 22. April 2017, 16:22: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Jay-Emm:
[qb] [QUOTE]Originally posted by Mudfrog:

When I Survey is indeed popular. I've just checked: it's in Songs of Fellowship.

Not sure why you would think that it wouldn't be acceptable to evangelicals. Is the 4th verse really omitted??
[/URL]

I'm not saying it wouldn't be acceptable to (conservative)evangelicals.
It's about everywhere (apparently even the Mormons have some of Watt's songs, I don't know if that includes this). But there's only a short window when it's used, and it wouldn't take much to have it crowded out (I don't think we, Motr anglican+churches together good friday,had it this year, either) [or treated as a sop to people expecting to hear it].

The 4th verse ("then I am dead to all the world") is ommitted from Baptist Hymnal and Sacred Songs, but I've definitely seen it so suspect is in English Hymnal. The 6th I've just seen is a bit doxologic (but without the trinity) and I suspect is very new.
I wouldn't have classed SoF as being especially 'Evangelical'.

[ 22. April 2017, 16:37: Message edited by: Jay-Emm ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
When I survey the Wondrous Cross is in Redemption Hymnal which was a revivalist hymn book published jointly by the Elim Pentecostal Church, the Apostolic Church and the Assemblies of God.

It has also been in The Song Book of The Salvation Army since at least 1899.

One wonders how much more evangelical one can get.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
With respect, Mudfrog, I think you are missing the point here.

I don't see anyone here criticising you or your particular brand of evangelicalism. What I do see are people like mr cheesy and myself who have, arguably, been exposed to more Calvinistic forms of evangelicalism making the thoroughly uncontentious point that certain Calvinistic evangelicals want to corner the term 'evangelical' and apply it purely to their own brand.

As a Wesleyan evangelical you would be regarded as somewhat iffy.

You also act as if you can speak for all evangelicals. You can't.

You can no more speak for all evangelicals than the Anglicans here could speak for all Anglicans or the Baptists speak for all Baptists.

I'm not saying anything here about the ins and outs of PSA, simply that for particular types of hard-line Calvinist evangelicals it is uncertain whether someone is actually a Christian if they don't subscribe to PSA.

Listing the various atonement models detectable in popular hymns doesn't obviate that.

That is what these people believe - although, as with everything else, there are shades and nuances.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
As for Isaac Watts, he wasn't an evangelical and he ended his life in a church with Arian leanings.

Certain Reformed evangelicals wouldn't consider Eliminate, the AoG or the Salvation Army as being 'true' evangelicals either ...

I would. They wouldn't.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I accept all of that.

What I am trying to do is avoid a rerun of the discussion on the other thread and answer the question 'why' evangelicals like PSA.

I'm simply trying to highlight that the reason is simply because of our evangelicalism. I honestly see no difference at all between Calvinists and Arminians and Wesleyans on this.

All of us will say that one needs to be forgiven and that Christ took our sins upon himself.
Whether Calvinists think they are the only evangelicals I have no idea! That's up to them.

As far as I am concerned if one can subscribe t the EA statement of faith that makes one an evangelical.

What I am also trying to do is suggest, once again, that evangelicals are not also narrow-minded as to ONLY believe in PSA - hence the use of the songs/hymns.

I am surprised that someone is trying to say that we don't really believe the words of WISTWC and that it's not really in evangelical hymn books - and, quite surprisingly, that Songs of Fellowship is not really evangelical.

Odd.

And now I'm seeing that maybe I'm not a proper evangelical because some Calvinists might think I'm not.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Dang! Predictive text again ... I meant Elim not 'eliminate'.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I don't think anyone here is saying that, Mudfrog. I'm not.

I'm simply suggesting that you cannot speak for all evangelicals, just as I can't speak for post-evangelicals or however else someone might categorise me.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I have never met a Calvinist who said I wasn't an evangelical.
They don't like Arminianism right enough but that doesn't disqualify me from being an evangelical.

I am well aware that Mr W wasn't exactly an evangelical; but that kind of proves my point.
He wrote about a particular theory of the atonement that evangelicals are quite happy to sing about - with some emotion, I can say.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

I am surprised that someone is trying to say that we don't really believe the words of WISTWC and that it's not really in evangelical hymn books - and, quite surprisingly, that Songs of Fellowship is not really evangelical.

Odd.

Almost all the churches I went to as a kid had Songs of Fellowship (with something else). It's, well fellowshipy and had 600 odd songs, (and though I've not personally seen it in a Catholic church, apparently it got there pretty fast too) so it's not JUST evangelical even in the lowest and widest sense (although published by Kingsway, it clearly INCLUDES at least one branch of charismatic*).

Though I concede I should have been more specific in the initial quote ("mean in evangelical services"), that it was Evangelical where Charismatic has it's own badge, rather than Evangelical meaning not Catholic or Orthodox.

But in that same quote I was also quite specific that I'd expect it to be present there as everywhere else (and hence in the hymnal) but wouldn't class it as being automatically representative of the 'vast majority' without at least asking the question.

*and hence you could pick some, say Catholic hymns, that almost certainly won't be in there.

[edited to add capitals]

[ 22. April 2017, 18:28: Message edited by: Jay-Emm ]
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
I've said quite a lot about this on previous threads; so I'm not going to say any more, at least for now.

However, if sola PSA is a mark of the true Calvinist, then Calvin himself wasn't a Calvinist.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
What I am trying to do is avoid a rerun of the discussion on the other thread and answer the question 'why' evangelicals like PSA.

But that wasn't the question that the OP asked. The OP asked why some Evangelicals want to make PSA the only acceptable understanding of the atonement.

quote:
What I am also trying to do is suggest, once again, that evangelicals are not also narrow-minded as to ONLY believe in PSA - hence the use of the songs/hymns.
And what others are saying is that you are right that some Evangelicals believe in understandings other than PSA, but you are not correct that all do.

As for the hymns, it seems to me that it is quite possible for someone who believes only in PSA to sing "love so amazing..." with gusto, understanding those words as referring to our response to the atonement, not to the nature of the atonement itself. That's how I've always understood it.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
However, if sola PSA is a mark of the true Calvinist, then Calvin himself wasn't a Calvinist.

Indeed.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Well as I'm evidently not a true evangelical and therefore not one of the 'some evangelicals' I'm evidently engaging in a discussion that has bugger all to do with me...

I'll leave you all to it in case there is a real Calvinist evangelical here who wants to talk to you.

...which I very much doubt.

[ 22. April 2017, 20:37: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Well as I'm evidently not a true evangelical and therefore not one of the 'some evangelicals' I'm evidently engaging in a discussion that has bugger all to do with me...

I'll leave you all to it in case there is a real Calvinist evangelical here who wants to talk to you.

...which I very much doubt.

No one here has said you are not a true Evangelical, or questioned your evangelical bona fides. All that has been said is that if you are not a PSA-only type, some Evangelicals we have encountered in real life might question whether you are a true Evangelical, just as they might question whether Catholics are really Christians.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
There was extensive discussion on this topic in this recent thread.

My take is that while many Evangelicals, at least in the States, will say they value all theories of atonement, PSA is treated as non-negotiable—or as fletcher christian said, a litmus test of orthodoxy—while all other theories are treated as optional add-ons.

PSA is above all other tests as a mark of Sydney Anglicanism, a feature which distinguishes it from the traditional low-church evangelical approach which was the main path in the diocese until the 1980s; then the Moore College training changed and PSA took the lead. But the school does not allow other theories as optional add-ons - it's PSA or you're just not a Christian.

There are still quite a few of the traditional school left, would have been at home in many an English country parish of the 1700s.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I have never met a Calvinist who said I wasn't an evangelical.

Me too.

I am not only un-Calvinistic but anti-Calvinistic, and therefore keep a constant suspicious eye on Calvinists.

In my very long experience as an evangelical, I have not noticed any tendency for Arminians to be any less supportive of PSA than Calvinists - just more likely to recognise other models in addition.

The really interesting thing about PSA, at least as far as the Ship is concerned, is why its opponents are so obsessed with it.

They are like a dog with a bone which they cannot leave alone.

We recently had a very long thread about it, and here we go again.

Why?

There are, AFAIK, no "PSA only" people on the Ship.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
The really interesting thing about PSA, at least as far as the Ship is concerned, is why its opponents are so obsessed with it.

They are like a dog with a bone which they cannot leave alone.

We recently had a very long thread about it, and here we go again.

Why?

This fascinates me because every time we have an anti-PSA thread, people come out of the woodwork to say exactly what they think is wrong with it and why. And you claim not to have ever been told? Amazing.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
In my very long experience as an evangelical, I have not noticed any tendency for Arminians to be any less supportive of PSA than Calvinists - just more likely to recognise other models in addition.

Which is all the difference in the world (and definitely all the difference in the thread title).
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
Going back to the OP, I'd hypothesise that as you get closer to 'sola PSA', the more the various concepts get fused
That is:
(human description of PSA)
Penal Subs A.
Substitutionary A.
the Atonement
(any thing to do with the cross, grace, forgiveness, heaven, etc...)
get more and more indistinguishable.

It was notable in the last thread, that one of the passages used to defend PSA, clearly wasn't PSA. But because it was describing the atonement, the rest of the PSA was assumed. Even at the lighter level, it's a metaphor* for the atonement and a metaphor of PSA are seen as being the same thing.
While at the other scale, because the cross, incarnation, grace, judgement, etc... are rather important being passionate about 'defending' them is unsurprising.


Moreover on the multiple models to one 'model' (regardless of one model), you go from this is like, to this is. And thus you have to do the mental gymnastics to fit everything in. And at the extreme ignore and overwrite large parts of the bible.
However with the many models the bits that clash with scripture, it is far easier to let scripture win. But also easy to do that for bits that are in the biblical description. Again ignoring large parts of the bible.

*not really metaphor, but in the context this works well.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Mudfrog and Kaplan. I wouldn't be surprised if you'd met Calvinists who did consider you evangelical but not Evangelical - but they might have been too polite to say so.

They would certainly have considered you to be fellow Christians but not big E Evangelical Christians like themselves.

Both of you are missing the point to some extent. There are certain Big R Big E Reformed Evangelicals who would doubt the salvation of anyone who didn't hold to PSA.

Just because you haven't met them doesn't mean they don't exist. I've never met the Dalai Lama either but I accept he is there ...
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
If it helps, Fletcher Christian lives in Northern Ireland.

Does that set the context for the OP?

I can't remember where in Australia Kaplan lives but I don't think it's Sydney.

FWIW across the Southern Baptists and other US denominations there's currently a big Reformed Evangelical push going on.

Hard-line Calvinism seems to wax and wane and come and go cyclically. There's a rather vitriolic resurgence of it in some circles at the moment.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
Posted by Gam:
quote:

If it helps, Fletcher Christian lives in Northern Ireland.

First I heard, lol. I did once though.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I think I knew you lived south of the border, come to think of it ...

But I was assuming that you were referring to a particular type of Ulster Protestant.

At any rate, your OP made it clear that the issue you wanted us to discuss wasn't the ins and outs of PSA but why it is that certain types of evangelical make PSA the be-all and end-all of atonement theories.

In an over-sensistive kind of way, it seems to me, Mudfrog and Kaplan have over-reacted as if this was some kind of blanket observation about all evangelicals.

That'd be like Mousethief over-reacting if someone suggested that all Orthodox go in for 'Toll Booth' ideas about the after-life or an Anglican over-reacting if someone suggested that all Episcopalians were like Spong or Cupitt.

I didn't see anyone laying this particular charge to evangelicalism per se yet Mudfrog and Kaplan come along as if they are the official spokesmen for all matters evangelical rather than them being representatives of particular subsets within it.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
FWIW across the Southern Baptists and other US denominations there's currently a big Reformed Evangelical push going on.

A few things, from someone who has lived his life srrounded by Southern Baptists:

In my experience and observation, they would never use the word "Reformed," unless it's in the sense of "reformed compared to other Baptists." They certainly do not use it in the traditional sense of Capital-R Reformed, not do they identify in any way as Reformed. They tend to use "Calvinist," though others might say it is selective Calvinism. Lots of TULIP (which is really post-Calvin), for example, while ignoring, say, Calvinist understanding of the church or of the sacraments.

Also, the Calvinists in the Southern Baptist Convention are heavily opposed by much of the SBC establishment.

And all of that said, PSA is pretty much the official and non-negotiable position of the SBC.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
I don't know about anyone else, but PSA reminds me of the principle of justice in Terry Pratchett's Anhk-Morpork: in the Patrician's view crime should be punished; if punishment is meted out to whoever, justice is served.

So if the most important person in Heaven and on earth is punished (innocent Jesus) then justice is served for all. It really sounds to me like a plot point in a satirical fantasy.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I'd venture that a majority (at least of the most vocal Evangelicals who talk about the theology of the atonement) are PSA-only. A fairly large number don't have much awareness of the idea that there exist different theories of the atonement and hence hold contradictory ideas of the atonement (because they use different theories in different contexts).

A very small number actually reject PSA altogether.
 
Posted by Leprechaun (# 5408) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:


For example several decades ago UCCF, the British University umbrella group for evangelicals, had a policy of refusing to allow presidents who were female and IIRC having some policy about women speakers.

You do not RC. No such policy on either female presidents or speakers ever existed. This is simply utter rubbish.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I stand corrected. There was an issue, I thought it was due to the UCCF but it appears to have been down to local university groups not the UCCF.

Apols, memory problem.
 
Posted by Leprechaun (# 5408) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I stand corrected. There was an issue, I thought it was due to the UCCF but it appears to have been down to local university groups not the UCCF.

Apols, memory problem.

Thanks [Smile]

Back to the subject of the thread, UCCF do have a policy on that, if that helps.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:


Back to the subject of the thread, UCCF do have a policy on that, if that helps.

What is it? Also - is it wrong to think that UCCF is calvinistic in outlook?
 
Posted by Leprechaun (# 5408) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:


Back to the subject of the thread, UCCF do have a policy on that, if that helps.

What is it? Also - is it wrong to think that UCCF is calvinistic in outlook?
Well, that PSA is true and the central, not only, way of understanding the atonement. Although I say that's a policy, I'm not sure that's even written down - just what you're likely to hear, as per John Stott in the Cross of Christ.

On the Calvinistic thing - no formal policy. In my experience the staff were a mixed bag of views on that with non-Calvinists right up to the most senior levels. Probably more Calvinists than Arminians overall.

[ 23. April 2017, 16:59: Message edited by: Leprechaun ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
Posted by Gam:
quote:

If it helps, Fletcher Christian lives in Northern Ireland.

First I heard, lol. I did once though.
My first ministry appointment was in the late 1980s in Londonderry - so I know all about the divisions - including the Calvinist 'versus the rest of us' Protestantism.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Lyda-Rose, I'd lay money that Pratchett was deliberately parodying PSA, even if he didn't know the terminology. It's just too juicy to be accidental.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I have a friend who is an adherent member of The Salvation Army. (An adherent is one who doesn't enter into the soldiers' covenant. They don't have to subscribe to all our doctrines or lifestyle choices).
Anyway, he is a former minster who ha married a Salvation Army officer.

He is a Calvinist and cannot be a SA soldier because he doesn't accept three of our doctrinal statements that are specifically Wesleyan/Arminian.

He has no problem at all describing me (or his wife for that matter) as an evangelical.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure. But that's him. He isn't Evangelicalism any more than you are the paradigm representative of it either.

All I'm saying is that there are Big R Big E Reformed Evangelicals out there who would consider you to be evangelical with a small e rather than Evangelical with a Big E.

That's all. Obviously the mileage is going to vary. I've come across uber-Reformed Evangelicals who wouldn't even consider Pentecostals to be Christians, but this is rarer than it would have been at one time.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
Posted by Lep:
quote:

Well, that PSA is true and the central, not only, way of understanding the atonement.

This is what I hear from quite a number of sources but I'm not sure I can follow the reasoning. If, for instance, someone chose not to see PSA as central then would they be considered 'true' in the sense of belonging, or would their belief be considered 'true'? If not, then surely saying PSA is 'true' and 'central' is really just code for 'the only acceptable and true theory of atonement'. To hold PSA as central and true would also mean firmly shutting the door to most other understandings of atonement.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Personally, I think this is part of the problem: everyone (almost everyone!) is talking in coded language.

I wonder how many Evangelicals would accept someone that said PSA wasn't true and wasn't a central way to understand the atonement.

And how that compares to what would happen if someone was to deny one of the other theories.

ISTM that the first would cause problems and the second wouldn't.

[ 24. April 2017, 09:10: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Robert Armin (# 182) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:


For example several decades ago UCCF, the British University umbrella group for evangelicals, had a policy of refusing to allow presidents who were female and IIRC having some policy about women speakers.

You do not RC. No such policy on either female presidents or speakers ever existed. This is simply utter rubbish.
Are you sure about this? Back in the late 70s, when I was part of a CU, it was taken for granted that the President would be male and the VP female. Maybe it wasn't written down anywhere, but it was the pattern I saw everywhere, including when we went on training events with other CUs. I'd be interested to know when and where the first female President of a CU was appointed.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Personally, I think this is part of the problem: everyone (almost everyone!) is talking in coded language.

I wonder how many Evangelicals would accept someone that said PSA wasn't true and wasn't a central way to understand the atonement.

And how that compares to what would happen if someone was to deny one of the other theories.

ISTM that the first would cause problems and the second wouldn't.

No need to wonder. Just Google Steve Chalke.

[ 24. April 2017, 10:52: Message edited by: Jolly Jape ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
It's not a litmus test per se, but an evangelical would ask, how can Jesus take my sins away if they are not transferred to him? How can he take my guilt away if he doesn't take it on himself?

By forgiving it, perhaps?

Of course, I'm from the school of thought that says the Resurrection is the important part of Easter, not the Cross.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Thanks, MtM, it's not often I say this, but I wholeheartedly agree with you.

Going back to the OP, I think the key to understanding all this is to define the nature of the problem which the atonement is meant to solve. If you think humanity's greatest problem is moral or juridical guilt before a holy God, then you will look for a juridical solution, such as PSA. Not surprisingly, those who hold to the teaching of the lawyer John Calvin tend, overall, to espouse this. If, on the other hand, you regard the problem as ontologically, that is, if, as per Marvin, you believe God can forgive the sins of whosoever he chooses, but that the atonement, including the resurrection, is necessary to destroy the ontology of sin and death, and to enable the already forgiven human to share the risen life of Christ, it is highly likely that you would see PSA as, at best, irrelevant, and possibly objectively mistaken, and give the greatest weight to Christus Victor, or even Ransom theory.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Irritatingly, perhaps, I'm from the both/and not either or school.

No Cross no Resurrection.

You can't have one without the other. It is a nonsense to separate the two. They are both equally part of God's salvific action in Christ - along with the Incarnation, Christ's moral teachings and example and much else besides.

We shouldn't fillet this stuff up but treat it as a seamless whole.

Yes, these days I do incline more towards a less juridical approach, but I can understand and sympathise with those who emphasise that - but it depends to what extent.

Listening to some Reformed Evangelicals one could get the impression that Christ should have been crucified the moment he emerged from his mother's womb.

It's all a question of emphasis.

I can understand the reluctance of so many evangelicals to abandon or modify PSA - because they find it hard to conceive of any Gospel without it.

The reasoning runs as Mudfrog outlines. If Christ has not borne our guilt then somehow that guilt remains. It's the propitiation rather than expiation thing.

I'm not saying it's right or wrong, simply noting, in response to the OP, why PSA is seen as so central to the evangelical soteriological schema.

PSA is the Gospel as far as many evangelicals are concerned.

Hence, for Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones, C S Lewis's squeamishness about PSA probably meant that Lewis wasn't really 'saved'.

There is a kind of inexorable logic about it. 'That guy doesn't accept PSA therefore he must be trusting in his own righteousness and good works ... He can't possibly be saved ...'

It is a very reductionist view of the world. It's by no means the only one. But it boils down to a very black-and-white set of propositions based on its own internal logic.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
No Cross no Resurrection.

No death no resurrection I'll grant you - after all, Christ could hardly be resurrected from the dead without being dead first!

But the way I see it, death is death - and it could have been defeated just as well had Christ died of old age after a long and productive life. The specific means of death wasn't necessary, and was down to a bunch of stupid humans acting out of good old-fashioned fear and self-interest. Humanity fucking sucks, to the extent that when God Himself came to earth to show us how to live our lives and defeat the power of death we freaked out and fucking murdered Him. And yet, even as we were murdering Him in one of the most painful ways imaginable, He still forgave us. And He still defeated death by rising again, thus opening the way for all of us to do the same through Him.

I find that far more inspiring and worthy of praise than a theory of the atonement that makes God Himself no more than a scapegoat onto whom we pin our sin so that we can be made clean.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
In fairness, there is more to PSA than that, although I'd accept that it sometimes sounds that way when exposited or explained by some of its less eloquent proponents.

I hasten to add that I don't include any Shippies in that category.

Would the Incarnation / Atonement have 'worked' had Christ simply died of old age or natural causes?

That has to lie purely in the realms of speculation.

The fact is, Christ did suffer and die on the cross. In some mysterious way, we are told in Peter's Pentecost sermon that this was by, 'God's set purpose and foreknowledge ...'

There was an intentionality about it, if you like.

It was 'by the hands of wicked men' but also by God's 'set purpose and foreknowledge.'

However we cut it, we aren't allowed the option of a Jesus who died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 93 ...
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
No Cross no Resurrection.

No death no resurrection I'll grant you - after all, Christ could hardly be resurrected from the dead without being dead first!

But the way I see it, death is death - and it could have been defeated just as well had Christ died of old age after a long and productive life. The specific means of death wasn't necessary, and was down to a bunch of stupid humans acting out of good old-fashioned fear and self-interest.

I can see that to a point. But I don't think death from old age works. I think it's vitally important that the death was, in some sense, sacrificial, that Jesus voluntarily accepted his death for a bigger purpose. I think Jesus clearly alludes to that at various times—"Greater love has no one," etc.

To me, it's not really "no cross, no resurrection," as though the cross was a necessary predicate to the resurrection. It's more that the cross and the resurrection are parts of one salvific event.
quote:
And yet, even as we were murdering Him in one of the most painful ways imaginable, He still forgave us.
Agreed on the power of that.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Well yes, of course the Cross and Resurrection were part of a single salvific event - I thought I'd made that clear.

I also included the Incarnation itself as well as Christ's moral teachings and sinless life (if I didn't mention it then, I will now) and lots of other things besides.

We are saved by Christ. We are saved by the entire 'Christ event'.

It doesn't do to chop it all up into bite-size chunks.

That's why St Patrick's Breastplate and some of the older prayers and liturgical material work so well, I think - because they cover the whole ground ... they don't just focus on this that or the other aspect.

I'd certainly accept Mudfrog's point that evangelical hymnody and preaching/teaching is a lot broader in scope than its critics tend to make out.

But that's not the issue here. The issue is why certain types of evangelical appear to focus on PSA to the virtual exclusion of everything else.

I attended a Baptist Christmas service once where the minister said, 'Enough of cribs and the stable at Bethlehem ... let me take you 33 years later to a hill outside Jerusalem ...'

Well, yes, eventually ... but to do so you don't half have to skip over a whole load of other important stuff. The Beatitudes any one? The Parables? The Presentation in the Temple? The Temptation in the Wilderness? The Miracles?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
I can see that to a point. But I don't think death from old age works. I think it's vitally important that the death was, in some sense, sacrificial, that Jesus voluntarily accepted his death for a bigger purpose. I think Jesus clearly alludes to that at various times—"Greater love has no one," etc.

The entire incarnation was sacrificial. God the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, became a human being. That's big. That's sacrificial. And of course, by becoming human He also accepted the inevitability of His own death - an experience that, being God, He would not otherwise have had to know.

The wages of sin is death, and we all receive those wages sooner or later. And death is the one place God couldn't go, because God cannot die. In order to lead us out from death God had to die, and in order to die He had to debase Himself and become as we are. If you don't think that's sacrificial then I'm not sure you've really thought about it!

I think the whole point was that only by joining us in death could He save us therefrom, but I still maintain that the means of death could have been anything else and it would still have "worked". I will, however, freely accept that suffering a very public death meant people were less likely to argue that He'd never actually died in the first place. But that's important for evangelism and preaching, not for Salvation itself.
 
Posted by Leprechaun (# 5408) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
Posted by Lep:
quote:

Well, that PSA is true and the central, not only, way of understanding the atonement.

This is what I hear from quite a number of sources but I'm not sure I can follow the reasoning. If, for instance, someone chose not to see PSA as central then would they be considered 'true' in the sense of belonging, or would their belief be considered 'true'? If not, then surely saying PSA is 'true' and 'central' is really just code for 'the only acceptable and true theory of atonement'. To hold PSA as central and true would also mean firmly shutting the door to most other understandings of atonement.
This is precisely where I don't agree. I'm not sure whose job it is to decide "belonging" (and there seems to be a context here you're in that I'm not fully aware of.) But the classic evangelical view, as I understand it, in its modern form put forward by John Stott in the Cross of Christ is that Jesus' death does pay the price for sin, defeat sin death and the devil, and move us to repentance. But it can only do this because PSA has happened. You may not agree with this, but it's not the same as saying PSA is the only possible way to explain the cross, just that it lies beneath the other achievements of the cross.
 
Posted by Leprechaun (# 5408) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Armin:
quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:


For example several decades ago UCCF, the British University umbrella group for evangelicals, had a policy of refusing to allow presidents who were female and IIRC having some policy about women speakers.

You do not RC. No such policy on either female presidents or speakers ever existed. This is simply utter rubbish.
Are you sure about this?
Yes.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
If you don't think that's sacrificial then I'm not sure you've really thought about it!

I do think the Incarnation was sacrificial. Never said otherwise.

I also thank it matters that Jesus's death was, in and of itself, sacrificial, though—not just that Jesus died, but that he voluntarily gave up his life. I think there's just too much in Scripture that points to that for me, at least, not to see it that way.

You see it differently, however. That's fine.

[ 24. April 2017, 16:11: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
But the classic evangelical view, as I understand it, in its modern form put forward by John Stott in the Cross of Christ is that Jesus' death does pay the price for sin, defeat sin death and the devil, and move us to repentance. But it can only do this because PSA has happened. You may not agree with this, but it's not the same as saying PSA is the only possible way to explain the cross, just that it lies beneath the other achievements of the cross.

I'm sorry I don't understand the distinction you are making here. If you are saying that PSA is essential - because it lies beneath the other accomplishments of the cross - how exactly are you saying it isn't the only possible way to explain the cross?

It seems to me you're saying that you can have other explanations as long as PSA is there underlying them. Which seems another way to say that (a) it is essential and (b) it is more important, more complete than any of the other explanations.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I like John Stott's book, 'The Cross of Christ' and to my mind it goes some considerable way towards lifting PSA out of the caricatures and grotesqueries that can so easily dog it ... both from its proponents and its opponents.

But yes, when all is said and done, it would seem that rather than being one of several complementary and interlocking theories, PSA is seen as the main, under-pinning one.

Whether that is good, bad or indifferent does rather depend on what our views of PSA are in the first place.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Kaplan Corday: The really interesting thing about PSA, at least as far as the Ship is concerned, is why its opponents are so obsessed with it.
Indeed.. my thought is that it concerns definitions. The defining quality of the Christian faith is concerned with the nature of the action of the saviour on the cross. What he achieved is essentially determined by who he was. If you reject either, then you reject both. What you define as his identity and his action defines your own position. If you are honest, that places you within or outside the definition of true believer. The reaction is caused by the desperation to be within. But being within is dependant upon precisely what one's faith is in. If my faith is in a Christ who is not God, I am not saved. If my faith is in a God who became my sin and died for me, I am. (1 Cor 15:3,4. 1 Pet 3:18.) If I define what Christ achieved on the cross to be short of a full substitution for my sin, I cannot avoid responsibility for that sin. Consequently, If I baulk at either his person or his action and redefine either to suit my proclivities and politics, but still call myself a Christian, I have dissonance. It is then I need to find like minded people with whom I can begin huddling together for warmth in a snowstorm.
 
Posted by Leprechaun (# 5408) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
But the classic evangelical view, as I understand it, in its modern form put forward by John Stott in the Cross of Christ is that Jesus' death does pay the price for sin, defeat sin death and the devil, and move us to repentance. But it can only do this because PSA has happened. You may not agree with this, but it's not the same as saying PSA is the only possible way to explain the cross, just that it lies beneath the other achievements of the cross.

It seems to me you're saying that you can have other explanations as long as PSA is there underlying them. Which seems another way to say that (a) it is essential and (b) it is more important, more complete than any of the other explanations.
Yes. But that doesn't mean only PSA is true, which seems to be the view that fletcher christian is coming across.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I suggest that the explanations given above by Lep and Jamat together answer the question asked in the OP. Whilst Evangelicals might be prepared to go as far as to say that Other Atonement Theories Are Available, they often qualify that by saying that actually PSA is the only important one - and if you don't believe it then you're not a real Christian.

There's not really a very subtle difference between PSA-only and "yeah, ok, other theories exist but only PSA is absolutely necessary".
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
Posted by Lep:
quote:

Yes. But that doesn't mean only PSA is true, which seems to be the view that fletcher christian is coming across.

If I'm reading and understanding what you are saying then I'm still running up against the same issue; namely that PSA is indispensable for some Christians (I've come across it in lots of traditions not just 'evangelical'). Being the only way to explain the cross surely means that there is an overall impetus to solidifying the doctrine of the atonement on one particular mode of understanding (namely PSA) and my question concerned why that would be.

So far I think it's probably safe to say that - for 'evangelicals' at least (I'm putting that in quotes because I know so many evangelicals who do not hold to this theory in any shape or form, so the classification doesn't hold true for me or for them presumably) hymnology has had a large part to play, most definedly from the period of the great Victorian missions and their sects, and the theology of John Stott (or is it Scott?). I kind of understand this, yet it seems quite a narrow realm of influence for what seems to be a broadly held concept among some, but I guess the hymnology aspect could be fairly influential.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Thing is, Jamat, your argument falls down at several points, most notably that there are plenty of Christian traditions that hold to the Divinity of Christ but who don't necessarily espouse PSA.

But then, you seem to prefer your theology as reductionist as possible.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
How many times have you told half the Ship that they (not to mention most of the world's Christians) are going to go to Hell now, Jamat?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
How many times have you told half the Ship that they (not to mention most of the world's Christians) are going to go to Hell now, Jamat?

I think this may indeed be a big part of the attraction of PSA - it's simple shorthand to use to assess the soundness of others. To sort the sheep from the goats, as it were.

Theological pun intended.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
The question I ask myself is why supporters of PSA cling to it so insistently. I think it’s something to do with the psychology or temperament of its adherents: the generally conservative mind-set of its supporters, which likes to have matters wrapped up rather than left unresolved. PSA offers a coherent and easily understood model of how salvation works, which other approaches do not.

Additionally, Conservative Evangelicals tend to place emphasis on faith as belief rather than trust, so that salvation by faith is closely equated with the need to believe the right thing. Consequently, belief in PSA becomes essential to the attainment of personal salvation. Other soteriological approaches are not simply alternative approaches to be considered but heretical threats to one’s eternal soul, and former supporters like Steve Chalke are regarded as apostates who have rejected the light.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
If my faith is in a Christ who is not God, I am not saved. If my faith is in a God who became my sin and died for me, I am.

Those are not the only options.

quote:
If I define what Christ achieved on the cross
...then you don't really need the resurrection at all. It's all about Christ dying as a sacrifice - as a scapegoat, like I said before.

quote:
to be short of a full substitution for my sin, I cannot avoid responsibility for that sin.
Why would you want to? I don't know how you can even be truly repentant without accepting such responsibility, and repentance is what leads to forgiveness.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Was it Iranaeus who wrote, 'That which cannot be assumed, cannot be healed'?

Something like that ...

The idea being that Christ took our humanity and shared our death ...

He 'assumed' it into himself.

So, if Christ 'became sin for us' then he will have 'assumed' that too in some mysterious way ... and there are various possible ways of interpreting that - of which PSA is one.

There are others.

I have some sympathy with the view that some Shippies seem obsessed with PSA and want to debunk it ... But I put that down to a variety of reasons ... they find it repugnant, they aren't convinced that scripture teaches it ...It's not an emphasis found in their particular tradition - and a whole host of other reasons.

But no, that's not good enough for Jamat. It must be because they are not true Christians like he is.

Yeah, right. Blessed be Jamat. Blessed be his holy name. Verily he hath the keys to the Kingdom ...

Meanwhile​, I was intrigued by Fletcher Christian's comment that he comes across PSA in circles other than evangelical ones.

Which circles are those, Fletcher?

Surely not the RCs?

Darhn ... Darhn ...Dunnnn!!

What's Rome's view on this one? I have an idea they see the atonement in juridical and propitiatory terms ...

And what was Calvin's view? Nick Tamen has suggested it wasn't PSA.

I'm intrigued by that too.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
And what was Calvin's view? Nick Tamen has suggested it wasn't PSA.

Not quite. It was Enoch who said that if sola-PSA is a mark of a true Calvinist, then Calvin was no true Calvinist. I agreed. The key word is sola.

There's no question that Calvin, building on Anselm's satisfaction model, articulated what would become known as PSA. It was the model that made most sense to him. As happened with a number of Calvin's writings, others after him would both refine/elaborate on Calvin and attach a centrality to PSA that Calvin himself didn't necessarily attach. It was but part of a bigger picture for him and has to be understood in a broader context.

That was my point—as I understand it, while Calvin articulated the PSA model, it wasn't so central to him that he considered anyone who differed from him on that point not to be a "true" anything.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Mr Cheesy: Whilst Evangelicals might be prepared to go as far as to say that Other Atonement Theories Are Available, they often qualify that by saying that actually PSA is the only important one - and if you don't believe it then you're not a real Christian
In terms of theological analysis, it is only exegesis versus eisigesis. However, Christ is accessible to the simplest person who is incapable of formulating atonement theories if they can say "Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief," which in the end, I think, is all anyone does.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Mr Cheesy: Whilst Evangelicals might be prepared to go as far as to say that Other Atonement Theories Are Available, they often qualify that by saying that actually PSA is the only important one - and if you don't believe it then you're not a real Christian
In terms of theological analysis, it is only exegesis versus eisigesis. However, Christ is accessible to the simplest person who is incapable of formulating atonement theories if they can say "Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief," which in the end, I think, is all anyone does.
No, no, this won't do. You were insisting on theological correctness in your previous post. We don't have proverbial goldfish memories.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
I thought PSA was a legalistic model, beloved of those who see individual as the focus with community as a distant second, and only insofar as it is a collection of individuals who have gotten their salvation all by their selves via personal drama of conversion. The passion of Christ re-enacted via the personal passion of the individual in the crisis of being saved.

Best response to the question "are you a Christian?" may be "it is unlikely that I believe like you", because it is mainly a particular group who'd ask such a thing. Though I'd like to respond "everyone is" to such a meaningless/meaningful question.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Of course we all ultimately say, 'Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief,' Jamat.

Which makes a nonsense of your apparent claim that if people don't share your particular view of the atonement then they aren't saved.

Whichever particular atonement models we use or mix and match it is apparent to all of us that 'Christ died for our sons according to the scriptures' and that yes, he was raised to life too, 'according to the scriptures.'

That's the base level.

Trying to work out the 'mechanics' of that is the business of the theologian. Working out the implications in our daily lives the business of the saint.

I don't understand how the internal combustion engine works, but I can drive a car.

Meanwhile, thanks for the heads-up on the Calvin thing, Nick Tamen. I'm still slowly working my way through the Institutes. A cure for insomnia. I've not come across much on the atonement yet, but I'll look out for it.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
On No Prophet's point about an individualistic understanding of salvation and Jamat's jibe about pseudo-Christians here (ie.those who understand things differently to him) wanting to club together and 'belong' ...

My experience has been that some of those with a highly individualised take on these things and a very 'low' ecclesiology tend to be the ones who huddle together in very close-knit and sometimes very claustrophobic communities.

Their individualism doesn't drive them into the desert, as it were, rather, it ties them into a very narrow bubble or echo-chamber of the like-minded.

This isn't purely a 'faith' phenomenon. I spoke to a woman yesterday who told me how she'd spent a decade of her life immersed in hard-left politics, agitating on every conceivable left-wing issue.

She's still a lefty but regrets that period as she feels it cut her off from broader issues and from exploring the less intense arty and community-focused things she's engaged with now.

Equally, her husband, less lefty and a Lib Dem spent 10 years of his life campaigning every non-working hour for that particular party. He has now returned to the party after resigning during the Coalition. He wants to deliver leaflets but no more.

Ok, I know those are issues of levels of engagement rather than belief but intense levels of belief do tend to lead to intense levels of fellowship and community - which is fair enough but may not suit everyone and certainly not at particular times of life.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I think this point about individualism as expressed in Evangelicalism is a good one. PSA is about Jesus' atonement paying the price for your (singular) sin. It seems to me that most of the other theories are expressed in a form which isn't necessarily about "me" singular; and so an attack on PSA is an attack on the idea that the whole point of Christianity is the fabled "relationship with Jesus", which is an attack on the idea that there is a single moment of conversion.

And maybe that's another reason why PSA has become so widespread as the only - or at least the main - way to understand the atonement. It speaks into the increasingly polarised individualistic western culture and says that you have a basic choice to either accept or reject this message and gift in this moment.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure - although in the interests of balance, I'd also point out that plenty of people with a 'high' ecclesiology are also highly individualistic ...

There are counter-currents in both directions.

But yes, if you were to trace a 'history' of evangelical conversion then you'd pretty much date it to around the late 1500s/early 1600s in the first instance - as the second and third generations of post-Reformation Christians were born ...

That triggered a desire to pin-point moments of conversion as a way of identifying/reassuring oneself that one's offspring were among the Elect.

This tendency was first discernible in Scotland and New England according to some historians ...

NB I'm not saying that people didn't undergo conversions prior to that - simply that it wouldn't have been framed/understood in terms that would evolve into later evangelical understandings of how these things work.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
And before anyone starts, no, I don't believe that God has 'grandchildren' so I'm not denying 'the new birth' or regeneration or anything of that kind.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: Of course we all ultimately say, 'Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief,' Jamat.

Which makes a nonsense of your apparent claim that if people don't share your particular view of the atonement then they aren't saved.

My distinction was between the experience and the intellectualisation or exegetical explanation. Lots of us can know we are saved but few can tease out the theology. My beef, if I have one, is with the clever ones, say Chalke and co, who deliberately contradict what the scriptures teach because they find it unacceptable politically. Or alternatively, they are false teachers who are sent by Satan to cause Christians to stumble..the ones Paul warns Timothy about.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
My distinction was between the experience and the intellectualisation or exegetical explanation. Lots of us can know we are saved but few can tease out the theology. My beef, if I have one, is with the clever ones, say Chalke and co, who deliberately contradict what the scriptures teach because they find it unacceptable politically. Or alternatively, they are false teachers who are sent by Satan to cause Christians to stumble..the ones Paul warns Timothy about.

[Roll Eyes]

Yeah, or maybe it could be that your understanding of the bible is complete bollocks and Chalke has more Christian maturity than you'll ever aspire to.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
For Jamat and most people, a metaphor in the flesh, theatre, especially a life and death one, is ontological, is legalistic, is the Law from the Court of Heaven on down.

And therefore misses the point, the pivot, the example of incarnationality in the greatest story ever told, ever lived.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Jamat, I like you. I found you personally gracious in our marathon exchanges on the infamous CV thread of blessed memory. But really, you should know by now that those who don't share your views here have come to that position because they think you are wrong about what the Bible says, and that, conversely, they are convinced that their own views are more in alignment with what the scriptures actually say. To accuse people such as Chalkie in these terms:

quote:
deliberately contradict what the scriptures teach because they find it unacceptable politically. Or alternatively, they are false teachers who are sent by Satan to cause Christians to stumble..the ones Paul warns Timothy about.
is to break the ninth commandment, that is, to bear false witness. I respectfully suggest that this brings no honour to your cause, and, furthermore, that pretending an opponent holds views or motivations that they do not is disrespectful of them, and likely to get you branded as a loony.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
There's also a vein of anti-intellectualism going on there too ...

Steve Chalke isn't particularly 'intellectual'. He's a good communicator and good at what he does with the Oasis Trust, but he's certainly not a heavy-weight theologian, academic or intellectual.

Neither would he claim to be.

Besides, if scripture was so 'plain' on the issue, how come vast swathes of Christendom didn't come up with an evangelical understanding of PSA from the outset?

The fact is that PSA is an interpretation/attempt to understand the atonement just like all the other models are.

It was given particularly piquancy in a subset of Western Christianity as part of an evolutionary process that stretches from Augustine to Anselm to Aquinas to Calvin to Dort and to the 18th and 19th century evangelicals ... ultimately being enshrined by some/most evangelicals as THE definitive way of understanding the atonement during the 20th century ...

That isn't to say it's right, wrong, good bad or indifferent. But it is to acknowledge that there is a tradition at work here and that it doesn't simply tumble out of the pages of the NT ready-baked.

But Jamat - likeable and gracious as he undoubtedly is and can be - appears to favour a highly reductionist approach to these matters.

Steve Chalke disagrees with the 'plain meaning of scripture' - therefore Steve Chalke is a servant of Satan ...

Sure, it's possible to find RC and Orthodox people using similar rhetoric in relation to their particular emphases.

I seem to recall that an organisation called ISIS is currently going around causing mayhem by applying a similar logic to their own 'plain meaning' or their own particular scriptures ...

[Help]

Of course, Jamat isn't going to go around beheading any body or hunting Steve Chalke down ...

But the fundamentalist impulse is similar - even if it doesn't lead to such nefarious results.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
I haven't been contributing much to this thread, because Gamaliel, as he so often does, is putting all much better than I could. But two comments of my own.

First, the atonement is independent of us. We are saved because of what Jesus has done, not because we have the right belief about what he has done. That turns faith into a work.

What we are asked to do is to say, 'thank you'.

Second, I can see what you dislike, Mr Cheesy, about over personalising the message.
quote:
Jesus' atonement paying the price for your (singular) sin. It seems to me that most of the other theories are expressed in a form which isn't necessarily about "me" singular;
Even if there are things here you may be right to dislike, there is something else we must all accept - even if it we find it threatening or uncomfortable.

It is a fundamental glory of the Christian message that even though there are millions of us, Jesus does indeed call each of us by name. The gospel is not addressed to the important people, Pope Francis, bishops, rulers, leaders of megachurches etc. Nor is it addressed to society, societies or nations. It is addressed to each one of us, where we are now, individually and personally. This matters. It must not be sneered at.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:

It is a fundamental glory of the Christian message that even though there are millions of us, Jesus does indeed call each of us by name. The gospel is not addressed to the important people, Pope Francis, bishops, rulers, leaders of megachurches etc. Nor is it addressed to society, societies or nations. It is addressed to each one of us, where we are now, individually and personally. This matters. It must not be sneered at.

It is hard to respond when you've written something which appears to ascribe to me things I don't believe.

The best I can do is to sum it up like this:

Christus Victor says that the atonement has defeated the powers of darkness and that you can be a part of this ongoing victory over evil.

PSA says that Christ hung on the cross because he was paying the price for you, singular.

I'm not mocking or sneering at anything when I'm simply saying that this is a difference in emphasis.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

I'd certainly accept Mudfrog's point that evangelical hymnody and preaching/teaching is a lot broader in scope than its critics tend to make out.

But that's not the issue here.

This.

And Gamaliel, it really is the point here.
The OP is asking why do evangelicals like PSA so much and my response would be 'because we're evangelicals' - we're conversionists - we want individual people to accept Jesus is their Saviour and repent, believe and be born again.
Substitutionary atonement is part of the message.

As well as that we are usually conservative; if the Bible talks about our sins laid on him and the chastisement that brought us peace was laid on him, well that's what we believe.

To deny PSA, in the eyes of an evangelical, is to deny the interpretation of the Scriptures that we hold. You might have a different interpretation and that's fine; but you cannot tell a conservative that your interpretation is right and his is wrong. That's the basic position

But all that aside, this is the frustrating thing here:
As Gamaliel has pointed out, the critics do not allow for evangelicals to have a broader outlook on the atonement. They (the critics) have decided that they don't like PSA - for whatever reason, and some are honourable hermeneutic reasons, I grant) - and therefore evangelicals are also 'wrong'. And so intent on proving that evangelicals are wrong, they cannot allow any evangelical to have a 'correct' view on the atonement.

So much so, that when an evangelical comes online and says, 'but I believe in other theories as well as PSA' the retort is 'Ah, but you might describe yourself as 'evangelical' but you evidently can't be an Evangelical because by definition (in your eyes) a true Evangelical ONLY believes in PSA.'

And then, when I use a hymn like When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, the response is 'Oh but Isaac Watts wasn't Evangelical either, and in any case, when a true PSA-believing sings 'See from his head...' and 'love so amazing...demands my soul...' he's actually secretly crossing his fingers and shoehorning PSA into those words even though they have nothing to do with PSA!'

And then, to add insult to injury, the final salvo is 'yes, you might call yourself an evangelical, but a true PSA-placard-waving Evangelical would never recognise you as one, and some might say you're not even saved.'

All speaks of desperation to me.
You don't like PSA.
You don't like Evangelicals.
You can't separate the two things and therefore anyone who doesn't think like your stereotype of an Evangelical (or an evangelical) evidently can't be an evangelical.

[ 25. April 2017, 11:02: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Oh, and is The One Atonement for the myriad civilizations in this galaxy alone too? Let alone the practically infinite ones in this one universe in the middle of infinity halfway between the eternities?
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Oh, and is The One Atonement for the myriad civilizations in this galaxy alone too? Let alone the practically infinite ones in this one universe in the middle of infinity halfway between the eternities?

Surely that depends if their non-human life forms experienced a Fall.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

As well as that we are usually conservative; if the Bible talks about our sins laid on him and the chastisement that brought us peace was laid on him, well that's what we believe.

To deny PSA, in the eyes of an evangelical, is to deny the interpretation of the Scriptures that we hold. You might have a different interpretation and that's fine; but you cannot tell a conservative that your interpretation is right and his is wrong. That's the basic position

But all that aside, this is the frustrating thing here:
As Gamaliel has pointed out, the critics do not allow for evangelicals to have a broader outlook on the atonement. They (the critics) have decided that they don't like PSA - for whatever reason, and some are honourable hermeneutic reasons, I grant) - and therefore evangelicals are also 'wrong'. And so intent on proving that evangelicals are wrong, they cannot allow any evangelical to have a 'correct' view on the atonement.

You seem to contradict yourself in the above. First you're saying PSA is necessary, then you're complaining that critics who don't believe in PSA therefore think that Evangelicals (who you say by necessity believe in PSA) are wrong. I put it to you that those who strongly believe that PSA is wrong are therefore saying Evangelicals are wrong - not because they're evangelicals (because, self evidently, some evangelicals don't believe in PSA) but because they believe in a wrong idea - PSA.

quote:
So much so, that when an evangelical comes online and says, 'but I believe in other theories as well as PSA' the retort is 'Ah, but you might describe yourself as 'evangelical' but you evidently can't be an Evangelical because by definition (in your eyes) a true Evangelical ONLY believes in PSA.'
Nobody has said that, Mudfrog. Everyone has admitted that there are a range of Evangelical beliefs and a range of people who describe themselves as Evangelical.

All that was said above is that there are a vocal group of calvinist Evangelicals who often seem to have a disproportionate level of noise above other evangelicals.

quote:
And then, when I use a hymn like When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, the response is 'Oh but Isaac Watts wasn't Evangelical either, and in any case, when a true PSA-believing sings 'See from his head...' and 'love so amazing...demands my soul...' he's actually secretly crossing his fingers and shoehorning PSA into those words even though they have nothing to do with PSA!'

And then, to add insult to injury, the final salvo is 'yes, you might call yourself an evangelical, but a true PSA-placard-waving Evangelical would never recognise you as one, and some might say you're not even saved.'

Again, nobody said the last paragraph in the slightest. All that was said if you read carefully is that there are some Calvinist Evangelicals who say that only PSA is correct and that they might doubt the salvation of anyone who said anything different.

quote:
All speaks of desperation to me.
You don't like PSA.
You don't like Evangelicals.
You can't separate the two things and therefore anyone who doesn't think like your stereotype of an Evangelical (or an evangelical) evidently can't be an evangelical.

I'm sorry, all that has happened here is that you've proven you can't read.

[ 25. April 2017, 11:12: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Oh, and is The One Atonement for the myriad civilizations in this galaxy alone too? Let alone the practically infinite ones in this one universe in the middle of infinity halfway between the eternities?

Surely that depends if their non-human life forms experienced a Fall.
What's that?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Well, thanks for the acknowledgement, Mudfrog but I'm afraid you are still overlooking some of the points I was making.

Yes, I well understand why evangelicals stress PSA. I've spent the greater part of my life within evangelicalism. I know it backwards. I know it inside out.

I certainly wasn't suggesting you weren't a 'proper' evangelical - FWIW I think you most definitely are.

All I was saying was that to SOME ... I will spell that out S.O.M.E. Big E, Big R, Big Pains In The Neck Reformed Evangelicals wouldn't consider you to be a proper Evangelical (Big E) like they are.

Why not?

Because you are Arminian for a kick-off and for that particular brand of evangelical, Arminians aren't true Evangelicals like they are. They might be small e evangelical, they are certainly Christians (although not in the view of some hyper-hyper extreme Calvinists), but they are not Big E Evangelicals.

That's all.

That.is.all.

I wasn't making a value-judgement on your evangelicalism. I wasn't making a value judgement on evangelicalism per se.

I was simply making the point that to certain - admittedly fairly rare - Hyper-Calvinists you wouldn't qualify as an Evangelical. You'd certainly qualify as an evangelical but not an Evangelical.

Notice what I did there? Do you have capital letters on your keyboard?

[Biased]

The point I was making about Isaac Watts was a different one. Yes, evangelicals (and Evangelicals) do draw on hymnody from the broader Christian tradition - of course they do.

But in practice - and I'm not pointing a finger at you here necessarily - they tend to interpret any reference to the atonement in PSA terms.

I'm being very broad-brush there ...

But I've known evangelicals (and Evangelicals) read their own favoured doctrines into the writings of the Fathers, for instance - ignoring whatever comments those same Fathers might make that don't fit their neat evangelical schema.

As was said further up thread, by Jolly Jape I think (I've not checked), there were verses cited on the earlier PSA thread that were given an evangelical/PSA interpretation when they didn't necessarily carry such connotations at all - or could be interpreted differently without doing violence to the text.

I'm not commenting here on the rights/wrongs, good, bad and indifferent qualities of a PSA interpretation but I am making the point that most evangelicals are highly reluctant to question or abandon PSA because they feel their entire salvation and soteriological schema is threatened if they let go of it ...

They assume that their sins can't possibly be forgiven without it.

So it's a big deal.

I get that.

The issue is whether it's a valid concern or not.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
Posted by Gam:
quote:

Meanwhile​, I was intrigued by Fletcher Christian's comment that he comes across PSA in circles other than evangelical ones.

Which circles are those, Fletcher?

Surely not the RCs?

Well first off - and this isn;t aimed at Gam - I'm amazed at what people think they read in an opening post that isn't actually there. More than one person has made the claim that I mentioned evangelicals specifically in my opening post. I didn't. Just wanted to make that clear.

Now to answer the quoted questions. I have heard many RC's espouse it, believe it or not. It strikes me as a very Protestant doctrine, but I guess the influence on this island is such that there may be a certain inevitability about that. I've come across it in many of the Reformed churches (with a capital R) which would not be 'evangelical' in the traditional sense, in many conservative and traditional denominations (which again, wouldn't necessarily be 'evangelical'), in episcopalian anglo-catholic circles (this might seem unusual, but if you have a concept of God as wholly other and an emphasis on holiness it is perhaps not that surprising) and I've heard a somewhat convoluted form of it among some Orthodox but with a high degree of nuance and looseness that isn't present in the forms we would find in the west. Now, not all of those mentioned above hold fast to it as the litmus test for Christian belonging and orthodoxy (or 'necessary for salvation' or whatever way you wish to phrase it), but nevertheless that is my experience in what I've heard preached and through engaged discussion. It is of course possible to say they are wrongly set within their own tradition, but there it is.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I don't think one has to be particularly hyper-Calvinist to believe that PSA is the only valid explanation of the atonement. And I don't think they are particularly rare.

More importantly, the steadfastness that some have about PSA has a wider influence - so that it influences other Evangelicals who maybe haven't thought very hard about the theories of the atonement or might be inclined to agree with Mudfrog that there are various ways to understand the atonement which may be helpful in different ways.

The strange thing to me, to return to the OP, is why this view has such wide influence given it seems to have an impact even on those that this group may not regard as truly Christian, never mind Evangelical.

I can only assume that PSA is repeated so often and so loudly by this group of Evangelicals that it drowns out those who say anything different.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:

Now to answer the quoted questions. I have heard many RC's espouse it, believe it or not. It strikes me as a very Protestant doctrine, but I guess the influence on this island is such that there may be a certain inevitability about that. I've come across it in many of the Reformed churches (with a capital R) which would not be 'evangelical' in the traditional sense, in many conservative and traditional denominations (which again, wouldn't necessarily be 'evangelical'), in episcopalian anglo-catholic circles (this might seem unusual, but if you have a concept of God as wholly other and an emphasis on holiness it is perhaps not that surprising) and I've heard a somewhat convoluted form of it among some Orthodox but with a high degree of nuance and looseness that isn't present in the forms we would find in the west. Now, not all of those mentioned above hold fast to it as the litmus test for Christian belonging and orthodoxy (or 'necessary for salvation' or whatever way you wish to phrase it), but nevertheless that is my experience in what I've heard preached and through engaged discussion. It is of course possible to say they are wrongly set within their own tradition, but there it is.

I still can't get my head around the idea that one can be Reformed but not Evangelical. In my experience the most conservative Evangelicals like to call themselves Reformed - but then maybe that just shows that I've not been around Reformed-but-not-Evangelicals, whoever they are.

Again, part of the problem is understanding exactly what is an Evangelical and what people mean when they use (or don't use) the term.

Interesting regarding Anglo-Catholics - I suppose the difficulty there is that it would appear to contradict various other teachings in particular the notion of baptism as a sacrament. I wonder how they get around that.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
Posted by Mr Cheesy:
quote:

Interesting regarding Anglo-Catholics - I suppose the difficulty there is that it would appear to contradict various other teachings in particular the notion of baptism as a sacrament. I wonder how they get around that.

I think it would be an issue if you were to confine the concept within a larger systematic frame, but it doesn't have to be that way. It is, at its most simplistic, a means to explain the atonement, not a fifty volume treatise on Church dogmatics.

As for a definition of Evangelical. Well, I would consider myself to be evangelical with a small e, as I suspect most (if not all) Christians are. The Evangelical with a big E is perhaps a little bit more difficult these days because its splintering so significantly; especially over the last decade. Which again, might be another reason for some wanting to pin down atonement as a litmus test within Evangelicalism, but as I've already stated (hopefully with reasonable clarity) it's not always only in these circles.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Plenty of Reformed people aren't Evangelical.

But then, plenty of Reformed Evangelicals would say that not all Reformed are Reformed ...

It gets even more complicated when you get Reformed types who say that to be a Reformed Baptist is a contradiction in terms as you can't be Reformed and a Baptist at one and the same time ... (because Calvin was a paedobaptist and paedobaptism is a sign of the Covenant etc etc).

It all depends on what we mean by Evangelical and also what we mean by Reformed.

Meanwhile, thanks for clarifying Fletcher Christian.

I might be wrong, but I take from your explanation that people seem to be using PSA-type concepts in a fairly loose way ...

Mind you, I read about an interesting piece of research that was done in Greece - not by a Christian agency I don't think. They sent people a set of questions about belief, some of which were framed and worded in a particularly evangelical or 'Protestant' sounding way. A majority of respondents agreed with them and identified with them - and yes, they had language like 'born again' and similar evangelical sounding terms in there ...

They then surveyed the same group but this time pointed out that particular terms had a more evangelical or Protestant provenance.

The results were then very different ... 'I'm Orthodox, I don't think of these things in those terms ...'

Whatever else it shows, it indicates that people respond/self-identify according to how things are worded and presented to them.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
Posted by Gam:
quote:

I might be wrong, but I take from your explanation that people seem to be using PSA-type concepts in a fairly loose way ...

Not always. Some, perhaps.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Ok - fair enough ...

As an aside, on the Reformed thing ...

Jengie Jon would be the Shipmate to ask, but AFAIK the Reformed tend to see the Evangelicals as cousins rather than 'mum and dad' or siblings as it were ...

I once met Tom Smail, the late veteran charismatic renewalist.

He was Church of Scotland, of course.

He told me that as far as he was concerned the Evangelicals (or evangelicals) were 'aunts and uncles and cousins' rather than 'Mum and Dad'.

His 'spiritual parents' if you like were what he saw as the old, classic Reformed tradition and its more modern exponents such as Karl Barth.

So yes, there are distinctions to be made. Between Reformed and reformed, between Evangelical and evangelical ...
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Headache. So is PSA a central thing for the Reformed - presumably we're talking mostly about Presbyterians? - or just for some of them?
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I still can't get my head around the idea that one can be Reformed but not Evangelical. In my experience the most conservative Evangelicals like to call themselves Reformed - but then maybe that just shows that I've not been around Reformed-but-not-Evangelicals, whoever they are.

The Reformed churches go back to Zwingli and Calvin. The Evangelical movement goes back to the eighteenth century. So there's a difference.

The main distinctive of Evangelicalism as opposed to Reformed would I suppose be activism. That is, largely a belief in mission but also a rejection of the idea that the church is a gathered community. (AIUI seventeenth century Calvinists didn't engage much in mission on the understanding that if God wanted to save someone God would take care of it.)
It's not an official Evangelical distinctive but I think an emphasis on emotional reaction to God and Jesus' work also differentiates from non-Evangelical Reformed thought. In addition, Evangelicalism takes a much less scrupulous approach to assurance of salvation. Traditional religious and cultural history has it that seventeenth century Calvinists spent a lot of time recording their thoughts and emotions in order to reassure themselves they were actually elect. (The modern novel was traditionally seen as a development from Calvinist self-scrutiny.) Evangelicals don't go in for that.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Thanks, but can you explain how that differs from Reformed, Dafyd?

I've seen lots of claims about the origins of the novel. I rather like the idea that it developed from Don Quixote.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I still can't get my head around the idea that one can be Reformed but not Evangelical. In my experience the most conservative Evangelicals like to call themselves Reformed - but then maybe that just shows that I've not been around Reformed-but-not-Evangelicals, whoever they are.

Would you call the United Reformed Church, the Church of Scotland, or mainline American denominations like the Presbyterian Church (USA) or the United Church of Christ Evangelical? All undoubtedly have Evangelicals in them, but I don't think any identify as Evangelical. The PC(USA) and the UCC certainly don't. But all are Reformed and identify as Reformed.

Broadly speaking, "Reformed" refers to those churches that have their roots in Calvin and other figures of the Swiss, French and non-Lutheran Reformation.

quote:
Again, part of the problem is understanding exactly what is an Evangelical and what people mean when they use (or don't use) the term.
This. Very much this. And as part of this challenge, it strikes me that there is a real pond difference in what is meant by the term.
 
Posted by Robert Armin (# 182) on :
 
Leprechaun - I've tried to send you a Private Message about the tangent of women being able to lead UCCF CUs, but your box is full. I would be grateful if you could give me more information about this, either here, or through private messages. Many thanks, RA
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Dafyd, 'God and Jesus ...'?

Don't you mean 'God the Father and Jesus'?

Also, where's the Holy Spirit in there?

Here we see another feature of the Reformed tradition as it attenuated over time ... a tendency to Binitarianism and Arianism ...

[Biased] [Razz]

Seriously, it's not accident that many Reformed became Unitarian ...
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I wouldn't over-emphasise the Pond Difference, Nick.

Your post makes absolute sense to me and I've always lived on this side of the Pond.

No disrespect to mr cheesy, but I suspect he's mostly been exposed to the Reformed tradition in its Evangelical form rather than in its broader guises ...
 
Posted by Leprechaun (# 5408) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I suggest that the explanations given above by Lep and Jamat together answer the question asked in the OP. Whilst Evangelicals might be prepared to go as far as to say that Other Atonement Theories Are Available, they often qualify that by saying that actually PSA is the only important one - and if you don't believe it then you're not a real Christian.

This is nothing like what I think, and haven't made any comments about "real Christians." The OP asked a question and I tried to answer it.

Robert Armin, I have emptied my PM box, sorry about that.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
My impression is that "Evangelical" in the USA is more-or-less what we'd describe in the UK as FIEC style Evangelicals here. In the UK we have a messy middle space - which I'd still describe as Evangelical - which cuts across various denominations. I don't think that exists in quite the same way in the USA, perhaps because other denominations have retained distinctiveness and because there are other options available eg Mennonites.

But then I've always been confused by terms - the conservative Evangelicals I know seem to have very good relations with at least some who are described as Reformed (is the Free Church of Scotland Evangelical?).

And I assumed that less conservative British Presbyterians might associate with other Evangelicals in various parachurch organisations such as University Christian Unions, the Evangelical Alliance, Spring Harvest and so on. I must be wrong about that.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'm not sure it's as clear cut as that, mr cheesy.

I'd suggest that there's a sliding scale or spectrum on all sides of these apparent 'divides' - and they are often more a question of emphasis than actual 'substance' ...

So, some of the 'classic' Reformed people - Presbyterians and such - would get on very well with evangelicals and they'd find more in common than they would with people from non-Reformed or reformed backgrounds.

I cited Smail because he was perfectly comfortable among evangelicals - even though he saw himself as Reformed rather than evangelical - but, by the same token, he was very comfortable with RCs too - despite obvious differences in emphasis and theology.

There are areas where all these groups/traditions overlap and begin to merge into one another.

So a Wee Free and an FIEC type would have a lot more in common than they would with a liberal Presbyterian, or a liberal Baptist, say ...
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
My objections, and hostility, to the PSA legalistic formula include that when the individual is the converted, and the logical consequences, the social gospel is simply absent. Varpourised. And PSAers can justify screwing others over in business, relentless competion, wars, and falsehoods. It allows the separation of individual behaviour (works) from Jesus' saving action. The consequences are staggering.

Caring little about making the world right, because the only way is one person at a time. The darkness of the world, for entire countries and continents isn't of interest. Except exportex profit. Christ defeated but not seen as so. It feeds into the individualistic focus, allowing exploitation of a country so long as there are volunteer holiday mission trips. And no abortions, God forbid.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Now that's where I DO think there are Pond Differences, No Prophet ...

The 'social' element isn't missing from UK evangelicalism in my experience. It may be more muted in some sections of UK evangelicalism than others but it certainly isn't entirely absent.

The Salvation Army have that focus in spades. So do many 'mainstream' evangelical Baptists and evangelical Anglicans. Social concern isn't solely the preserve of the more theologically liberal. Thank goodness.

The only places where it's hardly discernible would be in various 'hyper' groups - and no Christian tradition is entirely free of those.

Meanwhile, coming back to a point mr cheesy raised ...

Thinking about it, I'm not sure you'd find many Free Church of Scotland or more full-on Calvinists at Spring Harvest these days. And some might find the UCCF and university CU's a bit too 'liberal' for their liking.

In fact, anyone who is in a different setting to themselves would be regarded as compromised to some degree or other ...

But my earlier point still stands with that caveat - there is a sliding scale or spectrum in all of these groups/traditions.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

Thinking about it, I'm not sure you'd find many Free Church of Scotland or more full-on Calvinists at Spring Harvest these days. And some might find the UCCF and university CU's a bit too 'liberal' for their liking.

In fact, anyone who is in a different setting to themselves would be regarded as compromised to some degree or other ...


That wasn't really the point I was making. I know that the more conservative groups associate across this divide, I was wondering whether the less conservative also meet at things like Spring Harvest (I'm very aware that these things are not good enough for many of these Conservatives).
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Well, Shippies who have attended Spring Harvest more recently than I have would be better placed to answer that. I last went in 1982 ... and at that time some of the more full-on conservative evangelicals from Ulster and Glasgow and so on were finding it hard to handle and thinking of making it their last visit ...

I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was hardly any representatives from more hard-line Calvinist groups at Spring Harvest these days.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
As for the less conservative from that end of the spectrum ... possibly ... but I suspect they are more likely to attend specialist or more thematic events than the big rallies and jamborees.

But then, I'm not that closely involved with any of those events these days so I'm simply guessing ...
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
My impression is that "Evangelical" in the USA is more-or-less what we'd describe in the UK as FIEC style Evangelicals here. In the UK we have a messy middle space - which I'd still describe as Evangelical - which cuts across various denominations. I don't think that exists in quite the same way in the USA, perhaps because other denominations have retained distinctiveness and because there are other options available eg Mennonites.

But then I've always been confused by terms - the conservative Evangelicals I know seem to have very good relations with at least some who are described as Reformed (is the Free Church of Scotland Evangelical?).

And I assumed that less conservative British Presbyterians might associate with other Evangelicals in various parachurch organisations such as University Christian Unions, the Evangelical Alliance, Spring Harvest and so on. I must be wrong about that.

I have to admit to having only a vague idea, or no real idea at all, as to what the FIEC, University Christian Unions, Evangelical Alliance or Spring Harvest are.

While I would say that there are Evangelicals in the US who view agreement with the Bebbington Quadrilateral as sufficient to encompass what it means to be Evangelical, I would also say that on this side of the pond, the tag "Evangelical" more often that not (probably much more often than not) indicates conservatism on Dead Horse issues, conservatism in politics—to the point that many believe one cannot be liberal politically and still be Christian—and concern for growing secularism. At least that's the case when it comes to denominations, congregations and parachurch organizations. Mileage for individual Evangelicals may vary.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, I get that, Nick and it accords with what I see posted by Americans on social media - although I get that mileage varies between individuals.

FWIW ...

FIEC - Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches - a UK network of ... well, independent evangelical churches. Largely Calvinist in tone (but with some independent Methodist members) and cessationist in terms of their approach to 'spiritual gifts'. They tend to vary to some extent within the kind of parameters they operate with and there'd be no single 'take' on politics and so on.

University Christian Unions - largely affiliated to UCCF (Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship) these are the main evangelical student societies on most UK campuses. They tend to attract a broad range of evangelical students - and individual CU's vary in tone and emphasis. Pretty much 'mainstream' evangelicalism in UK terms on the whole.

The Evangelical Alliance - founded in the 1840s an umbrella-group for UK evangelical churches and parachurch organissations. To join you have to sign a declaration of faith to demonstrate your evangelical credentials. Some hard-liners - both Calvinists and charismatics - have refused to join as they think it's too broad - but generally it's regarded as representing mainstream UK evangelical interests.

Spring Harvest - popular evangelical convention that has been running since around 1979/80 I think, originally headed up by British Youth for Christ. Again, it largely draws on the mainstream middle-ground of UK evangelicalism with most of the full-on charismatics probably favouring New Wine these days - an Anglican initiative with some Vineyard influences in the early days.

I'm sure there will be parallels in the US and Canada with most if not all of these.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
UCCF is a British version of Inter-varsity fellowship.

I'm not sure what the equivalents of the other things are, sorry.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
My distinction was between the experience and the intellectualisation or exegetical explanation. Lots of us can know we are saved but few can tease out the theology. My beef, if I have one, is with the clever ones, say Chalke and co, who deliberately contradict what the scriptures teach because they find it unacceptable politically. Or alternatively, they are false teachers who are sent by Satan to cause Christians to stumble..the ones Paul warns Timothy about.

[Roll Eyes]

Yeah, or maybe it could be that your understanding of the bible is complete bollocks and Chalke has more Christian maturity than you'll ever aspire to.

Oh really?
Would you call God a cosmic child abuser too since he sent his son to die for the sin of the world?

Oh, but perhaps Jesus did not REALLY say this in Matt 20:28

" just as the son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many."
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Well, that could suit the Ransom Theory as well as PSA ...

FWIW, my 'take' is that Steve Chalke was being deliberately provocative and, as Mudfrog has observed when this issue has come up in the past, not particularly original either. He pinched the quote from somewhere else ...

Chalke's probably come in for more stick on this one as he was challenging PSA from within the evangelical constituency itself.

Had he been pontificating elsewhere - in one or t'other of the other Christian traditions - he wouldn't have attracted anywhere near so much attention or flak.

However we cut it, there is more than one way to understand the atonement.

The OP isn't about whether PSA is right or wrong but asks why certain Christians seem to make it the single-most important way of approaching the issue - not as one available model among half a dozen or so - most of which are complementary - but as THE model ... as a litmus-test, almost as to who is or isn't 'saved'.

I also suspect Chalke was over-reacting to that kind of view. Whether he did it as wisely or tactfully as he might have done is a moot point of course.

As I've said, Chalke isn't a great intellectual or high-calibre theologian. He's a popular and quite populist preacher with a good track record - through the Oasis Trust - in youth work and social action. That doesn't mean he's going to get everything right, neither does it mean he's going to get everything wrong.

He could have expressed his views without recourse to the 'cosmic child-abuse' schtick but for whatever reason, he chose not to.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Oh, but perhaps Jesus did not REALLY say this in Matt 20:28

" just as the son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many."

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Well, that could suit the Ransom Theory as well as PSA ...

Actually, I would say it suits the Ransom model much, much better than it suits PSA. I don't see it as support for PSA at all. Where's the penal aspect in it?

Which raises another issue: Just as there can be some fuzziness in exactly what is meant by "Evangelical," I sometimes think there is a lack of precision in the use of Penal Substitutionary Atonement. There is more than one model of Substitutionary Atonement; Indeed, most atonement models, with the exception of the moral influence model, are substitutionary in some respect. PSA specifically involves an understanding that punishment is necessary to satisfy divine justice, hence the need for the qualifier "Penal." Yet it sometimes seems as though PSA is being used to mean any substitutionary model.

Meanwhile, thanks mr cheesy for the comparison between UCCF to Inter-Varsity. That gives me some reference point.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
Yet it sometimes seems as though PSA is being used to mean any substitutionary model.

Sorry for quoting myself, but by the time I realized I wanted to add something, the edit window had closed.

The lack of precision in the use of PSA makes me wonder if sometimes it just might be the case that the reason some have such a strong reaction to anyone questioning PSA is because questioning PSA is interpreted as questioning the atonement as substitutionary in any way.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Thanks, but can you explain how that differs from Reformed, Dafyd?

I've seen lots of claims about the origins of the novel. I rather like the idea that it developed from Don Quixote.

Didn't I say where I thought the marks that distinguish evangelicalism from other varieties of Reformed Christianity lay? Activism, emotionalism, assurance? It is a branch of Reformed thought (though Wesley at least had Moravian influence).

The idea that the novel developed from Don Quixote is I think also true.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Didn't I say where I thought the marks that distinguish evangelicalism from other varieties of Reformed Christianity lay? Activism, emotionalism, assurance? It is a branch of Reformed thought (though Wesley at least had Moravian influence).


Sorry my bad. I read your post as saying these were things that were distinctive about Evangelicalism, I didn't read it as implying that the Reformed didn't do them.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Good insights, Nick Tamen.

I think you're onto something.

On the Reformed thing and the novel ...

Well yes, to an extent. But diaries and autobiographies - although not the sole preserve of Protestantism - were certainly given a boost back then. Think Bunyan's 'Grace Abounding To The Chief Of Sinners.'

I've read plenty of 18th century Methodist conversion narratives too.

They can be colourful but quite formulaic at the same time.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

quote:
And then, when I use a hymn like When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, the response is 'Oh but Isaac Watts wasn't Evangelical either, and in any case, when a true PSA-believing sings 'See from his head...' and 'love so amazing...demands my soul...' he's actually secretly crossing his fingers and shoehorning PSA into those words even though they have nothing to do with PSA!'


To be fair on the first part, I did miswrite as much as any misreading. I still think it's a poor choice of song to use as an example, to show what it was expected to say (it's a lovely song).

"Tell out my soul", "Jesus is Lord", "At the name of Jesus", "Crown him with many Crowns" would be better (as examples, not as good friday songs) in terms of content. Having a completely different, biblical, focus and sticking to it for the whole song. But not sure ever experienced in relevant circles.

I was going to suggest "In Christ Alone" and "Before the Throne" along with "Light of the World". Which I associate with UCCF esque environments. (Un)fortunately I remembered/checked the lyrics and none of them work as examples. They do, do other stuff (Lotw, almost entirely, but the bridge captures the focus from the incarnation).
From my perspective (which ideally isn't actually that far from Mudfrog's ideal position) they're still ok songs, but it does argue the opposite way to the way to the way I'd intended.

"Amazing Grace" perhaps, it's a less seasonal song (definitely used at the extremes in their home turf), still a bit classicy. Would, in my opinion, need a shoehorn (whereas in WIS, you've a natural place to add subliminally any theory of atonement after 'glory died'. I'd expect there is a better example, but with that I'd happily agree to the original point made.


--------------------------------

Anyhow was actually going to post on Spring Harvest. When I was went there was a separate "Word Alive" week, that was becoming more and more the (self proclaimed) "Evangelical" week (I'm not sure what the rest thought, there was another week that was more charismatic and another that was family, at least that is how I heard it, I'm not sure what the official intent was)
Anyhow, around the last time I went Word Alive split off (thinking about it I went once since). Which kind of shows how you've got a lot of groups inside groups.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Good insights, Nick Tamen.

I think you're onto something. ...

So do I.

I also think that the 'cosmic child abuse' accusation smacks of Arianism. I'm less sure whether it's those who make the accusation who are the unwitting Arians, or whether it's the language that some people use to describe their understanding of what happened at the cross that suggests a less than full appreciation of the Trinity.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
So do I.

I also think that the 'cosmic child abuse' accusation smacks of Arianism. I'm less sure whether it's those who make the accusation who are the unwitting Arians, or whether it's the language that some people use to describe their understanding of what happened at the cross that suggests a less than full appreciation of the Trinity.

This sort of response "smacks of Arianism" means, doesn't it, that you wish to label, truncate and dismiss from the discussion something you don't agree with and can name-call about?

"Less that full appreciation of the Trinity" certainly seems to confirm.

The conundrum of this is that God either sacrificed his son, or he sacrificed himself, if we do the binary. The trinity allows a complex way through, but mostly, except for theologians, no one cares about it. They think that God arranged for the killing of his son, like Abraham was prepared to do for the same God.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Oh, but perhaps Jesus did not REALLY say this in Matt 20:28

" just as the son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many."

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Well, that could suit the Ransom Theory as well as PSA ...

Actually, I would say it suits the Ransom model much, much better than it suits PSA. I don't see it as support for PSA at all. Where's the penal aspect in it?

Which raises another issue: Just as there can be some fuzziness in exactly what is meant by "Evangelical," I sometimes think there is a lack of precision in the use of Penal Substitutionary Atonement. There is more than one model of Substitutionary Atonement; Indeed, most atonement models, with the exception of the moral influence model, are substitutionary in some respect. PSA specifically involves an understanding that punishment is necessary to satisfy divine justice, hence the need for the qualifier "Penal." Yet it sometimes seems as though PSA is being used to mean any substitutionary model.


There is very little difference between ransom and PSA. PSA includes ransom and CV as well in that while I would see PSA as the underpinning red line, The others are correlative to it and what they say is perfectly in line with scripture viz Jesus is a ransom and a victor over evil. He is also a penal figure in that scripture tells us his crucifixion was a punishment of the sin which he took on himself. It seems to be a favourite pastime on SOF threads to deny this. But anyone who denies it consciously must carry their own sin burden.
The reason I got involved in this discussion is because of the comment by Kaplan Corday regarding why PSA is so disagreeable to most posters here.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
It seems to me we have two possible equal and opposite over-reactions here from two different directions.

Firstly, No Prophet accuses Enoch of playing the Trinitarian card in order to stifle dissent, debate and argument - when in fact I'd suggest that a fully-orbed Trinitarian understanding is essential to the whole debate.

For one thing, it takes us through the murky waters of a binary Good Cop, Bad Cop approach which is how PSA is sometimes presented - God the Son assuaging the wrath of an angry God the Father with God the Holy Spirit somehow disengaged from the entire process.

'God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.'

In some mysterious way the entire Godhead, if we can put it that way, was involved - and let's not forget the Resurrection. The 'cosmic child abuse' slur takes the focus off that and focuses purely on the means of death - the Cross.

Central - literally 'crucial' - though the Cross is, it has to be accompanied by the Resurrection.

Both/and.

With some penal models the Resurrection appears almost as an afterthought.

From the other direction we have Jamat who seems to impute an ulterior motive to anyone who doesn't see the atonement in juridical or penal terms.

I take his point that PSA can accommodate both CV and the Ransom Theory - and, at its best, its best proponents certainly treat it that way and see it more holistically - even if PSA is the central, underpinning model - the hub of the wheel if you like.

However, it's a bit of a step from that to assuming that if anyone doesn't see it that way they are still 'in' their sins' and that somehow​ their sins' remain unatoned for. It's as if our salvation is dependent upon intellectual assent to a set of propositions.

I can see the logic but I'm not sure it follows in such a brittle and wooden way.

I can see the attraction of PSA in the way John Stott expresses it - as God 'assuming' our guilt, sin and shame into himself and nullifying it. That is an attractive view and whilst it might be hair-splitting on my part, a preferable one to the very grotesque portrayals of PSA we find in much popular evangelism.

So yes, PSA does deal very neatly with the juridical aspect - but the issue for me is whether this is as central a biblical trope as its proponents maintain. Sure, we can see 'satisfaction for sin' and images of debt and payment. No question. But we see plenty of instances of apparently 'free' and unconditional forgiveness in the scriptures too.

I'm not saying those penal or juridical aspects aren't there, but if we isolate or highlight them as the main driver as it were then we end up creating as many problems as they resolve.

I know that retreating to an 'It's all a Mystery' position can be seen as ducking the issue but I'm quite prepared to accept that through his Incarnation, life, atoning death, his glorious resurrection, ascension and continual intercession, Christ has achieved - and continues to achieve - all things necessary for our salvation.

Precisely how that 'works' on all levels is beyond us.

Some things we can say with certainty. Others remain beyond us.

We see through a glass darkly, but we still see.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
Jamat, I like you. I found you personally gracious in our marathon exchanges on the infamous CV thread of blessed memory. But really, you should know by now that those who don't share your views here have come to that position because they think you are wrong about what the Bible says, and that, conversely, they are convinced that their own views are more in alignment with what the scriptures actually say. To accuse people such as Chalkie in these terms:

quote:
deliberately contradict what the scriptures teach because they find it unacceptable politically. Or alternatively, they are false teachers who are sent by Satan to cause Christians to stumble..the ones Paul warns Timothy about.
is to break the ninth commandment, that is, to bear false witness. I respectfully suggest that this brings no honour to your cause, and, furthermore, that pretending an opponent holds views or motivations that they do not is disrespectful of them, and likely to get you branded as a loony.
Well, thanks for that. You as well never wasted your anger on a nebulous internet argument and it did you credit. Incidentally, do you think Paul also was being unloving and provocatively judgemental when he expressed the wish that the Judaizers should emasculate themselves?

[ 26. April 2017, 04:55: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I can see the attraction of PSA in the way John Stott expresses it - as God 'assuming' our guilt, sin and shame into himself and nullifying it. That is an attractive view and whilst it might be hair-splitting on my part, a preferable one to the very grotesque portrayals of PSA we find in much popular evangelism.

That's not how PSA is taught at Moore College and then from the pulpits of Sydney Anglicanism. The line there is that the Father was full of wrath with the sins of his creatures, and that he fixed that wrath on the Son - the P of PSA as it were. That teaching seems to me to run completely counter to the mutual love between the members of the Trinity.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
The trouble with that kind of argument, Jamat is that it presupposes the person making it is occupying the moral high-ground. They might not be.

The Puritans in New England justified the massacre of Pequod women and children on the grounds that Joshua massacred the Canaanites.

In this, less dramatic instance, it presupposes that anyone who disagrees with PSA is refusing to acknowledge the 'plain meaning of scripture' when in fact they might simply have a different understanding of scripture to the one prevalent in your own circles and tradition.

PSA doesn't​ tumble out of the Bible ready formed any more than any of the other atonement models do. It's not like one of those plastic clip-together toys we used to get in cornflake packets.

Thats not to denigrate the status of scripture. It's simply to acknowledge the process of interpretation and that people arrive at different viewpoints. Whether there is anything nefarious about their motives is another issue.

I'm avowedly Trinitarian. Cut me anywhere and you'll find Trinitarian formularies running through me like a stick of rock. Older British Shippies will know what I mean.

That doesn't mean I think Arians and Unitarians are deliberately being wicked or evil - I don't agree with their interpretation but I don't doubt their sincerity.

There is a kind of fundamentalist certainty that can make a virtue out of being obnoxious. And use some of the more strident biblical verses as an excuse or justification for doing so.

You see that right across the board and in all Christian traditions.

Sure, there's also an irritatingly mealy-mouthed 'Let's not offend anyone' tendency in some quarters too. Which is equally daft.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
On the Sydney Anglicans - sure, I don't doubt that they present PSA that way.

Stott's view was a more moderate and nuanced one. Yes, it was still very 'Western' and juridical but he avoided the grotesque court-room tropes and caricatures found at the more lurid end of evangelicalism.

I come from a tradition and position similar to Mudfrog's in its understanding of the atonement. I've been reviewing and reassessing that for some years now. I'm no great shakes when it comes to working these things out but in the interests of balance - when there is a lot of anti-PSA sentiment aboard Ship - I'd say that Stott gives the best presentation of PSA I've seen without it tumbling over into Bad Father, Good Jesus territory.

I'm sure the Moore College and Sydney hyper-Calvinist Anglicans would claim that their presentation doesn't fall into that category either - even though that's the impression they certainly give to everyone else.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
(Regarding the stuff on songs)
Interestingly, while expecting to find a more interesting mix in the (62) Baptist Hymnal. It's actually quite hard to find songs with anything atonementy at all. Even the section explicitly on the Crucifixion is only about 20/80 (which way depending on what you count).
 
Posted by Leprechaun (# 5408) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Armin:
Leprechaun - I've tried to send you a Private Message about the tangent of women being able to lead UCCF CUs, but your box is full. I would be grateful if you could give me more information about this, either here, or through private messages. Many thanks, RA

I have tried to reply to your PM, but your box os now full.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
On the Sydney Anglicans - sure, I don't doubt that they present PSA that way.

I'm sure the Moore College and Sydney hyper-Calvinist Anglicans would claim that their presentation doesn't fall into that category either - even though that's the impression they certainly give to everyone else.

I don't think hyper-Calvinist is the right description; if anything is, they are hyper-Zwinglian, but even that's not quite right either.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
All this is very instructive, but as I understand it the purpose of the thread is to answer the question as to what kinds of people are attracted to PSA and why it is supported with such intensity. Is that question being addressed?

What intrigues me about the discussion: the nuances of PSA and the positions of sects and individuals on the subject, is that it is very difficult for those, like myself, who are not absorbed in the debate to make much sense of it and to see why it might matter that i or anyone else ought to be concerned with the outcome. The nearest analogy I can think of are the debates between various Marxists sects, characterised by bitter division, personal animosity directed to participants whose analysis is incorrect, closed minds, and with little interest in the intellectual and social world outside the bubble. What I suspect most infuriates the critics of PSA is less their conclusion that the theory is unconvincing or have their own uncritical adherence to other approaches, but the dogmatic certainty with which its supporters express themselves and their unwillingness to engage with criticisms made of their position. It’s like arguing with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some people need the security and certainty of being right, a position that the PSA community offers. Others know, or think they know, that we see through a glass darkly.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, I think there's an element of that, Kwesi, but to staunch PSA advocates it's not simply a matter of differing and complementary views, it goes to the heart of how they understand the Gospel.

The argument would run that if it weren't for PSA then there'd still be some doubt as to whether we could actually be saved at all - because the 'problem of sin' would remain unaddressed ... it's the idea that 'without the shedding of blood' there is no forgiveness.

It's the idea that God's wrath needs to be appeased/propitiated in order for the atonement to a full and complete one.

Whether one agrees with that or not it does explain why it's such a big deal ... our eternal salvation depends on it ... there could be a Hell to pay if we ignore it ...

That's the way the argument runs and it's fuelled and propelled by its own interior logic.

Of course, there are shades and nuances along the spectrum and I'd suggest that Mudfrog represents the 'mainstream' evangelical view as it tends to be articulated among 'moderate' evangelicals of whatever stripe.

Of course, where we place particular evangelicals along that spectrum depends on where we ourselves stand. The Sydney Anglicans look 'out there' from the perspective of many evangelicals but from the perspective of others they wouldn't look like 'outliers' at all ...
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
I get all that Gamaliel, but the question ISTM is what are the characteristics of people who are attracted to PSA. What needs drive individuals into that position. I think it's got something to do with the possession of an authoritarian personality.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
I think some people feel wrong needs to be punished in a way others don't. Those defending God's apparent inability to simply forgive will often ask you how you'd feel about Stalin or Hitler not being punished for their crimes, assuming you'd be horrified.

I'm not. It's important to me that wrongdoers understand the enormity of what they've done. It's important to me that victims are compensated and recognised. But I don't have any need to know that wrongdoers are suffering in some way, as if there's something wrong in the universe until they do; I just don't feel it. I want reconciliation; what appeals to me about Christianity is the idea that reconciliation, to each other, and to God, is possible. No-one has be lost, no-one has to render up their pound of flesh. Yes, the wrong that people do to each other will be exposed; victims will be vindicated, the truth will out - that's how I understand the concept of the Judgement, but punishment, for its own sake, just doesn't need to be part of it, for me. I would expect that a Hitler or a Stalin would feel the impact of their crimes and understand the wrong they did, but I'd say even they could, if they chose, be purified through that recognition and contrition. Perhaps that's Purgatory?

Perhaps this is why I don't "get" PSA - I see no reason why sin, all else being equal, needs punishment.

[ 26. April 2017, 10:20: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
... it's the idea that 'without the shedding of blood' there is no forgiveness.

It's the idea that God's wrath needs to be appeased/propitiated in order for the atonement to a full and complete one.

This is the biggest problem I have with PSA - the stance that says wickedness and sin must be harshly punished. It's the theology of an eye for an eye, of returning hurt for hurt, of "if someone wrongs you, fuck his shit up". It leaves no room whatsoever for forgiveness, charity, compromise or reconciliation, much less for turning the other cheek or loving your enemies.

It also turns God into some kind of petty despot with anger issues who can only ever solve things by using violence. That's not the God I see revealed in Jesus.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
Great minds crosspost!
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: That's the way the argument runs and it's fuelled and propelled by its own interior logic.

You are correct on your reasons as to why it is a non negotiable. The logic though is not the issue,scripture is the issue and I do not mean individual, random decontextualised texts. It is the entire basis of Paul's thinking in Romans. It is the reason he enjoins the Galatians to maintain the freedom that Christ has purchased for them as well as the great reason that Jewish believers are now released from the Mosaic law. It is the essential source of the power that ensures sin in us and Satan in the cosmos are defeated foes. It is the reason the Holy Spirit can indwell a believer and regenerate and reform their nature. It was all accomplished by the FACT of the God who in his love found a way to redeem the hopeless by subsuming the unredeemable aspects of our nature into himself and putting them to death without destroying us and yes, allowing a new nature to arise within us ( yes, really, Resurrection) and be out worked in our otherwise miserable and hopeless lives.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
People are attracted to PSA as it is so easy. It's from the childhood of humanity and appeals to our inner child. Our frightened, violent, superstitious, irrational, ignorant, weak inner child.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Jamat, this is all very well, it is a good description as to what the atonement does, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with PSA. It applies to any objective, ontologically explanation of the "Paschal event", or, indeed, any account of the incarnation. Nobody on here, maybe apart from Martin, is denying the need for an objective atonement that, in some concrete way, alters the, if you like,course of history. But you make no case that that may be brought about only by penal means, especially not from Romans. In fact, Paul goes out of his way to dismiss the "justice" argument in Romans 3 vvs 25-26.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
Jamat, this is all very well, it is a good description as to what the atonement does, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with PSA. It applies to any objective, ontologically explanation of the "Paschal event", or, indeed, any account of the incarnation. Nobody on here, maybe apart from Martin, is denying the need for an objective atonement that, in some concrete way, alters the, if you like,course of history. But you make no case that that may be brought about only by penal means, especially not from Romans. In fact, Paul goes out of his way to dismiss the "justice" argument in Romans 3 vvs 25-26.

Christ is the atonement. His conception, life, death and resurrection as a single entity themselves are the atonement. Not some gavel banging in heaven.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
You're not going to find me arguing with you about that, Martin. But the Paschal event is where that all meets its focus.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
No, Jamat, it is only a non-negotiable because you have decided to elevate it to a non-negotiable.

Once again, you write as if there is simply one way to read and understand the scriptures ie yours.

People haven't always understood Paul's Epistle to the Romans that way. The Orthodox don't understand it that way to this very day - and Greek speakers I know say that if you read it in the original Greek it doesn't necessarily bear the same kind of import that many Western commentators - from Augustine onwards - have tended to place upon it.

Be that as it may, it seems to me that Paul's exposition of the atonement in Romans can be interpreted in a PSA kind of way but also in other ways too - it goes beyond any one, single interpretation favoured by any particular Christian tradition ...

At the same time, I would defend those who espouse PSA of being 'authoritarian personalities' or 'childish' or petulant ... These people espouse PSA because they sincerely believe it's there in the scriptures - not because they are miserable, judgemental bastards looking for a text to justify their bastardliness ...

In the same way as PSA-advocates shouldn't accuse those who differ from them of seeking to be justified by works or not taking sin or the scriptures seriously enough - then it ill-behoves those who don't espouse PSA to accuse those who do of being callous psychopaths ...

There is a more excellent way ...

This discussion/debate will flounder if all we do is demonise those who disagree with us on the issue.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
You're not going to find me arguing with you about that, Martin. But the Paschal event is where that all meets its focus.

Ah go on Jolly Jape. And agreed.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I meant, of course that I would defend proponents of PSA 'against' accusations of having authoritarian personalities etc.

Of course, lots of people/groups who do espouse PSA do tend to be fairly authoritarian in the way they act. You've only got to look at some of the more rigid conservative evangelical churches to see that.

However, proponents of PSA don't have a monopoly on authoritarianism. That's a feature of fundamentalism across all religious traditions.

And yes, you can have atheists and liberals with fundamentalist tendencies too, of course.

The more moderate proponents of PSA do of course emphasise the love of God and don't take the kind of grotesque, caricatured view of the atonement that the Almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ got some kind of sadistic cosmic kick out of thrashing and 'punishing' his own Son.

Rather - as with Stott - they see God the Son taking our sin 'into' and upon himself - effectively 'absorbing' it as it were and bearing our punishment in our stead - willingly and voluntarily. 'Bearing pains and scoffing rude, in my place condemned he stood ...'

It isn't as if God the Father was rubbing his hands with glee going 'mwa ha ha ... mwa ha ha ha ha ...'

Which is why proponents of PSA are genuinely offended by the Chalke plagiarised 'cosmic child abuse' jibe.

I understand that. I respect that.

However, I still feel that neat and clear-cut though PSA tends to be - at least when proclaimed in a 'populist' kind of way - it does create further problems that the staunch PSA proponents struggle to resolve.

Yes, it can tilt towards a form of Binitarianism or even Arianism - and it's interesting that the Jehovah's Witnesses use somewhat PSA sounding language at times ...

Yes, it can be overly juridical and portray God as some kind of mortified indignant potentate - in somewhat feudal terms ...

Yes, it does require some hermeneutical shoe-horning to make it fit the scriptural data at times ...

But it's a big step and jump from that to portray all its proponents as some kind of psychos or authoritarian personalities ...
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I think we are straying into territory beyond the footprint of the OP - which was a discussion as to why particular groups believe PSA to be THE defining and non-negotiable aspect of the atonement.

Although, if we are going to bring personality types into it - Personality Type X is going to be naturally inclined towards PSA, Personality Type Y isn't ... then it's hard to see how we can avoid value judgements of some kind.

Favours PSA? = authoritarian.

Doesn't favour PSA? = non-authoritarian.

I don't think it plays out as neatly as that.

FWIW, my main difficulty with PSA is that it appears to lock God into some kind of moral obligation that is bigger than He is ... were such a thing possible.

God can't possibly forgive unconditionally. He has to receive satisfaction ... he has to have blood ...

One could argue that the atonement turns that kind of Bronze Age concept on its head, that by suffering an undignified and bloody death, Christ was showing that such sacrifices were defunct and unnecessary ... but again, that's a pretty convoluted argument.

But then, so are any arguments about this, that or the other aspect of the atonement ...

It's rather like my issue with Calvinism - as it is popularly portrayed. Because it effectively paints God into a corner where he becomes trapped and subject by his own sovereignty ...

'Look guys, I would really, really like to predestine you to eternal bliss too, just like those others - but I'm afraid I can't ... it's nothing personal ... but you see, my hands are tied ... I've got this sovereignty thing to contend with ...'

Sure, I know that's a hideous caricature of the Reformed position but no more hideous and no more grotesque than some of the stuff the hyper-Calvinists come out with.

Not that there's a competition to see which Christian tradition can up with the most grotesque 'takes' on things ... we'd all get prizes for that somewhere or other along the line ...

I suppose where I'm at now is that whilst I respect the PSA position and those who hold tightly to it, I can see that it doesn't tick all the boxes - no one atonement model does - and raises additional questions and difficulties to those it apparently resolves.

Which is why I'm inclined, rather like C S Lewis, not to fillet the atonement up into bite-size chunks but to regard it as part of a continuum of the entire 'Christ event' - alongside and in conjunction with all elements - the Incarnation, Christ's exemplary life, his moral teachings, his miracles, parables, his atoning death and resurrection, his ascension and his continuing intercession for us, his second advent and coming again in glory ...

The whole kaboosh.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
You're not going to find me arguing with you about that, Martin. But the Paschal event is where that all meets its focus.

Ah go on Jolly Jape.
Do you think we're here to enjoy ourselves or summat? 😂
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Some of us! The trouble is I'm a 'reflector'!
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: Whilst I respect the PSA position and those who hold tightly to it, I can see that it doesn't tick all the boxes
But this just shows that you don't have a clue what is at stake. You simply CANNOT have regeneration and all its benefits UNLESS Jesus was a penal substitute. It is NOT about preferences, or hermeneutics and as for the Orthodox they are as irrelevant as ever the Catholics were. It is about what scripture objectively states about what the Christ must do, not only in the NT but also in Is 53 and elsewhere. Jesus' Emmaus Rd conversation was all bout the total necessity of the crucifixion to effect salvation. PSA is not a foible of theologians, amongst competing models. It is the grand design of Biblical strategy. The sort of total tripe voiced about it as one of many ideas created by the clever clogs theologians is like a spectator's view of the skills of a loose head prop in a rugby scrum. It is uninformed because the real understanding is so far from the spectator's experience of the pressures involved.

[ 26. April 2017, 13:39: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Jamat, your heaven is going to be as small as your God.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Gamaliel: Whilst I respect the PSA position and those who hold tightly to it, I can see that it doesn't tick all the boxes
But this just shows that you don't have a clue what is at stake. You simply CANNOT have regeneration and all its benefits UNLESS Jesus was a penal substitute. It is NOT about preferences, or hermeneutics and as for the Orthodox they are as irrelevant as ever the Catholics were. It is about what scripture objectively states about what the Christ must do, not only in the NT but also in Is 53 and elsewhere. Jesus' Emmaus Rd conversation was all bout the total necessity of the crucifixion to effect salvation. PSA is not a foible of theologians, amongst competing models. It is the grand design of Biblical strategy. The sort of total tripe voiced about it as one of many ideas created by the clever clogs theologians is like a spectator's view of the skills of a loose head prop in a rugby scrum. It is uninformed because the real understanding is so far from the spectator's experience of the pressures involved.
Who is this 'scripture' who makes objective statements? What are they?
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Jamat, you're just not listening. Everyone on these boards prettying agrees that the crucifiction was necessary for salvation. Certainly I would affirm that as strongly as you do. But crucifiction does not equal PSA. Christus Victor depends on crucifiction, so does Ransom theory. Neither of those have a penal element. The whole rationale for PSA depends on the proposition that forgiveness can only be realised if someone is punished for the sin. But God has mercy on whom he will have mercy. Our "problem", if you like, is not guilt but mortality. It is that issue of mortality, our being subject to the law of sin and death, with which the atonement deals.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Excuse me, Jamat ... I've been an evangelical, I'd still class myself as an evangelical of some kind ... even if I have some post-evangelical leanings.

That doesn't make me an 'ex-evangelical' - it simply means that I've broadened out somewhat in my thinking. But it isn't all about me ...

Neither is this about 'clever clogs theologians'.

And yes, both the RCs and the Orthodox ARE relevant because they predate Protestantism and we share a common ancestry. Who canonised the scriptures in the first place? It wasn't the evangelical Protestants, we didn't exist back then ...

I don't claim to be a theologian. I don't claim to be a clever-clogs. I simply claim to be a Christian who is interested in theology - however imperfect my attempts to get to grips with things are inevitably going to be.

Sure, I get that you reacted against your RC upbringing and underwent an evangelical conversion. Fine.

But that doesn't mean that everything can be reduced down to a simplistic set of fundamentalist Protestant sound-bites.

I'm not the one who 'hasn't got a clue' here ... you are the one who can't seem to see past the 16th century as diffused through early 20th century Protestant fundamentalism.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Jolly Jape - that's a rather unfortunate typo - 'crucifiction' rather than 'crucifixion'.

At any rate - coming back to Jamat - yes, the cross is central. Yes, the atonement is central.

How it works in 'mechanical' terms is a moot point. What we have to go on are scriptural references, metaphors, tropes and explanations that we are to make sense of.

That involves theology.

These ideas don't drop out of the pages of the Bible in kit-form as per my earlier analogy of the plastic free-gift in old-time cornflake packets.

We have to make sense of them. We do that in community - and in dialogue with other Christians. That's how it's always been.

It was like that with the Jews as the OT Church (as it were) and it is like that with the Christian churches today ...

Yes, I believe that the Bible transmits objective truth - that it is THE Truth - I have no problem with calling it 'the word of God' as long as we recognise Christ as the Word (capital W) of God ...

But it doesn't 'work' in some simplistic 'join-the-dots' fashion. Sure, it's message is simple and direct and the simplest among us can understand it - that's not the issue - but the Bible itself is a highly complex and nuanced document.

It's not a straightforward textbook.

It doesn't work like that.

These things never worked like that.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
You simply CANNOT have regeneration and all its benefits UNLESS Jesus was a penal substitute.

Utter rubbish.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Gamaliel
quote:
If we are going to bring personality types into it - Personality Type X is going to be naturally inclined towards PSA, Personality Type Y isn't ... then it's hard to see how we can avoid value judgements of some kind.
Favours PSA? = authoritarian.
Doesn't favour PSA? = non-authoritarian.
I don't think it plays out as neatly as that.

I disagree and offer as evidence the following post:


Jamat
quote:
This just shows that you [Gamaliel] don't have a clue what is at stake. You simply CANNOT have regeneration and all its benefits UNLESS Jesus was a penal substitute. It is NOT about preferences, or hermeneutics and as for the Orthodox they are as irrelevant as ever the Catholics were. It is about what scripture objectively states about what the Christ must do, not only in the NT but also in Is 53 and elsewhere. Jesus' Emmaus Rd conversation was all bout the total necessity of the crucifixion to effect salvation. PSA is not a foible of theologians, amongst competing models. It is the grand design of Biblical strategy. The sort of total tripe voiced about it as one of many ideas created by the clever clogs theologians is like a spectator's view of the skills of a loose head prop in a rugby scrum. It is uninformed because the real understanding is so far from the spectator's experience of the pressures involved.
Although it might be argued that Jamat's posts are more markedly dogmatic in content and tone than that of other PSA advocates, it does not seem to me the notion that attitudes towards PSA are related to the possession of an authoritarian or non-authoritarian personality is wide of the mark. Clearly, for PSAists the concept of penalty and the satisfaction of justice through extreme punishment is crucial, but for liberally-minded critics is a major reason why it is objectionable. If that does not relate to the distinction between authoritarian and non-authoritarian personalities I don't know what does.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
You simply CANNOT have regeneration and all its benefits UNLESS Jesus was a penal substitute.

Why not? Accepting for the sake of argument that it is necessary that Jesus was a substitute, why is it necessary that he was a penal substitute?

quote:
Jesus' Emmaus Rd conversation was all bout the total necessity of the crucifixion to effect salvation.
As others have said, affirming—as fwiw I do, and most others in the conversation seem to as well—that the crucifixion was necessary to effect salvation is not at all the same as saying that the reason is that divine justice made it necessary for someone to be punished for our sins. That need for punishment to satisfy divine justice is the sine qua non element of PSA, and Jesus says nothing at all about that on the road to Emmaus. He says that the prophets were clear that the Messiah "should suffer these things."

There are indeed NT passages that talk of Jesus's death in terms of him bearing our punishment for us, but there are other passages that speak of the significance of Jesus's death in other terms. You have already noted the words of Jesus himself talking about it terms of a ransom, which, while not necessarily inconsistent with a penal understanding, isn't the same as a penal understanding either. If one were to make a Venn diagram of the various ways the sacrificial death of Jesus is described in Scripture, one would see significant overlap among those ways, but there would also be plenty of places they don't overlap.

So, we're left with two options: One is to approach the atonement as a mystery, and then to understand the various ways it is described in Scripture as attempts to put into human language that which we cannot fully understand, and to accept that no one description is complete in itself, but that together they give us a more complete picture.

The other is to assume that one way of describing the atonement is the correct or best way, and then to read all of Scripture through the lens of that one description, making everything fit it. With all respect, this seems to be exactly what you're doing, with the Emmaus road reference serving as a good example. You've used it to show why PSA is the correct and necessary understanding of the atonement, when Jesus in that passage says nothing at all about the punishment. You're reading that into the text.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Kwesi, I will accept that PSA-type views do attract authoritarian personalities.

That does not interfere that everyone who espouses PSA has an authoritarian personality. I used to be a big stickler for PSA. Does that mean I had a more authoritarian back then than I do now?

Or does it simply mean that I was exposed to traditions that strongly espoused PSA and imbibed that particular world-view?

It isn't for me to say whether Jamat has an authoritarian personality or not, but yes, he does come across as highly dogmatic and he does espouse a very fundamentalist 'take' on things - as witnessed by his very literal interpretation of Revelation and the Pentateuch - which is something I've discussed with him - and with similar results ie. accusations that I don't know what I'm talking about ...

As with anything else, there are shades and nuances. Not all PSA proponents are as inflexible - but as a general rule PSA-ers do what Nick Tamen suggests - they use it as the key-stone for their whole theological edifice and elevate it almost to the same status as the Trinity and Deity of Christ or the Deity of the Holy Spirit.

I've even heard some suggest that the reason the Council of Nicea didn't issue any definitive statements on the atonement was because PSA was universally accepted at the time ... So there was no need to codify it.

Which just goes to show the level and quality of reasoning among some - but no means all - of these people.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Steve Chalke said what he said because he was using language to highlight an absurdity. It is very close to the way that he (and, let it be said, Tony Campolo before him) said "30,000 people died today of preventable disease - and you people don't give a shit. And the worst part is that some of you are more concerned about the fact that I just said shit than that 30,000 people died of preventable diseases."

There is something of an absurdity in the way that at least some people who hold to the centrality of PSA continue to describe themselves as orthodox (when it is clearly anything but an orthodox idea) and yet see no contradiction in saying all kind of hurtful things about people who say anything different.

In effect Steve Chalke said "the way that some of you talk about the atonement make it sound like cosmic child abuse. And some of you are more concerned about the phrase "cosmic child abuse" than the way you describe the atonement and how that's an incredible turn-off for some people."

And, fwiw, I think Steve Chalke has been very wrong about a lot of things over the years. But nobody can accuse him of dodging issues, of refusing to wrestle with theological things that other churches tend to fudge about or for not living the things he says he believes in - including running schools for kids nobody else wants to run.

But it is absolutely wrong to suggest that Steve Chalke is the only person from an evangelical background who has a serious problem with PSA. One can rubbish Rob Bell, Greg Boyd, Steve Chalke and others, but one can hardly deny their evangelical credentials. It would have been far easier for them to stick with the acceptable theology than to speak out, and yet they've all followed their conscience on this issue despite the obvious impact on them.

You might not like their conclusions, but it is cowardly to suggest that because they are coming up with conclusions you don't like, Jamat, that they're somehow refuting orthodox Christianity.

In many different ways, that's bollocks.
 
Posted by Robert Armin (# 182) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Armin:
Leprechaun - I've tried to send you a Private Message about the tangent of women being able to lead UCCF CUs, but your box is full. I would be grateful if you could give me more information about this, either here, or through private messages. Many thanks, RA

I have tried to reply to your PM, but your box os now full.
My apologies! PM box now cleared.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'd like to know why Jamat believes that the RCs and the Orthodox are 'irrelevant' to a discussion about elements of Christian doctrine - as if nothing of any significance happened between about 150AD and 1517 AD - and as if the Reformers believed in the Trinity, say, not because they inherited this belief from the RCs - who shared it with the Orthodox in pre-Schism days, but happened to open their Bibles one day and lo and behold, there it was ...

As though Calvin didn't inherit a strand of Western Christian theology on the atonement stretching back through Aquinas to Anselm to Augustine (who weren't Catholics but Protestants, presumably) ... But happened to open his Bible one day and there it was, fully formed and ready to hatch ...

I'd very much also like to know what planet Jamat is living on, but that is beyond the purlieu of this thread ...
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I think that's taking things too far, mr cheesy.

I'd suggest that PSA is certainly orthodox within the context of small-o orthodox Western Christianity. It's one of several complementary models within that context as Mudfrog maintains. Historically, he's right as reformed (small r) and Reformed Christianity allows scope for development and variety in doctrinal understandings.

Ok, so do Rome and the Orthodox, but the process there takes a lot, lot longer in each case ...

So, from within a Western Christian and specifically Protestant evangelical perspective, PSA is certainly orthodox.

On what grounds and on what criteria are you suggesting it isn't?

Who decides?

I can understand the Orthodox considering it a heterodox - or even heretical - position as it neither accords with their understanding of the scriptures or Tradition.

But I can't understand why a Protestant might regard PSA as beyond the pale of what is doctrinally orthodox or not. The strongest thing they might say is, 'I don't like PSA and prefer to see the atonement in terms of X, Y or Z model ...'

Or else give a nod to all available models but not plump for any one of them in particular - which is what C S Lewis seems to have done.

He expressed distaste for PSA but he didn't say its proponents were heterodox or heretics.

This begs the question to me of what constitutes a lack of small o orthodoxy in a Western Christian context - specifically a Protestant one?

Is it the Creeds? Is it 'The plain-meaning of scripture' (if such a thing were possible)? Is it my personal preference or opinion?

What is it? Who decides?

You? me? Jamat?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I think that's taking things too far, mr cheesy.

I'd suggest that PSA is certainly orthodox within the context of small-o orthodox Western Christianity. It's one of several complementary models within that context as Mudfrog maintains. Historically, he's right as reformed (small r) and Reformed Christianity allows scope for development and variety in doctrinal understandings.

Kinda depends what you mean - if you measure orthodoxy by the length of time that the church universal believed the theology or the number of believers that subscribe to it, then it isn't orthodox.

I take what you mean though, it isn't necessarily unorthodox either, it clearly fits within various other orthodox ideas of theology without tipping over into outright heresy.

My main beef is with those who claim that the only "orthodox" believers are those who believe in PSA. It seems fairly obvious to almost everyone that there are and were a large number of orthodox believers who do not and have not ever had a strong belief in PSA.

quote:
Ok, so do Rome and the Orthodox, but the process there takes a lot, lot longer in each case ...

So, from within a Western Christian and specifically Protestant evangelical perspective, PSA is certainly orthodox.

On what grounds and on what criteria are you suggesting it isn't?

See above

quote:
Who decides?

I can understand the Orthodox considering it a heterodox - or even heretical - position as it neither accords with their understanding of the scriptures or Tradition.

But I can't understand why a Protestant might regard PSA as beyond the pale of what is doctrinally orthodox or not. The strongest thing they might say is, 'I don't like PSA and prefer to see the atonement in terms of X, Y or Z model ...'

Again, I don't really think it fits on the axis of orthodox vs heresy (I consider it to be an orthodox-yet-wrong idea).

quote:
Or else give a nod to all available models but not plump for any one of them in particular - which is what C S Lewis seems to have done.
I'm not very interested in CS Lewis and have no idea why so many Evangelicals look to him as an authority.


quote:
This begs the question to me of what constitutes a lack of small o orthodoxy in a Western Christian context - specifically a Protestant one?

Is it the Creeds? Is it 'The plain-meaning of scripture' (if such a thing were possible)? Is it my personal preference or opinion?

What is it? Who decides?

You? me? Jamat?

Quite. Not saying you are wrong on this, I'm just saying you're riffing on a theme that I'm not pushing.

[ 26. April 2017, 18:58: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Jolly Jape: The whole rationale for PSA depends on the proposition that forgiveness can only be realised if someone is punished for the sin
No, the rationale is that GOD found a solution to the justice vs mercy problem. Without justice, God's character is compromised. Without mercy, his love is. The punishment was taken by God himself in order that he can show mercy. IOW it is not that 'someone' needed to be punished, it was that we all did and God, in Christ, took the punishment in our place. The issue hardly anyone here gets, is that the wages of sin are and remain DEATH. Without what Christ did on the cross we are LOST. My main point which you virtually all reject is that scripture, teaches this from the start so I am done with the discussion. Anyone remotely interested might like to google: 'Pierced for Our Transgressions' by Steve Jeffrey, Mike Ovey, Andrew Sach.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I believe in Jesus Christ: his life, death and resurrection.

That's what makes me a Christian. Not a belief in some half-baked theology cooked up in the last few hundred years.

[ 26. April 2017, 19:41: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Jolly Jape: The whole rationale for PSA depends on the proposition that forgiveness can only be realised if someone is punished for the sin
No, the rationale is that GOD found a solution to the justice vs mercy problem. Without justice, God's character is compromised. Without mercy, his love is. The punishment was taken by God himself in order that he can show mercy. IOW it is not that 'someone' needed to be punished, it was that we all did and God, in Christ, took the punishment in our place. The issue hardly anyone here gets, is that the wages of sin are and remain DEATH. Without what Christ did on the cross we are LOST. My main point which you virtually all reject is that scripture, teaches this from the start so I am done with the discussion. Anyone remotely interested might like to google: 'Pierced for Our Transgressions' by Steve Jeffrey, Mike Ovey, Andrew Sach.
No, we 'get' that, Jamat, it's just that you persist in battening everything down within that particular basket.

I'm quite conscious that without Christ I am lost. I am quite convinced that the wages of sin is death.

I haven't said otherwise and can't imagine why you insist that I - and others here - might not do so.

There are a range of views here. We're not all on the same page. The only thing some of us here have in common is that we are willing to examine some of our sacred cows and to re-evaluate them if necessary.

You clearly think that these things are not open to discussion or debate. Shame you're missing what might continue to be an interesting discussion.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I suppose this seems to sadly underline the point that there are bits of Christianity which are drifting apart to the extent that they are fast becoming different religions.

I suppose it was ever thus; first a sect, then some kind of heterodox cult, then a completely separate religion.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, mr cheesy, I was riffing on a theme you weren't pushing, but I responded to some notes you'd struck ... some chords that twanged in my own mind ...
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The issue hardly anyone here gets, is that the wages of sin are and remain DEATH.

Nope. Almost everyone who has weighed in here gets that and agrees.
quote:
Without what Christ did on the cross we are LOST.
Wrong again; pretty much everyone here agrees on that, too.
quote:
My main point which you virtually all reject is that scripture, teaches this from the start. . .

And wrong again. Hardly anyone has rejected the idea that Scripture teaches that without the cross we are lost. (Though many of us would say "without the incarnation, the cross and the resurrection, we are lost.")

What has been questioned is the idea that PSA—not just any theory of substitutionary atonement, but specifically penal substitutionary atonement—definitively and completely explains how what Jesus did on the cross saves us from being lost.

quote:
. . . so I am done with the discussion.
Simply saying "Scripture says so and anyone who disagrees just doesn't understand it" over and over isn't really discussion.

[ 26. April 2017, 20:27: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
It's what constitutes discussion on Planet Jamat, Nick.

But he's gone. Our attempts to engage are in vain. Perhaps they always wete. Right from the outset. As in scripture ...
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
FWIW, my main difficulty with PSA is that it appears to lock God into some kind of moral obligation that is bigger than He is ... were such a thing possible.

God can't possibly forgive unconditionally. He has to receive satisfaction ... he has to have blood ...

One could argue that the atonement turns that kind of Bronze Age concept on its head, that by suffering an undignified and bloody death, Christ was showing that such sacrifices were defunct and unnecessary ... but again, that's a pretty convoluted argument.

But then, so are any arguments about this, that or the other aspect of the atonement ...

It's rather like my issue with Calvinism - as it is popularly portrayed. Because it effectively paints God into a corner where he becomes trapped and subject by his own sovereignty ...

'Look guys, I would really, really like to predestine you to eternal bliss too, just like those others - but I'm afraid I can't ... it's nothing personal ... but you see, my hands are tied ... I've got this sovereignty thing to contend with ...'

Sure, I know that's a hideous caricature of the Reformed position but no more hideous and no more grotesque than some of the stuff the hyper-Calvinists come out with.

Not that there's a competition to see which Christian tradition can up with the most grotesque 'takes' on things ... we'd all get prizes for that somewhere or other along the line ...

I suppose where I'm at now is that whilst I respect the PSA position and those who hold tightly to it, I can see that it doesn't tick all the boxes - no one atonement model does - and raises additional questions and difficulties to those it apparently resolves.

Which is why I'm inclined, rather like C S Lewis, not to fillet the atonement up into bite-size chunks but to regard it as part of a continuum of the entire 'Christ event' - alongside and in conjunction with all elements - the Incarnation, Christ's exemplary life, his moral teachings, his miracles, parables, his atoning death and resurrection, his ascension and his continuing intercession for us, his second advent and coming again in glory ...

I'm liking this quite well.

Kurt Vonnegut, beloved author of my youth wrote this in "A Man Without a Country":

quote:
For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that's Moses, not Jesus. I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

"Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon?

which seems to me to be a pretty good summation of the mindset to which I find my soul disliking to the depths of whatever a soul has at its deepest soulness. I find something rather mean, nasty and cruel about the atonement. I know we're supposed accept that God is fearsome and does real cool things like destroy Sodom and "he's not a tame lion" etc. But shouldn't we go out of our way and de-emphasize God's assholery, when there are plenty of humans prepared to be assholes on their ownsomes, and so much of the stories we have is about that part of the trinity we know as Jesus being the most humane and kind of human beings?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I believe in Jesus Christ: his life, death and resurrection.

That's what makes me a Christian. Not a belief in some half-baked theology cooked up in the last few hundred years.

No, what makes you a Christian is what makes you an adopted son of God. What does that is the blood atonement.

The devil believes in Jesus Christ, the life, death and resurrection.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
It's what constitutes discussion on Planet Jamat, Nick.

But he's gone. Our attempts to engage are in vain. Perhaps they always wete. Right from the outset. As in scripture ...

No I am gone only in the sense that I'm not willing to break my head.
You do not want to engage on this issue. You only want to find justification for what you have prejudged.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Nick Tamen: What has been questioned is the idea that PSA—not just any theory of substitutionary atonement, but specifically penal substitutionary atonement—definitively and completely explains how what Jesus did on the cross saves us from being lost
You have none of the benefits that you say you agree about if it does not. If you think you have them without it then you are deluded.

It is not me, Mr Cheesy, who has left orthodox evangelicalism.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Jamat, not wanting to rerun the CV thread, but if your whole soteriology is based on a single verse from Isaiah 53, a verse that is not backed up anywhere else in scripture, and your authority is the theological bollocks (to use Mr Cheesy's eloquent phrase) pedalled by Messrs Ovey and co, forgive us for being underwhelmed. Yes, we inherit the benefits of eternal life because we are adopted by the Father. No, that has nothing whatsoever to do with Penal Substitutionary Atonement, and you have not presented any evidence to even suggest that it has. The reason for this is that the evidence does not exist, at least, not in the Bible. If you think it does, then present it. Make your case. I challenge you! The fact that you continue to assert something is not, by the way, evidence as it is normally understood.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
Jamat, not wanting to rerun the CV thread, but if your whole soteriology is based on a single verse from Isaiah 53, a verse that is not backed up anywhere else in scripture, and your authority is the theological bollocks (to use Mr Cheesy's eloquent phrase) pedalled by Messrs Ovey and co, forgive us for being underwhelmed. Yes, we inherit the benefits of eternal life because we are adopted by the Father. No, that has nothing whatsoever to do with Penal Substitutionary Atonement, and you have not presented any evidence to even suggest that it has. The reason for this is that the evidence does not exist, at least, not in the Bible. If you think it does, then present it. Make your case. I challenge you! The fact that you continue to assert something is not, by the way, evidence as it is normally understood.

Jolly Jape, the purpose of the thread was as you said not to rerun exhaustive arguments which is why I haven't. My position here though, is NOT the aberrant one. The burden of proof is on the deniers

Futhermore, how can you say that a scholarly work that fairly looks at both sides of the issue exceedingly graciously, is theological bollocks? I doubt you have read it or considered its arguments. It deals with and disposes of every objection commonly lobbed here.

Consider just one point for the sake of space.

Ten plagues occur in Exodus, nine of which afflicted the Egyptians solely but the tenth, also endangered the first born of Israel. Hence, the Passover lamb. The wrath of God needed appeasing. Ex 12:13.

Fast forward to the last supper. There is no lamb on the menu yet it is a Passover meal. Instead Jesus covenants with the apostles using bread and wine as a substitute for his blood,soon to be shed. Why? His blood will appease the wrath of God, he will pay the penalty for sin. He has become the lamb the substitutionary sacrifice.

The point is later reinforced by Paul, 1Cor5:7 and Peter, 1Peter 1:18,19. QED
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The point is later reinforced by Paul, 1Cor5:7 and Peter, 1Peter 1:18,19. QED

Let's flip it a little okay? Get you out of the rigid cruel selective verse crap.

How about 1Cor 5:6, just for you" Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?"

Or 1Peter 1:15=16 "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy."

And to remind you: John 13:34-35: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Does God practice only love with the threat of a gun to the soul in your world?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Jamat, I am well aware of all those arguments, verses and interpretations. I am not prejudging anything. I am simply examining things and looking at them from various angles, something you don't seem prepared to do.

Unlike No Prophet,I don't think the atonement is 'cruel' for instance. But neither do I think it should be viewed in crudely penal or juridical terms.

I can certainly see/understand how and why it's understood that way and I have a lot of sympathy for that view - it's been part of my understanding for decades.

However, the fact that not everyone sees it that way suggests that there are other ways of understanding it.

Yes,I believe that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was raised to life for our justification.

I am not side-stepping the 'blood sacrifice' element. But equally I'm giving due weight and attention to the whole 'Christ event' insofar as I can given my limited human capacity.

I don't have an issue with the types and foreshadowings from Exodus and the OT sacrificial system that you cite. I believe that the atonement deals with all aspects - including the 'sin problem' as you put it ...

I may differ on how I think the atonement does that but I'm happy to accept that it does and that the Almighty has the whole thing covered whether it's in a CV way, a Ransom way or some kind of penal substitutionary way if indeed that's how it works ... I can live with a degree of mystery and ambiguity.

The classic Big E Evangelical position you cite is attractive in many ways - it's neat, elegant and cut-and-dried. But it also raises problems of its own. As do all the atonement models.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:


It is not me, Mr Cheesy, who has left orthodox evangelicalism.

It is really really hard to argue that there is such a thing as "orthodox evangelicalism", given that the movement includes such a wide range of views. Even if there is, then I'm not sure how it is possible for someone to assert from an extreme position that they alone are occupying it.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
OK Jamat, lets deal with these one at a time.

Exodus 12:13. Who is being punished. The Egyptians, for sure. But that is hardly redemptive. God's wrath was not appeased, it was fully played out. The redemptive part is the blood painted around the lintels, which is a sign of covenant commitment; sealed in blood, certainly, but we don't regard the lambs as being punished. It's not a penal thing, if anything it is sacrifice. Sacrifice does not equal penal. Not all death is penal.

1 Cor 5:7. This is a reference back to the Exodus. Paul explicitly makes the point that Christ's death is a sacrifice, like that of the lambs. Again, sacrifice does not equal penal. Not all death is penal.

1 Peter 1:18-19. Again, sacrifice, with an added dollop of ransom. No indication that Christ was punished, indeed, as in your other quotations, no mention of punishment at all. Ransom/redemption does not equal penal. Not all death is penal.

For someone who purports to take the scriptures so seriously, you seem to have little interest in what they actually say, rather than what the authors of Pierced For Our Transgressions say they say. NOT ALL DEATH IS PENAL!!
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Also, y'know, the OT itself shows that God is not bound by judgment.

Arrrggghhhh you bloody Israelites! If you do that again, I'm going to completely lose my rag with you!

-- they do it again --

#facepalm

OK, look, let's start over shall we?

Does that sound like a deity who is forced to punish sin?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
IOW it is not that 'someone' needed to be punished, it was that we all did and God, in Christ, took the punishment in our place. The issue hardly anyone here gets, is that the wages of sin are and remain DEATH.

I agree. However, if DEATH is the punishment for sin, and Christ took that punishment in our place - that is, instead of us - then why do we still die?

Surely the whole point of penal substitution is that the person who would originally have received the punishment no longer does? If we still receive the wages of sin - which we do - then Christ cannot have died instead of us.

If, on the other hand, Christ's death and resurrection defeated the very power of death itself, then our salvation has been achieved not through our punishment being meted out to someone else but through our punishment being made toothless and weak. We still receive death as the wages of our sin, but where is death's sting? Where is the grave's victory? Christ has conquered them, and in doing so has enabled us to join Him in triumph.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Ah, c'mon Marvin - ever ful kno that it is talking about spiritual death.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
First class MtM, first class. Why have I never heard that obvious point before? Therein is true genius. Here from the wee-wee end perspective.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I believe in Jesus Christ: his life, death and resurrection.

That's what makes me a Christian. Not a belief in some half-baked theology cooked up in the last few hundred years.

No, what makes you a Christian is what makes you an adopted son of God. What does that is the blood atonement.

The devil believes in Jesus Christ, the life, death and resurrection.

What did Jesus say makes one a follower of Him? I.e. a Christian?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
To be fair to Jamat, mr cheesy, your view does not represent 'orthodox evangelicalism' as traditionally understood within evangelical circles overall.

Sure, evangelicalism is messy and difficult to pin-down and define, but the kind of 'Crucicentrism' identified by Bebbington as one of its 'Quadrilaterals' does tend to be seen in PSA terms - by and large.

Sure, there are some from within the evangelical fold who have challenged or modified that 'received' understanding - and you've named a few of them.

However, many evangelicals wouldn't regard those characters as being 'true' evangelicals at all - certainly not Chalke - and Rob Bell is certainly seen as beyond the pale by many full-on Big E Evangelicals ...

But I'm probably not telling you something you don't know already.

What some Big E Evangelicals don't appear to be aware of, however, is that their position is in itself a 'tradition' ... just as all the other Christian traditions are.

Of course, those who are more 'ecumenical' in outlook are fully aware of that but in my experience, in practice, many evangelicals and Evangelicals seem to think that everyone else is part of a 'tradition' but that they themselves miraculously elide such a thing and are only going by 'the plain meaning of scripture' ...

Which, as we all know, is so incontrovertibly obvious that there must be something wrong with you if you don't see things the same way ...

[Roll Eyes]

So, something like 'He Was Pierced For Our Transgressions' isn't informed or shaped by its particular context or tradition but simply an exposition of Holy Writ.

It wouldn't occur to some of these people that their views have been shaped by a particular interpretative framework, just as everyone else's has been.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
I'm just a little baffled by something in this whole discussion. I understand that it focuses on one particular explanation of what atonement is about.

However, it's not as if atonement is exactly a new concept. For all the time and energy spent in the OT discussing the various sacrifices for sin, almost all of them were for inadvertent, minor occasions of sin. The big stuff had to wait for the annual Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). If you want to know what the OT foreshadowing of the atonement achieved by Jesus means, then how can you avoid discussion of what went on there?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
To be fair to Jamat, mr cheesy, your view does not represent 'orthodox evangelicalism' as traditionally understood within evangelical circles overall.

Sure, evangelicalism is messy and difficult to pin-down and define, but the kind of 'Crucicentrism' identified by Bebbington as one of its 'Quadrilaterals' does tend to be seen in PSA terms - by and large.

These things are hard to pin down, of course, but PSA developed as an idea out of Evangelicalism - or possibly alongside it - so I think it is very hard to argue that the one thing completely overlaps the other.

As to Bebbington, I don't think he specifically uses PSA in one of his quadrilaterals, but I could be wrong.

quote:
Sure, there are some from within the evangelical fold who have challenged or modified that 'received' understanding - and you've named a few of them.

However, many evangelicals wouldn't regard those characters as being 'true' evangelicals at all - certainly not Chalke - and Rob Bell is certainly seen as beyond the pale by many full-on Big E Evangelicals ...

But again, you're taking those who self-identify as "orthodox Evangelicals" and taking people they don't agree with and saying "look, they're not true evangelicals!"

Yes they're seen as beyond the pale by some. Meh. There have been Evangelicals who see other Evangelicals as beyond the pale for almost as long as there has been an identifiable movement - that's not really saying anything at all.

You might be onto something if you could show that there was consistency throughout history where all Evangelicals - until very recently - taught PSA as we understand it now. I don't think that can possibly be true. But then that all depends on how one is defining "orthodox", PSA and "Evangelicals".

quote:
Again, that's no great surprise.

But I'm probably not telling you something you don't know already.

What some Big E Evangelicals don't appear to be aware of, however, is that their position is in itself a 'tradition' ... just as all the other Christian traditions are.

Of course, those who are more 'ecumenical' in outlook are fully aware of that but in my experience, in practice, many evangelicals and Evangelicals seem to think that everyone else is part of a 'tradition' but that they themselves miraculously elide such a thing and are only going by 'the plain meaning of scripture' ...

Right. I think there are many who think Evangelicalism is a plain reading of scripture and are unaware of exactly how forced some of the pillars of the idea are.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Rob Bell
quote:
.......... and Rob Bell is certainly seen as beyond the pale by many full-on Big E Evangelicals
I must confess I'm surprised to learn Rob Bell was ever regarded as an Evangelical. What limited exposure I've had with him and his work suggested to me he was a nice guy, heart in the right place, means well, but lacks serious intellectual rigour: a bit milk and water, a sort of soft-centred popular preacher- but, perhaps, none the worse for that!
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure. Or that there are even pillars in the first place.

@Honest Ron. Well yes, but this thread hasn't been about OT foreshadowings of Christ's atoning death, although they have been mentioned in passing or in connection with facets of aspects of it.

However we approach the Yom Kippur, we are going to do so through a Christian or NT lens. Unless we are Jewish.

Even if we were Jewish then our understandings would vary according to whether we were Orthodox or Reform or Reconstructionist and so on.

Of course, the NT writers saw the sufferings and Passion of Christ and his sacrificial death as fulfilling the 'types' and antecedents they saw/discerned in the OT system of sacrifices and rituals. Hence the Epistle to The Hebrews.

There's a very rich vein to follow there and I'm sure we could do so profitably here. The purpose of this thread, though, is to explore why one particular interpretation of the atonement is emphasised so strongly in some circles and not at all in others ...

Would all Jewish people have the same interpretation of Yom Kippur? No. But what they would have in common is a shared sense of it being about repentance, self-denial and reconciliation - with God,bwith one another and with humanity as a whole.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
i sometimes think that the word 'atonement' adds an unnecessary mystification to what is being talked about. If we replace it with its synonym 'reconciliation' and describe the mission of Christ as reconciling humanity to God then we might discuss matters more sensibly and constructively without avoiding the central issues. Such an approach would make it more easy to integrate the teaching and healing ministry of Christ with the cross and resurrection.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Bell studied at both Fuller and Wheaton - both evangelical seminaries. He certainly started out within the broadly evangelical fold.

But as mr cheesy observes, it's hard to pin-down where evangelicalism begins and ends. It's a pretty amorphous term these days.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
I understand what you say, Gamaliel, and mostly agree. Judaism is nothing if not multi-faceted. My point is really simpler than suggesting some wholescale tangent on Yom Kippur though.

If I can put it another way though - as a criterion to assess any "theory" of the atonement, let me propose that a quick check would be that if its foreshadowing cannot be seen in the Yom Kippur proceedings, then it would need a way higher standard of proof from elsewhere to prove it was not an innovation too far.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Rob Bell
quote:
.......... and Rob Bell is certainly seen as beyond the pale by many full-on Big E Evangelicals
I must confess I'm surprised to learn Rob Bell was ever regarded as an Evangelical. What limited exposure I've had with him and his work suggested to me he was a nice guy, heart in the right place, means well, but lacks serious intellectual rigour: a bit milk and water, a sort of soft-centred popular preacher- but, perhaps, none the worse for that!
I certainly don't think RB sees himself as a theologian, but rather as a popularizer and repackage​r of theological ideas for a particular audience of mostly white middle class people, with an agenda to encourage those who are Christians to think about their faith and it's practical implications and those who are not to strike away religiosity from their view of church and encounter what he considers to be the authentic voice of Jesus. Some of the details of his articular emphasis, for exploring, his tacit universalism, may be at variance with what is taught by the majority of classic evangelical thinkers, but he certainly
feels like an evangelical, and would probably pass the Bebington test.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
I wonder why atonement needs a theory? What theory, for example, is needed to explain the reconciliation of the prodigal to his father? If we accept that God desires humanity to be reconciled to him, might we not better ask what experience(s) individuals need to seek reconciliation with God?
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Bell studied at both Fuller and Wheaton - both evangelical seminaries. He certainly started out within the broadly evangelical fold.

It has seemed to me that much of what Bell writes and talks about, and particularly what he has tended to emphasize (and maybe de-emphasize) happens in the context of reaction to the evangelicalism in which he was formed. As someone without that background, I wondered for a while "why is he hung up on this?" or "why does he treat that like a surprising or new idea?" The reaction to an evengalical background is, I think, at least part of the answer.

BTW, Wheaton is a college, not a seminary. He went to college at Wheaton and seminary at Fuller.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, I think that's spot-on, Nick Tamen. Which is why Bell is popular in some 'emerging' and 'post-evangelical circles', because they are reacting to particular forms of hard-line (mostly US-style) evangelicalism.

Being pedantic, yes, I did know Fuller was a Seminary and Wheaton a College - but I conflated the two out of laziness ...

I'm often quite slap-dash in my posts. I ought to post less and more pertinently.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Gamaliel
quote:
I'm often quite slap-dash in my posts. I ought to post less and more pertinently.

How about: "post less and pertinently more."? [Two face]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Doh!

Well, yes, that ...
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Marvin the Martian: I agree. However, if DEATH is the punishment for sin, and Christ took that punishment in our place - that is, instead of us - then why do we still die?

Surely the whole point of penal substitution is that the person who would originally have received the punishment no longer does? If we still receive the wages of sin - which we do - then Christ cannot have died instead of us.


We do not die spiritually but our physical frame still exists in a fallen world and is the casing of our redeemed personality. Paul recognised this in the famous Corinthians passage where he looked forward to being clothed with immortality.

Regarding the atonement and its completeness, we do not gain all of its benefits in the here and now. Otherwise, we would not get sick or grow old either. This is of course the problem with the 'word of faith' theology. They don't get that we do not possess the whole package yet or that there is still a realisation of the Kingdom that is future. There are loads of scriptural metaphors that illustrate this, for instance the child may be the heir but in his minority, does not exercise power over his inheritance, yet he owns it.

A believer's physical death is not the same as an unbeliever's. The believer who dies is absent from the body present with the Lord.

I think the point of penal substitution, which is only a descriptor of a theological idea, is that we deserved condemnation from God because of our evil actions that spring from our flawed nature, but that we instead are redeemed. The justice element that demanded our condemnation has been dealt with by the crucifixion of Jesus, the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It was all set in place and anticipated by God.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Sure, I think that's spot-on, Nick Tamen. Which is why Bell is popular in some 'emerging' and 'post-evangelical circles', because they are reacting to particular forms of hard-line (mostly US-style) evangelicalism..

I don't know Bell personally, but am close to people who do (six degrees of separation?) and of course run in his American evangelical circles.

American evangelicalism is pretty diverse, and has been slowly splintering in a mostly amicable ways for a decade or more. The evangelical involvement both for & vs Trump in the election has accelerated that splintering and made it somewhat less amicable.

To that end, I would say Bell is well regarded among young, left-leaning evangelicals-- who may be known as "left-wing evangelicals" but also might call themselves "emergent", postmodern (although both terms seems passe now) or "post-evangelical." At the same time-- and likely because of that-- he is considered heretical by many older, more traditional evangelicals. His style is somewhat more "postmodern" in the literary sense than is my cup of tea, but I respect the questions he's asking and his pastoral sensibilities.


quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
I wonder why atonement needs a theory? What theory, for example, is needed to explain the reconciliation of the prodigal to his father? If we accept that God desires humanity to be reconciled to him, might we not better ask what experience(s) individuals need to seek reconciliation with God?

I like the word "metaphors" or "images" for the various descriptions of the atonement, rather than the more common "theory". In part because we do need to remember that they are
metahpors rather than transactions, and also because "theory" implies one is right and the others are wrong.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
I agree with that - metaphor, picture etc. describe the reality far better. Theory is out there though.

There is one aspect of using "theory" that may be useful, and that is that theories need testing. Goodness knows this age has enough theories already. Some day we'll get round to testing them rather than accepting them unquestioningly. Not that atonement theories need destruction, but it's useful to remember that metaphors only go so far.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: It wouldn't occur to some of these people that their views have been shaped by a particular interpretative framework, just as everyone else's has been
Well, this is a bit patronising but in any case even if I voice an opinion unaware of my context or the world view at the back of it, it may still be true. Regarding scripture, if you see it as uninspired, then, sure the world view of the writer might preclude it from being a truth story apart from his context. However, ISTM with 40 authors and some with multiple contexts, the issue is diminished. If though, you combine inspiration with multiplicity of authorship then it is diminished further. That suggests that in Scripture, I have a meta narrative, a truth story which is reliable though I may misinterpret it. Enter the church or the 'public' interpretation. But which church? Maybe you then look at the accumulation of commentators if it is possible but look at your own lens as a focusing tool on all that has gone before. It is all a bit intimidating but if you add hermeneutical principles as a way to look at the commentators, then, I think you answer the post modern objections. The whole thing becomes a series of filters whereby you arrive at a conclusion on interpretation.

[ 27. April 2017, 21:48: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
OK Jamat, lets deal with these one at a time.

Exodus 12:13. Who is being punished. The Egyptians, for sure. But that is hardly redemptive. God's wrath was not appeased, it was fully played out. The redemptive part is the blood painted around the lintels, which is a sign of covenant commitment; sealed in blood, certainly, but we don't regard the lambs as being punished. It's not a penal thing, if anything it is sacrifice. Sacrifice does not equal penal. Not all death is penal.

1 Cor 5:7. This is a reference back to the Exodus. Paul explicitly makes the point that Christ's death is a sacrifice, like that of the lambs. Again, sacrifice does not equal penal. Not all death is penal.

1 Peter 1:18-19. Again, sacrifice, with an added dollop of ransom. No indication that Christ was punished, indeed, as in your other quotations, no mention of punishment at all. Ransom/redemption does not equal penal. Not all death is penal.

For someone who purports to take the scriptures so seriously, you seem to have little interest in what they actually say, rather than what the authors of Pierced For Our Transgressions say they say. NOT ALL DEATH IS PENAL!!

True, all death is not penal. You seem to be obsessed with the word penal though. The Passover lamb is deliberately conflated by Jesus with himself and given the subsequent event, the crucifixion, we see that he saw it as a blood sacrifice. You seem to concede that Jesus portrayed himself as substitute, sacrifice and ransom no problem but you deny penal. However, all Paul's interpretive remarks strongly imply that we were due a punishment but now, because of Christ, we escape it. ISTM you have a problem escaping 'penal' if you take this into account and agree with the functions of ransom, substitution, and sacrifice. If there was a punishment due us, then did God overlook it? If so then he compromised his righteousness. But he did not as Is 53 clearly establishes and Is 53 is quoted by NT writers 7 times on this very point. The inescapable conclusion for me is that Christs death was a cosmic event that had the effect of redeeming, restoring and reconciling man to God and it did so by his blood sacrifice paying a price for sin that was demanded and therefore penal. If it was not penal then you have to coin another analogous term.
I quite like the Barrabas analogy. Imagine Barrabus, now freed viewing the crucifixion. Would he not say, that fellow up there has taken my place and paid my penalty?
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
I quite like the Barrabas analogy. Imagine Barrabus, now freed viewing the crucifixion. Would he not say, that fellow up there has taken my place and paid my penalty? [/QB]

It is quite nice.
Although (depending on how customy the 'custom' was, and how intentional the crucification, and who the other contendors were, and how guilty Barrabas felt) you could make the argument that Jesus was threatening Barrabas's place in the first place.

I'm not sure what his actual thoughts would have been, I suspect not quite taken my place (that would require more), but a definite that could have been me.

[ 27. April 2017, 22:41: Message edited by: Jay-Emm ]
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Jamat
quote:
Imagine Barrabus, now freed viewing the crucifixion. Would he not say, that fellow up there has taken my place and paid my penalty?

I doubt he would have said that. Remember there were three fellows up there, and there is no reason why he would have distinguished between the death of Jesus and that of the other two malefactors. He might have said:

1. "There but for the grace of God go I."
2. " We were all guilty, but I got lucky."

Whatever he said I doubt it would have had much to do with the doctrine of the atonement!
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
FWIW Jamat, I do regard the scriptures as inspired, but I'm not a fundamentalist.

I also accept that there are metanarratives - and I'd suggest that there are closer links between a 'pre-modern' approach and a 'post-modern' approach in some ways than there are between both of those and a 'modernist' approach - which is what some forms of evangelicalism effectively are.

If I've been patronising, I do apologise.

But I'm afraid I can't be doing with fundamentalist approaches - be they fundamentalist atheist, fundamentalist evangelical or fundamentalist Catholic - although I am certainly quite conservative theologically speaking.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
FWIW Jamat, I do regard the scriptures as inspired, but I'm not a fundamentalist.

I also accept that there are metanarratives - and I'd suggest that there are closer links between a 'pre-modern' approach and a 'post-modern' approach in some ways than there are between both of those and a 'modernist' approach - which is what some forms of evangelicalism effectively are.

If I've been patronising, I do apologise.

But I'm afraid I can't be doing with fundamentalist approaches - be they fundamentalist atheist, fundamentalist evangelical or fundamentalist Catholic - although I am certainly quite conservative theologically speaking.

Well, for starters, what is fundamentalist if not a huge convenient pejorative term for dinosaur? You are pretty quick to both categorise others and distance yourself from any Whiff of anything that pushes a hot button with anyone except the few that dare to call the left on their assumptions. Several times on this very thread you have cosied up to others on the basis that the world would be a better place without me in it. However, comme ci comme ca. We are what we are and at the end of the day, hopefully, we all enrich each other.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
No, I don't think the world would be a better place for your absence. Any more than I think this thread or these boards would be the richer for that either.

What makes the Ship float is a diverse range of views.

I'm glad you are aboard, if that doesn't sound patronising.

However, you persist in boiling things down to a binary set of propositions. You've done it just now with your accusations about cosying up to 'The left'.

The fact is, it isn't only people on the left theologically who have issues with some of the views you espouse here. I know people who are very conservative and on the right of the theological spectrum who would also differ from you on aspects of how you understand these things.

It's not a binary left/right divide.

Also, there are more Christian traditions around than those thee and me have inhabited - but somehow you see them as 'irrelevant'. On what grounds?

If you want to be treated like a mammal rather than a sauropod, stop acting like a brontosaurus.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jay-Emm:
Pretty,...
I'm not sure what his actual thoughts would have been, I suspect not quite taken my place (that would require more), but a definite that could have been me.

Just to reiterate, it is of course very fitting that the guilty goes free and the innocent gets punished in the observable sense (just that there isn't the casual connection, that there is in the big picture).

[ 28. April 2017, 07:49: Message edited by: Jay-Emm ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
We do not die spiritually but our physical frame still exists in a fallen world and is the casing of our redeemed personality.

I reject this sort of Dualism. My body is not merely a flawed shell or vehicle for my true self, my body is my true self.

quote:
Regarding the atonement and its completeness, we do not gain all of its benefits in the here and now.
No, we gain them when our own resurrection occurs at the end of time.

quote:
A believer's physical death is not the same as an unbeliever's. The believer who dies is absent from the body present with the Lord.
Wait, what? Are you saying we don't really die because we're not really there when it happens?

quote:
I think the point of penal substitution, which is only a descriptor of a theological idea, is that we deserved condemnation from God because of our evil actions that spring from our flawed nature, but that we instead are redeemed. The justice element that demanded our condemnation has been dealt with by the crucifixion of Jesus, the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It was all set in place and anticipated by God.
The thing is, I don't agree that justice demands a violent punishment for the guilty. Christ's death and resurrection redeemed us by mitigating our punishment, not by transferring it.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
If there was a punishment due us, then did God overlook it? If so then he compromised his righteousness.

No he didn't.

This is exactly the point of disagreement I have with you, as I mentioned in an earlier post - there is nothing wrong - i.e. compromising of righteousness - about forgiveness. Quite the opposite, indeed, Jesus repeatedly exhorts us to do it all the time!
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
We do not die spiritually but our physical frame still exists in a fallen world and is the casing of our redeemed personality.

I reject this sort of Dualism. My body is not merely a flawed shell or vehicle for my true self, my body is my true self.

quote:
Regarding the atonement and its completeness, we do not gain all of its benefits in the here and now.
No, we gain them when our own resurrection occurs at the end of time.

quote:
A believer's physical death is not the same as an unbeliever's. The believer who dies is absent from the body present with the Lord.
Wait, what? Are you saying we don't really die because we're not really there when it happens?

quote:
I think the point of penal substitution, which is only a descriptor of a theological idea, is that we deserved condemnation from God because of our evil actions that spring from our flawed nature, but that we instead are redeemed. The justice element that demanded our condemnation has been dealt with by the crucifixion of Jesus, the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It was all set in place and anticipated by God.
The thing is, I don't agree that justice demands a violent punishment for the guilty. Christ's death and resurrection redeemed us by mitigating our punishment, not by transferring it.

Guilty? Punishment?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Marvin the Martian: I don't agree that justice demands a violent punishment for the guilty. Christ's death and resurrection redeemed us by mitigating our punishment, not by transferring
Punishment takes many forms most of them non-violent. The idea of 'karma' contains the concept of punishment as well as reward. If I make a bad decision and lose out am I not 'punished' for my lack of wisdom?

If Christ mitigated but did not transfer then does one need to understand that merely as a supernatural act, a mystery, or is there a 'mechanism'? You are rejecting sacrifice, substitution and ransom and any concept of punishment. Personally, I don't think mystery is involved rather the crucifixion and its outworkings are revelations of God's ongoing attempt to build a bridge with us.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Jamat
quote:
I don't think mystery is involved rather the crucifixion and its outworkings are revelations of God's ongoing attempt to build a bridge with us.
Couldn't agree more, but doesn't prove your theory, or any other theory, metaphor or whatever, of how the atonement works.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
If there was a punishment due us, then did God overlook it? If so then he compromised his righteousness.

No he didn't.

This is exactly the point of disagreement I have with you, as I mentioned in an earlier post - there is nothing wrong - i.e. compromising of righteousness - about forgiveness. Quite the opposite, indeed, Jesus repeatedly exhorts us to do it all the time!

Karl, the big issue at the heart of this is whether God can just forgive as we are enjoined to forgive each other?

The standard answer is that forgive is used in 2 senses. If you wrong me and seek forgiveness then the Christian thing to do is to offer what is sought.

But when Jesus said to the man lying on the stretcher "your sins are forgiven" this was not forgiveness of the same nature and he incensed the Pharisees by assuming the authority of God. It was not human to human interaction that was at issue.
The word forgive assumes a meaning in the second case, of a reconciliation of man and God.

Pretty well all of Paul's letters are dedicated to aspects and out workings of this reconciliation. In Romans, the word 'propitiation' is used to describe what Jesus did and the word 'reconciliation' or atonement was its outcome. So the present discussion follows. What was this propitiation, how does it work and what is its outcome?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Jamat
quote:
I don't think mystery is involved rather the crucifixion and its outworkings are revelations of God's ongoing attempt to build a bridge with us.
Couldn't agree more, but doesn't prove your theory, or any other theory, metaphor or whatever, of how the atonement works.
But I don't know how it works, only that it does. Theory does not seem the right word. Maybe model is better. One can only reason by analogy. The NT writers also do this as in Paul, 1Cor5:7, 'Christ, our Passover, sacrificed for us'.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
But I don't know how it works, only that it does. Theory does not seem the right word. Maybe model is better. One can only reason by analogy. The NT writers also do this as in Paul, 1Cor5:7, 'Christ, our Passover, sacrificed for us'.

Exactly, which is why many of us have trouble with the position that penal substitutionary atonement fully and completely explains how it works.

I don't dispute that Scripture uses analogies/metaphors/models that Jesus bore the punishment for (or consequences of) our sins for us. But Scripture also uses other analogies/metaphors/models that look at Christ's reconciling work from other angles, such as that he ransomed or redeemed us from our slavery to sin—the "Christ our Passover" passage fits with that quite closely—or that Christ conquered death, or as the new Adam did for us what Adam failed to do.

Like any analogy or metaphor, none of these are exact, and all break if pushed too far. Yet Scripture includes them all and more to try to describe how we are reconciled to God.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Nick Tamen: is why many of us have trouble with the position that penal substitutionary atonement fully and completely explains how it works
As far as I know, no one claims PSA as a complete explanation. It sits happily with ransom, and CV. Most of the issue occurs when people want to claim PSA is unbiblical. It is the PSA deniers that created the controversy. My own position I am not sure of not being a theologian but the objection that PSA is immoral or misrepresentative of a loving God is rooted in modern conceptions and definitions. All I would assert is that it makes sense in terms of Christian doctrine and that attempts to discredit it as a scriptural doctrine by folk like CH Dodd, have been debunked.

[ 29. April 2017, 02:58: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
If Christ mitigated but did not transfer then does one need to understand that merely as a supernatural act, a mystery, or is there a 'mechanism'?

"Merely"? We're talking about the action of God redeeming creation here, I think describing it as a supernatural act and/or mystery is perfectly correct and accurate.

Any God that we can fully understand is no God at all.

quote:
You are rejecting sacrifice, substitution and ransom and any concept of punishment.
I've already explained how I think the incarnation was sacrificial. But I agree on the other three, mostly because I appear to have a very different idea of Divine Justice to you.

quote:
Personally, I don't think mystery is involved rather the crucifixion and its outworkings are revelations of God's ongoing attempt to build a bridge with us.
Non-sequitur. It's a revelation of God's ongoing bridge-building and a Divine Mystery.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Karl, the big issue at the heart of this is whether God can just forgive as we are enjoined to forgive each other?

Jesus seemed to think so. "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us".
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Yeah but Marvin that's a commandment and we can only do it because THE PRICE OF GOD'S WRATH HAS BEEN PAID IN FULL only for those that say sorry to God now.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Nick Tamen: is why many of us have trouble with the position that penal substitutionary atonement fully and completely explains how it works
As far as I know, no one claims PSA as a complete explanation.
Well, sorry if I've misunderstood you, but that's exactly what you have seemed to be claiming in this thread, including here:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Nick Tamen: What has been questioned is the idea that PSA—not just any theory of substitutionary atonement, but specifically penal substitutionary atonement—definitively and completely explains how what Jesus did on the cross saves us from being lost
You have none of the benefits that you say you agree about if it does not.
(Emphasis added.)

I read that to mean "You have none of the benefits you say you agree about if it [PSA] does not definitively and completely explain how what Jesus did on the cross saves us from being lost."
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Greek scholars would be able to enlighten us here, but it's my understanding that there is some debate among them whether the apostle Paul is referring to 'propitiation' or 'expiation' in Romans 3:25.

It's rendered as 'propitiation' in the King's Jame version, of course:

https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Romans-3-25/

But Greek speakers tell me that it doesn't necessarily carry that force and weight in the Greek ...

Other folk who know NT Greek claim that it does.

Who doe we believe? We pays our money and we takes our choice.

It seems to me, though, that Nick Tamen is right. We need to look at all the models/analogies and not stretch any of them too far.

The question then remains, though - how far is too far and how do we know when a model/analogy is stretched so far that it begins to strain and to snap?

Who decides?

Again, it strikes me that we can't get away from the conciliar and the collegial - the communal balance if you like ... although we are never going to achieve a full, collective, 'that believed everywhere and by all' thing ...

But then, neither does a bald, 'the Bible says' approach get us any further - because what you or I or anyone else here says that the Bible says isn't necessarily going to be what other people says it says ...

As per the 'propitiation / expiation' debate.

I understand what Jamat is saying with the C H Dodd thing being debunked - but the fact remains that there are other Christian confessions and traditions - such as the Orthodox - who don't include a juridical and penal understanding of the atonement in their theology without the influence of Dodd or other modern theologians.

But for some reason Jamat neatly dismisses them as being 'irrelevant' - as irrelevant as the RCs when it comes to this debate.

Like as if an entire Christian tradition of great antiquity can be so summarily dismissed without being given a hearing.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Nick Tamen: is why many of us have trouble with the position that penal substitutionary atonement fully and completely explains how it works
As far as I know, no one claims PSA as a complete explanation. It sits happily with ransom, and CV. Most of the issue occurs when people want to claim PSA is unbiblical. It is the PSA deniers that created the controversy. My own position I am not sure of not being a theologian but the objection that PSA is immoral or misrepresentative of a loving God is rooted in modern conceptions and definitions. All I would assert is that it makes sense in terms of Christian doctrine and that attempts to discredit it as a scriptural doctrine by folk like CH Dodd, have been debunked.
As you know, I for one, the only one here I believe, see PSA in the bible, in the mind of Jesus. I just know that it's cultural not ontological.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I get that, Martin60.

I suppose I'm in an equally invidious position as I can certainly see where PSA can be found in the scriptures and how it can be interpreted that way ... which is hardly surprising seeing as I've come up through the Protestant evangelical route as it were ... so I've been conditioned to see the atonement in those terms.

The point I'm trying to make is that it must tell us something when other traditions / Traditions have apparently never quite seen it that same way.

I'm not saying they are right or wrong, good, bad or indifferent - simply that if they've never understood the apparently 'obvious' and 'plain-meaning' of scripture in that way then it rather suggests that scripture is neither 'obvious' nor 'plain-meaning' at these particular points ...

Which might be way some people want to dismiss such traditions/Traditions as 'irrelevant' as interferes with the rather neat, cut-and-dried views they like to espouse - ie. 'The Bible says this, it's obvious, there must be something wrong with you if you don't see it the way I do ... it must mean that either Satan has beguiled you or else you are setting out to undermine the plain-meaning of scripture and be justified by your own works ...'

Etc etc ...
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Couldn't agree more Gamaliel.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
Gamaliel wrote:
quote:
Greek scholars would be able to enlighten us here, but it's my understanding that there is some debate among them whether the apostle Paul is referring to 'propitiation' or 'expiation' in Romans 3:25.
I presume you are referring to the word "hilasterion" in the Greek.

You may want to take a look here - especially as it covers its various uses and contexts in both NT and OT.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure - and more specifically - this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propitiation

Which touches on the points Jamat raised about C H Dodd's approach.

We've always got to be careful with Wikipedia, of course - it isn't always accurate.

For instance, I'm not convinced that the following entirely represents the J I Packer type view adequately:

'Thus the definition of Christian propitiation asserted by Calvin, Packer and Murray holds that within God there is a dichotomy of love and anger, but through propitiation love trumps anger, abolishing it.'

For a kick-off it assumes that Packer, Murray and Calvin were all on the same page ... and as Nick Tamen has pointed out, Calvin's view wasn't as 'developed' as that of contemporary Big E Evangelicals in terms of the penal substitutionary aspect ...

Also, I'm not sure either Packer or Murray would be comfortable with the charge that they posit a 'dichotomy of love and anger' within the Godhead.

That's the somewhat caricatured Good Cop / Bad Cop view of the atonement.

Yes, that's how it's often portrayed in much popular evangelicalism but I don't think Packer or Murray go that far.

I like the Stott quote that, 'God doesn't love us because Christ died for us, but Christ died for us because God loves us.'

I think that goes some way to correcting an imbalance that can - in terms of perception at least - be the impression given by many full-on PSA exponents.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The idea of 'karma' contains the concept of punishment as well as reward.

No - it is about consequences - results of our actions - can be automatic snd needn't be seen as punishment or reward.
 
Posted by The5thMary (# 12953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
People are attracted to PSA as it is so easy. It's from the childhood of humanity and appeals to our inner child. Our frightened, violent, superstitious, irrational, ignorant, weak inner child.

[Overused] Sometimes, good sir, you really say something profound. Most of the time, you're off your rocker, but this time...thanks, Martin! [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
I read that to mean "You have none of the benefits you say you agree about if it [PSA] does not definitively and completely explain how what Jesus did on the cross saves us from being lost."
Oversimplification perhaps on my part. You can certainly have the benefits without the cognitive grasp of how it all works. However IF you cognitively consider that Jesus did NOT die in our place as a substitute in place of us human sinners, one wonders why you would bother with the whole deal.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by The5thMary:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Martin60:
[qb] People are attracted to PSA as it is so easy. It's from the childhood of humanity and appeals to our inner child. Our frightened, violent, superstitious, irrational, ignorant, weak inner child.
[/QUOTE


Or, on the other hand, the fear of God comes upon them, they recognise their eternal lostness as a revelation to their poor sad human heart but then, amazing grace kicks in and they realise, once I was lost now I'm found.

Martin, for what it's worth, all faith is not a reaction against a legalistic past. AND postmodernism is not growing up, it is the new escapism. Soma for the soul.

[ 30. April 2017, 02:08: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
I read that to mean "You have none of the benefits you say you agree about if it [PSA] does not definitively and completely explain how what Jesus did on the cross saves us from being lost."
Oversimplification perhaps on my part. You can certainly have the benefits without the cognitive grasp of how it all works. However IF you cognitively consider that Jesus did NOT die in our place as a substitute in place of us human sinners, one wonders why you would bother with the whole deal.
Again, you seem to be missing what I said.

In your recent post you said that as far as you know, no one claims that PSA is a complete explanation of the atonement. But in what I quoted back to you, that seems to be exactly what you said in this thread—that PSA completely and definitively explains how the atonement works.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The5thMary:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
People are attracted to PSA as it is so easy. It's from the childhood of humanity and appeals to our inner child. Our frightened, violent, superstitious, irrational, ignorant, weak inner child.

[Overused] Sometimes, good sir, you really say something profound. Most of the time, you're off your rocker, but this time...thanks, Martin! [Big Grin]
But might not that be a good thing or even a necessary thing. The gospel is not just a message to us where we'd like to be, or where the high-minded us tell us we ought to be. It is also able to speak to the real 'us', the bit that is frightened of the dark, is twisted by life's traumas and that we hope other people can't see.

The Cross is bigger than any of us. There are several models that attempt to explain it. The one thing they all have in common, is that they all fall short. They are all less than the truth, but because we are limited people, we have to start somewhere.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Thing is, Jamat, all you are telling us is that you find it difficult to conceive of a way of being a devout Christian without sharing your particular 'take' on the atonement.

That's not a criticism. If we are steeped in a particular approach or model we can all find it hard to envisage how others might not see it the same way.

I daresay there are devout Orthodox people out there with no conception or understanding of PSA who would be puzzled if they were confronted with it. 'They can't possibly believe that, can they?'

So it's not as if Christian faith can't exist without it.

What can't exist without PSA is your particular conception and understanding of the Christian faith.

Which is a different thing again.

Unless you are saying - as you seem to be doing - that there is only one way to understand or engage with the Christian faith - and that's yours.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: Thing is, Jamat, all you are telling us is that you find it difficult to conceive of a way of being a devout Christian without sharing your particular 'take' on the atonement
Thing is Gamaliel, all YOU are saying is that you have a more nuanced take on the atonement which essentially means you can eat and have your cake by believing everything and nothing about it. What I am saying is that you do not have a gospel unless you have sin sorted and that cannot happen without Jesus sorting it. You keep bringing up the Orthodox. Perhaps you or one of them could explain their take.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Nick Tamen: Again, you seem to be missing what I said.
I was trying to clarify it. Yes, I think the atonement is fully explained by the fact that Jesus death created both a sacrifice as in the Passover and a substitute as in his statement at the last supper "this is my body broken for you" which created a possibility for human sin to be forgiven and sin 'passed' over. Without that, I do not think there is any meaningful 'good news' for the likes of thee and me. Anyone who claims to be 'evangelical' needs a gospel to preach. What is yours pray tell? If it is 'another' gospel, ( as in one Paul did not preach), of which there are many, then it will not save, will it?
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Jamat
quote:
What I am saying is that you do not have a gospel unless you have sin sorted and that cannot happen without Jesus sorting it.
I don't think that is in dispute. It does not mean, however, that PSA is the only way of understanding and addressing the problem.

Jamat
quote:
What is yours pray tell? If it is 'another' gospel, ( as in one Paul did not preach), of which there are many, then it will not save, will it?
Let the apostle bare witness: " what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice." (Phil 1:18)

******************************

What it seems to me PSA supporters are trying to say is that its critics, especially liberals, are not taking the problem of evil and sin, its corrosive consequences for individuals and society, as seriously as it deserves. So radically heinous is the impact of sin that it requires to be judged by God for what it is and the severest penalty imposed to fit the crime. It cannot be dismissed with a waive of the hand as a minor infraction of a social convention. It cannot be resolved with a community service order. Though I'm far from convinced by PSA I think its supporters are flagging an issue that needs to be properly recognised.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Jamat
quote:
What I am saying is that you do not have a gospel unless you have sin sorted and that cannot happen without Jesus sorting it.
I don't think that is in dispute. It does not mean, however, that PSA is the only way of understanding and addressing the problem.

Jamat
quote:
What is yours pray tell? If it is 'another' gospel, ( as in one Paul did not preach), of which there are many, then it will not save, will it?
Let the apostle bare witness: " what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice." (Phil 1:18)

******************************

What it seems to me PSA supporters are trying to say is that its critics, especially liberals, are not taking the problem of evil and sin, its corrosive consequences for individuals and society, as seriously as it deserves. So radically heinous is the impact of sin that it requires to be judged by God for what it is and the severest penalty imposed to fit the crime. It cannot be dismissed with a waive of the hand as a minor infraction of a social convention. It cannot be resolved with a community service order. Though I'm far from convinced by PSA I think its supporters are flagging an issue that needs to be properly recognised.

Penalty? Crime?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I bring the Orthodox up precisely because they are the paradigmatic example of a venerable Christian tradition that has carried on for centuries with a different understanding of the atonement from the one you espouse as the 'norm'.

FWIW theirs is a more 'healing' than juridical model and includes elements of Random and Christus Victor - but doesn't neatly fit into a jig-saw puzzle type schema.

They get accused of 'preaching another gospel' by hard-line fundamentalist Protestants all the time ...

But from their perspective it's the fundamentalist Protestants who have innovated - not them.

Yes, I do find myself having increasing sympathy with the Orthodox on this issue - but as a Christian in one of the Western traditions I'm obviously very influenced by the more juridical Western approach too. How could it be otherwise?

It's not that I believe 'everything and nothing' about the atonement. It's simply that I'm seeking to understand other perspectives and, where possible, accommodate them or - more importantly, accommodate myself to them ...

Our respective mileages may vary on the extent that we allow ourselves to stretch our tent pegs as it were.

Too far and the canvas falls flat.

Too narrow and there's no room inside the tent.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, Kwesi. For all Martin's cavilling, I think PSA proponents are flagging something that needs addressing - and part of the attraction of PSA is that it addresses the 'sin and guilt issue' in a way that some of the other models don't.

The problem, it seems to me, is that by addressing it in the way it does, PSA raises further problems it can't resolve.

I've had discussions with the Orthodox on this one and posited that they might be 'soft on sin, soft on the causes of sin' because they don't espouse a juridical approach. They can see that, but don't see it as an issue and believe their approach does take sin seriously - even if it is seen more as a disease that needs to be cured rather than a crime that needs to be punished ...

Their schema doesn't require the kind of juridical 'satisfaction' that many Western understandings seem to insist on.

Perhaps the two approaches are complementary and can overlap?

I don't know.

Is this another both/and not either/or thing?

I'm going to annoy everyone with that - but there we are ...
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
On the basis of this description I am inclined to agree with the Orthodox.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I think that all of us would agree that without the cross and the vindication of the resurrection, there can be no salvation, no Christian faith.

What I would like to ask of all the theories is how does each one actually affect me, benefit me, 'do something' for me?

I can understand what a marvellous example the cross is, but then, for millions of years birds have been a marvellous example of flying.

Their example of flapping never helped anyone to actually fly though did it?

How do the other theories reveal the actual work of the cross and it's power to change the heart?

[ 30. April 2017, 14:05: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:


I can understand what a marvellous example the cross is, but then, for millions of years birds have been a marvellous example of flying.

Their example of flapping never helped anyone to actually fly though did it?

Didn't it? I'd have thought nature was frequently used as an example in various technical and engineering fields.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
Jamat, I disagree with your use of the word "fully" in
quote:
... the atonement is fully explained by the fact that Jesus death created both a sacrifice as in the Passover and a substitute as in his statement at the last supper "this is my body broken for you" which created a possibility for human sin to be forgiven and sin 'passed' over ...
Also are you accusing Gamaliel and others of believing less than you do, or more. It isn't very clear?


I get worried when people are determined to cram their understanding of the atonement into one specific model to the exclusion of all others. What worries me is, 'what is it about the other models that gives them the abdabs?'. On its own, each model is incomplete. It leaves out a significant element in what scripture says about the event. e.g.
(and this is not a complete list of models, just a few to be going on with)

Christus Victor
In a culture which does not have an all pervasive terror of the bad side of the supernatural, Christus Victor on its own can seem a bit abstruse - to what is it in your soul that it is a message?

Moral Influence
When chosen as the sole model, seems to be selected so as to let a person off having any belief in sin or any supernatural or cosmological reality. So it has nothing to offer anybody's existential angst. Which is why many people reject it. However, without it, much of the basis for Christian ethics disappears.

PSA
Apart from the cosmic child abuse canard, which is founded in a failure to appreciate the nature of the Trinity, can appear pedantically legal, almost juridically mechanical, particularly among those who concentrate on the P rather than the S. Also it is often presented in a way that makes the Resurrection a sort of afterthought. One celebrated theologian has even felt it necessary to get round this problem by propounding the Resurrection as a separate work of God. Often seems to be chosen as the 'sole' model by people who are uncomfortable about the implications of one of the others as a 'sole' model.

Ransom
On its own, not coupled with the other models, it can appear unclear why we need to be ransomed, what from, or to whom the ransom is being paid.

Anselm's satisfaction theory
Is too dependent on C11 feudal ideas to make much sense in a society that is no longer constructed round feudal homage.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:


I can understand what a marvellous example the cross is, but then, for millions of years birds have been a marvellous example of flying.

Their example of flapping never helped anyone to actually fly though did it?

Didn't it? I'd have thought nature was frequently used as an example in various technical and engineering fields.
When was the last time you rode in a plane with flapping wings?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
When was the last time you rode in a plane with flapping wings?

I see. So you're going to use some facet of nature which isn't used to prove a point even though various other parts of nature clearly have been the inspiration for various kinds of technology.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Let me try and make myself a little clearer. My posts are trying to answer the question as to why PSAers hold to what they do rather than to engage in refuting them. I've advanced a psychological explanation, and now I'm trying to advance theological reasons for their disposition which might be worthy of consideration even by their critics.

I am very much in the camp which sees Christ as the great physician, and do not see the problem of sin within a juridical model. I am now trying to convey to people of a somewhat liberal persuasion like myself as to what I see as the PSA perspective on its opponents, namely that they egregiously under-state the problem of sin. They suspect that those who push the physician image, for example, see Christ as healing a few minor abrasions rather than diagnosing a condition requiring drastic surgery. That issue might prove a fertile ground on which to pursue what has hitherto proved a sterile dialogue.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
When was the last time you rode in a plane with flapping wings?

I see. So you're going to use some facet of nature which isn't used to prove a point even though various other parts of nature clearly have been the inspiration for various kinds of technology.
I couldn't give a stuff about 'other parts of nature.' I was simply using a little illustration to say that just watching a bird fly doesn't help you actually to fly yourself.

Example is a great thing but it doesn't actually give me the ability to do the things exampled in the lives of others.

What does the atonement actually DO in my life other tan give me an example of how loving God is?
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Kwesi, I see exactly where you are coming from, and I can appreciate it. In my Salvationist tradition we also say quite a lot about the healing power of the cross. Our songs are full of it and our teaching talks about the healing of the soul.

Paul in Romans says that he doesn't understand himself at all. (Why he can't stop sinning).
The Psalmist tells us that God knows our hearts, that we are dust, he understands our constitution, as ne version puts it.

It seems to me that we have a sinful nature - in rebellion before God.
We also have a broken nature in need of healing - and often our actions betray the existence of 'sin-sick soul'.

Through the cross there is healing of the diseased nature so that the symptoms of that disease, our wrongful actions, are no longer inevitable.

We are forgiven of the acts - some through weakness, negligence and even our own deliberate fault - and then the heart is cleansed by 'the balm in Gilead that can heal the sin-sick soul.'

[Smile]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I couldn't give a stuff about 'other parts of nature.' I was simply using a little illustration to say that just watching a bird fly doesn't help you actually to fly yourself.

It's nonsense. Its a stupid illustration that doesn't even stand up on its own terms, and when challenged you munter something about flapping. Newsflash: not all birds flap.

quote:
Example is a great thing but it doesn't actually give me the ability to do the things exampled in the lives of others.
On this we can agree. We're not able to be perfect, but I'm not sure taking the atonement as an example fails because we're not perfect.

quote:
What does the atonement actually DO in my life other tan give me an example of how loving God is?
Mmm. I think you can only really ask this from your Wesleyan position which has very defined ways to understand it. Not everyone thinks like you do.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I couldn't give a stuff about 'other parts of nature.' I was simply using a little illustration to say that just watching a bird fly doesn't help you actually to fly yourself.

It's nonsense. Its a stupid illustration that doesn't even stand up on its own terms, and when challenged you munter something about flapping. Newsflash: not all birds flap.

quote:
Example is a great thing but it doesn't actually give me the ability to do the things exampled in the lives of others.
On this we can agree. We're not able to be perfect, but I'm not sure taking the atonement as an example fails because we're not perfect.

quote:
What does the atonement actually DO in my life other tan give me an example of how loving God is?
Mmm. I think you can only really ask this from your Wesleyan position which has very defined ways to understand it. Not everyone thinks like you do.

OK, let me put it another way:
How does moral influence actually forgive my sins?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Thing is, Mudfrog, the whole thing - the whole Christ Event, to use an ugly phrase, 'does' something for us.

Christ wasn't simply raised to life for our justification - as a form of 'vindication' - although the Resurrection includes that.

If we died with him we will also be raised with him ...

It's the 'identification' aspect that 'does' the job. It's not simply - or primarily - about some kind of 'legal fiction' - us being 'declared righteous' although we aren't really, technically speaking ...

Rather, it's about our union with Christ and our identification with him - which is something your Wesleyan tradition emphasises of course.

I'm not qualified to get into a detailed discussion about 'imputed righteousness' and so on - but the problem with some - I say 'some' - of the Western juridical emphases is that they can appear - I say 'can appear' to reduce things down to intellectual assent to a set of propositions.

Of course, both the Wesleyan and the Calvinistic strands within Protestantism do incorporate an 'experimental' or 'experiential' aspect - however that is expressed ... whether in the Wesleyan 'my heart was strangely warmed' sense or the more Calvinistic forms of 'assurance' ...

But without that sense of 'identification' - however expressed - I would posit that each could easily tumble into a kind of propositional 'easy-believism' ...

The Orthodox idea of 'theosis' is, of course, all about our identification with and participation in the divine nature - and that's 'appropriated' if you like within that particular Tradition by participation in the set rituals, practices, fasts and feasts of the Church. Of course, this can give the impression of 'salvation by liturgy' rather than 'salvation by grace through faith' - and I'm not in any position to judge whether this is or isn't the case ...

However, it seems to me that if someone were to follow all that through with sincerity of heart and with conviction, laying hold of the various 'means' that their Church has provided, then I'm sure that some kind of transformation would take place. There are examples, aren't there, from stories of the Saints ... whether we take the stories about someone like St Seraphim of Sarov seriously or not, it seems incontrovertible that here was someone who'd had some kind of ongoing and transformative encounter with the Living God.

And sure, just as the more 'cognitive' elements of Western propositional systems can lead to purely giving intellectual assent to a set of points or propositions - so the more 'sacramental' side of things can easily lead to rote-repetition or a 'going through the motions' - but God can work out what's what and which is which. Man looks at the outward appearance, it's the Lord who looks at the heart.

I s'pose where I'm at at the moment is that I don't see the need to 'unpick' and unravel the whole scheme of salvation to identify which bit does what ... it's not like a motor-engine ...

'Ah, the Cross ... that achieved X, Y and Z ... now, the Resurrection, that does This, That and The Other ...'

No, rather it is the totality of the Christ Event - his Incarnation, his sinless and exemplary life, his moral teaching, his miracles and his Deity, his sacrificial and atoning death, his rising again and his ascension to glory, his continual intercession for us, his coming again to judge the quick and the dead ...

Yes, the NT does employ juridical language and tropes - but there's much more to it than that. It talks about sacrifice, ransom, adoption - all these things - and more.

What changes the heart? What brings about regeneration? The simple answer is that God does. His ways are beyond tracing out. We can't reduce it to a formula.

That's not how it works.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
OK, let me put it another way:
How does moral influence actually forgive my sins?

I don't think it does: fairly clearly only God can forgive sins.

The influence part is about the effect on the person who becomes aware of his forgiven state, and the personal cost. You are forgiven by God, which is great - but the correct response is to take up your cross and walk in the way of Christ. That the purpose of Christ's life, death and resurrection was to call individuals to share in the forgiveness of God and thus lead changed lives empowered by the Holy Spirit to change this dark world.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Whch is all, of course, why we have theories and metaphors; because we do want to know 'how'.
It really isn't sufficient merely to say, 'we don't know, it just does'.

We want to know how does Jesus forgive? How does the cross cleanse? how does everything actually remove my sins as far as the east is from the west? How does it actually effect an atonement?

For many people 'it is enough that Jesus died and that he died for me'; but we cannot undo 2000 years of questioning and shrug our shoulders and say 'it doesn't matter how his death justifies, it just does.'
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:


For many people 'it is enough that Jesus died and that he died for me'; but we cannot undo 2000 years of questioning and shrug our shoulders and say 'it doesn't matter how his death justifies, it just does.'

Yes, but also no. PSA makes the atonement about a specific instant - which one either believes in or not. It makes it about an individual. Which can lead to the idea that the faith is all about accepting that idea and that everything else is unimportant.

If one is saying that PSA is just one of various helpful metaphors, then maybe one can avoid that problem. But amongst those who do loudly proclaim the atonement in terms of PSA and do not allow for anything else, it reduces life in the Lord to simple making that choice and encouraging others to do the same.

I think other theories deal much better with the Christian life, with ongoing purpose, with the realities of being light and salt in the world.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
What I am saying is that you do not have a
What it seems to me PSA supporters are trying to say is that its critics, especially liberals, are not taking the problem of evil and sin, its corrosive consequences for individuals and society, as seriously as it deserves. So radically heinous is the impact of sin that it requires to be judged by God for what it is and the severest penalty imposed to fit the crime. It cannot be dismissed with a waive of the hand as a minor infraction of a social convention. It cannot be resolved with a community service order. Though I'm far from convinced by PSA I think its supporters are flagging an issue that needs to be properly recognised.

I would mostly agree. However, I would counter that the problem with PSA is that it suggests that individual human sin is the
only problem with the world, the only thing that needs to be set right by the power of Christ's inaugurating the Kingdom. It fails to take seriously the impact of large-scale, communal systemic sin-- injustice, oppression, inequality. It fails to take seriously the level of natural evil built into creation itself-- disease, death, predators, famine, natural disasters. It fails to take seriously spiritual forces for evil that are opposed to the work of Christ. Things that the "Satan-ward" theories of Ransom and Christus victor more effectively address.

Which, again, as has been said already, is why we need to embrace the fullness of the many varied images and metaphors rather than fixate on just one.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'm not sure anyone here is saying that ... except, perhaps, where the overlaps or 'gaps' between the various theories/models and metaphors begin to clash or let in air ...

If you talk to a Calvinistic evangelical she/he can give you a pretty detailed account of how the Cross 'works' and how it propitiates the wrath of God and secures our justification.

If you talk to an Orthodox priest they will tell you how the Cross and Resurrection defeats the power of sin and death and makes a way for us to share in the very life of God.

Both can offer explanations. Neither are saying, 'We don't know ...'

As far as I can see - which may not be very far - the 'We don't know ...' part only comes when we try to make apparently irreconcilable aspects or elements fit.

I don't know whether that makes any sense ...
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
That last post was directed at Mudfrog, of course - other people had posted in between.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
What I would like to ask of all the theories is how does each one actually affect me, benefit me, 'do something' for me?

And the most straightforward answer is, of course, that none of these models do jack shit for me. CHRIST's death and resurrection are what save me. Not models. Which is why your long spiel about the need to hammer out which model(s) to use completely falls flat for me. To wit:

quote:
Whch is all, of course, why we have theories and metaphors; because we do want to know 'how'. It really isn't sufficient merely to say, 'we don't know, it just does'.
It doesn't? To whom? And why do they matter to me?

quote:
We want to know how does Jesus forgive? How does the cross cleanse? how does everything actually remove my sins as far as the east is from the west? How does it actually effect an atonement?
Do we? Who is this "we"? Whom are you speaking on behalf of? And by what right?

quote:
For many people 'it is enough that Jesus died and that he died for me'; but we cannot undo 2000 years of questioning and shrug our shoulders and say 'it doesn't matter how his death justifies, it just does.'
I don't want to undo 2000 years of western juridical hair-splitting. I want to ignore it.

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
It's the 'identification' aspect that 'does' the job.

The 'uniting'. "We are united with him in a death like his." We don't so much identify with his death, although we do and that's important. We are united with him in death through baptism.

quote:
No, rather it is the totality of the Christ Event - his Incarnation, his sinless and exemplary life, his moral teaching, his miracles and his Deity, his sacrificial and atoning death, his rising again and his ascension to glory, his continual intercession for us, his coming again to judge the quick and the dead ...
You must have gone to an Orthodox Church that does the liturgy in English, and moreover in which the priest says the silent prayers out loud.

quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I would mostly agree. However, I would counter that the problem with PSA is that it suggests that individual human sin is the only problem with the world, the only thing that needs to be set right by the power of Christ's inaugurating the Kingdom. It fails to take seriously the impact of large-scale, communal systemic sin-- injustice, oppression, inequality. <snip>

Yes. The self-centered emphasis on "accepting Jesus as your personal saviour" is a symptom of this error. Christ is not the head of the hand, or of the foot. The hand is connected to the head through the whole body. He's the head of the whole body. We are saved by being incorporated into the body that is the Church. By being a part of the branch that is grafted into the vine. This individualism is a disease of the Enlightenment that has infected the Church, especially in the West, although the East has not remained immune.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
The Orthodox parish I've visited the most has only recently started having the 'silent prayers' read aloud - but I am pretty familiar with the words of the Liturgy as I have a couple of English translations here on my shelves.

I wasn't consciously trying to echo the Liturgy, which may or may not be an interesting observation ...

I suppose I have imbibed and absorbed elements of it though. It's hard to disaggregate these things of course - which is the very valid point you are making. There is certainly a Western tendency to fillet everything up and take all the 'components' to pieces to see how they 'work'.

Within Protestantism this has often taken the form of, 'Let's see how much we can dispense with and still have something left ...'

You know how it goes ... 'Clerical robes? Chuck them out ... set liturgy? Nah, let's ditch that ... sacraments and ordinances? Well, we don't need those either ...'

I can't speak for the Orthodox but from observation I get the impression that they sort of 'get it' even if they don't articulate these things in a systematic kind of way that 'Westerners' do ...

I remember an Orthodox priest - a former YWAM missionary to Russia - telling me how his view of Orthodoxy changed when he met a Russian guy who couldn't string two words 'of a testimony' together in any coherent way - as evangelicals would be 'trained' or encouraged to do - yet who had gone to prison rather than deny Christ.

Mind you, as I observed to you the other week, it did strike me as strange how two British converts at my nearest Orthodox parish hadn't any idea whatsoever why the priest scattered laurel leaves during the Holy Saturday Vespers - despite one of them having been Orthodox for 20 years ...

You gave me the explanation.

But no, on balance, I share your frustration at the Western tendency to fillet and segment and chop everything to bits and put it under a microscope ...

And yes, 'uniting' is a better way of looking at it than 'identification' ... so thanks for that too.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Meanwhile, I mentioned St Patrick's Breastplate earlier - and how that covers a lot of ground.

I suppose I wasn't thinking consciously of the Orthodox liturgy but over Easter I attended one of the Orthodox services in the Easter cycle plus the RC Easter Vigil and a somewhat moderately 'catholic' flavoured Anglican Easter Sunday service.

The aggregate effect of all of that was to make me aware of how much ground they all covered compared to some evangelical services I've attended - where the focus has been much more on one or t'other aspect.

That's not to suggest that all evangelicals are limited in scope and repertoire - I've noted upthread that I concur with Mudfrog's point that the hymnody and range of 'models' deployed in many evangelical settings is a lot broader than some critics will acknowledge.

I suppose one of the advantages of having a Calendar or Church Year is that you are meant to cover a fair few bases ... at least in theory.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying, 'Yes, fair point ...'
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Yes, I think the atonement is fully explained by the fact that Jesus death created both a sacrifice as in the Passover and a substitute as in his statement at the last supper "this is my body broken for you" which created a possibility for human sin to be forgiven and sin 'passed' over. Without that, I do not think there is any meaningful 'good news' for the likes of thee and me. Anyone who claims to be 'evangelical' needs a gospel to preach. What is yours pray tell? If it is 'another' gospel, ( as in one Paul did not preach), of which there are many, then it will not save, will it?

It's not another gospel at all; it's a more complete gospel.

I think you're limiting the gospel that Paul and the other apostles, not to mention Jesus, preached—if not ignoring much of what they preached—if you say that that Christ's Jesus's sacrificial death (Passover-like and substitutionary), which created the possibility for sin to be forgiven, "fully explains" God's reconciling work in Christ. It doesn't. It is unquestionably one way that Scripture describes that work, but it isn't the only way that Scripture describes it. It gives us valuable and real insight into that reconciling work, but it doesn't "fully" explain it.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
?.the problem with PSA is that it suggests that individual human sin is the
only problem with the world, the only thing that needs to be set right by the power of Christ's inaugurating the Kingdom. It fails to take seriously the impact of large-scale, communal systemic sin-- injustice, oppression, inequality. It fails to take seriously the level of natural evil built into creation itself-- disease, death, predators, famine, natural disasters. It fails to take seriously spiritual forces for evil that are opposed to the work of Christ. Things that the "Satan-ward" theories of Ransom and Christus victor more effectively address.

This just proves you are totally clueless. Yes, there is am emphasis on individual sin, which multiplied a few million times adds up to collective sin. No this does not suggest a standing aside from collective or social evil. One eg is the Salvation Army who effectively initiated social action as an outworking of individual transformation.


quote:
Nick Tamen: I think you're limiting the gospel that Paul and the other apostles, not to mention Jesus, preached—if not ignoring much of what they preached—if you say that that Christ's Jesus's sacrificial death (Passover-like and substitutionary), which created the possibility for sin to be forgiven, "fully explains" God's reconciling work
Do you? That's fine if it works for you. To me Paul's gospel was quite narrow and specific as indicated in

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 " For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried and that he was raised according to the scriptures"

'Died for our sins' suggests individual sinners had their sin problem sorted by Christ, the sinless lamb, the incarnation of God, the one of whom Passover is a type, dying for them. In this case for them means in thieir place and as a substitute. Sins could not be dealt with without the death. The question of penal may be contentious but it is fairly logical. Christ took sin on himself in our place.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
What I am saying is that you do not have a gospel unless you have sin sorted and that cannot happen without Jesus sorting it.

I've posted numerous times to this thread about how sin can be "sorted" without recourse to PSA.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 " For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried and that he was raised according to the scriptures"

'Died for our sins' suggests individual sinners [/QB]

But the same chapter also has "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive"
Which is far, far more corporate (is that a pun) than the previous verse is individualistic.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
'Died for our sins' suggests individual sinners had their sin problem sorted by Christ....

How so? In what way does "our sins" mean anything individualistic? Do you know something about the Greek that we don't? Please enlighten us.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I think everyone here agrees that sin is 'sorted' by Christ, Jamat.

The issue isn't whether Christ 'sorts' it but how he does that.

As people are repeatedly saying, there are plenty of indications of how he has done so which go beyond one particular understanding of the atonement
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
If forgiveness is for all, sorting not required?

I have developed the opinion that of course Christianity would exist if humans hadn't killed him. Unless we wish to Judas, Pilate and some others as hell-bound puppets whose strings were pulled by God. Their free will extinguished.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
?.the problem with PSA is that it suggests that individual human sin is the
only problem with the world, the only thing that needs to be set right by the power of Christ's inaugurating the Kingdom. It fails to take seriously the impact of large-scale, communal systemic sin-- injustice, oppression, inequality. It fails to take seriously the level of natural evil built into creation itself-- disease, death, predators, famine, natural disasters. It fails to take seriously spiritual forces for evil that are opposed to the work of Christ. Things that the "Satan-ward" theories of Ransom and Christus victor more effectively address.

This just proves you are totally clueless. Yes, there is am emphasis on individual sin, which multiplied a few million times adds up to collective sin. No this does not suggest a standing aside from collective or social evil. One eg is the Salvation Army who effectively initiated social action as an outworking of individual transformation.

I'm not disputing that there are whole groups of Christians in general or evangelicals in particular (my peeps, fwiw) who understand the communal nature of sin and are working to address the implications of that. I work closely with the Salvation Army in my community in my work with the homeless and would very much agree with your assessment of them.

As a bit of a tangent I would suggest that systemic injustice is about more than just multiplication of individual sin-- although that is obviously a factor. I believe there is a whole element of "the powers that be" which is opposed to the Kingdom of God that plays out on multiple levels-- communal & individual, mortal & immortal, natural and unnatural-- all of which are aspects of what Christ came to set right.

But my point-- and the point of this thread-- was not about how evangelicals are doing at living out their faith. It was about whether PSA alone is an adequate image to understand and articulate the atonement. I argue that it doesn't, for several reasons sprinkled throughout this thread. Among those, I stand by the above-- that it implies that individual human sin is the only wrong that needs to be set right. I am not disputing that many, many evangelicals and other Christians see past that-- in part because they are reading the whole of the gospel laid out in the NT, which articulates that quite clearly. I'm simply saying that when you are looking for a summary of the gospel-- of what Christ has done for us-- PSA alone proves inadequate, which is why we need more than just a few verses in the book of Romans.

[ 30. April 2017, 23:48: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
What I am saying is that you do not have a gospel unless you have sin sorted and that cannot happen without Jesus sorting it.

I've posted numerous times to this thread about how sin can be "sorted" without recourse to PSA.
OK, sorry, though I recall the issue was justice. You think it is not a problem? PSA is very justice oriented.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
'Died for our sins' suggests individual sinners had their sin problem sorted by Christ....

How so? In what way does "our sins" mean anything individualistic? Do you know something about the Greek that we don't? Please enlighten us.
'Our' as in all of us individually?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
NO prophet's Flag : But my point-- and the point of this thread-- was not about how evangelicals are doing at living out their faith. It was about whether PSA alone is an adequate image to understand and articulate the atonement. I argue that it doesn't, for several reasons sprinkled throughout this thread. Among those, I stand by the above-- that it implies that individual human sin is the only wrong that needs to be set right. I am not disputing that many, many evangelicals and other Christians see past that-- in part because they are reading the whole of the gospel laid out in the NT, which articulates that quite clearly. I'm simply saying that when you are looking for a summary of the gospel-- of what Christ has done for us-- PSA alone proves inadequate, which is why we need more than just a few verses in the book of Romans.

Another way of looking at it is 'What's left if you take that out?' I think, not much.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I think everyone here agrees that sin is 'sorted' by Christ, Jamat.

The issue isn't whether Christ 'sorts' it but how he does that.

As people are repeatedly saying, there are plenty of indications of how he has done so which go beyond one particular understanding of the atonement

They haven't indicated ANY way atonement makes sense if you exclude it. There is no discernible mechanism for Atonement without Christ being the one who subsumed judgement into himself or maybe the Father laying the sin and sins of the world upon his son.
It is SO clearly implied in scripture, it is hard to argue with. In the end opponents find it unpalatable so they try to find another path. Except for Martin 60, who says, it is there but we do not need to take it seriously as we know SO much more than the 1st century writers. But at least he has focused his glasses properly.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
NO prophet's Flag : But my point-- and the point of this thread-- was not about how evangelicals are doing at living out their faith. It was about whether PSA alone is an adequate image to understand and articulate the atonement. I argue that it doesn't, for several reasons sprinkled throughout this thread. Among those, I stand by the above-- that it implies that individual human sin is the only wrong that needs to be set right. I am not disputing that many, many evangelicals and other Christians see past that-- in part because they are reading the whole of the gospel laid out in the NT, which articulates that quite clearly. I'm simply saying that when you are looking for a summary of the gospel-- of what Christ has done for us-- PSA alone proves inadequate, which is why we need more than just a few verses in the book of Romans.

Another way of looking at it is 'What's left if you take that out?' I think, not much.
From upthread, this:

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:

Moral Influence
When chosen as the sole model, seems to be selected so as to let a person off having any belief in sin or any supernatural or cosmological reality. So it has nothing to offer anybody's existential angst. Which is why many people reject it. However, without it, much of the basis for Christian ethics disappears.

Though the discussion of Moral Influence begs the question of needing atonement because people have existential angst. Which is certainly not a reason that atonement should exist at all.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes they have. It's simply that they haven't laid out one that you agree with.

I've articulated something of the Orthodox view, which is that we are saved by everything that Christ did and continues to do - through his Incarnation - his exemplary and sinless life, his teaching, miracles, sacrificial and atoning death, glorious resurrection and triumph over the powers of sin and death - his making an 'Open show' of the principalities and powers of this fallen world and the spiritual forces of wickedness, his release of the 'spiritual in prison', his fulfilment of the Law and of the entire OT sacrificial system - his ascension to heaven, continual intercession for us and his coming again in glory and summation of all things ...

How is that 'not a great deal left'?

There's an immense catalogue there and I haven't even mentioned those few favourite verses in Romans.

What have I left out?

Probably a great deal. The atonement is huge. The whole of the 'Christ Event' immense.

Does it deal with the justice issue? Yes, I'm sure it does. God 'condemned sin in sinful man.'

Does the NT use juridical language to convey that? Yes it does. But that's not the only language it uses. Did Christ take on and absorb the sins of the world though he himself knew no sin? Yes, of course.

But it doesn't all boil down to one single 'model' or way of understanding the issue.

Whether they are right or wrong to do so, the Orthodox don't see Christ's self-immolation at Calvary in terms of appeasing the wrath of God the Father. God is just and God is good. He is not hide-bound or restricted in any way, trapped in a strait-jacket of his own sovereignty or justice - such that he cannot 'move' or cannot forgive without first having to deal with a 'justice' issue that is bigger than himself ...

I do have a lot of sympathy with the way John Stott casts and frames this in his book 'The Cross of Christ'. But there are other ways of understanding it.

As I've said upthread, some people seem to take PSA so far as it almost sounds as if Christ should have been sacrificed the moment he was born. No exemplary life, no teaching, no parables, no miracles. Just the Cross. Oh, and with the resurrection tagged on almost as an afterthought.

Of course, that's a caricature but it conveys something of the highly reductionist nature of this approach.

I'm not saying you or Mudfrog or anyone else should 'ditch' PSA necessarily, simply pointing out that it is possible to conceive of the atonement in other terms - and many people have and continue to do so.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
They haven't indicated ANY way atonement makes sense if you exclude it. There is no discernible mechanism for Atonement without Christ being the one who subsumed judgement into himself or maybe the Father laying the sin and sins of the world upon his son/QB]

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
[QB] Yes they have. It's simply that they haven't laid out one that you agree with.

Bingo.

Satisfaction, ransom, and Christus victor ALL provide a mechanism for dealing with sin and reconciling humanity to God. Which has been said, explained, and elaborated so many times on this thread already one wonders what thread Jamat thinks he is posting to.


quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:

It is SO clearly implied in scripture, it is hard to argue with. In the end opponents find it unpalatable so they try to find another path.

And yet satisfaction, ransom, and Christus victor are also clearly implied-- heck, explicitly stated at times-- in Scripture as well. Yet you find them unpalatable so you try to find... oh, wait a minute..

[ 01. May 2017, 03:15: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
Jamat:
quote:
They haven't indicated ANY way atonement makes sense if you exclude it. There is no discernible mechanism for Atonement without Christ being the one who subsumed judgement into himself or maybe the Father laying the sin and sins of the world upon his son.
It is SO clearly implied in scripture, it is hard to argue with. In the end opponents find it unpalatable so they try to find another path.

I've thought of PSA being a Reformation way of viewing salvation. Before the fifteenth century, who else examined the idea and found it "unpalatable" and thus turned to other paradigms like ransom theory and Christus victor as a reaction to it?

[ 01. May 2017, 03:37: Message edited by: Lyda*Rose ]
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
'Died for our sins' suggests individual sinners had their sin problem sorted by Christ....

How so? In what way does "our sins" mean anything individualistic? Do you know something about the Greek that we don't? Please enlighten us.
'Our' as in all of us individually?
So when we say "our church building" we mean "the church building belonging to each of us individually"? I don't have stock certificates in my church's infrastructure. If I go to a different parish, I don't sell out my share to someone else such that it is no longer mine individually.

That's just not what "our" means in normal parlance.

The building belongs to the congregation as a whole. To an entity -- in this state a legal entity. Not to a bunch of individuals.

It seems to me you have a really underdeveloped sense of what the Church is. It's not like a bowl of chicken parts. It's like a whole chicken. The arm is not an individual. The foot is not an individual. The Body is an individual. We are parts -- "members" literally. There is nothing independent about us.

[ 01. May 2017, 05:20: Message edited by: mousethief ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
Jamat:
quote:
They haven't indicated ANY way atonement makes sense if you exclude it. There is no discernible mechanism for Atonement without Christ being the one who subsumed judgement into himself or maybe the Father laying the sin and sins of the world upon his son.
It is SO clearly implied in scripture, it is hard to argue with. In the end opponents find it unpalatable so they try to find another path.

I've thought of PSA being a Reformation way of viewing salvation. Before the fifteenth century, who else examined the idea and found it "unpalatable" and thus turned to other paradigms like ransom theory and Christus victor as a reaction to it?
Oh dear, Lyda Rose, you are clearly not getting it ...

In the first century, all Christians believed in PSA because it's clearly there in Paul's epistle to the Romans, the Epistle to the Hebrews and the quotes from Isaiah 53 cited in the Gospels.

It was so obvious no one questioned it.

It was also so obvious that when the Council of Nicea was convened the issue of the atonement wasn't even discussed because there was obviously complete and total agreement on the issue at that time.

But then,at some unspecified stage, things went wonky and nobody believed in it anymore until the Reformers came along and put things right ...

Get with the programme ...

What Jamat apparently fails to appreciate is that the idea of PSA had a long gestation period.

Luther and Calvin didn't have the same ideas on the atonement as contemporary conservative evangelicals - although they clearly influenced and shaped how subsequent developments panned out.

Instead of accepting that PSA developed from particular strands of Western theological thought, with a timeline stretching from Augustine to Anselm to Aquinas to the Reformers to modern Protestant evangelicals ... Jamat seems to think it tumbles ready-made from the pages of the NT like my analogy of the plastic clip-together free gift toy from a cornflake packet.

As Mousethief has identified, his ecclesiology is very low, so low that it focuses on the individual at the expense of the corporate and collegial.

So much so that he doesn't even recognise the presence and influence of tradition within his own tradition ... Although I might be doing him a disservice there.

So, no, to Jamat PSA isn't an understanding that developed in its current form from the time of the Reformers onward but something that was there from the outset but which was overlooked and forgotten about at some stage.

One wonders when that was. The 4th century? Sometime in the mid 2nd century? The end of the first century? Or was it later? The 9th century? 14th century?

If the 'restorationist' view is correct then there must only have been a period of about 30 years from the time of Christ when the Church had things 'right'.

Heck, the Reformers didn't even get things right, it was down to the various 19th and 20th Protestant sects to do the job properly ...

That's how the argument runs. I know. I've been there.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
Gamaliel:
quote:
So, no, to Jamat PSA isn't an understanding that developed in its current form from the time of the Reformers onward but something that was there from the outset but which was overlooked and forgotten about at some stage.

One wonders when that was. The 4th century? Sometime in the mid 2nd century? The end of the first century? Or was it later? The 9th century? 14th century?

[Big Grin]

The time table of how PSA was "overlooked" is exactly what I was after. Jamat asserted that other atonement theories were reactions to distaste with PSA. Is there a smoking gun of ancient theology showing that say, Christus victor, was an idea "they tried to find" because of distaste with PSA rather than because of evidence of what church fathers saw in scripture themselves?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Well yes, but you see, in Jamat's rather binary and dualistic world, there are only a limited number of options.

There are the conservative evangelicals on one side - who are correct in every respect because they are more 'biblical' - irrespective of their differences over secondary issues ...

Then there is Everyone Else.

This Everyone Else includes liberal Protestants of course and also the older Christian traditions such as Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy - who are manifestly less 'biblical' ...

So the world falls into two neat categories:

1) The Evangelicals.
2) Everyone Else.

So, with that in mind it will be self-evident that the Everyone Else-ers must have rejected what is so patently obvious to The Evangelicals.

Because they don't see PSA in scripture they must be 'blind' in some way. Satan has obviously deluded them.

Therefore they have deliberately elided PSA and sought to concoct alternative theories ... even though most, if not all, of those alternative models and theories predate evangelicalism by some considerable period of time.

But no ... Paul the Apostle and all the other disciples were Evangelicals because the Bible says so.

Somewhere along the line the original Evangelical message, so clear in the scriptures, was lost. It must have been those evil, wicked Catholics and Orthodox who obscured it ...

Mercifully, Luther and Calvin then cleared away some of the crap, but they didn't go far enough and it was left to various 19th century Protestant groups to uncover the true meaning of the scriptures ...

It's a nice idea and very neat.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

So the world falls into two neat categories:

1) The Evangelicals.
2) Everyone Else.

How do I go about changing teams? Is there a rigorous vetting process?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Ha ha ...

I suspect some would suggest that you've already changed teams, Cliffdweller ...
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
Oh come one people! We can use 'alternative facts' to divide us or unite us. I agree with all of you, all of you just say it all wrong.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Another way of looking at it is 'What's left if you take that out?' I think, not much.

On the hymn/song front (as it's easier than sermons, and has much lower hanging fruit than scripture or liturgies). And depending on if you mean take out the minimum or maximum.

At least one lyric that pretty much only works with a PSA model.
A few modern songs (In Christ Alone, and I'm sure others)

as mentioned WISTWC has had another model excised, so if I really was playing the game I could pretty much keep my cake and eat it.

At least one lyric that could be covered easily by another specific model, but probably most naturally fits PSA.

The vast majority of modern songs (that I know of). About quarter-half of the new songs in Mission Praise. A few old songs (including at least one from the first millenium).

At least one lyric that could be covered easily by any other model, or a heavy cross focus.

Starting to hit deep. Kendrick is probably half gone (unfortunately the Servant King's gone both ways, while Shine Jesus Shine hasn't). The Crucification section in hymnals is getting emptier. Some of the Psalm based songs aren't safe.

Anything explicitly to do with any model description or: Jesus saving on the cross, Jesus saving from sins, cross being a victory, etc...
I think all modern songs are gone (oh, maybe not When the music fades). School assembly ones are still mostly safe [Mad] Kendrick hit hard but could still do a service with whats left. The hymnals starting to get hit but still has a lot left (more than I was expecting).

Anything to do with, Salvation, Jesus's Death, the cross, God rescuing.
Even the hymnals are looking emptier (about time too), but quite a few classics stll getting through
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
Jay, could you include a few verbs in those sentences? I'm having trouble following your train of thought with all those "one lyric with..." fragments-- are those suggestions? observations? arguments? to what end?

[ 01. May 2017, 16:39: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Well that's songs, Jay-Emm. How about liturgies?
 
Posted by balaam (# 4543) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

So the world falls into two neat categories:

1) The Evangelicals.
2) Everyone Else.

How do I go about changing teams? Is there a rigorous vetting process?
I'm not changing sides, I'm stocking with the Evangelicals. Not in the sense given above, but because the Evangelicals are a wide group, so any pigeon-holing will be inaccurate. Me? I'm not liberal enough to comfortably fit with the open evos but Conservative Evangelical is a term which assumes quite a lot I which I am not comfortable with.

But this is about atonement theories:

PSA: Yes I'm happy with it*. It explains a lot about what happened at the atonement. But it does not explain everything.

Christus Victor[i]: A modern theory derived from the old [i]Ransom theory: Yes I'm happy with them both*. They explain a lot about what happened at the atonement. But they do not explain everything.

I prefer, however to stand back, and look at a larger narrative, which starts with the Last Supper, and ends with the ascension. The date of the crucifixion and the upper that proceeded the passion tie it closely with the Passover, a spring festival, rather than with the autumnal Atonement.

The Passover is about bringing Gods people out from slavery to freedom. The two main themes are freedom and building a people of God, and it is not only just the Jesus died for me thing which some Evangelicals major on (and some Jesuits like as well), but also corporate, about God bringing out a people for himself.

It is also about the atonement, you'd have to rip out quite a large part of the New Testament to say otherwise, but the atonement works within a framework of God setting his people free, and not the other way around.

Those who go for PSA alone or Christus Victor alone or anything else alone have made a big mistake. What was achieved at the Passion of Jesus was far bigger than that.

Its even bigger than fitting it all into the context of freedom and calling out a people, but we all have to start somewhere: It is bigger than we can possibly imagine.

--

*But not happy with the way those who are against these theories caricature them.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
Jay, could you include a few verbs in those sentences? I'm having trouble following your train of thought with all those "one lyric with..." fragments-- are those suggestions? observations? arguments? to what end?

Oh sorry, Jamat had asked what would be left if you took out PSA.* The first paragraph was describing that there were graduations .
The remaining paragraphs alternated between increasingly wide definitions of things to be taken out (depending on what you were claiming), with a summary of what you still had.

Broadly there was a noticeable difference between the new songs and older songs (that I knew of). All (unsurprisingly) contained other content, but the newer ones almost always came through the me and the cross, whereas the older ones almost always came through god being in control.

*my broad position is that you could take any one biblical model out, and the others will still just cover the gaps, but you have to work at it and will have ugly transitions needed when looking at the area where the removed picture works best. Although that's still better than the ugliness of using a picture totally outside it's competency, it's pushing things to the limits.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

So the world falls into two neat categories:

1) The Evangelicals.
2) Everyone Else.

How do I go about changing teams? Is there a rigorous vetting process?
Depends on which team you're moving to. I mean, everyone knows that Team Everyone Else has no standards at all and will take just about anyone.
[Two face]
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
balaam wrote
quote:
I prefer, however to stand back, and look at a larger narrative, which starts with the Last Supper, and ends with the ascension. The date of the crucifixion and the upper that proceeded the passion tie it closely with the Passover, a spring festival, rather than with the autumnal Atonement.

The Passover is about bringing Gods people out from slavery to freedom. The two main themes are freedom and building a people of God, and it is not only just the Jesus died for me thing which some Evangelicals major on (and some Jesuits like as well), but also corporate, about God bringing out a people for himself.

It is also about the atonement, you'd have to rip out quite a large part of the New Testament to say otherwise, but the atonement works within a framework of God setting his people free, and not the other way around.

I'm glad someone has at last addressed the need for these two things to be brought together.

"..the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" is John's way of putting it. Of course, it isn't the lamb of God who takes away sin - it is the goat of God, in the Day of Atonement ritual. John is noted for running double images and metaphors in his gospel (there are whole books on that) and here is one. The point being of course that Jesus is the one to whom the whole of the OT points, however disparate it may appear to us. Jesus is the sacrificial goat as much as the sacrificial lamb.

The day of atonement involves the call to repentance as well as the healing of the cosmos initiated by God. That describes much of Jesus's teaching. In this context, in God's kairos, Jesus's life, death and resurrection are the day of atonement. So whilst I'd put things slightly differently, I'm glad to see it expressed a bit differently.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
Jay, could you include a few verbs in those sentences? I'm having trouble following your train of thought with all those "one lyric with..." fragments-- are those suggestions? observations? arguments? to what end?

Thank you for saying that Cliffdweller. I was having the same problem but was too polite to say so.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
Whereas I am all too rarely polite [Biased]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
What I am saying is that you do not have a gospel unless you have sin sorted and that cannot happen without Jesus sorting it.

I've posted numerous times to this thread about how sin can be "sorted" without recourse to PSA.
OK, sorry, though I recall the issue was justice. You think it is not a problem? PSA is very justice oriented.
I don't agree that God choosing not to punish us (or anyone else) for our sins is a denial of justice. What's so wrong with the idea of forgiveness?
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
What I am saying is that you do not have a gospel unless you have sin sorted and that cannot happen without Jesus sorting it.

I've posted numerous times to this thread about how sin can be "sorted" without recourse to PSA.
OK, sorry, though I recall the issue was justice. You think it is not a problem? PSA is very justice oriented.
I don't agree that God choosing not to punish us (or anyone else) for our sins is a denial of justice. What's so wrong with the idea of forgiveness?
Absolutely, Marvin. Biblical justice is not punishing the guilty (much less the not guilty), but righting the wrong. Jesus does this cosmically, by breaking the power of sin and death through His death and resurrection.

I just don't get this idea of retribution. To me it seems just to multiply woes; no-one gains. To suggest this is some kind of morality seems to fly in the face of all that Jesus says about forgiveness. If someone nicks my computer, I just want it back. I have no interest in seeing the perpetrator punished. For as long as I can remember, certainly back to primary school days, I've been baffled by the idea that it's better that two people suffer than that only one does. It's just bonkers. Deter, by all means, if you must, even deprive someone of their liberty, if it's necessary for the protection of others. But punish? Why? Who gains by it, not the person punished, nor yet the person who is dehumanised by delivering the punishment. Certainly not God, who loves all who He has created, flawed though we all, without exception, are.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Superb.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Yes, Kwesi. For all Martin's cavilling, I think PSA proponents are flagging something that needs addressing - and part of the attraction of PSA is that it addresses the 'sin and guilt issue' in a way that some of the other models don't...

What sin and guilt issue?
Whose?
How do Muslims sin?
What is Hindu guilt?
Neanderthals'?
The half of born humanity that died in infancy?
The three quarters of conceived humanity that wasn't born?

[ 01. May 2017, 21:35: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I think that all of us would agree that without the cross and the vindication of the resurrection, there can be no salvation, no Christian faith. ...

Gamaliel, mr cheesy, mousethief all answer what follows. And yeah, for sure, there's no Christianity without Christ. And no awareness of salvation. Which is the case for the vast majority of humanity. And the rest of us. Those of us who think we have an awareness. The reality will shatter that dark vision of theories' glass. We won't need theories in paradise.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Joly Jape
quote:
I just don't get this idea of retribution. To me it seems just to multiply woes; no-one gains. To suggest this is some kind of morality seems to fly in the face of all that Jesus says about forgiveness. If someone nicks my computer, I just want it back. I have no interest in seeing the perpetrator punished.
The problem with your computer example, Jolly Jape, is that in a secular context it is not simply a question of an individual's desire to have his/ her stolen property returned because there is a societal interest in the discouragement of theft. If justice was to be satisfied simply by the return of stolen property then a thief would not be discouraged in the exercise of his/her profession. Punishment has a role to play in the discouragement of crime and anti-social behaviour. Thus, a juridical approach to sin would see the necessity of punishment for the promotion of righteous behaviour, and that while in the "corrupted currents of this world offence's guilded hand may shove by justice, 'tis not so above," as Hamlet observed. There has to be an ultimate reckoning, retribution for sinful behaviour, hence the need for penal substitution if we are to be saved from our just deserts. (Claimed ignorance of what is right by "gentiles" is no defence, Martin, see Romans 1).

To my mind the gospel presents the problem of sin not in terms of a formal legal process prompted by the requirements of justice, but of problems within a family that can only be resolved by an outpouring of grace. Thus, the father runs to embrace the prodigal stinking of pig and unprompted restores to him the symbols of sonship, which not only the elder son but also the prodigal recognises as undeserved. The parable ends with an unresolved confrontation in the farmyard between the elder son insisting on his just rights and the father just happy to get his son back. Atonement is not a matter of satisfying the terms of a contract but of human and divine reconciliation in which, as Martin might say, 'love wins'.
 
Posted by balaam (# 4543) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
We won't need theories in paradise.

But in the meantime we have several sometimes conflicting theories. all of which explain something of what God has done, and ll of which are inadequate to the task of actually explaining what God has done. Which is where faith and trust come in.

But is that greater than theories or just another theory to add to the mix?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Marvin the Martian: What's so wrong with the idea of forgiveness?
Just that the reasoning is based on a category error as I posted above but no one cared to comment on.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Somewhere along the line the original Evangelical message, so clear in the scriptures, was lost. It must have been those evil, wicked Catholics and Orthodox who obscured it ...

It's a fair cop. We'll come clean. We killed all the protoevangelicals and used their bones as frames around our icons.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I don't agree that God choosing not to punish us (or anyone else) for our sins is a denial of justice. What's so wrong with the idea of forgiveness?

Indeed, killing an innocent man for the crimes of the guilty man isn't justice on anyone's definition. It's a gross miscarriage of justice. And "it's not if God does it" doesn't change the fact.

quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I think that all of us would agree that without the cross and the vindication of the resurrection, there can be no salvation, no Christian faith. ...

Not sure what you mean by the "vindication of the resurrection." The resurrection doesn't vindicate. It destroys death. Here is the Orthodox atonement theory. We sing it over 100 times in our Paschal service alone, and throughout Paschatide as well.

Christ is risen from the dead, tramping down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: Jamat's rather binary and dualistic world,
So lets have a few Biblical/Christian binaries. Saved/unsaved lost/found free/bound grace/law
Why are you so against clarity of distinction. In the end there is going to be one big binary
Enter into the joy of thy Lord vs depart from me I never knew you.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Mousethief:The resurrection doesn't vindicate.
God's vindication of Christ.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Mousethief: killing an innocent man for the crimes of the guilty man isn't justice on anyone's definition. It's a gross miscarriage of justice. And "it's not if God does it" doesn't change the fact.
Depends a lot how you frame it. You can get into the straw man as much as you like but the essential nub of it is that God took care of the sin issue without 'overlooking' or negating the seriousness of sin. Anthropocentric outrage is just the result of an analogy taken too far.

[ 02. May 2017, 00:38: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Mousethief:The resurrection doesn't vindicate.
God's vindication of Christ.
God vindicated Christ at Christ's baptism.

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
You can get into the straw man as much as you like but the essential nub of it is that God took care of the sin issue without 'overlooking' or negating the seriousness of sin.

Straw man my arse. Show it to be a straw man, don't just claim it.

quote:
Anthropocentric outrage is just the result of an analogy taken too far.
I'm not outraged. You mad bro?

I love how this is the iron-clad Way That It Happened, until it's inconveniently shown to be inconsistent, at which point it switches to being an analogy.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Mousethief: Straw man my arse. Show it to be a straw man, don't just claim it.
It's a strawman because it is not what PSA actually teaches. It is what YOU and critics say.

What PSA actually teaches is that sin needed atonement. This goes way back to Exodus and the teaching of the 'day of atonement'.(Ex 29:36, Lev 16:26, 9,7) The concept of sin as endemic in humanity is clearly shown as incompatible with God's character. If atonement was not made, that holiness would break out on the Israelites and they would be destroyed. Your problem is that you do not grasp the huge category error involved when comparing this to human justice. It is nothing like human justice. It is more like God is fire, people are water. Fire cannot exist in the midst of water. One or the other will be destroyed. What the atonement does is enable coexistence. Carried forward to The NT, it is enabled in Christ. [QUOTE]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Mousethief:God vindicated Christ at Christ's baptism.
I do not disagree with you about that but I think the resurrection was a more definitive vindication since you could also argue that he did so at the transfiguration.

Both his baptism and transfiguration were local events with limited witnesses some of whom were not equipped to grasp what they witnessed. The resurrection on the other hand was a public and universally attested event which is actually only possible to deny by lies and rewriting of history, even after 2000 years.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Jamat, I don't have an issue with your 'our God is a burning fire' emphasis and as far as I know, neither has any Christian tradition other than the more liberal or milk and water ones.

Mousethief can tell us whether this is the case, but the Orthodox certainly appear to believe that we'd all be burnt to a crisp, as it were, if it weren't for God's grace and for the atonement. If we caught a glimpse of God's glory without protective clothing as it were, then we'd be toast ...

The issue isn't trying to elide the atonement or God's justice or 'The problem of sin' - the issue is whether we see that in penal terms in the sense of God the Father 'punishing' his Son in some way.

That's the problem people have with PSA, not whether sin is serious or not.

All I am saying is that whilst it is a neat solution in the way it explains how a holy God can forgive sinful humanity without compromising his holiness and justice, PSA raises equal and opposite problems ... the condemnation of an innocent man, a Good Cop / Bad Cop view of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son - and yes, I know that's a caricature but it is one that is thrown up if we stretch the juridical emphasis towards breaking point ...

As for the ultimate binary division between the saved and the lost - yes, I'm with you there but we're not there yet ...

On the resurrection, yes, I can see it as a stamp of approval if you like, a vindication of the 'finished work of Christ - but it is much more than that - t is the despoiling of Death and Hell, the triumph over the grave - the way open to eternal life ...
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:


Both his baptism and transfiguration were local events with limited witnesses some of whom were not equipped to grasp what they witnessed. The resurrection on the other hand was a public and universally attested event which is actually only possible to deny by lies and rewriting of history, even after 2000 years.

You have a very odd definition of "universally attested" there, given that denial of the reality of the resurrection has been going on since the beginning.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Kwesi, I'm confused. I agree with your second paragraph, but it seems completely at odds with your first.

I see that society has an interest in trying to limit criminal and antisocial behaviour. Thus we need, for now, a legal system. I'm not, however, convinced we need a penal system, in the literal sense, one based on punishment. Thus, we need to incarcerate people on public safety grounds. But if the purpose of such incarceration focusses on punishment, then we skew the system in such a way as to produce all sorts of undesirable side effects, put basically, we incarcerate far too many people who shouldn't be incarcerated.

Laying all that aside, though, it seems obvious to me that this is an accommodation to the fallenness of creation, and to apply its logic to the escaton is, I suggest, inappropriate. The fact that we have punitive systems here and now does not force upon us a belief that there must be such a system in God's mind. He has many more options than we do.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Jamat, you are incorrect in saying that sin needs atonement. We need atonement, to be put at one with God. God is not constrained by any one, any thing, any law. He is above all. He shows mercy on whom he will show mercy. In doing so He violates no aspect of His Personality. The quandary he is in, if I can put it like that, is not how does he forgive, but how does he save. We are under the curse of sin and death. Yes, we are forgiven, but we are not saved from the ontological state of dying, day by day. We need to be joined to the risen life of Christ, and in order for that to happen, Christ needed to share our humanity, to go through death and to rise again. That is the atonement. it's not about sin, or even the forgiveness of sin. It's about Life!

[ 02. May 2017, 07:31: Message edited by: Jolly Jape ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
In the resurrection it will not matter a damn what Bronze-Iron Age texts said about atonement. To the gaggle of little Kashmiri women who passed us by six months ago. To my a-rational 'believing' mother. To the North Koreans. To my atheist dad who died obscenely nearly 40 years ago. To anybody and everybody of the trillions of us. We will all be newly metamorphosed in paradise. For real. The inertia of maggot weakness and ignorance, of stories, will not shackle us.

I know this because of Jesus.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Marvin the Martian: What's so wrong with the idea of forgiveness?
Just that the reasoning is based on a category error as I posted above but no one cared to comment on.
Do you mean this "category error"?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Marvin the Martian: What's so wrong with the idea of forgiveness?
Just that the reasoning is based on a category error as I posted above but no one cared to comment on.
Do you mean this "category error"?
quote:
No, this one...the big issue at the heart of this is whether God can just forgive as we are enjoined to forgive each other?

The standard answer is that forgive is used in 2 senses. If you wrong me and seek forgiveness then the Christian thing to do is to offer what is sought.

But when Jesus said to the man lying on the stretcher "your sins are forgiven" this was not forgiveness of the same nature and he incensed the Pharisees by assuming the authority of God. It was not human to human interaction that was at issue.
The word forgive assumes a meaning in the second case, of a reconciliation of man and God.

Pretty well all of Paul's letters are dedicated to aspects and out workings of this reconciliation. In Romans, the word 'propitiation' is used to describe what Jesus did and the word 'reconciliation' or atonement was its outcome. So the present discussion follows. What was this propitiation, how does it work and what is its outcome?

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


 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
Jamat, you are incorrect in saying that sin needs atonement. We need atonement, to be put at one with God. God is not constrained by any one, any thing, any law. He is above all. He shows mercy on whom he will show mercy. In doing so He violates no aspect of His Personality. The quandary he is in, if I can put it like that, is not how does he forgive, but how does he save. We are under the curse of sin and death. Yes, we are forgiven, but we are not saved from the ontological state of dying, day by day. We need to be joined to the risen life of Christ, and in order for that to happen, Christ needed to share our humanity, to go through death and to rise again. That is the atonement. it's not about sin, or even the forgiveness of sin. It's about Life!

We obviously need forgiveness. We live lives where we miss the mark at every turn. But I think you have a chicken and egg problem. We can only be joined with Christ in his resurrection AFTER we are justified and that occurs because God chooses to see us as righteous because of our choice to accept Christ's atoning sacrifice.

I think Watchman Née nailed it in 'The Normal Christian Life' in his exposition of Romans 6. 1.Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Christ 2.we reckon ourselves dead to sin but alive to God which in turn enables us to 3. yield our members to God as instruments of righteousness.

Each step builds on the one before.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
No, this one...the big issue at the heart of this is whether God can just forgive as we are enjoined to forgive each other?

And as I said, the Lord's Prayer indicates that He can.

quote:
The standard answer is that forgive is used in 2 senses. If you wrong me and seek forgiveness then the Christian thing to do is to offer what is sought.

But when Jesus said to the man lying on the stretcher "your sins are forgiven" this was not forgiveness of the same nature and he incensed the Pharisees by assuming the authority of God. It was not human to human interaction that was at issue.
The word forgive assumes a meaning in the second case, of a reconciliation of man and God.

Yes it does. That doesn't require punishment though, only forgiveness.

You seem to be saying that God is less able to simply forgive someone's transgressions than we are. That doesn't sound like much of a God to me.

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
It is more like God is fire, people are water. Fire cannot exist in the midst of water. One or the other will be destroyed.

If the "fire" of God cannot coexist with the "water" of humanity, then how do you explain Jesus? He was fully God and fully human. "Fire" and "water" coexisting.

Also, fire can totally exist in the midst of water.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
No, what Watchman Nee was saying was more about our response rather than God's initiative - our response to God's initiative if you like ...

We are to reckon ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus ...

It doesn't say that God 'reckons' us that way - although he may well do, depending on how we understand other verses that deal with this particular issue - but that we are to 'reckon ourselves' that way ...

Of course, a biblical case can be made for the emphasis you are highlighting here - which is why the Reformers made such a case, because they interpreted the scriptures that way ...

What some of us have been trying to say is that there are other ways of understanding those verses and passages - and not just in the way the Reformers and the way Protestantism has tended to do ever since ...

The Apostle Paul in his epistles was addressing the issue of how Gentiles could be included in the Covenant alongside believing Jews ... that's what Romans is all about, that's what Galatians is about.

That's the context. 'Hang on a minute ... we have a problem here ... how can God justify these Gentile converts when they don't have the Mosaic Law ... here's how ...' And hence the Epistle to the Romans and the elaborations on that theme in Galatians.

The Gentiles can't possibly be justified by observing the Law because they don't have it. There must be some other way - by the grace of God and through faith in Christ ... and while we're at it, it's always been that way because Abraham was justified by faith ...

That's the core of Paul's argument.

He was dealing with a particular first century issue and in so doing exploring some pretty cosmic /universal territory ...

The 16th Reformers emphasised themes they detected in Romans and applied them to their own 16th century set of issues - how we are justified before God without the whole medieval panoply of Indulgences, private masses, chantry chapels for prayers for the souls of the dead, Purgatory and so on and so forth ...

'Aha! Bingo! We are justified by faith just like Abraham was ...'

I'm not knocking any of that, but what I am saying is that other Christian traditions - notably that of the East, haven't interpreted things in that same way - they've tended to take a view similar or parallel to that expounded here by Jolly Jape - that God forgives because he is God and that's his prerogative - and that what the atonement does is to 'include' us in Christ's death and resurrection.

Through the grace of God, Christ 'tasted death for everyone'.

It's all there in 1 Corinthians 15.

Christ shared our likeness, he shared our humanity, he shared our death ... as he has shared in our death and broken its power, we can now - with our sins forgiven, share in his resurrection ...

'I am the Resurrection and the Life.'

In 'The Cross of Christ', John Stott makes the pertinent point that the message we find the Apostles declaring in Acts is 'Jesus and the Resurrection ...'

Yes, 'we preach Christ crucified' - but not the crucifixion without the resurrection.

It's a both/and thing.

As I've said before, for all I know the Western and Eastern 'takes' on the atonement might be complementary. They might both be true.

Or, it could be, that one side or t'other has to make adjustments ...

But however we cut it, both of the twin strands - if you like - of Christian theology - Western and Eastern - have developed views of the atonement that differ in some significant ways.

Can we make them 'fit'? or does one side or the other (or both?) have to make adjustments for that to happen?

The kind of view of the atonement that Jolly Jape is putting forward - if I understand him correctly - isn't the kind of 'legal fiction' model favoured in some Western traditions - God chooses to 'reckon' us as righteous even though we aren't - but all about our being 'united' with Christ in his life, death and glorious resurrection - we are made righteous by Christ - yes - but not in a kind of legal title-deed type of way but in a more dynamic 'new and living way' where we participate in the divine nature ...

Sure, the Reformed tradition emphases that too - it doesn't leave us with a cold set of legal propositions ... but in a different kind of way.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Yes, Gameliel, that's spot on what I was trying to express.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
What PSA actually teaches is that sin needed atonement. This goes way back to Exodus and the teaching of the 'day of atonement'.(Ex 29:36, Lev 16:26, 9,7) The concept of sin as endemic in humanity is clearly shown as incompatible with God's character. If atonement was not made, that holiness would break out on the Israelites and they would be destroyed. Your problem is that you do not grasp the huge category error involved when comparing this to human justice. It is nothing like human justice. It is more like God is fire, people are water. Fire cannot exist in the midst of water. One or the other will be destroyed. What the atonement does is enable coexistence. Carried forward to The NT, it is enabled in Christ.

Amazing how you can purport to describe what PSA means without ever mentioning punishment. Basically, all you have said is "PSA means atonement," albeit with a nod to "justice" of some sort in there—though where the idea that divine justice is in a category different to human justice is beyond me. It certainly doesn't seem to be consistent with anything Jesus said.

What PSA actually teaches is that in order for atonement to happen, there must be punishment for sin—that sin has consequences and those consequences, as a matter of justice, cannot be avoided—but that Jesus voluntarily took that punishment/bore those consequences on our behalf so that we can be reconciled to God. In the original formulations of PSA, this was not so much an appeasement of divine wrath as it was an act of divine love. "For God so loved the world...."

Without the specific component of the inevitability of punishment for sin, PSA is just SA, or maybe even just A.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Don't thank me, I need to thank you, Jolly Jape, you've help to crystalise my thinking on the issue.

[Axe murder]
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Jolly Jape: I just don't get this idea of retribution. To me it seems just to multiply woes; no-one gains. To suggest this is some kind of morality seems to fly in the face of all that Jesus says about forgiveness. If someone nicks my computer, I just want it back. I have no interest in seeing the perpetrator punished.

Kwesi :The problem with your computer example, Jolly Jape, is that in a secular context it is not simply a question of an individual's desire to have his/ her stolen property returned because there is a societal interest in the discouragement of theft. If justice was to be satisfied simply by the return of stolen property then a thief would not be discouraged in the exercise of his/her profession. Punishment has a role to play in the discouragement of crime and anti-social behaviour. Thus, a juridical approach to sin would see the necessity of punishment for the promotion of righteous behaviour, and that while in the "corrupted currents of this world offence's guilded hand may shove by justice, 'tis not so above," as Hamlet observed. There has to be an ultimate reckoning, retribution for sinful behaviour, hence the need for penal substitution if we are to be saved from our just deserts. (Claimed ignorance of what is right by "gentiles" is no defence, Martin, see Romans 1).

To my mind the gospel presents the problem of sin not in terms of a formal legal process prompted by the requirements of justice, but of problems within a family that can only be resolved by an outpouring of grace. Thus, the father runs to embrace the prodigal stinking of pig and unprompted restores to him the symbols of sonship, which not only the elder son but also the prodigal recognises as undeserved. The parable ends with an unresolved confrontation in the farmyard between the elder son insisting on his just rights and the father just happy to get his son back. Atonement is not a matter of satisfying the terms of a contract but of human and divine reconciliation in which, as Martin might say, 'love wins'.

Jolly Jape: Kwesi, I'm confused. I agree with your second paragraph, but it seems completely at odds with your first.

I see that society has an interest in trying to limit criminal and antisocial behaviour. Thus we need, for now, a legal system. I'm not, however, convinced we need a penal system, in the literal sense, one based on punishment. Thus, we need to incarcerate people on public safety grounds. But if the purpose of such incarceration focusses on punishment, then we skew the system in such a way as to produce all sorts of undesirable side effects, put basically, we incarcerate far too many people who shouldn't be incarcerated.

Laying all that aside, though, it seems obvious to me that this is an accommodation to the fallenness of creation, and to apply its logic to the escaton is, I suggest, inappropriate. The fact that we have punitive systems here and now does not force upon us a belief that there must be such a system in God's mind. He has many more options than we do.



Jolly Jape, I don’t think that you and I are too far apart. I agree with you that penal systems incarcerate too many people. On the other hand there are penalties other than gaoling and I don’t think an element of punishment in sentencing in inappropriate. Do I need to elaborate further?

The point I was trying to make is that there is a danger of being sucked into the judicial paradigm as a way of understanding the atonement. IMO your allusion to the theft of your computer leads you exposed to a line of reasoning that ends up as a case for penal substitution, as I tried to demonstrate in the first paragraph of my post. Apart from any problems with the logic of PSA, the fundamental criticism of it lies in the basic assumptions from which its flawed understandings flow.

Just laws, whether they relate to inter-personal relations, the conduct of business, the treatment of the fatherless, widows and strangers, the restraint of vice and so on are designed to ensure that rewards, financial, social esteem and so on are fairly distributed. Rewards have to be merited, and infractions penalised by the denial of privileges. When applied to the material world they sustain a sense of personal and social justice that is seen as right, fair, and desirable. When applied to the religious sphere and the question of atonement, however, law only serves to highlight our weaknesses and condemn us to whatever penalty a righteous judge might impose. In the context of atonement it can only lead literally to a dead end: “none is righteous, no not one” , “the wages of sin is death” and so on.

The New Testament solves the problem with a paradigm based on grace in which God is “our father” rather than a righteous judge, we are his children rather than prisoners in the dock facing a charge sheet, (as the apostle writes: “God does not keep a record of wrongs”), and rewards are a function of our needs and not our deserts. As Jesus remarked “If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heavenly give good gifts to those who ask.”. The problem of effecting atonement lies not with an offended God unable to accept his sinful children, but of sinful children unwilling to be reconciled: the prodigal delaying his return home, the tenants of the vineyard taking their opportunity to remove the influence of the owner.

To my mind, Jolly Jape, PSA has simply got the wrong end of the stick, and we should not oblige its proponents by grasping it with them. Otherwise we shall end up like the frustrated elder brother arguing the toss with our gracious creator and saviour in the farmyard.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Kwesi, I think that we are saying the same thing, really, it's just that I was wanting to engage with Jamat on his own terms, that of a basically (indeed, essentially) penal understanding of the atonement and show, not only is this mistaken, but also counter intuitive. I think we possibly do differ in the usefulness of penal ideas in the secular realm, but are in complete agreement about its lack of appropriateness in the Kingdom of God. I don't think that, in arguing against Jamat's premises we are in any way supporting the schema that emerges from such premises. Rather, we are subverting them by seeking to demolish the flawed foundations on which PSA has been built.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Jolly Jape, I agree we are really on the same page, and completely understand your point of view. I just wanted to clear up the confusion of my earlier post.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Thanks Kwesi [Angel]
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The concept of sin as endemic in humanity is clearly shown as incompatible with God's character. If atonement was not made, that holiness would break out on the Israelites and they would be destroyed. Your problem is that you do not grasp the huge category error involved when comparing this to human justice. It is nothing like human justice. It is more like God is fire, people are water. Fire cannot exist in the midst of water. One or the other will be destroyed. What the atonement does is enable coexistence. Carried forward to The NT, it is enabled in Christ.



Look, I realize this is an analogy, and the point I and others have been striving for here is that all analogies break down so let's not push it too hard-- but seriously, dude, this particular analogy just demonstrates everything that is wrong with PSA-- at least when pushed as anything more than simply one among many metaphors.

Think about what you're saying about God's stance toward humanity if God is "fire" and we are "water". You are saying God does not, cannot, will not, have anything to do with us unredeemed humanity. That he is disgusted, repulsed-- completely incompatible-- with our sinful selves.

Yes, I get the connection there to the OT concept of holiness and the Day of Atonement. But the OT also gives us Hosea and the Psalms and the post-exilic prophets and all sorts of places that show God not as repulsed and turning away from our sinful selves but instead as sorrowful and brokenhearted by the devastation of human sin-- places that foreshadow the NT picture of God as a loving, heartbroken father anxiously watching out the window day after day longing for the day he catches us simply turn toward him before he runs madly towards us. That sort of stance toward us-- compassionate, loving-- and what it says both about US and about sin-- is completely different than what you are portraying. Sin is not a problem because it "dirties" us or because it "breaks the rules". Sin is a problem because it bears with it enormous suffering-- for us and for others and even for the planet. That is why God needs to "do something" about sin-- not because he's a stern rule-keeper who must make sure everything's right and proper. But because he is a loving, heartbroken father who can't bear what we're doing to ourselves.

Most of all, God's stance is not one of turning away from us but rather always of turning towards us. Coming to us. That's what the incarnation is all about.

Again, if PSA is only one among many metaphors the limitations of the above are not so problematic-- we can use what is helpful in the image (the seriousness of sin, the holiness of God, God's willingness to pay the price) without pressing the parts that don't work too far. It's only when PSA becomes the be-all and end-all or is treated not as metaphor but as transaction that it becomes truly toxic.

[ 02. May 2017, 20:22: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I think that all of us would agree that without the cross and the vindication of the resurrection, there can be no salvation, no Christian faith. ...

Not sure what you mean by the "vindication of the resurrection."
Try This
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
It is more like God is fire, people are water. Fire cannot exist in the midst of water. One or the other will be destroyed. What the atonement does is enable coexistence. Carried forward to The NT, it is enabled in Christ.


Look, I realize this is an analogy, and the point I and others have been striving for here is that all analogies break down so let's not push it too hard-- but seriously, dude, this particular analogy just demonstrates everything that is wrong with PSA-- at least when pushed as anything more than simply one among many metaphors.

To be fair fairly rapidly even in the harshest formulations it's generally acknowledged that even the father takes the initiative in sending Jesus.
On the other hand it shows God can and will make his dwelling within us. Even though sin is clearly still a problem that needs dealing with (which sits much happier with the Orthodox view, that sin mars us than mars God-IIUC)
I'm pretty sure when Jesus asked 'if there is another way', God answered there isn't rather than I won't.

(At the other end of the church it's why I'd bet a few years in Purgatory on the Immaculate Conception being nobly protective but likely incorrect)
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I think that all of us would agree that without the cross and the vindication of the resurrection, there can be no salvation, no Christian faith. ...

Not sure what you mean by the "vindication of the resurrection."
Try This
That is one of the most confused things I have read in a month of Fridays. As a vindication of resurrection as vindication, it leaves clarity and logical straightforwardness to be desired.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Cliffdweller and Kwesi, [Overused]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I like that link, Mudfrog and would also be interested in Mousethief's 'take' on it. My guess would be that he'd either agree, with some caveats about the somewhat 'Protestant' sounding language, or else he may consider it to be an example of unwelcome Western convert emphases entering the Orthodox Church.

FWIW I think it's certainly right to see the Resurrection in those terms - but it is much more than that.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
I find it quite different from any Orthodox teaching I've heard, and I'm suspicious as to why he even decided to go there. It strikes me very much as trying to suck up to evangelicals, like he's applied to teach at some seminary who thought he was insufficiently western. Although given his name and affiliation that seems unlikely.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Clffdweller: It's only when PSA becomes the be-all and end-all or is treated not as metaphor but as transaction that it becomes truly toxic.
There is a lot in your post that I agree with but I would argue that rightly grasped it, PSA, is clear in scripture.
Here This guy covers most of the ground pretty succinctly. His basic view is probably softer than mine as it is hard for me to see ANY gospel without it..rightly understood of course.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Clffdweller: It's only when PSA becomes the be-all and end-all or is treated not as metaphor but as transaction that it becomes truly toxic.
There is a lot in your post that I agree with but I would argue that rightly grasped it, PSA, is clear in scripture.
Here This guy covers most of the ground pretty succinctly. His basic view is probably softer than mine as it is hard for me to see ANY gospel without it..rightly understood of course.

I'm not disputing that PSA is in Scripture. Very few here are. But it is clearly not the only image for the atonement found in Scripture or the early church. And the way multiple images are interwoven throughout the NT often even within a book or even chapter demonstrates that it is a metaphor-- not a transaction-- and must be treated as such
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
Re the blog you linked, the author begins by making the same point as me re PSA being one metaphor among many so I gotta love that. And props must be given to the author for identifying and naming clearly all the primary objections commonly raised with PSA. But I am disappointed with how very often his answer is simply "because it's not".
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
Re the blog you linked, the author begins by making the same point as me re PSA being one metaphor among many so I gotta love that. And props must be given to the author for identifying and naming clearly all the primary objections commonly raised with PSA. But I am disappointed with how very often his answer is simply "because it's not".

His answer generally, is 'It just is', only because he argues that it is clearly Biblical. He makes the point that while PSA is not particularly emphasised by the NT fathers, there is a lot in their writings that accords with it, but goes on to say that theology must be based directly on scripture. He also exposes the straw men and the category errors of critics. He would not say this, but the way I see the Bible metanarrative, you cannot have the others, ransom, CV and moral influence, without the foundation of PSA . However, I do agree that these models, are just that and that when using theoretical constructs you only approximate the reality. If you come back and say, but you cannot show how PSA does completely explain atonement, I would agree..but what could?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
the way I see the Bible metanarrative, you cannot have the others, ransom, CV and moral influence, without the foundation of PSA . However, I do agree that these models, are just that and that when using theoretical constructs you only approximate the reality. If you come back and say, but you cannot show how PSA does completely explain atonement, I would agree..but what could?

But CV, ransom etc were not developed as theories with "the foundation of PSA" and plenty of Christians either hold loose to PSA or reject it altogether.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Yep, as an article it's a pretty good account of why PSA makes sense to those who already believe in PSA. In other words, it's an apologetic tract, strong on explaining the theory, but on demonstrating its scriptural validity, not so much.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Clffdweller: It's only when PSA becomes the be-all and end-all or is treated not as metaphor but as transaction that it becomes truly toxic.
There is a lot in your post that I agree with but I would argue that rightly grasped it, PSA, is clear in scripture.
Here This guy covers most of the ground pretty succinctly. His basic view is probably softer than mine as it is hard for me to see ANY gospel without it..rightly understood of course.

I'm not disputing that PSA is in Scripture. Very few here are. But it is clearly not the only image for the atonement found in Scripture or the early church. And the way multiple images are interwoven throughout the NT often even within a book or even chapter demonstrates that it is a metaphor-- not a transaction-- and must be treated as such
Wah-HOO! I thought it was just me! It fascinates me how it just didn't take.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
And the author should have read the link out loud:

4. Classically, some have objected that PSA is morally repugnant because moral guilt is not transferable. It is wicked to punish the guilty in the place of the innocent.
 
Posted by fletcher christian (# 13919) on :
 
I'm not sure I've followed the thread meanderings correctly. Are some suggesting that the only atonement present in scripture is PSA or that PSA is the only correct understanding of the atonement in scripture? Either of these present major problems as far as I can see.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I think it's more a case that some are holding that all the available atonement theories are correct, as far as they go - but that PSA is the most correct or the one that goes further than the others in dealing with the essential problem - in the eyes of some of a hard-line juridical bent - of how God can forgive the sinner without his justice being satisfied in some way ...

So, in order to do that, God effectively takes on the punishment himself - through Christ.

As none of the other theories contain that element they are seen as falling-short in some way or leaving some bases uncovered.

That's the idea.

Whether it is one that bears the weight that's put upon it is the moot point.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Meanwhile, I get that you don't 'like' Western theology, Mousethief but I'm not sure why you have to frame the motivation for the Antiochian guy's article in such potentially negative terms - 'perhaps he's trying to suck up to evangelicals ...'

Admittedly, you leave the options open ...

I have to say, that it does sound unusual from what I've read and encountered among the Orthodox, but I'm not sure I'd suspect a particular 'agenda' as such ... 'he's only saying that because he knows evangelicals will like it ...'

But then, I'm not Orthodox and can only speak from the outside, as it were.

I know I can be one of these irritating both/and, let's find common ground people ... and I might be naive - but why can't it simply be a case of the writer putting forward a view-point that might 'sound' more Western in some respects but which doesn't, in and of itself, undermine anything that is Big O Orthodox ...?

Just wonderin' ...

I can't remember the term the Orthodox use for those beliefs which can be held as personal opinions rather than dogma, provided they don't directly contradict the received wisdom / Tradition ...

In the same way that whilst you aren't going to pray 'Lord we really just ...' in an Orthodox Liturgy, there are no 'prayer-police' about to beat your door down if you pray such a thing in the privacy of your own home ...

[Biased]
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
To be honest, I was a bit surprised when mousethief posted those comments on vindication. Whilst it isn't a major theme in Western theologising, my understanding is that it was a major POV in the early church - the very early church. I don't think it's an east v. west thing in this case.

We are all children of the furious arguments and theologising that followed the disciples' experience with the risen Christ. Those of us who like to consider ourselves as orthodox - let alone Orthodox - don't really have a lot of need for vindication arguments, so perhaps they are a bit of a surprise when we come across them. But try putting yourself back in the position of an early Jesus-follower. A committed monotheist who was expecting a kick-ass messiah. The landscape for such followers had been tilted out of shape by the unexpected. And yet it seemed to be all of a piece with what Jesus had been (paradoxically) going on about before.

In such a scenario, I think it is easier to see why vindication arguments make good sense.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I can't remember the term the Orthodox use for those beliefs which can be held as personal opinions rather than dogma, provided they don't directly contradict the received wisdom / Tradition ...

Adiaphora?
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I can't remember the term the Orthodox use for those beliefs which can be held as personal opinions rather than dogma, provided they don't directly contradict the received wisdom / Tradition ...

Adiaphora?
Tangent alert

For them that might be curious about this, the classic CofE term, from the days when it was less accommodating about these things, is, I think, "things indifferent".
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Possibly, Kaplan ... but I think it was another term I had in mind but which I can't recollect right now ...

Meanwhile, thanks Honest Ron, that's helpful.

Dare I suggest that perhaps Mudfrog and Mousethief are at cross-purposes on this one to a certain extent?

I might be wrong but I suspect Mousethief is reacting against a tendency which I've certainly come across myself in some of the more reductionist elements within evangelicalism ... which is to regard the Resurrection as almost some kind of bolt-on extra that simply 'vindicated' Christ's claim to divinity and rubber-stamped, as it were, his actions on the Cross.

Again, that's a dreadful caricature but it is a tendency I have encountered.

I'm not accusing Mudfrog of harbouring such tendencies, I hasten to add ...

So, rather than the Resurrection being a fully-orbed and triumphant thing - 'Trampling down death by death and on those in the tombs bestowing life' - it becomes almost an after-thought to where the real action lies - ie. on the Cross almost as some kind of isolated element or feature.

This, I submit, is one of the pit-falls of an overly juridical and transactional approach.

It reduces the whole thing down to a set of almost legal transactions. It becomes all about penalties and punishments, legal fictions and transactional niceties.

It can also leave us with Grunewald's hideously disfigured and suffering Christ without the complementary and explosive joy of his less well-known Resurrection painting ...

It becomes the Cross and the resurrection.

Rather than the Cross and the Resurrection.

Mousethief will correct me if I'm wrong but I suspect that's partly the reason for his unease with 'vindication' language in this instance.

Would I be right? Or should I get my coat?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Mousethief will correct me if I'm wrong but I suspect that's partly the reason for his unease with 'vindication' language in this instance.

Would I be right? Or should I get my coat?

That's a big part of it. And this writer clearly is suggesting it as if bringing in something from the outside. That should tell you something right there. A lot of somethings, actually.

It's interesting and even amusing that people here keep digging up articles written by people who are not authorities of the Orthodox Church that are basically apologetics pieces for western theological concepts that have historically had no traction in the East, and presenting them as if it proved something about what "The Orthodox" believe. This perhaps is just a cogent demonstration of the dangers of doing theology by Google. Let alone comparative theology. Let alone trying to school someone on what their church believes, when you're not a member of it. Which gets tedious on the receiving end.

The word you want is theologoumenon plural theologoumena.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
Re the blog you linked, the author begins by making the same point as me re PSA being one metaphor among many so I gotta love that. And props must be given to the author for identifying and naming clearly all the primary objections commonly raised with PSA. But I am disappointed with how very often his answer is simply "because it's not".

His answer generally, is 'It just is', only because he argues that it is clearly Biblical. He makes the point that while PSA is not particularly emphasised by the NT fathers, there is a lot in their writings that accords with it, but goes on to say that theology must be based directly on scripture. He also exposes the straw men and the category errors of critics. He would not say this, but the way I see the Bible metanarrative, you cannot have the others, ransom, CV and moral influence, without the foundation of PSA . However, I do agree that these models, are just that and that when using theoretical constructs you only approximate the reality. If you come back and say, but you cannot show how PSA does completely explain atonement, I would agree..but what could?
See, the problem here is elevating PSA as "foundational". It's not-- and there's nothing in the NT that suggests it is. It is an image. It is one image among many. Nothing at all in the NT suggests it is higher, better, or more foundational than any of the other images. Again, it says some things that are useful, but if pressed too far the truth about God and about us gets distorted. Which is why there are other images.

The fact that the NT does not give us a clear, transactional explanation of the atonement but instead gives us five (or more) metaphors suggests to me several things:

1. We're talking about something that is so transcendent, so completely "other", we can't describe it in human terms

2. That the atonement is not primarily a "transaction"-- a Jesus does X so we get Y sort of thing-- but rather something much deeper, much more relational, much more substantive than a simple trade-off

3, That understanding the transactional logistics of the atonement is not a particularly urgent goal of the NT writers. The atonement is not something to parse but rather something to experience and live into with deep gratitude.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, but I'm not sure anyone was actually trying to do that, Mousethief. I certainly wasn't.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Quod scripsi.


_______
*What I done writ.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
now you're sounding like Martin.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yeah, you have written what you have written, but please don't direct it at me because I was simply asking questions not telling you what you believe or ought to believe.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
the problem here is elevating PSA as "foundational". It's not--
Says you. Well fine. The issue is not the image, the model or the theory. The issue is 'What is the gospel?'
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
the problem here is elevating PSA as "foundational". It's not--
Says you. Well fine. The issue is not the image, the model or the theory. The issue is 'What is the gospel?'
PSA is nit the gospel. PSA is an image to help us grasp the logistics if the gospel

The gospel is the heartbroken father waiting and watching at the window fir just the slightest turning back on our part, so he can run to us

The gospel as proclaimed by the disciples and the early church is "Jesus is Lord". In a world ruled by cruel and ruthless powers-that-be, that is God news indeed. Jesus is making all things new

[ 04. May 2017, 01:41: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
the problem here is elevating PSA as "foundational". It's not--
Says you. Well fine. The issue is not the image, the model or the theory. The issue is 'What is the gospel?'
PSA is nit the gospel. PSA is an image to help us grasp the logistics if the gospel

The gospel is the heartbroken father waiting and watching at the window fir just the slightest turning back on our part, so he can run to us

The gospel as proclaimed by the disciples and the early church is "Jesus is Lord". In a world ruled by cruel and ruthless powers-that-be, that is God news indeed. Jesus is making all things new

That's nice, but how does it affect or transform you?
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Jamat
quote:
That's nice, but how does it affect or transform you?
Is that not a question that could be aimed at PSA?

PSA rests on a transaction between the Father and the Son in which human beings have no role except as manipulated actors in the process of the crucifixion. There still remains the problem of how humans are to be brought into the atoning process, to benefit from the sentence that has been carried out on their unwitting behalf. Or is it that we are all necessarily saved knowingly or unknowingly because God has been satisfied regarding the penalty for past, present and future sins? PSA, then, is universalist, is it? We all end up universally saved but not universally transformed, don't we? It's an odd sort of atonement, isn't it?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
That's nice, but how does it affect or transform you?

It's the precious thing that you find in a field and then go and sell everything to buy.

And it is so much more than mental assent to a set of prepositions, it is voluntary sacrifice of self and taking up the cross to walk in the Way of Christ.

How is that not transformative?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
now you're sounding like Martin.

Like Pilate?! Yeah, well, we've all done it, Quid est veritas? Eh?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
the problem here is elevating PSA as "foundational". It's not--
Says you. Well fine. The issue is not the image, the model or the theory. The issue is 'What is the gospel?'
PSA is nit the gospel. PSA is an image to help us grasp the logistics if the gospel

The gospel is the heartbroken father waiting and watching at the window fir just the slightest turning back on our part, so he can run to us

The gospel as proclaimed by the disciples and the early church is "Jesus is Lord". In a world ruled by cruel and ruthless powers-that-be, that is God news indeed. Jesus is making all things new

That's nice, but how does it affect or transform you?
How have you been transformed by PSA? How much more incarnational are you? Can you show us? Lead us?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
That's nice, but how does it affect or transform you?

It doesn't. The Holy Spirit does.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I think that all of us would agree that without the cross and the vindication of the resurrection, there can be no salvation, no Christian faith. ...

Not sure what you mean by the "vindication of the resurrection."
Try This
That is one of the most confused things I have read in a month of Fridays. As a vindication of resurrection as vindication, it leaves clarity and logical straightforwardness to be desired.
Well, it's from the Orthodox Church - I can't help that.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Mousethief will correct me if I'm wrong but I suspect that's partly the reason for his unease with 'vindication' language in this instance.

Would I be right? Or should I get my coat?

That's a big part of it. And this writer clearly is suggesting it as if bringing in something from the outside. That should tell you something right there. A lot of somethings, actually.

It's interesting and even amusing that people here keep digging up articles written by people who are not authorities of the Orthodox Church that are basically apologetics pieces for western theological concepts that have historically had no traction in the East, and presenting them as if it proved something about what "The Orthodox" believe. This perhaps is just a cogent demonstration of the dangers of doing theology by Google. Let alone comparative theology. Let alone trying to school someone on what their church believes, when you're not a member of it. Which gets tedious on the receiving end.

The word you want is theologoumenon plural theologoumena.

Yeah, I get that.
It's been a HUGE tendency on the Ship for non-Evangelicals to try and tell Evangelicals what they believe, get it wrong, and then try to knock it down.

Tell you what, I'll not tell you what the Orthodox believe if you don't try and tell me what I do and don't believe [Smile]

[ 04. May 2017, 14:30: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
I'm surprised you say this Mudfrog. There are quite a few posters here, self included, who take a different line to yourself, but are, by any objective standard (Bebington Quadrilateral, for example) evangelicals. Goperryrevs, Arethosemyfeet, Gameliel are names that spring to mind. Evangelicals try to embrace and understand scripture. It's there in the definition, indeed in the name; the people of the evangel, the good news. If there is a choice to be made between received wisdom and what the Bible actually says, I submit, we should go with the Bible. This isn't telling you what you believe, it's calling on you, as a fellow evangelical, to re-evaluate your data. You can, of course choose not to do so, or you can go through the process and still come to the decision that your understanding is better than that of your challengers. But debate, even robust debate, has always, historically, been at the heart of evangelicalism. Getting prissy about your interlocutors doesn't really further such debate.

[ 04. May 2017, 15:23: Message edited by: Jolly Jape ]
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Well, it's from the Orthodox Church - I can't help that.

No, it's a "ponderings" article written by one priest in one jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church, on a website maintained by another priest of that jurisdiction.

To say that article "is from the Orthodox Church" is akin to saying that your postings on the Ship are from the Salvation Army.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
That's nice, but how does it affect or transform you?

It doesn't. The Holy Spirit does.
[Overused]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Kwesi: PSA rests on a transaction between the Father and the Son in which human beings have no role except as manipulated actors in the process of the crucifixion. There still remains the problem of how humans are to be brought into the atoning process, to benefit from the sentence that has been carried out on their unwitting behalf
No, it rests upon a grasp of a heavenly reality that God in his grace enacted to enable reconciliation between himself and his fallen human creation. The transaction you refer to is the foundational way to grasp it based on the accounts in scripture. To benefit from it requires both revelation and choice, neither of which God is prepared to force. Instead he offers it. Your comments are ridiculous as you are seeing a metaphor (penal transaction ) as the reality itself. However, such realities can only be discerned spiritually they cannot be fully apprehended intellectually since, as Paul said "The natural man knoweth not the things of God for they are foolishness to him, but he that is spiritual knoweth all things." 1Cor 2:14,15.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Yeah, I get that.
It's been a HUGE tendency on the Ship for non-Evangelicals to try and tell Evangelicals what they believe, get it wrong, and then try to knock it down.

Tell you what, I'll not tell you what the Orthodox believe if you don't try and tell me what I do and don't believe [Smile]

OK, but what do I do when you and Jamat present a version of evangelicalism that is 180 degrees opposed to everything I am ordained to teach and preach in my evangelical church?
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Kwesi: PSA rests on a transaction between the Father and the Son in which human beings have no role except as manipulated actors in the process of the crucifixion. There still remains the problem of how humans are to be brought into the atoning process, to benefit from the sentence that has been carried out on their unwitting behalf
No, it rests upon a grasp of a heavenly reality that God in his grace enacted to enable reconciliation between himself and his fallen human creation. The transaction you refer to is the foundational way to grasp it based on the accounts in scripture. .
OK, you've said that 2x now, but still haven't given us the slightest reason to assume this is true. We mostly all agree that PSA (or at least SA) is attested to in Scripture. But where we might question is if it is the "foundational" image-- that it has some priority above the other 4 or more biblical images. Can you provide any explanation for this assertion?

By way of contrast, the word "ransom" appears 25x in both OT and NT-- most of those in reference to atonement. What is that image any less "foundational" than PSA?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Well, it's from the Orthodox Church - I can't help that.

Here you go, Barnabas. This is the kind of bullshit I grow fucking sick of.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
In the PSA model is there a role for "forgiveness" ? As I understand it the penalty for sin is not set aside but is fully exacted through the death of Christ. Having exacted the punishment for all sins past, present and future, neither you nor I, or any other human who ever existed is in need of forgiveness because there is nothing left to pay in terms of the model. And if there is no need for forgiveness then there is no need for penitence, is there? And is there a need for an advocate with the father?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Kwesi: PSA rests on a transaction between the Father and the Son in which human beings have no role except as manipulated actors in the process of the crucifixion. There still remains the problem of how humans are to be brought into the atoning process, to benefit from the sentence that has been carried out on their unwitting behalf
No, it rests upon a grasp of a heavenly reality that God in his grace enacted to enable reconciliation between himself and his fallen human creation. The transaction you refer to is the foundational way to grasp it based on the accounts in scripture. To benefit from it requires both revelation and choice, neither of which God is prepared to force. Instead he offers it. Your comments are ridiculous as you are seeing a metaphor (penal transaction ) as the reality itself. However, such realities can only be discerned spiritually they cannot be fully apprehended intellectually since, as Paul said "The natural man knoweth not the things of God for they are foolishness to him, but he that is spiritual knoweth all things." 1Cor 2:14,15.
So now we know you know everything, how has that made you a better person? More Christ-like? That we might follow your example?
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
Regarding forgiveness there kind of is, in that the Father is involved in sending the son.
But it doesn't exactly come across as "as we forgive our debtors", and the way it deviates is odd (as indicated by Kwesi's description).
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Mudfrog, that was pretty crass. I side with you at times but not on this occasion.

All you've done is answer my query as to why Mousethief was getting narked.

I don't blame him. I'm not Orthodox and I'm narked.

All you've done is show us how uncritical a reader you are. 'The writer is Orthodox, therefore the article must accord with the views of every other single Orthodox Christian in the whole wide world.'

You aren't blowing your cornet out of your front-end on this occasion.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
In the interests of balance - in 'real life' I've encountered varying reactions among the Orthodox towards particularly Western theological concepts that range from outright hostility to 'That's nice' or 'That's interesting' and, 'Ok, that could be the case to some extent but it's not how we see it ...' and all points in between.

Equally, though, I don't know how or why Mudfrog should regard himself as some kind of defender of kosher evangelicalism when there are plenty of Evangelicals who wouldn't agree with him.

I've certainly come across evangelicals who correspond almost exactly to some of the caricatures that crop up here aboard Ship. And much worse besides.

If this were a predominantly evangelical site - which it isn't - and liberals or RCs or other traditions were being caricatured, then I'm sure we could find real life examples that do indeed correspond to those too.

Anyhow ...
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Yeah, I get that.
It's been a HUGE tendency on the Ship for non-Evangelicals to try and tell Evangelicals what they believe, get it wrong, and then try to knock it down.

Tell you what, I'll not tell you what the Orthodox believe if you don't try and tell me what I do and don't believe [Smile]

You are quite wrong in several different ways:

1. Anything that I have said on this thread is correct about some evangelicals that I am aware of. There are some evangelicals that believe only PSA is accurate.

2. I appreciate that you are from a Wesleyan tradition. That's not all of evangelicalism. I know that you have some nuance about theories of the atonement. But I also know that there are a sizable number of evangelicals who do not consider your views to be standard evangelical views.

3. I have never ever said that you hold some of the views about the atonement I have discussed on this thread. Never.

But fundamentally:

4. Evangelicalism is a completely different thing to Orthodoxy. Mousethief can legitimately say that x y and z are Orthodox views if they meet certain criteria - because that is the way his church is set up. And it is entirely consistent to say that other Orthodox people who say other things are blowing steam, because again they're not in a position to make statements about "what the Orthodox believe" on x y and z.

5. In contrast, "evangelical" is a term that is self-defined and has no authority structure whereby correct doctrine is disseminated.

So no, nobody is telling you what you do or don't believe (or what you should or shouldn't believe) as an Evangelical - because you don't encompass the whole of the definition of evangelical and it is entirely consistent for you (or anyone else) to claim the term evangelical but at the same time believe quite different things about the atonement or a range of other theological topics.

Obviously.

[ 04. May 2017, 19:02: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
OK, but what do I do when you and Jamat present a version of evangelicalism that is 180 degrees opposed to everything I am ordained to teach and preach in my evangelical church?

Can you remind me which evangelical church you are ordained in?

I'm quite interested to know about evangelical churches where PSA isn't part of the theological landscape and am interested to hear how that came about.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, I think mr cheesy has hit the nail on the head.

Mousethief can speak for Orthodoxy in a way that none of the evangelicals here can presume to speak on behalf of evangelicalism as a whole.

We see a continuum or spectrum here on the Ship.

Cliffdweller self-identifies as evangelical yet sits more loosely to PSA than Mudfrog and Jamat do.

Mudfrog holds to PSA, but with due weight and acknowledgement of the other models.

Jamat, it seems to me, is the most hard-line in his emphasis on PSA.

Are all evangelicals?

Yes, I would say they are.

Are they all on the same page? No, they clearly aren't, but they are certainly in the same chapter.

Which one can speak most authoritatively or authentically for evangelicalism as a whole?

When it comes to Orthodoxy there are a range and variety of views on all sorts of issues, just as there is in Protestantism or Roman Catholicism.

However, there is also - it seems to me - a more clearly defined consensus on various issues too. All Orthodox are Orthodox, but some are more Orthodox than others.

The link Mudfrog provided was interesting, but even I - as a non-Orthodox Christian - could see that it wasn't conventionally Orthodox on some points. Ok, I wouldn't be able to pin-point those as accurately as MT - and I was intrigued by his response - but I know enough to be able to tell that it didn't quite fit my expectations. It felt very 'Western' to me.

Was it incompatible with Orthodoxy? I don't know. That's for the Orthodox to say, not me.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
OK, but what do I do when you and Jamat present a version of evangelicalism that is 180 degrees opposed to everything I am ordained to teach and preach in my evangelical church?

Can you remind me which evangelical church you are ordained in?

I'm quite interested to know about evangelical churches where PSA isn't part of the theological landscape and am interested to hear how that came about.

The Evangelical Covenant Church is one that would see PSA as one of several metaphors. Other evangelical denominations would have a range in their statements of faith, with some being quite clearly PSA-only and others broader in their depictions of the atonement with more room for various interpretations. Individual clergy persons will vary, then, of course.

The Bebbington Quadrilateral most would use to define evangelicalism states simply "cruxicentricsm"-- i.e. that the atonement is a central, essential and defining theme-- w/o defining what understanding of the atonement is distinctive of evangelicalism.

What Gamaliel said. We're a diverse and unruly lot.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I apologise.
It was unworthy.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Martin 60: So now we know you know everything, how has that made you a better person? More Christ-like? That we might follow your example
If only it were true. You of all people should know forgivenness does not imply perfection.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Cliff dweller: We mostly all agree that PSA (or at least SA) is attested to in Scripture. But where we might question is if it is the "foundational" image-- that it has some priority above the other 4 or more biblical images. Can you provide any explanation for this assertion?
What is foundational is the truth behind the intellectual model. Perhaps the question could be approached differently. Could you have PSA without ransom or substitution or the defeat of evil(CV.) I would suggest the answer is no. But then can you have these others without a penal transaction? (bearing in mind that it is a metaphor) In other words, can you have them without Jesus being a sacrifice, a victim and a representative of humanity. Again, I think not though obviously others differ. What is the foundational truth of the atonement then? It has to be that Jesus died as a sacrifice, for the sin of humanity and that this was directed and accepted by God and served to deflect his wrath from the benefactors of what Jesus did.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Once again, Jamat, you appear to be conflating PSA with SA in general - or even A, as Nick Tamen observed.

There are views of the atonement that have Christ as sacrifice, victim and representative of humanity without the penal element ...

That's what plenty of people here - of various stripes and persuasions have been trying to say but my impression -and it's only an impression - is that you don't seem to be grasping what they are trying to say.

As far as I am aware, all Christian traditions have concepts of Christ as sacrifice, victim and representative of humanity - and a lot more besides - great High Priest, Second Adam, prophet, priest and King ...

What they don't all share is the idea that God the Father punished God the Son on our behalf in order to resolve some kind of legal fix or conundrum or to assuage or satisfy his wrath.

That's the issue here. Not whether Christ was sacrifice, victim and representative of humanity.

Sure, I can certainly see where this emphasis comes from, 'how much more shall we also be saved from God's wrath through him.'

Yes. But does that mean or imply that Christ suffered God's wrath instead? That God's wrath is some kind of extraneous force that is bigger than God himself?

You see, that's where the difficulties start if we over-rely on PSA as THE lynch-pin model that holds all the others together. It begins to stretch into territory it can't address or answer. It raises almost as many or as many problems as it apparently resolves.

It's the Incarnation and the eternal 'economy' of the Holy and Undivided Trinity that holds the whole thing together. The various atonement models are simply attempts to explain the mechanics of how God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
How do the innocent benefit? How do the choiceless, helpless, fecklessly ignorant benefit?
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
quote:
In other words, can you have them without Jesus being a sacrifice, a victim and a representative of humanity. Again, I think not though obviously others differ. What is the foundational truth of the atonement then? It has to be that Jesus died as a sacrifice, for the sin of humanity and that this was directed and accepted by God and served to deflect his wrath from the benefactors of what Jesus did

 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
quote:
In other words, can you have them without Jesus being a sacrifice, a victim and a representative of humanity. Again, I think not though obviously others differ.
I could agree to all that.

quote:
What is the foundational truth of the atonement then? It has to be that Jesus died as a sacrifice, for the sin of humanity and that this was directed and accepted by God and served to deflect his wrath from the benefactors of what Jesus did
It's the bit that I've italicized that is a complete unbiblical non-sequitur. You rightly recognised that this is the heart of PSA,band it is this, not the sacrifice, not the victim good of Christ, not the representative nature of His death, with which I have a problem. It is, in Mr Cheesy's words, complete bollocks. There are, I'm told, 31173 verses in the Bible, and just one of them could be said to support PSA. That's a mighty slender peg on which to hang a foundational doctrine, don't you think?
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Oops, dunno what happened there. Might I ask a kindly host to delete the redundant post, in the interests of clarity.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
What is foundational is the truth behind the intellectual model. Perhaps the question could be approached differently. Could you have PSA without ransom or substitution or the defeat of evil(CV.) I would suggest the answer is no.

I'm starting to wonder if you are really sure about the theories of the atonement, because it isn't clear that you do from what you've written here.

Penal substitutionary atonement obviously has a substitution element, it is there in the name. But it isn't a ransom to Satan and it isn't really a ransom to God. If anything PSA is about paying off the universe (because someone somewhere has to pay the price of sin otherwise there is no justice..). And it is hard to argue that PSA is about the "defeat of evil" as per Christus Victor given that the point of PSA is to pay off a transaction which God is unable to get out of - which dictates that his justice is only true if he punishes someone for sin.

quote:
But then can you have these others without a penal transaction? (bearing in mind that it is a metaphor) In other words, can you have them without Jesus being a sacrifice, a victim and a representative of humanity. Again, I think not though obviously others differ.
Obviously you can have the other theories without a penal transaction, whether or not you think it is true.

quote:
What is the foundational truth of the atonement then? It has to be that Jesus died as a sacrifice, for the sin of humanity and that this was directed and accepted by God and served to deflect his wrath from the benefactors of what Jesus did.
That's just restating your position and then claiming it is the root of the belief all along. Nope.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
quote:
In other words, can you have them without Jesus being a sacrifice, a victim and a representative of humanity. Again, I think not though obviously others differ.
I could agree to all that.

quote:
What is the foundational truth of the atonement then? It has to be that Jesus died as a sacrifice, for the sin of humanity and that this was directed and accepted by God and served to deflect his wrath from the benefactors of what Jesus did
It's the bit that I've italicized that is a complete unbiblical non-sequitur. You rightly recognised that this is the heart of PSA,band it is this, not the sacrifice, not the victim good of Christ, not the representative nature of His death, with which I have a problem. It is, in Mr Cheesy's words, complete bollocks. There are, I'm told, 31173 verses in the Bible, and just one of them could be said to support PSA. That's a mighty slender peg on which to hang a foundational doctrine, don't you think?

You dispute what exactly? That God has wrath or that it is deflected? Was the one verse in Is 53? There is plenty of evidence of wrath elsewhere eg Romans 1:18, or 2:5. The logic is that Gods wrath is against sin right? However, in Ro6:6, we see that sin is taken care of by faith in Christ. But how is that possible? Well a fair inference is that the reconciliation we receive in Christ Romans 5:11, does the job. While you will no doubt bang on about penal or non penal as usual, it is hard to see how the wrath was not somehow absorbed by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross so that by our faith in him the faith,Martin 60, of whoever chooses, even the weak ignorant and helpless, we are justified before God. That seems like the gospel to me.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
You dispute what exactly? That God has wrath or that it is deflected? Was the one verse in Is 53? There is plenty of evidence of wrath elsewhere eg Romans 1:18, or 2:5. The logic is that Gods wrath is against sin right? However, in Ro6:6, we see that sin is taken care of by faith in Christ. But how is that possible? Well a fair inference is that the reconciliation we receive in Christ Romans 5:11, does the job. While you will no doubt bang on about penal or non penal as usual, it is hard to see how the wrath was not somehow absorbed by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross so that by our faith in him the faith,Martin 60, of whoever chooses, even the weak ignorant and helpless, we are justified before God. That seems like the gospel to me.

I don't think anyone is disputing the right of the creator to be angry at the state of things. The objections to PSA are about the way that it is said that there are inevitable consequences of that wrath - that God must punish the sinner, that there must be a cost and that someone must pay, even if it isn't the person to blame.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Oooh, I will. What right has God got to be angry?
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Oooh, I will. What right has God got to be angry?

For a relatively easy answer that then stalls in I think a dead end...

He really, really cares for (among others) the Widow, the Worker, the Alien and the Orphan and they get mistreated (sometimes spectacularly so). Those he loves are being abused and it pisses him off. Which easily explains a wrathful God (and ties in with many of the verses where it's mentioned)

But then need to explain why it seems he could do more, why was the Widow's oil a one off (though the addage about pointing fingers is true here too). And how any wrath associated with the crucifixion helps with that aspect of wrath.
Which is also hard to do.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Mr. Cheesy: ..the right of the creator to be angry at the state of things. The objections to PSA are about the way that it is said that there are inevitable consequences of that wrath - that God must punish the sinner, that there must be a cost and that someone must pay, even if it isn't the person to blame.

The following scripture Gal 3:13, seems pretty clear statement that the cost of not keeping the law is a curse. Yet it is very clear in the NT that no one could do this. Consequently, all were subject to the 'penalty' of this curse. However, the good news is that Christ interposed himself between this cause and the believer in him. Now, as we read in Romans 8:1 there is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. But surely, those IN Christ are ONLY the ones who have been redeemed from this curse..the ones whom Christ has become a curse for..a penal substitute for.

Gal 3:13 "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law becoming a curse for us as it is written,'cursed is anyone who is hung upon a tree'."
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Oooh, I will. What right has God got to be angry?

The opposite of anger is not love, it's apathy.
I don't want a God who doesn't care about what's going on as the result of people's sin.

A God without wrath is not loving either.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Again, Jamat, the 'curse' thing can be understood in various ways. What was the 'curse' of the Law? In what way was it a curse? How does Christ deliver us from it? There are lots of ways to understand that - by conquering death, by superseding the old sacrificial system ... By a whole range of things ...

It doesn't reduce easily to a set of sound-bites.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Mudfrog
quote:
The opposite of anger is not love, it's apathy.
I think the opposite of anger is 'delight'.

What I suspect you are looking for, Mudfrog, is the distinction between 'compassion' and 'indifference'.

To my mind, and I think you would agree, the God of Israel is compassionate and not indifferent to the human condition, which means he can be angry and wrathful towards the corrosive consequences of sin and the harm it does to its perpetrators and victims. It seems to me that one of the fallacies of PSA is that it fails to make the crucial distinction between sin and sinners.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Oooh, I will. What right has God got to be angry?

The opposite of anger is not love, it's apathy.
I don't want a God who doesn't care about what's going on as the result of people's sin.

A God without wrath is not loving either.

OK, where, when is God's wrath? Or any other emotion? How does God feel about what He omnipathically ... feels?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel :, Jamat, the 'curse' thing can be understood in various ways. What was the 'curse' of the Law? In what way was it a curse? How does Christ deliver us from it? There are lots of ways to understand that - by conquering death, by superseding the old sacrificial system ... By a whole range of things
Nah, mate. Few things are as clear or specific as a curse. This curse is contextually defined as being under God's judgement.
You are simply foolish if you think there are a million ways to look at everything that are all equally valid.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Oooh, I will. What right has God got to be angry?

The opposite of anger is not love, it's apathy.
I don't want a God who doesn't care about what's going on as the result of people's sin.

A God without wrath is not loving either.

OK, where, when is God's wrath? Or any other emotion? How does God feel about what He omnipathically ... feels?
Martin 60, if God came along and said to you, I love you enough to seek you out and protect you, you'd get a fright, right? because God isn't supposed to do stuff people might do. But this is exactly what Jesus did when he found Nathaniel in John 2. He said, 'when you were under the fig tree I saw you' and when Nathaniel responded and said He was God's son, Jesus said that he would see greater things. I think you could believe in a GOD like that, I could.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
I do Jamat. Not one who is our projection of our feckless worse selves. Full of spite at their own incompetence.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'm not saying there are a million ways to look at everything nor am I saying they are all equally valid.

For instance,at the risk of introducing a tangent, I think that Dispensationalism as a system is spiritually bankrupt and invalid.

I don't​ have an issue with God's judgement either, nor with the 'curse' mentioned in those verses we've both alluded to as referring to that.

All I am saying is that we need to unpack it and people have come to a range of conclusions on the issue that may differ from yours or mine. I'd like to understand why that is without reaching for febrile value judgements like, 'It's because they don't believe the Bible ...' or 'They are irrelevant ...' which seems to be your standard and default approach to every issue.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
U
quote:
iGamaliel: people have come to a range of conclusions on the issue that may differ from yours or mine
Really? If they differ from yours then they are probably right...if you ever, by any chance, commit yourself.

[ 06. May 2017, 08:51: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Oooh, I will. What right has God got to be angry?

The opposite of anger is not love, it's apathy.
I don't want a God who doesn't care about what's going on as the result of people's sin.

A God without wrath is not loving either.

And the manifestation of that care is what?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I commit myself to all sorts of things, Jamat. I'm committedly Trinitarian for instance.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I commit myself to all sorts of things, Jamat. I'm committedly Trinitarian for instance.

Well, if that's what you think that is fine and perhaps you do. As I read you here, you are carefully on every fence in sight.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I only sit on fences where I feel the issue is in dispute or where I have yet to reach a firm and definitive conclusion. That doesn't mean I sit on all the fences there are. Far from it.

There's no fence to sit on as far as Dispensationalism us concerned, for instance ...

Sure, I am on a fence and out in a limb to some extent in terms of church affiliation and overlaps between particular traditions. There are other matters I'd consider secondary or consider in theologumena terms ...

If I've spelt that right ...

But as far as the core Creedal understanding of the faith goes, I'm not fence-sitting on that.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
U
quote:
iGamaliel: people have come to a range of conclusions on the issue that may differ from yours or mine
Really? If they differ from yours then they are probably right...if you ever, by any chance, commit yourself.
Commit yourself? This is religion, there's no firm evidence for any position; commitment can only logically be provisional.

[ 07. May 2017, 05:37: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: there's no fence to sit on as far as Dispensationalism us concerned, for instance ...

Well at least that is something you and I can agree on.
I am totally convinced there'll be a rapture.. just don't know when. Make sure there's oil in the lamp when the bridegroom comes.
[Big Grin]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
U
quote:
iGamaliel: people have come to a range of conclusions on the issue that may differ from yours or mine
Really? If they differ from yours then they are probably right...if you ever, by any chance, commit yourself.
Commit yourself? This is religion, there's no firm evidence for any position; commitment can only logically be provisional.
That's one of the reasons I'm not an evolutionist Karl. [Yipee]
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
Do you mean by that "I don't believe in the scientific evolution of species" or "I don't believe that religion evolves over time" or "I don't believe that human thinking changes and develops"?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Jamat, it's the pre-tribulation rapture business I object to, Jamat.

It's not a question of having oil in our lamps in this instance, more a case of whether we are shining them in the right direction - exploring caves and blind alleys or keeping to the main and steady path.

Yes, it can be fun to explore the side chambers but if we want to get anywhere we need to stick to the main drag.

I'm not interested in 19th century detours and meanderings, I'm interested in the main path.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Oooh, I will. What right has God got to be angry?

The opposite of anger is not love, it's apathy.
Perhaps but that doesn't answer the question. Whatever the opposite of anger is, it doesn't necessarily justify any given bit of anger. If I had no right at all to be angry, that is independent of what the opposite of anger is.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jay-Emm:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Oooh, I will. What right has God got to be angry?

For a relatively easy answer that then stalls in I think a dead end...

He really, really cares for (among others) the Widow, the Worker, the Alien and the Orphan and they get mistreated (sometimes spectacularly so). Those he loves are being abused and it pisses him off. Which easily explains a wrathful God (and ties in with many of the verses where it's mentioned)

But then need to explain why it seems he could do more, why was the Widow's oil a one off (though the addage about pointing fingers is true here too). And how any wrath associated with the crucifixion helps with that aspect of wrath.
Which is also hard to do.

I should have responded further upstream Jay-Emm. mousethief has picked up on this aspect of the impassibility of God, I infer, I hope correctly. He doesn't care as we care. He doesn't love or get pissed off as we do. Obviously. Because apart from in Jesus and ineffably by the Spirit, He does nothing. And never will as we would. As we say He will. Wrathfully. What use is that now? What use is that when suffering is restituted for all?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
I infer, I hope correctly. He doesn't care as we care. He doesn't love or get pissed off as we do. Obviously. Because apart from in Jesus and ineffably by the Spirit, He does nothing.
Ah Martin 60, that is because God in Christ has already done everything needed for your miserable life to have hope. He will get pretty upset if you ignore it.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
As He's all I've got, why would I?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
I infer, I hope correctly. He doesn't care as we care. He doesn't love or get pissed off as we do. Obviously. Because apart from in Jesus and ineffably by the Spirit, He does nothing.
Ah Martin 60, that is because God in Christ has already done everything needed for your miserable life to have hope. He will get pretty upset if you ignore it.
Sounds pretty petulant. Like V-ger in the first Star Trek movie shrieking, "Obey me!"
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
I infer, I hope correctly. He doesn't care as we care. He doesn't love or get pissed off as we do. Obviously. Because apart from in Jesus and ineffably by the Spirit, He does nothing.
Ah Martin 60, that is because God in Christ has already done everything needed for your miserable life to have hope. He will get pretty upset if you ignore it.
Ah. The "kissing Hank's arse" version of the Gospel.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
I infer, I hope correctly. He doesn't care as we care. He doesn't love or get pissed off as we do. Obviously. Because apart from in Jesus and ineffably by the Spirit, He does nothing.
Ah Martin 60, that is because God in Christ has already done everything needed for your miserable life to have hope. He will get pretty upset if you ignore it.
Ah. The "kissing Hank's arse" version of the Gospel.
So your version? We are apes with better DNA? Where is the good news there?
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
I infer, I hope correctly. He doesn't care as we care. He doesn't love or get pissed off as we do. Obviously. Because apart from in Jesus and ineffably by the Spirit, He does nothing.
Ah Martin 60, that is because God in Christ has already done everything needed for your miserable life to have hope. He will get pretty upset if you ignore it.
Ah. The "kissing Hank's arse" version of the Gospel.
So your version? We are apes with better DNA? Where is the good news there?
Yes, Jamat, because your version and your straw man are the only two alternatives.

[brick wall]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
I infer, I hope correctly. He doesn't care as we care. He doesn't love or get pissed off as we do. Obviously. Because apart from in Jesus and ineffably by the Spirit, He does nothing.
Ah Martin 60, that is because God in Christ has already done everything needed for your miserable life to have hope. He will get pretty upset if you ignore it.
Ah. The "kissing Hank's arse" version of the Gospel.
So your version? We are apes with better DNA? Where is the good news there?
Yes, Jamat, because your version and your straw man are the only two alternatives.

[brick wall]

Hi Nick, I am sorry you feel that way.

Just a thought; have you really, deeply,honestly, been open to actually allowing the Lord to touch YOUR entrenched positions? You see, I have and I am not deeply affected by anything you or others have said here.

My standard is the Bible only. I see no reason to believe, Biblically that it teaches anything about the atonement that I am rejecting by listening to the voices here. I know there will be a number of bleats about acknowledging the presuppositions and assumptions one brings to the questions about it. However, after a number of years here, I think this web site is really, mostly about people playing with the 'God' idea, but with so much sociological and 'Christian' traditional baggage, that any truth is muffled by the static.

I know from previous posts that you are some kind of pastor and I wish you well on your journey.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Just a thought; have you really, deeply,honestly, been open to actually allowing the Lord to touch YOUR entrenched positions? You see, I have and I am not deeply affected by anything you or others have said here.

Yes, Jamat. I have been and always am open to that. But that you would ask the question the way you did, together with your other posts, suggests to me that you really haven't understood much of what I and others have been trying to say, and have instead made inaccurate assumptions, perhaps based on your own entrenched positions, about what we are saying.

quote:
I know from previous posts that you are some kind of pastor....
No, I'm a lawyer, not a pastor of any kind.
quote:
...and I wish you well on your journey.
And you on yours.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
No, Jamat, your standard is the Bible plus the interpretative framework you bring to bear upon it, your tradition if you like ...

That equally applies to the rest of us.

It's just that some of us are more aware of that than you appear to be.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
No, Jamat, your standard is the Bible plus the interpretative framework you bring to bear upon it, your tradition if you like ...

That equally applies to the rest of us.

It's just that some of us are more aware of that than you appear to be.

You know, of course that God, the ultimate interpreter, might just have had ways to anticipate you might say that. For instance, by having his metanarrative transmitted by 44 different authors at different times or by having multiple evidence of fulfilled prophecies and maybe by having important stuff repeated by people who didn't necessarily know each other that well or like each other if they did.EG Compare Gal3:13 to 1peter 3:16, and Heb9:14 all of which explore aspects of redemption by mention of Christ's sacrificial, death, shed blood and redemptive actions in a way consistent enough to clearly suggest penal substitution.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
I infer, I hope correctly. He doesn't care as we care. He doesn't love or get pissed off as we do. Obviously. Because apart from in Jesus and ineffably by the Spirit, He does nothing.
Ah Martin 60, that is because God in Christ has already done everything needed for your miserable life to have hope. He will get pretty upset if you ignore it.
Ah. The "kissing Hank's arse" version of the Gospel.
So your version? We are apes with better DNA? Where is the good news there?
You know damned well I don't consider that the gospel, so you can cut the dishonest strawmen. Not that misrepresenting people is at all unusual for creationists.

Your version has little good news anyway. The "good news" is that we can avoid having the shit kicked out of us if we kiss Hank's arse. The problem is Hank wanting to kick the shit out of us in the first place. Where is the good news in the conservative Evangelical belief that most of my family will be - or already are being - eternally tormented in Hell? Where's the good news in this being the fate of the majority of humanity? Where's the good news in a God who is unable to forgive, but must be appeased, propitiated, and sated in his bloodlust?

You've no idea.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I see PSA as complete crap, but I can see how it might have its uses and might even be used by the deity for good.

Without banging the drum again, I think this is just another part of the two-gospel concept. With the angry, self-righteous, self-justifying, hypocritical, and privileged God is angry. With the poor, weak, broken, forgotten, abused God is gentle. If we want to experience the gentle God, it is fairly clear what we have to do.

It seems to me that there isn't a lot of point at raging against the angry God if one feels broken, it's like getting annoyed at an overheard conversation which isn't about you at all.

[ 10. May 2017, 07:30: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Jamat re:

quote:
You know, of course that God, the ultimate interpreter, might just have had ways to anticipate you might say that. For instance, by having his metanarrative transmitted by 44 different authors at different times or by having multiple evidence of fulfilled prophecies and maybe by having important stuff repeated by people who didn't necessarily know each other that well or like each other if they did.EG Compare Gal3:13 to 1peter 3:16, and Heb9:14 all of which explore aspects of redemption by mention of Christ's sacrificial, death, shed blood and redemptive actions in a way consistent enough to clearly suggest penal substitution.


[brick wall] [brick wall] [brick wall]

None of those verses even mention penal motivation. How can they "clearly" suggest it.

Answer, because you are already committed in your mind to the idea of PSA. It's part of your worldview. So any time you read in the Scriptures a "mention of Christ's sacrificial, death, shed blood and redemptive actions", you read that as a code for PSA. But it.just.isn't!! These are all clear themes in scripture, backed up certainly tens and possibly hundreds of times. They have specific meanings which are mutually supportive and cross referenced. They are not the same thing as PSA. You have bee repeatedly challenged to bring forth verses or passages that clearly indicate PSA, and all you do is keep recyling verses that have no relevance at all to the point you are trying to, if this is the right word, demonstrate. You can't produce them because they don't exist. PSA is a wonderful self consistent paradigm, a masterful construct, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Bible. Talk about the triumph of doctrine over truth!

You have been pretty free in your accusations against PSA deniers of bending Biblical truth in order to produce a Gospel more congenial to themselves. I would seriously challenge you to prayerfully consider whether or not, in your zeal, you are doing exactly that of which you accuse others.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
None of those verses even mention penal motivation. How can they "clearly" suggest
OK let's just take Gal 3:13 Christ became a curse for us How could this possibly be true if he was not a penal substitute?
You are the one in denial or blinded to the truth more likely.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
OK let's just take Gal 3:13 Christ became a curse for us How could this possibly be true if he was not a penal substitute?
You are the one in denial or blinded to the truth more likely.

With respect, Jamat, a moment of googling will show you how it is possible to interpret Galatians 3 in the context of a Christus Victor understanding of the atonement.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
You know damned well I don't consider that the gospel
I honestly have no idea what you think the gospel is. You pop up offended by any anything that contradicts an evolutionary mythology. I do not think you can have sin in any Biblical sense if you have an evolutionary framework. AFAI can see, if there is no sin, you do not need a gospel. What is there in naturalistic origins to be saved from?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
OK let's just take Gal 3:13 Christ became a curse for us How could this possibly be true if he was not a penal substitute?
You are the one in denial or blinded to the truth more likely.

With respect, Jamat, a moment of googling will show you how it is possible to interpret Galatians 3 in the context of a Christus Victor understanding of the atonement.
That is the point. Yep, sure, I pretty well make my living by seeing equally valid interpretations of texts and certainly, you can find a way around anything but if you take into account the whole tenor of the NT, its message and the intent of its authors, then you have a pretty complete picture of the purpose and effect of Jesus'death and what it accomplished.

To say as you seem to 'Oh but it could mean X or you could read it to mean Y is to sidestep authorial intent. Courts do this with statutes, and we get case law but the scriptures are not human statutes.

In its totality, PSA is absolutely lining up with sacrifice, ransom redemption, the defeat of evil in me and ultimately in creation and provides a workable model for the mechanics of salvation viz,

I am without hope because of my sin but I now possess hope because God in Christ took care of my sin problem..he took it on himself. God allowed this. It was his will, the reason Jesus was incarnated in the first place. It was the 'cup' that could not pass till he drank it.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
I infer, I hope correctly. He doesn't care as we care. He doesn't love or get pissed off as we do. Obviously. Because apart from in Jesus and ineffably by the Spirit, He does nothing.
Ah Martin 60, that is because God in Christ has already done everything needed for your miserable life to have hope. He will get pretty upset if you ignore it.
So He's not impassible then?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
That is the point. Yep, sure, I pretty well make my living by seeing equally valid interpretations of texts and certainly, you can find a way around anything but if you take into account the whole tenor of the NT, its message and the intent of its authors, then you have a pretty complete picture of the purpose and effect of Jesus'death and what it accomplished.

You say that as if nobody else here seeks to establish the "whole tenor of the NT". Indeed you seem incapable of appreciating that anyone could have a theology based on the NT but not PSA.


quote:
To say as you seem to 'Oh but it could mean X or you could read it to mean Y is to sidestep authorial intent. Courts do this with statutes, and we get case law but the scriptures are not human statutes.
Really. The original authors intended PSA.. because you say so.

Forgive me for believing things are a tad more complex than just asserting your favourite idea as truth.

quote:
In its totality, PSA is absolutely lining up with sacrifice, ransom redemption, the defeat of evil in me and ultimately in creation and provides a workable model for the mechanics of salvation viz,
As I've clearly said, I believe that's bullshit however many times you assert it.

0+0+0 = 0

quote:
I am without hope because of my sin but I now possess hope because God in Christ took care of my sin problem..he took it on himself. God allowed this. It was his will, the reason Jesus was incarnated in the first place. It was the 'cup' that could not pass till he drank it.
And as I've said before: I believe in Jesus Christ, his life death and resurrection.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
You know damned well I don't consider that the gospel
I honestly have no idea what you think the gospel is.
So you make shit up instead.

quote:
You pop up offended by any anything that contradicts an evolutionary mythology.
Offended? Don't flatter yourself. I find it amazing that in this day and age anyone can be arrogant, ignorant and/or stupid enough to fly in the face of scientific consensus on something as established, evidenced and vindicated over and over again as biological evolution, but that's as far as it goes.

quote:
I do not think you can have sin in any Biblical sense if you have an evolutionary framework. AFAI can see,
And I think that's a pile of dingoes' kidneys.

quote:
if there is no sin, you do not need a gospel. What is there in naturalistic origins to be saved from?
And that is therefore a meaningless question, based on said pile of dingoes' kidneys. And even were your pile of dingoes' kidneys possessed of any validity, it'd still be an argument from consequences.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
I do not think you can have sin in any Biblical sense if you have an evolutionary framework.

An evolutionary framework precludes the concepts of greed, anger, lust, selfishness, murder, theft, and so forth?

quote:
AFAI can see, if there is no sin, you do not need a gospel. What is there in naturalistic origins to be saved from?
Even if you were right, which you're not, I think not needing to be saved at all would be pretty good news. It would mean we could stop worrying and just enjoy life.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Whaoh ...

Things are getting a bit heated ...

FWIW, no Jamat, I don't think you are talking 'crap', but I do think you have very little idea of how scripture actually 'works' and how the process of interpretation works.

I'm not suggesting that you are dim or anything of the kind, but you seem to have a very raw and very 'wooden' and two-dimensional (or perhaps even one-dimensional) understanding of the way texts work - be they 'ordinary' ones or sacred ones.

I can certainly see that there is 'good news' in the Gospel according to Jamat, but it also strikes me as a somewhat reductionist one that doesn't cover all the bases because it gets 'stuck' on particular tropes and fixated with certain juridical premisses ...

It'll take you so far, but is necessarily a somewhat truncated or 'blinkered' view because it's not a 3-D version ...
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
I do not think you can have sin in any Biblical sense if you have an evolutionary framework.

An evolutionary framework precludes the concepts of greed, anger, lust, selfishness, murder, theft, and so forth?

quote:
AFAI can see, if there is no sin, you do not need a gospel. What is there in naturalistic origins to be saved from?
Even if you were right, which you're not, I think not needing to be saved at all would be pretty good news. It would mean we could stop worrying and just enjoy life.

That's neatly done. It seems true that naturalism doesn't have a problem with sin, therefore requires no solution, whereas theism has, and does. Also, there is the old joke, which I find irresistible, that Christianity found a solution, and then looked for a problem.

However, there is a danger of a false dichotomy here, as I don't think that exhausts the possibilities. I know plenty of people who don't have a metaphysical position really, or a 'world-view', as it's quaintly called.

This includes don't knows, but also probably people like some Buddhists who are neither theists nor naturalists. As for sin, hmm.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
As has often been the case thanks to SOF, despite my innate and historic thick, cultic, literal minded conservatism, the more a bad position is badly defended, the more I polarize against it despite having held it.

The joke says it all q. Jesus is certainly the answer, but only to the question, 'Is there a meaning to existence?'.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I think Jamat conflates a theistic evolutionary view with 'naturalism'.

It doesn't​ seem to occur to him that it is possible to be a theist and to believe in evolution at one and the same time, nor that it is possible to hold to a 'high' view of scriptural inspiration without also holding to a rather narrow,literalistic approach which he deems 'The plain reading of scripture.'

That's why, I submit, he is struggling to understand alternative arguments and scenarios. Because he can only accommodate a neatly dualistic and almost 'Mecanno-set' approach.

There is nothing 'neatly done' about his arguments at all. They are simply lifted in a semi-digested form from very conservative sources and commentaries. That's fine, as long as one appreciates that's what one is doing and sees that it, too is a tradition or interpretation like all the others are.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
As has often been the case thanks to SOF, despite my innate and historic thick, cultic, literal minded conservatism, the more a bad position is badly defended, the more I polarize against it despite having held it.

The joke says it all q. Jesus is certainly the answer, but only to the question, 'Is there a meaning to existence?'.

Nicely put, 'a bad position badly defended'. Well, I remember my days in Zen when there seemed to be lots of questions, to start with, but gradually, they fade away. I'm not sure what 'meaning to existence' means, it's too vague for me.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
I don't really find the term theistic evolution useful. It's just evolution; neither theistic nor atheistic. You might as well assign it a colour or key signature. You don't have theistic relativity or theistic fluid dynamics.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I don't really find the term theistic evolution useful. It's just evolution; neither theistic nor atheistic. You might as well assign it a colour or key signature. You don't have theistic relativity or theistic fluid dynamics.

Gosh, there are some good posts on this thread. Yes, it seems to denote micro-management. If God directs evolution, how about gravity, or fluid dynamics? But I suppose Genesis tends to ignore them.

[ 10. May 2017, 14:42: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
q writes:
quote:
But I suppose Genesis tends to ignore them.
Isn't ignoring volitional? I mean - can you ignore or indeed take note of something of which you are not aware?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Ok, fair point Karl. What I should have said is that Jamat seems to regard a belief in evolution as incompatible with theism.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
q writes:
quote:
But I suppose Genesis tends to ignore them.
Isn't ignoring volitional? I mean - can you ignore or indeed take note of something of which you are not aware?
Yes, in that sense, Genesis ignores evolution, as people were unaware of it, unless you believe that God is aware of everything, including evolution and gravity. There's an old joke, not really a joke - why didn't Jesus tell people to wash their hands? Think of all the lives saved. Well, he didn't know that.

[ 10. May 2017, 16:25: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
u say that as if nobody else here seeks to establish the "whole tenor of the NT". Indeed you seem incapable of appreciating that anyone could have a theology based on the NT but not PSA.

Space does not permit laying out the whole exegetical argument. The issue of the meaning of Gal 3:13 comes down to whether there IS or, why there IS NO, atonement under the law. This is where commentators argue.

Was there no atonement under law because no one could keep it or because it was insufficient even if you could? Some say one thing, some the other.

There is also the argument that Paul does not have the whole law in view, or only the boundary markers that concerned gentile converts. These would be sabbath keeping and circumcision.

Another line of thought concerned the nature of the curse? Was this curse the curse of exile for sin. Perhaps Paul was speaking about the ones who identified with the curse of the Babylonian captivity, and that captivity was a punishment, and that captivity continued under Rome.

The traditional view is that whatever the curse of the law was, however you might define it, it is still a version of penal substitution. The result of Christ exhausting the curse by taking it on himself was to say in effect, Christ suffered the effects of the exile in our place. He redeemed us from the curse by doing so. OR, since breaking the law triggered a curse then ALL were under this curse.

Christ, through hanging on the cross, absorbed the curse and was cursed since a death in that manner meant you were cursed. Really, whichever way you look at it, bottom line is that penal substitution occurred. That is the straightforward meaning so why complicate it?

It is thus far from because I say so. It is because of what the text states and not only that text, but 1 Pet 2:21-25 and 3:18 as well as many others that are consistent with that reading.

In fact the only reason anyone would deniy it is because they have a huge investment in rejecting penal substitution through repugnance because of one's personal view of justice or because that person doesn't grasp the whole Biblical argument about what salvation is, why we need it and how it occurs. It usually comes down to a 'We do not accept what the text says so let's find a way to let it mean something else' IOW the time honoured art of eisigesis.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Really, whichever way you look at it, bottom line is that penal substitution occurred. That is the straightforward meaning so why complicate it?

Because it is bollocks. And you are just stating your opinion as fact. And equating verses which talk about the atonement with PSA.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Really, whichever way you look at it, bottom line is that penal substitution occurred. That is the straightforward meaning so why complicate it?

Because it is bollocks. And you are just stating your opinion as fact. And equating verses which talk about the atonement with PSA.
So now we have to accept it is Because you say so? Pretty well every discussion comes down to 'bollocks'! I am not stating just my opinion mate, it is the opinion of Charles Spurgeon, John Stott, J I Packer and Martin Lloyd-Jones amongst others.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
So now we have to accept it is Because you say so? Pretty well every discussion comes down to 'bollocks'! I am not stating just my opinion mate, it is the opinion of Charles Spurgeon, John Stott, J I Packer and Martin Lloyd-Jones amongst others.

No, hang on - you're the one claiming that the only way to read these verses is via PSA. I'm saying that's clearly not true.

Of course there are people who believe in PSA who read these verses like that! Durr.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
I submit, he is struggling to understand alternative arguments and scenarios
So patronising! One cannot possibly disagree...if only one understood! The bottom line is What is the gospel and why is it necessary. The dualism of saved vs lost is all that matters in the end. Will there be nuanced shades of grey in eternity? Or just heaven and hell?
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Of course there are people who believe in PSA who read these verses like that! Durr.

You say that as if it is beside the point. But it is precisely the point. These great evangelicals saw that as THE way to understand atonement. You lot are the divergents.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
You lot are the divergents.

Riiight. Yeah, those who are pushing a view that has only developed in the last 400 years and only really had much traction in the last 100 years are obviously the orthodox view and those who have any other view including those developed in antiquity are obviously not reading their NT properly.

You're delusional.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
You lot are the divergents.

Riiight. Yeah, those who are pushing a view that has only developed in the last 400 years and only really had much traction in the last 100 years are obviously the orthodox view and those who have any other view including those developed in antiquity are obviously not reading their NT properly.

You're delusional.

Mate, I just hope it is the right delusion. Let me quote briefly from Augustine: " Christ...submitted as man and for man, to bear the curse which accompanies death and as he died in the flesh which he took in bearing our punishment...so also, he was cursed for our offences."
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Mate, I just hope it is the right delusion. Let me quote briefly from Augustine: " Christ...submitted as man and for man, to bear the curse which accompanies death and as he died in the flesh which he took in bearing our punishment...so also, he was cursed for our offences."

And for the nth time, that's not PSA.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
If it was the 'traditional' view then how come the Orthodox have never signed up for it? You don't find many people as 'traditional'as they are?

Oh, I forgot ... They are 'irrelevant' ...

Somehow or other, Jamat has to demonstrate that everyone held PSA to be the main or paradigmatic understanding of the atonement until ... When? At what point did it cease to be the universally accepted view and other theories such as the Ransom Theory and Christus Victor developed in it's place.

When did that happen?

100 AD, 150 AD, 250 AD, 350 AD?

Or is it a case, as is far more likely in my view, that there was no single over-arching 'theory' in the early centuries of the Christian era but rather a sense that we were saved by the whole of the 'Christ event' - the Incarnation, Christ's life, atoning death and resurrection.

Sure, the early Fathers used all sorts of analogies and tropes but it's only in the medieval and Renaissance periods that you get attempts to pin it all down into a nice neat 'system'.

I have the greatest respect for those Jamat calls'the great evangelicals' but there was never a time when everyone believed as they did and then deviated from it at some point. The early Church wasn't a 1st century version of The Metropolitan Tabernacle or All Souls Langham Place any more than it would have looked like the Brompton Oratory.

Once again, Jamat merely indicates his narrow frame of reference.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
To be fair, mr cheesy, the Augustine quote does refer to Christ 'bearing our punishment.'

Yes, the Augustininian emphasis would lead through Anselm and Aquinas to the understanding the Reformers had of these things which then fed into subsequent Evangelical developments.

But Augustine wouldn't have understood the atonement in the precise same way as contemporary evangelicals.

But I can see why Jamat cites him here - however selectively.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
None of those verses even mention penal motivation. How can they "clearly" suggest
OK let's just take Gal 3:13 Christ became a curse for us How could this possibly be true if he was not a penal substitute?
You are the one in denial or blinded to the truth more likely.

This is most likely to be Jesus undergoing the effects of exile under Roman rule - not a punishment but an incarnational sharing in our condition.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Mate, I just hope it is the right delusion. Let me quote briefly from Augustine: " Christ...submitted as man and for man, to bear the curse which accompanies death and as he died in the flesh which he took in bearing our punishment...so also, he was cursed for our offences."

And for the nth time, that's not PSA.
So then, you want to dismiss ANY evidence contrary to your view by moving the goalposts. Augustine is not the only ancient to affirm PSA as a component of the work Christ did.

The atonement is not some narrowly defined thing. Within it, you have ransom, substitution etc and ALSO the fact that Christ was the paid the penalty for sin. It was through his substitution on our behalf that he ransomed us by taking on himself the sin that caused God's wrath to be towards us. This is why we can be regenerate or born again.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
None of those verses even mention penal motivation. How can they "clearly" suggest
OK let's just take Gal 3:13 Christ became a curse for us How could this possibly be true if he was not a penal substitute?
You are the one in denial or blinded to the truth more likely.

This is most likely to be Jesus undergoing the effects of exile under Roman rule - not a punishment but an incarnational sharing in our condition.
Well, so what? Another theologian wants to find a loophole. He THINKS it is a mistake to read Gal 3:13 individualistically. He THINKS perhaps he can fit Paul into what is acceptable to HIM if he does so. What a surprise!

He thinks Christ was maybe a curse for the nation an exilic curse? But it won't fly. AND It does not actually change anything

US is every single ONE of us.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
I have the greatest respect for those Jamat calls'the great evangelicals' but there was never a time when everyone believed as they did and then deviated from it at some point. The early Church wasn't a 1st century version of The Metropolitan Tabernacle or All Souls
Your comments are completely beside the point Gamaliel. The way they exegeted the scripture was to unpack what the apostles believed. No on pretends systematic theology was united back then!
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
So then, you want to dismiss ANY evidence contrary to your view by moving the goalposts. Augustine is not the only ancient to affirm PSA as a component of the work Christ did.

No, it's a factual statement: Augustine didn't believe in PSA because it hadn't been formulated.

You might have an argument about Augustine believing in a form of substitutionary atonement, you've got no case at all that he believed in your evangelical form of PSA which wasn't formed until many centuries later.

quote:
The atonement is not some narrowly defined thing. Within it, you have ransom, substitution etc and ALSO the fact that Christ was the paid the penalty for sin. It was through his substitution on our behalf that he ransomed us by taking on himself the sin that caused God's wrath to be towards us. This is why we can be regenerate or born again.
You clearly don't know what it is that you're arguing and it is rather hard to discuss this with you given that you don't accept there are alternative ways to read the text and don't seem familiar with the differences between the theories of the atonement.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
u say that as if nobody else here seeks to establish the "whole tenor of the NT". Indeed you seem incapable of appreciating that anyone could have a theology based on the NT but not PSA.

Space does not permit laying out the whole exegetical argument. The issue of the meaning of Gal 3:13 comes down to whether there IS or, why there IS NO, atonement under the law. This is where commentators argue.

Was there no atonement under law because no one could keep it or because it was insufficient even if you could? Some say one thing, some the other.

There is also the argument that Paul does not have the whole law in view, or only the boundary markers that concerned gentile converts. These would be sabbath keeping and circumcision.

Another line of thought concerned the nature of the curse? Was this curse the curse of exile for sin. Perhaps Paul was speaking about the ones who identified with the curse of the Babylonian captivity, and that captivity was a punishment, and that captivity continued under Rome.

The traditional view is that whatever the curse of the law was, however you might define it, it is still a version of penal substitution. The result of Christ exhausting the curse by taking it on himself was to say in effect, Christ suffered the effects of the exile in our place. He redeemed us from the curse by doing so. OR, since breaking the law triggered a curse then ALL were under this curse.

Christ, through hanging on the cross, absorbed the curse and was cursed since a death in that manner meant you were cursed. Really, whichever way you look at it, bottom line is that penal substitution occurred. That is the straightforward meaning so why complicate it?

It is thus far from because I say so. It is because of what the text states and not only that text, but 1 Pet 2:21-25 and 3:18 as well as many others that are consistent with that reading.

In fact the only reason anyone would deniy it is because they have a huge investment in rejecting penal substitution through repugnance because of one's personal view of justice or because that person doesn't grasp the whole Biblical argument about what salvation is, why we need it and how it occurs. It usually comes down to a 'We do not accept what the text says so let's find a way to let it mean something else' IOW the time honoured art of eisigesis.

I wouldn't dream of doing that, as you know. I've noticed others here moving in that direction recently, that PSA is intrinsic to the Bible. To the man Jesus. It just isn't so.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
So then, you want to dismiss ANY evidence contrary to your view by moving the goalposts. Augustine is not the only ancient to affirm PSA as a component of the work Christ did.

No, it's a factual statement: Augustine didn't believe in PSA because it hadn't been formulated.

You might have an argument about Augustine believing in a form of substitutionary atonement, you've got no case at all that he believed in your evangelical form of PSA which wasn't formed until many centuries later.

quote:
The atonement is not some narrowly defined thing. Within it, you have ransom, substitution etc and ALSO the fact that Christ was the paid the penalty for sin. It was through his substitution on our behalf that he ransomed us by taking on himself the sin that caused God's wrath to be towards us. This is why we can be regenerate or born again.
You clearly don't know what it is that you're arguing and it is rather hard to discuss this with you given that you don't accept there are alternative ways to read the text and don't seem familiar with the differences between the theories of the atonement.

I do agree that YOU don't know what I am concerned about.
It is not that PSA is one ring to rule them all. It IS that any of them, minus A PSA element, results in a false gospel.
I am fully aware that theological systems are a later development and don't just form themselves. I just do not think CV or ransom theory on their tod, do justice to scripture.
 
Posted by gorpo (# 17025) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:


But Augustine wouldn't have understood the atonement in the precise same way as contemporary evangelicals.

[/QB]

And do you think Augustine or any of the church fathers would have subscribed to the liberal understanding of the atonement, really? Do you think when they talked about Christ´s victory over the evil powers, they had in mind anything like the wish-washy socio-political gospel of today?
[Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Augustine didn't believe in PSA because it hadn't been formulated.
That's totally obvious and beside the point. What he obviously DID believe, was that the gospel included a penal element.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:


But Augustine wouldn't have understood the atonement in the precise same way as contemporary evangelicals.


And do you think Augustine or any of the church fathers would have subscribed to the liberal understanding of the atonement, really? Do you think when they talked about Christ´s victory over the evil powers, they had in mind anything like the wish-washy socio-political gospel of today?
[Roll Eyes] [/QB]

No, I'm not saying any such thing. Where did you get that idea from?

It strikes me that some posters are being very reductionist here ... As if there are only two options or alternatives ... either what has become the Protestant evangelical version or the liberal Protestant version.

Of course, the reality is that those who wrote the scriptures and those who developed and formulated doctrine from the apostolic testimony were neither liberals in the modern sense nor evangelicals in the modern sense ...

Both contemporary Evangelicals and contemporary liberalism are growths/developments from earlier strands. We all know that. The issue, of course is whether they are legitimate developments ... Not whether they shake down, ready formed from the pages of scripture as if they've simply been there all the time waiting for us to notice them ...

I'm not arguing for a wishy-washy socio-political take on the atonement either.

Nor am I dismissing an evangelical or pietistic stance either - but taken individually neither address the whole question.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Of course the early Christians exegetes the writings of the Apostles. They also chose which to include in the canon. That doesn't mean they all reached exactly the same conclusions.

If they were all united on PSA, for instance, at what point did they cease to be together on that point?

This isn't an irrelevant issue, it's a quest about how these things work and how doctrine develops.
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:


But Augustine wouldn't have understood the atonement in the precise same way as contemporary evangelicals.


And do you think Augustine or any of the church fathers would have subscribed to the liberal understanding of the atonement, really? Do you think when they talked about Christ´s victory over the evil powers, they had in mind anything like the wish-washy socio-political gospel of today?
[Roll Eyes]

gorpo, have you actually read any of this thread? I am asking because there has been little or no mention on it of "the wishy-washy socio-political gospel of today" whatever you mean by that perjorative term (Abelard's exemplar theory?), and an awful lot of mention of Christ's victory over evil powers, that is, Christus Victor (ie not PSA). The debate has been largely carried out by either evangelicals like myself, or those of evangelical heritage, with honourable interjections by mousetheif. Not a noticeably liberal cohort. And with a creed like "Jesus is Lord", (ie as opposed to Caesar is Lord), of course the NT church was viscerally involved in challenging the socio-political conditions of their own times. They did that by means of personal transformation through Christ, plus the witness of radical alternative lifestyle, personal integrity and deep familial bonds within their ranks. As Gamaliel would say, it was both/and, not either/or.

To portray scepticism of the biblical basis for PSA by people who are deeply committed to the scripture as some kind of salient of the culture wars ... well, as those on the left side of the pond might say, that dog won't hunt.

And, of course, activism is one of the corners of the Bebbington Quadrilateral; PSA is not.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I'd be fascinated to hear exactly how a belief in Christus Victor or in one of the ransom theories marks one out as a liberal.

That's utter garbage.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
As well as anachronistic.

I think that's part of the issue here. People redacting their own or later concerns back into the pages of the NT and acting as if current trends are the yardstick - whether those are liberal or conservative ones.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
As well as anachronistic.

I think that's part of the issue here. People redacting their own or later concerns back into the pages of the NT and acting as if current trends are the yardstick - whether those are liberal or conservative ones.

No, stop mischaracterising the debate.

The fact is that there have been a range of theories of the atonement from antiquity. And there is a long history of tweaking and developing those theories in various Christian traditions.

And those traditions favour one atonement theory (or a mix of theories) over the others for a range of reasons.

So anyone here who is proposing a particular theory and it being the only one, or the foundational one, is doing so from a particular tradition or because they find that theory more engaging over all the others.

The only person reading "their own or later concerns back into the pages of the NT and acting as if current trends are the yardstick" is Jamat.

Everyone else acknowledges that there are a range of theories of the atonement, that the text can be read in different ways and is giving reasons for accepting one over the others. Only Jamat is saying that PSA-as-foundation is the only reasonable way to read the texts, that those who disagree are not reading the bible, that his view is orthodox Christianity and that everyone else is a hopeless liberal. Nobody else is saying that.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
So then, you want to dismiss ANY evidence contrary to your view by moving the goalposts. Augustine is not the only ancient to affirm PSA as a component of the work Christ did.

No, it's a factual statement: Augustine didn't believe in PSA because it hadn't been formulated.

You might have an argument about Augustine believing in a form of substitutionary atonement, you've got no case at all that he believed in your evangelical form of PSA which wasn't formed until many centuries later.

quote:
The atonement is not some narrowly defined thing. Within it, you have ransom, substitution etc and ALSO the fact that Christ was the paid the penalty for sin. It was through his substitution on our behalf that he ransomed us by taking on himself the sin that caused God's wrath to be towards us. This is why we can be regenerate or born again.
You clearly don't know what it is that you're arguing and it is rather hard to discuss this with you given that you don't accept there are alternative ways to read the text and don't seem familiar with the differences between the theories of the atonement.

I do agree that YOU don't know what I am concerned about.
It is not that PSA is one ring to rule them all. It IS that any of them, minus A PSA element, results in a false gospel.
I am fully aware that theological systems are a later development and don't just form themselves. I just do not think CV or ransom theory on their tod, do justice to scripture.

All gospels are false.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
All gospels are false.

Ah, I know this one:

But some of the gospels are more false than the others.

Four gospels bad, two gospels good..?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, nobody else is saying that apart from Jamat, mr cheesy - however, Gorpo challenged me over the issue of whether the early Church saw the atonement in 'wishy-washy' modern socio-political terms ...

Which I took to be a parallel tendency to what Jamat is doing, namely reducing everything down to a small number of options based on contemporary experience.

Does that make sense?

So, no, I don't accept that I mischaracterised the discussion but I will concede that I should have been more explicit in the point I was trying to make ie that it refers to Jamat.

To be fair to Jamat, he has supplied evidence of people understanding the atonement in penal and juridical ways prior to the Reformation - hence the quote from Augustine.

My point though, is that Augustine's views did lead - though Anselm, medieval Scholasticism and so on - to the kind of approach the Reformers took ... but that it's not simply the case that Augustine or anyone else opened the Bible one day and out it all popped ...

Jamat is clearly aware of developments in doctrine, theology and approaches but considers these 'irrelevant' to some extent because he seems to think the Bible stands alone and that we can somehow receive it in some kind of decontextualised and 'pure' state - rather than through the context and traditions we find ourselves within.

The Bible standing alone, of course, presupposes that one's own view is the correct one. So the source of authority isn't actually the Bible but one's own interpretation and approach to the Bible.

Somehow, some of the extreme Sola Scriptura - or more accurately SOLO Scriptura - people appear not to be able to grasp that.

'It's not me who says it, it's the text ...'

What they are actually saying is, 'It's my interpretation of the text ...'

But you know that already.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
All gospels are false.

Ah, I know this one:

But some of the gospels are more false than the others.

Four gospels bad, two gospels good..?

[Smile] om just bein' black and white about it. Making Jamat feel at home: Nothing we make up is fully so. Even the facts of quantum mechanics, the best model of reality we will ever have, are open to interpretation. As to the meaning of Jesus ...
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
If you want to study the early fathers on the atonement and specifically look at early manifestations of penal component in their thought, there are certainly papers, and maybe even books that do that in a scholarly and respectful fashion. As well as the usual popular dross.

But I think you would need to be clear about "penal" in the sense of Jesus taking upon himself death as the consequence of the human condition (the penalty for sin), which I have seen described as the broad sense of penal, and God (=YHWH, God the Father) somehow punishing Jesus so he doesn't have to punish us, which is described as the narrow sense. To get the idea of how these ideas correspond to what the fathers thought needs a very considerable amount of reading beyond the key passages in their writings. You can't just do the proof-texting thing, of which we have already seen too much on this thread for my comfort.

And then it gets really difficult when you start trying to follow up the citations of other people's work, where they may be using different definitions of "penal".

That's just "penal". The different understandings of "substitution" have I think been pretty well covered already earlier in the thread.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
That makes sense to me, Honest Ron.

I might be wrong, but it strikes me that some of the most lugubrious examples of proof-texting and picking texts selectively from the Fathers to 'prove' particular points comes from the US (and US influenced) uber-Reformed or hyper-Calvinist stable ...

I'm sure they are not alone in that tendency though.

I'm also sure there are more sane and balanced treatments out there from a range of perspectives - Reformed, small r reformed, RC, Orthodox etc ...
 
Posted by k-mann (# 8490) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
My take is that while many Evangelicals, at least in the States, will say they value all theories of atonement, PSA is treated as non-negotiable—or as fletcher christian said, a litmus test of orthodoxy—while all other theories are treated as optional add-ons.

Which is (one of the reasons) why I could never consider becoming a reformed evangelical. The two main reasons for that is that PSA renders incoherent St. Paul’s message in Gal. 2:19-20, and that it is self-contradictory. (1) In Gal. 2:19-20, St. Paul states that he is ‘crucified with Christ.’ But if Christ died instead of us, so that we didn’t have to, why must we be ‘crucified with Christ’? If, on the other hand, Christ is our representative, it makes much more sense. (2) PSA teaches that Christ was punished in our place. But our punishment (at least according to reformed evangelical teaching) is infinite. PSA thus states that Christ was finitely punished with an infinite punishment, which is a clear self-contradiction, making as much sense as a circular square.

quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
There's no question that Calvin, building on Anselm's satisfaction model, articulated what would become known as PSA. It was the model that made most sense to him.

Yes, while it is often claimed that Calvin (and, to a lesser extent, Luther) was building on Anselm’s satisfaction model, he ignored one of its main principles, partly because he ignored its roots in medieval judiciary systems (where a transgression could be satisfied without punishment but through satisfaction). According to Anselm, a sin or a transgression can be atoned either through punishment (of the transgressor) or through satisfaction (by the transgressor or by someone else, on the transgressor’s behalf). He said aut poena aut satisfactio, ‘either punishment or satisfaction.’ Thus a person can pay your fine, but he cannot be punished as if he is guilty. Thus, punishment and satisfaction are not equivalents. Calvin took Anselm’s doctrine as his starting point, but he added to it the idea of a ‘transfer of penalty,’ thus completely muddling Anselm’s doctrine. St. Anselm’s point was not that Christ was punished as if he was guilty, but that he offered God something that was much more worth than the punishment of any sin. He gave himself fully, in obedience, in thanks, in adoration.

For some good articles, see Paul J. LaChance, “Understanding Christ’s Satisfaction Today” (The Saint Anselm Journal 2:1, 2004): 60-66 (esp, 6, cf. n.5); J. Patout Burns, S.J, “The Concept of Satisfaction in Medieval Redemption Theory” (Theological Studies 36:2, 1975): 285-304 (esp. pp.286-289, 302-303); David A. Brondos, “Did Paul Get Luther Right?” (Dialog 46:1, 2007): 24-30 (esp. 25-26); and John D. Hannah, “Anselm on the Doctrine of Atonement” (Bibliotheca Sacra 135, 1978): 333-344. Also see Paul Fiddes’ book Past Event and Present Salvation: The Christian Idea of Atonement (Westminster John Knox Press 1989): 83-111 (chapter 5, ‘The demands of justice’).
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
Brilliant k-mann, just brilliant! [Overused]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
For me this is the reason why "biblical" is a poor measure of anything. PSA makes something which is already difficult to parse (how can it be fair to threaten someone with something eternal for an infraction which is temporal?) and makes it even less explicable.

But then I think this is also a problem with ransom theories generally - how exactly is Christ's death a payment? It has never made any sense to me. In what possible way does someone (usually God or Satan) somehow get paid off by Jesus' death?

Satan - oh y'know I'm holding humanity in bondage because I'm an evil tyrannt and there's nothing whatsoever you can do about it. mwhahahaha

- sees Jesus dying on the cross

Satan - yep, that'll do nicely. Here's a receipt.

--

And it makes even less sense if it is somehow a Ransom to God. I can't even make a cartoon dialogue of how that works, because clearly it doesn't.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Another theologian wants to find a loophole. He THINKS it is a mistake to read Gal 3:13 individualistically. He THINKS perhaps he can fit Paul into what is acceptable to HIM if he does so. What a surprise!

Just as you are THINKING your view can fit back into St. Paul.
AND the theologian in question is following Pauline experts like Tom Wright (who happens o be an evangelical)
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, but Wright isn't evangelical enough for some Evangelicals, Leo - witness John Piper's issues with Wright over justification.

Wright has an evangelical heritage and is certainly no liberal but lots of Big E Evangelicals have an issue with him because of his 'New Perspective on Paul.'

Also, the RCs like him so that is sufficient in and of itself to queer his pitch as far as some of the Reformed Evangelicals are concerned.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by k-mann:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
There's no question that Calvin, building on Anselm's satisfaction model, articulated what would become known as PSA. It was the model that made most sense to him.

Yes, while it is often claimed that Calvin (and, to a lesser extent, Luther) was building on Anselm’s satisfaction model, he ignored one of its main principles, partly because he ignored its roots in medieval judiciary systems (where a transgression could be satisfied without punishment but through satisfaction).
Yes, which suggests to me something that is intertwined in all of our attempts to understand the atonement: We take the various metaphors and images that Scripture uses to illustrate what exactly is going on in God's reconciling work in Christ, and we often interpret those metaphors and images through the lenses of our own experiences and contexts. Calvin did it, and Anselm (and others) did it before him. I don't necessarily think it's a "wrong" thing to do, as long as we recognize that it's what we're doing and what others have done before us and as long as we recognize that all of our explanations have limitations and fall short.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Originally posted by Jamat:

quote:
I honestly have no idea what you think the gospel is. You pop up offended by any anything that contradicts an evolutionary mythology. I do not think you can have sin in any Biblical sense if you have an evolutionary framework. AFAI can see, if there is no sin, you do not need a gospel. What is there in naturalistic origins to be saved from?
Only if you believe that evolution means that there is no such thing as deliberately willed evil. When Augustine claims that, as a newborn baby he used to wail and whinge until he was attended to and that demonstrated that he was sinful, I would say,, no that demonstrates that you were a baby mammal and that is how baby mammals get themselves cared for. When Augustine ditched the woman he loved for an advantageous marriage and then took up another mistress whilst he waited for the i's to be dotted and the t's to be crossed I agree with him that was not really on. As someone who believes in the theory of evolution I would say that the first was a natural biological process and that the second could be explained, to a certain extent, by natural biological processes but to some extent involved a willed evil act.

Long before evolutionary theory we cut St. Peter a certain amount of slack for how he behaved on Maundy Thursday but were rather less forgiving about the choices of Caiaphas. People who behave badly out of natural or distorted human reactions are less culpable than people who behave badly out of willed choice. Evolution might reduce the number of acts which can be attributed to willed choice but, AFAICS, cannot eliminate them altogether.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
mr cheesy:
quote:
... how exactly is Christ's death a payment? It has never made any sense to me. In what possible way does someone (usually God or Satan) somehow get paid off by Jesus' death?

Satan - oh y'know I'm holding humanity in bondage because I'm an evil tyrannt and there's nothing whatsoever you can do about it. mwhahahaha

- sees Jesus dying on the cross

Satan - yep, that'll do nicely. Here's a receipt.

Or God- oh y'know I'm holding humanity in bondage because my holiness is so offended by sin, it has to be paid off big time. (Although humans have no ability to be perfectly sinless even if they want to be. Sort of like a quadriplegic being brought up on charges of not being able to dance.) And you lot can't afford the penalty of offending me so...mwhahahaha

-sees Jesus dying on the cross

God- yep, that'll do nicely. Here's an executive pardon. Have a nice eternity. [Smile]

[ 11. May 2017, 19:36: Message edited by: Lyda*Rose ]
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I'd be fascinated to hear exactly how a belief in Christus Victor or in one of the ransom theories marks one out as a liberal.

That's utter garbage.

It's hilarious, as ever, to see Orthodoxy, which was old and venerable before Evangelicalism was a twinkle in Luther's eye, described as a liberal innovation. I'm going to piss my pants here just from laughing.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Ah, but Mousethief, your old and venerable Tradition is 'irrelevant'. Get with the programme.

It's irrelevant because Jamat says so.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Only Jamat is saying that PSA-as-foundation is the only reasonable way to read the texts, that those who disagree are not reading the bible, that his view is orthodox Christianity and that everyone else is a hopeless liberal.
Well, What I thought I said was that the 'penal' element of the atonement cannot be dismissed as 'unscriptural'. The 'PSA' as a theory or model, is not really something that I am specifically batting for.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Gamaliel: he is struggling to understand alternative arguments and scenarios
Gamaliel, once again,you want to patronise a viewpoint that disagrees with yours. If am such a dumbass, then ignore what I say.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Only Jamat is saying that PSA-as-foundation is the only reasonable way to read the texts, that those who disagree are not reading the bible, that his view is orthodox Christianity and that everyone else is a hopeless liberal.
Well, What I thought I said was that the 'penal' element of the atonement cannot be dismissed as 'unscriptural'. The 'PSA' as a theory or model, is not really something that I am specifically batting for.
Well, then, you need to reread your posts. For example, this one (emphasis mine):

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
the way I see the Bible metanarrative, you cannot have the others, ransom, CV and moral influence, without the foundation of PSA .



[ 11. May 2017, 23:37: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Only Jamat is saying that PSA-as-foundation is the only reasonable way to read the texts, that those who disagree are not reading the bible, that his view is orthodox Christianity and that everyone else is a hopeless liberal.
Well, What I thought I said was that the 'penal' element of the atonement cannot be dismissed as 'unscriptural'. The 'PSA' as a theory or model, is not really something that I am specifically batting for.
Well, then, you need to reread your posts. For example, this one (emphasis mine):

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
the way I see the Bible metanarrative, you cannot have the others, ransom, CV and moral influence, without the foundation of PSA .


I refer constantly, though, to the fact, not the theory. Reading for content is a good option.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Mr Cheesy: How exactly is Christ's death a payment? It has never made any sense to me. In what possible way does someone (usually God or Satan) somehow get paid off by Jesus' death
Betrays once again the anrhtopocentric misunderstanding of the atonement and mistakes the truth behind the human metaphor, for the literal reality of the image,thus creating the straw man.

God is not 'paid off', it is more that Christ has accomplished a means to restore the original fellowship God had,and still desires to have, with humankind. God,because of the atonement,can now legitimately view us, as righteous, if of course,we accept his offer. Put succinctly by Paul in Phil 3:10 who states that though Faith in Christ, he has a 'righteousness' which is from God.
Beware, if you continue to mock what God offers you, you will be prevented from experiencing it.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
Not only does PSA make sense of many passages which other models don't, but there is no inherent reason why a doctrine believed and taught in the Bible could not be more or less immediately set aside after the NT era, and then rediscovered many generations later.

In fact we have seen just such an exegetical and hermeneutical phenomenon occurring in recent decades, with countless studies purporting to demonstrate that neither gender differences in ministry, nor barriers to homosexual practice (including marriage), are found in the NT, despite both restrictions being taught and enforced from the very beginning of church history.

The point is not the DH issue of whether these recent assertions are right or wrong, but that we all from time to time revere or ignore the long-term teachings, practices and silences of the church as it suits us.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Only Jamat is saying that PSA-as-foundation is the only reasonable way to read the texts, that those who disagree are not reading the bible, that his view is orthodox Christianity and that everyone else is a hopeless liberal.
Well, What I thought I said was that the 'penal' element of the atonement cannot be dismissed as 'unscriptural'. The 'PSA' as a theory or model, is not really something that I am specifically batting for.
Well, then, you need to reread your posts. For example, this one (emphasis mine):

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
the way I see the Bible metanarrative, you cannot have the others, ransom, CV and moral influence, without the foundation of PSA .


I refer constantly, though, to the fact, not the theory. Reading for content is a good option.
I rest my case.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Betrays once again the anrhtopocentric misunderstanding of the atonement and mistakes the truth behind the human metaphor, for the literal reality of the image,thus creating the straw man.

No, it is an attempt to wrestle with a theory of the atonement. And an explanation of why it makes no sense to me.

quote:
God is not 'paid off', it is more that Christ has accomplished a means to restore the original fellowship God had,and still desires to have, with humankind.
Actually, the Ramson theory - which I was referring to - is a payment, hence the term ransom.

If you don't believe me, try reading the the wikipedia page


quote:
God,because of the atonement,can now legitimately view us, as righteous, if of course,we accept his offer. Put succinctly by Paul in Phil 3:10 who states that though Faith in Christ, he has a 'righteousness' which is from God.

Or perhaps it is that the atonement is part of God's redeeming work of all things and that "Christ's death defeated the powers of evil, which had held humankind in their dominion" and that Jesus' life, death and resurrection was to "bring positive moral change to humanity".

Maybe it is entirely possible to believe in the power of the atonement whilst rejecting the ways that you insist I have to understand it.

quote:
Beware, if you continue to mock what God offers you, you will be prevented from experiencing it.
Yeah. Because obviously anyone who has a brain and uses it to discuss and disagree with your half-baked theological theories is obviously mocking God.


[Mad]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Not only does PSA make sense of many passages which other models don't, but there is no inherent reason why a doctrine believed and taught in the Bible could not be more or less immediately set aside after the NT era, and then rediscovered many generations later.

I'd be interested to discuss how PSA makes sense of passages which others don't if you have the time.

I'd generally agree that understanding has developed and that it is possible that ideas have been "set aside" after the NT era and rediscovered later.

The question is whether the atonement is really one of those things and whether one can have any certainty that in the NT era they believed in PSA.

There is no evidence whatsoever that this is the case.

quote:
In fact we have seen just such an exegetical and hermeneutical phenomenon occurring in recent decades, with countless studies purporting to demonstrate that neither gender differences in ministry, nor barriers to homosexual practice (including marriage), are found in the NT, despite both restrictions being taught and enforced from the very beginning of church history.
Well, I guess the detail of that is a DH subject. However it is clearly true that something like slavery, which is arguably not condemned as an institution in the NT has been part of a developing hermeneutic which changed from a belief that it was inevitable, through the idea that it was somehow an order dictated to organise humanity from God and ended up as obviously something that disgusted God.

quote:
The point is not the DH issue of whether these recent assertions are right or wrong, but that we all from time to time revere or ignore the long-term teachings, practices and silences of the church as it suits us.
I suppose the point I'd argue is the extent to which the changes are because they suit us. I'd argue that the majority of these cases are nothing to do with liberal convenience and everything to do with a developing sense of justice and love of neighbour - which after all are major themes of the teaching tradition in the NT.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Only Jamat is saying that PSA-as-foundation is the only reasonable way to read the texts, that those who disagree are not reading the bible, that his view is orthodox Christianity and that everyone else is a hopeless liberal.
Well, What I thought I said was that the 'penal' element of the atonement cannot be dismissed as 'unscriptural'. The 'PSA' as a theory or model, is not really something that I am specifically batting for.
Well, then, you need to reread your posts. For example, this one (emphasis mine):

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
the way I see the Bible metanarrative, you cannot have the others, ransom, CV and moral influence, without the foundation of PSA .


I refer constantly, though, to the fact, not the theory. Reading for content is a good option.
I rest my case.
Fantastic you can also dictate the verdict.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Betrays once again the anrhtopocentric misunderstanding of the atonement and mistakes the truth behind the human metaphor, for the literal reality of the image,thus creating the straw man.

No, it is an attempt to wrestle with a theory of the atonement. And an explanation of why it makes no sense to me.

quote:
God is not 'paid off', it is more that Christ has accomplished a means to restore the original fellowship God had,and still desires to have, with humankind.
Actually, the Ramson theory - which I was referring to - is a payment, hence the term ransom.

If you don't believe me, try reading the the wikipedia page


quote:
God,because of the atonement,can now legitimately view us, as righteous, if of course,we accept his offer. Put succinctly by Paul in Phil 3:10 who states that though Faith in Christ, he has a 'righteousness' which is from God.

Or perhaps it is that the atonement is part of God's redeeming work of all things and that "Christ's death defeated the powers of evil, which had held humankind in their dominion" and that Jesus' life, death and resurrection was to "bring positive moral change to humanity".

Maybe it is entirely possible to believe in the power of the atonement whilst rejecting the ways that you insist I have to understand it.

quote:
Beware, if you continue to mock what God offers you, you will be prevented from experiencing it.
Yeah. Because obviously anyone who has a brain and uses it to discuss and disagree with your half-baked theological theories is obviously mocking God.


[Mad]

Well, surprise,surprise! More personal mockery! Don't worry mate,laying the man is also a Time-honoured tradition on SOF.

[ 12. May 2017, 07:33: Message edited by: Jamat ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
Sorry Mr Cheesy, that was supposed to be 'playing' the man.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Sorry Mr Cheesy, that was supposed to be 'playing' the man.

No, I wasn't playing the man, I was expressing annoyance with the way that you were claiming some kind of special significance for your theory and closing down discussion of it by suggesting that I was mocking God.

Which, to be honest, I regard as the absolute lowest form of theological discussion. Congratulations.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
The question is whether the atonement is really one of those things and whether one can have any certainty that in the NT era they believed in PSA.

There is no evidence whatsoever that this is the case.


That's amusing. Looking at the scriptures, I'd say there was no evidence they believed in anything OTHER than an atonement which involved a penal element.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
That's amusing. Looking at the scriptures, I'd say there was no evidence they believed in anything OTHER than an atonement which involved a penal element.

Have you ready any of the above thread? Do you not appreciate that it takes more than you making claims to make a theological case for something?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Thing is, Kaplan, if there were doctrines held universally scores all the Christian communities of the first few centuries that were later abandoned at some point only to be recovered at the Reformation say, or in the 18th, 19th or 20th centuries ...

Then the onus is on you to find the smoking gun.

Nobody has so far demonstrated to me at what point the early Christians moved from a PSA style understanding of the atonement to a Ransom Theory​ approach or to Christus Victor (which is a more modern iteration by Gustav Aulen of earlier models) ...

When did that take place?

As I understand it, it didn't.

What happened was that in certain places and at certain periods in response to certain developments and conditions, certain aspects or emphases were marshalled in support of particular positions.

Why was there a Protestant revolt, as it were, in Western Europe in the 16th century but not in the Christian East, for instance?

They were all reading the scriptures, weren't they?

Of course, there were others things going on and not just a case of Luther opening his Bible one day and thinking, 'Of course! Justification by faith ... Why haven't we all seen that before? Eureka! And while I'm at it I'd better tear out the Epistle of James in order to make things fit ...'

Of course, I'm teasing, but I am trying to make a serious point ...

Meanwhile, @Jamat, forgive me but I don't think you are a dumbass. Far from it. You strike me as someone who is fiercely intelligent and committed, only in a somewhat brittle way and with particular tramlines that you've laid down and from which you find it impossible to deviate ...

But then, I get accused of banging the same drum or piping the same tune here on Ship with my particular beefs and hobby-horses ...

@Kaplan, yes, PSA does neatly resolve some problems - and that's part of its appeal ... But in so doing, it seems to me - and others here with whom I don't necessarily agree on all issues - it raises additional problems ...

Contra Jamat, I don't believe that everyone who has sincere or genuine issues with PSA is being anthropocentric or squeamish about the seriousness of sin - nor, as he seems to suggest, in peril of their mortal souls ...

Rather, it's because they don't see how it resolves the issues as neatly as PSA proponents consider it to do.

For my money, some non-PSA proponents can and do let themselves down by caricatures and the setting up of straw-men ...

However, one has only got to read the posts of the most ardent PSA supporter here to see that they are full of ad hominems, of proof-texting, special pleading, a lack of historical perspective and threats of eternal damnation ...

Sure, not all PSA proponents are so lacking in nuance but it tells us something of the way this particular mindset operates - or can operate.

I rest my case.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
The question is whether the atonement is really one of those things and whether one can have any certainty that in the NT era they believed in PSA.

There is no evidence whatsoever that this is the case.


That's amusing. Looking at the scriptures, I'd say there was no evidence they believed in anything OTHER than an atonement which involved a penal element.
Then at what point did they modify or abandon that?

At what point were they ever SOLO Scriptura?

You are anochronistic and assume that because your conservative evangelical tradition interprets the scriptures in a particular way then everyone else must have done the same until somebody or other deviated from it at some point.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Not only does PSA make sense of many passages which other models don't, but there is no inherent reason why a doctrine believed and taught in the Bible could not be more or less immediately set aside after the NT era, and then rediscovered many generations later.

In fact we have seen just such an exegetical and hermeneutical phenomenon occurring in recent decades, with countless studies purporting to demonstrate that neither gender differences in ministry, nor barriers to homosexual practice (including marriage), are found in the NT, despite both restrictions being taught and enforced from the very beginning of church history.

The point is not the DH issue of whether these recent assertions are right or wrong, but that we all from time to time revere or ignore the long-term teachings, practices and silences of the church as it suits us.

This fascinates me. PSA is a given in the Bible for me - nurtured in a legalistic Judaistic cult as I was - and C1st Jewish Christianity and ignored OR tacit in Greco-Roman Christianity and beyond.

PSA did not compute for non-Jewish culture for some reason OR was so obvious there was no need to address it.

Non-Jewish Christianity was as visibly obsessed with sin and salvation as any solo PSAer and as damnationally deranged, so what difference does it make?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Whatever the case, I think it's pretty obvious that PSA isn't a 'given' unless you are part of a tradition that regards it as such.

I've had discussions with those 'irrelevant' people, the Orthodox, in which they furrow their brows and stroke their beards because it isn't immediately obvious to them - although those who were Western Christians of some form before crossing the Bosphorus obviously understand it and why it's been seen as such a big deal in the West.

This intrigues me and begs several questions ...

If it was so immediately and controvertibly obvious, how come they overlooked it for so long?

The knee-jerk Jamat-style answer would be:

'Because they didn't read the Bible / understand the Bible / Satan hardened their hearts / Satan deceived them ...' etc etc

The Kaplan Corday answer would be, 'Well, it is possible for truths to lie buried in God's holy word until somebody or other cottons onto them ...'

Ok.

But could it not also be because?

- There are other ways of understanding these things?

- We all understand the scriptures in the context of our own particular traditions. We wear those lenses when we read them. This happens so unconsciously that we may not even be aware that we are wearing spectacles in the first place.

It doesn't do any violence to a 'high' view of scriptural inspiration to acknowledge the incontrovertible fact that reading includes interpretation and that interpretation is coloured and filtered by whatever Christian tradition has influenced us the most.

I don't see why that should be such a threatening idea, unless one has invested a stupendous amount of emotional and nervous energy in one's own tradition as so incontrovertibly correct that it's not even discerned or recognised as a tradition or template at all ...
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
This.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
So, PSA infected the West and wasn't even rejected in the East. That has to be cultural. Linguistic.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
The question is whether the atonement is really one of those things and whether one can have any certainty that in the NT era they believed in PSA.

There is no evidence whatsoever that this is the case.


That's amusing. Looking at the scriptures, I'd say there was no evidence they believed in anything OTHER than an atonement which involved a penal element.
Then at what point did they modify or abandon that?

At what point were they ever SOLO Scriptura?

You are anochronistic and assume that because your conservative evangelical tradition interprets the scriptures in a particular way then everyone else must have done the same until somebody or other deviated from it at some point.

Listen good Gamaliel. To me this is not a contest of traditions. It is a battle for souls. Take Timothy, he was enjoined by Paul to maintain the apostles teaching and rebuke those ho deviated.

The evangelical tradition is NOT mine. I am actually a cradle Catholic. That might surprise you but pretty well every one of the reformers was actually a Catholic priest who recognised through reading the scriptures the error of Catholic teaching on the various doctrinal pillars. The deviation from the very beginning of the faith was AWAY from the apostles teaching after they died.

Personally, I am not influenced by evangelical teaching at all. I am not an evangelical Christian I am a converted Catholic. As such, I find most affinity with people who personally celebrate a personal relationship with the Lord because I share that. Catholics have this powerful push of guilt. That is why they have the sacrament of penance. When a Catholic actually is lifted up by the reality of the Lord, when he or she recognises that the liturgical edifice they were born into is actually leading them towards more bondage rather than heaven, the feeling you can know the Lord,hear the Lord and serve the Lord independently of it, is actually like waking out of a dark night.

One think you quickly learn is the authority of the Bible and central to that authority is the power of the atonement. It is not confession or as they now term it 'reconciliation' the sacrament that cleanses. It is the Biblical atonement. And the power of the atonement, the heart of it, is the revelation that Jesus, once for all was the sacrifice as the book of Hebrews states so clearly. You do not need an ordained so called 'priest' celebrating 'mass' for you to experience it or benefit from it. What you need is a trust in the blood of Jesus.

That blood is the engine room of the transformation of the individual. It is what defeats the enemy by changing the ownership papers on the lives of believers. Why is it so powerful? Hebrews tells us when it says without shedding of blood,there is no forgiveness of sins. Now why would that be? It is kind of obvious, Christ, the lamb, the real lamb of God was our Passover,sacrificed for us. There was judgement,there was wrath,the blood of Christ has turned it aside.

It is unfortunate that the word penal has had to come into the deal as a kind of intellectualisation of it but the outcome doesn't alter. Somehow Christ absorbed that judgement, diverted that wrath and restored the relationship of humanity to its creator. That is the heart of the faith.

If you do not have a revelation of that and an acceptance of it, you are not a Christian. All the traditions that have ever been or ever will be cannot change your eternal destiny. Go play games with the Orthodox Gamaliel. Go light a few candles and get yourself an icon or two. Why, buddy, maybe you could even grow a beard. It won't change you.The atonement can..but has It?
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Turn or burn. Accept Jamat's theology or fry in the Eternal Rotisserie.

How could I have been so blind?
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
I always enjoy the statements, 'if you do not ... then you are not a Christian'. Yes, I suppose it's also frying tonight, and we still use beef fat.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
The evangelical tradition is NOT mine. I am actually a cradle Catholic. That might surprise you ...

Personally, I don't think it's surprising at all. I think it explains a great deal.

The suggestion that salvation might be dependent on a "proper" understanding of something like the atonement, on the other hand, I find astounding.

quote:
...but pretty well every one of the reformers was actually a Catholic priest who recognised through reading the scriptures the error of Catholic teaching on the various doctrinal pillars.
Calvin was a lawyer, not a Catholic priest.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
PSA's infection in the West does not even have a patient zero in Augustine: "by His death, the one most true sacrifice offered on our behalf, He purged, abolished and extinguished ... whatever guilt we had." can be read as PSA if you're wearing those anachronistic glasses.

No . one . was .

Anselm 700 years later is hardly further infected. Just feudal.

The infection is genetic. Mutational. Selected by environment. Aquinas 200 years later adds punishment WITHOUT penal substitution. Calvin goes the whole hog after another 400 years but WITHOUT the Son appeasing the Father (NAUGHTY Steve Chalke!) but only for the 'Elect'. Mutations.

Is the peacock's tail or the neck of the giraffe true or false?

As Western society evolves, so do the atonement models. Still. There are living fossils. There are emergent forms. The living fossil analogy is false actually, Jamat is an emerging modern form as in his YECism, using all the style of modern discourse to support universal application of a literal understanding of ancient texts.

Only one thing is for sure, Jesus is our Earth local atonement.

[ 12. May 2017, 12:23: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Jamat, of course I am aware that you were a cradle Catholic. You've said so on these boards.

Of course I know that many of the Magisterial Reformers - and some of the Radical Reformers such as Menno Simmons - were former RC priests or 'religious'.

I am very aware of the history of the Reformation. I am reasonably well-read on aspects of RC theology.

I am not a Roman Catholic nor do I have any desire to cross the Tiber.

I can well understand the sense of palpable relief that someone might feel had they been brought up with the whole panoply of RC penances and so forth on undergoing an evangelical conversion. I've known plenty of people who have done so and ended up in evangelical churches of one form or other.

I am not doubting the reality of your experience nor the reality of your conversion.

Please do me the courtesy of not harbouring doubts about mine.

I grew up as a nominal Anglican and drifted away from the whole thing when they started the confirmation classes. Later, at university, I had a full-blown evangelical conversion. I was 'born again'.

I don't doubt the authenticity of that experience - and neither, I might add, do any 'High Church' or more sacramentally inclined people that I know.

I may frame it in somewhat different terms at times than I would have done when I was 19 or 20 ... but I see no reason not to take it at face value - that it was a definite point when I consciously turned from agnosticism and unbelief to faith in the Risen and Ascended Christ.

Now, that doesn't mean that I have to go round with a tub of whitewash painting out icons or treating the RCC as the Whore of Babylon and so on ...

I can well understand the 'rawness' of your position - you felt cheated and short-changed by Catholicism and felt illumined and made whole, renewed on your life-changing experience as a 'converted Catholic.'

Fine.

But does that give you the right to sit in judgement on other people's experiences, understandings and explorations?

Who are you to say whether the atonement has had any effect on me or not?

What qualifies you to do so?

One might just as easily reverse the whole thing around and point the finger in your direction. What difference has this atonement that Jamat speaks of made to him when it's clearly turned him into some kind of overly literalistic and judgemental fundamentalist? Where's the life, joy and freedom in that?

Look. I have my faults. There are plain here on these boards for all to see. I can be a windbag. I fence-sit, prevaricate, annoy people. I do all of that and much worse besides.

But 'I know him whom I have believed ...'

I explore things, I discuss, I hope I learn from everyone here - irrespective of their perspective and tradition.

What I don't do is set myself up as judge and jury on the eternal destiny / salvation of anyone else.

I seem to remember some clear biblical teaching in that respect ...

Criticise me, criticise my theology - be as fundamentalist as you like and then some - but just remember those words, 'judge not lest ye also be judged ...'

As Good Queen Bess said, 'The Lord hath not given us windows into men's souls ...'
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:

The evangelical tradition is NOT mine. I am actually a cradle Catholic. That might surprise you...


It will surprise no one who has spent any time in a conservative evangelical church. Within our evangelical subculture we ALL have seen this mentality a 1000 times. We (evangelicals) all know a 1000 ex-Catholic evangelicals (emphasis on the "ex") who sound precisely like you. It's the "convert" syndrome-- no one is more doggedly committed to a cause-- often to the point of blindness to it's flaws-- than the convert. And no one is more virulent in opposition to alternative perspectives than the one who has converted away from that perspective (look at me re Calvinism). It's a mentality that is both lovely and deeply deeply flawed.


quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
...but pretty well every one of the reformers was actually a Catholic priest who recognised through reading the scriptures the error of Catholic teaching on the various doctrinal pillars. The deviation from the very beginning of the faith was AWAY from the apostles teaching after they died.

As I'm constantly reminding my students (often ex-Catholic evangelicals with the same "convert syndrome") Luther et al (but not "all") were protesting the 16th century Catholic Church. Not the 4th c Church, not the 5th c Church and certainly not the 20th or 21st c Catholic Church. To gloss over that fact is to rewrite history.

[ 12. May 2017, 13:41: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
It will surprise no one who has spent any time in a conservative evangelical church. Within our evangelical subculture we ALL have seen this mentality a 1000 times. We (evangelicals) all know a 1000 ex-Catholic evangelicals (emphasis on the "ex") who sound precisely like you.It's the "convert" syndrome-- no one is more doggedly committed to a cause-- often to the point of blindness to it's flaws-- than the convert.

Speak for yourself, chum. I don't know a thousand ex-Catholics and the most committed Evangelicals I know were never anything else.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
It will surprise no one who has spent any time in a conservative evangelical church. Within our evangelical subculture we ALL have seen this mentality a 1000 times. We (evangelicals) all know a 1000 ex-Catholic evangelicals (emphasis on the "ex") who sound precisely like you.It's the "convert" syndrome-- no one is more doggedly committed to a cause-- often to the point of blindness to it's flaws-- than the convert.

Speak for yourself, chum. I don't know a thousand ex-Catholics and the most committed Evangelicals I know were never anything else.
"thousand" may be hyperbolic but certainly the difference between ex-Catholic evangelicals and born-to-the-tribe evangelicals among every evangelical church I've been a part of has fallen along the lines I describe. Are there fewer ex-Catholic evangelicals cross-pond? It's very very common in the US and even more so in Latin America and among Hispanic immigrants.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Pond difference.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
"thousand" may be hyperbolic but certainly the difference between ex-Catholic evangelicals and born-to-the-tribe evangelicals among every evangelical church I've been a part of has fallen along the lines I describe. Are there fewer ex-Catholic evangelicals cross-pond? It's very very common in the US and even more so in Latin America and among Hispanic immigrants.

I'm trying to think if I've ever met an ex-Catholic in an Evangelical setting. I have met ex-Catholics, but the only times I've come across them are in not-particularly Evangelical Anglican parish churches.

It might just be the circles I've moved in - Evangelicalism is spectacularly divided in the UK and dependent on location, social class, etc.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I was once a member of a Baptist church where I computed that around a sixth of the membership had grown up as Catholics. Most of them had become evangelicals at university or later ...

Their views about the RCC ranged from unremittingly hostile through to an acknowledgement of both strengths and weaknesses ...

Most of those I knew well had a lot of time for individual priests, monks or nuns - some of them their relatives - that they'd known even if they were quite dismissive of the RCC as a 'system'.

I was always seen as a 'closet Anglican' as my eucharistic theology was rather more 'developed' than the standard Zwinglian memorialism that tends to prevail in Baptist circles.

One of the house-group leaders - a former RC - was horrified when i outlined my views and accused me of believing in Transubstantiation ...

[Biased]

In fairness, this same guy once gave me a section out of the Roman Missal to read when it was our house-groups turn to lead the monthly communion service ...

Nobody noticed and the roof didn't cave in ...

It was a fairly eclectic and fairly 'emergent' Baptist church ... with some charismatic and conservative evangelical leanings in the mix.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

Why was there a Protestant revolt, as it were, in Western Europe in the 16th century but not in the Christian East, for instance?

You could possibly put the Iconoclasts/Iconodule conflicts as an earlier variant. I think that was more single issue, and the Iconoclast's didn't break away, (instead Rome did, again, and Islam had a pile of ready converts). There'd be a lot to compare and contrast.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
That's an interesting parallel, Jay-Emm.

I don't know a great deal about the Iconoclast controversy but my understanding was that it wasn't so much Rome that 'broke-away' but Rome which had a hand in the eventual resolution of the matter in favour of the Iconodules rather than the Iconoclasts.

I do wonder what Orthodoxy would have looked like - literally - had the Iconoclasts won the day ... I can't imagine Orthodoxy without icons. Would it have looked more 'Protestant' or simply more 'Jewish'?

The synagogues I've visited have tended to be quite richly decorated even if the arts and crafts are less figurative than in Christian settings.

It's an interesting thought ...

Coming back to Jamat's dig at me to 'go' play with the Orthodox' and buy an icon or two or grow a beard ...

Well, I do have a few icons already, including an unusual one I commissioned from a local iconographer. It depicts St Gwynllyw, a South Walian Saint.

I've got some less than designer stubble at the moment which I'll shave off soon ...

Before Jamat dies of apoplexy or comes round to my house with a tub of whitewash, I would reassure him that if I am to be saved at all it isn't going to be in the basis of my works, whether I've venerated icons or not or whether my beard is stubbly, bushy or as bald as a baby's bum.

It'll be on the basis of Christ's atoning work however that's understood. If any of us are to be saved at all, we are saved by Christ - through his life, death, resurrection, ascension and continuing intercession.

I've heard Orthodoxy dismissed as 'salvation by Liturgy'. Whether the Orthodox themselves see it that way is another issue. A lot of them appear poorly catechised but that's not the impression I get for all that ... But then, what do I know?

Jamat obviously knows more about my spiritual state than I know myself.

How silly of me not to have realised that already ...
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Thing is, Kaplan, if there were doctrines held universally scores all the Christian communities of the first few centuries that were later abandoned at some point only to be recovered at the Reformation say, or in the 18th, 19th or 20th centuries ...

Then the onus is on you to find the smoking gun.

Nobody has so far demonstrated to me at what point the early Christians moved from a PSA style understanding of the atonement to a Ransom Theory​ approach or to Christus Victor (which is a more modern iteration by Gustav Aulen of earlier models) ...

When did that take place?

As I understand it, it didn't.

What happened was that in certain places and at certain periods in response to certain developments and conditions, certain aspects or emphases were marshalled in support of particular positions.

Why was there a Protestant revolt, as it were, in Western Europe in the 16th century but not in the Christian East, for instance?

They were all reading the scriptures, weren't they?

Of course, there were others things going on and not just a case of Luther opening his Bible one day and thinking, 'Of course! Justification by faith ... Why haven't we all seen that before? Eureka! And while I'm at it I'd better tear out the Epistle of James in order to make things fit ...'


This is just rhetorical flourish which evades the point which I was making.

Obviously it is impossible tp 'prove" that the NT writers believed and taught PSA, after which it was promptly lost, to be resurrected long after.

But if, as countless evangelicals and non-evangelicals believe, the NT does self-evidently teach PSA (along with other models), then its sudden demise in the era of the Apostolic Fathers, and its delayed rediscovery,, cannot be "disproven" either.

It is irrefutable as at least a possibility.

I was simply making the point, using other, non-evangelical, examples such as the recent alleged rediscovery of NT approval of female ministry and homosexuality, that the prolonged absence of a belief from church history is not the polemical clincher that some anti-PSA obsessives appear to naively imagine it to be.

[ 13. May 2017, 00:22: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
If you do not have a revelation of that and an acceptance of it, you are not a Christian. All the traditions that have ever been or ever will be cannot change your eternal destiny.

Well said, Jamat, and substantially true, but it is important to realise that the RC and Orthodox traditions both rest ultimately on a soteriology of grace, even if its expressions and vehicles are lamentably opaque at times.

I treasure these words from a Roman Catholic priest, the late Richard John Neuhaus:_

“When I come before the judgment throne, I will plead the promise of God in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. I will not plead any work I have done, although I will thank God that he has enabled me to do some good. I will plead no merits other than the merits of Christ, knowing that the merits of Mary and the saints are all from him; and for their company, their example, and their prayers through my earthly life I will give everlasting thanks. I will not plead that I had faith, for sometimes I was unsure of my faith, and in any event that would be to turn faith into a meritorious work of my own. I will not plead that I held the correct understanding of ‘justification by faith alone,’ although I will thank God that that he led me to know ever more fully the great truth that much misundertood doctrine was intended to protect. Whatever little growth in holiness I have experienced, whatever strength I have received from the company of the saints, whatever understanding I have attained of God and his ways…these and all other gifts I will bring gratefully to the throne. But in seeking entry to that heavenly kingdom, I will look to Christ and Christ alone.”
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
It is irrefutable as at least a possibility.

That is one of the most nonsensical things I think I've ever read here.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jay-Emm:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

Why was there a Protestant revolt, as it were, in Western Europe in the 16th century but not in the Christian East, for instance?

You could possibly put the Iconoclasts/Iconodule conflicts as an earlier variant. I think that was more single issue, and the Iconoclast's didn't break away, (instead Rome did, again, and Islam had a pile of ready converts). There'd be a lot to compare and contrast.
Except we grew out of our "variant" and the West has yet to do so. How long, O Lord, how long?

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I've heard Orthodoxy dismissed as 'salvation by Liturgy'.

That sounds like something stupid said by an ex-Orfie with an axe to grind. Or by an iconoclast Protty with the same disease.

quote:
Whether the Orthodox themselves see it that way is another issue. A lot of them appear poorly catechised but that's not the impression I get for all that ...
You know we don't see it that way. For starters we don't see salvation as a single event but a lifetime struggle, a process which we call "theosis."

As for poorly catechized, yeah, plenty of that.

quote:
But then, what do I know?
Quite a lot. So much that your protestations of ignorance fall flat.

quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
If you do not have a revelation of that and an acceptance of it, you are not a Christian. All the traditions that have ever been or ever will be cannot change your eternal destiny.

Well said, Jamat, and substantially true, but it is important to realise that the RC and Orthodox traditions both rest ultimately on a soteriology of grace, even if its expressions and vehicles are lamentably opaque at times.
Nobody is claiming traditions can save. They are claiming that ancient traditions that don't have PSA demonstrate that it is not the only way to read the NT. Which seems pretty self-evident. Maybe you two don't care that your position is so easily refuted. That's your look-out.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
It is irrefutable as at least a possibility.

That is one of the most nonsensical things I think I've ever read here.
If you can't cope with something as obviously true - and in context, relevant - as this, then you should stay out of the discussion.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Nobody is claiming traditions can save.

But grace can and does, and the point was that fortunately it is discernible outside as well as inside evangelicalism.

quote:
They are claiming that ancient traditions that don't have PSA demonstrate that it is not the only way to read the NT.
Agreed, and agreed what's more that people can be saved and be Christians without acknowledging PSA.

For goodness sake stop and think before you respond, instead of just flying off the handle every time something presses one of your buttons.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
My protestations of ignorance were a rhetorical flourish aimed at Jamat, Mousethief.

I was being ironic. The point I was making was that Jamat appears to presume that he can pontificate about people's eternal destiny and to know my own spiritual history better than I know myself ...

This thread ain't all about you, you know ...

Meanwhile, yes, I like that RC quote Kaplan and it accords very well with what I've heard from RC clergy I know - and yes, the Orthodox emphasise grace too - it's there all the way through their liturgies ...

That doesn't mean that they understand these things in the same way as evangelical Protestants.

Nor does it mean that you'll get an evangelically acceptable explanation of it from all RCs or Orthodox - but that doesn't necessarily mean they don't believe in grace or think they can be justified by their own efforts.

On the 'Salvation by Liturgy' thing, that came, somewhat to my surprise from a cathedral chorister whose husband was an organist and who later went onto produce a popular BBC religious programme.

She was fairly well appraised about the various Christian traditions. I suspect, though, that the contacts she'd had with Orthodoxy was through converts who were waving the Liturgy around to prove how Orthodox they'd become.

I wasn't having a dig at the Orthodox. I am simply observing that a lot of the rank and file don't appear particularly well catechised to me - which is a common complaint I hear within Orthodoxy itself and also something I've come across with RCs. That said, I've come across plenty of RCs and Orthodox who are pretty well-versed both in their own and other people's traditions.

Coming back to the OP ...

Sure, I can certainly see how and why people arrive at PSA from reading the NT - and from applying a particular interpretive framework onto parts of the OT - particularly Isaiah 53.

But I think it's a bit of a jump from that to assuming that everyone was on the same page with that for some unspecified period until it then became mysteriously submerged and lost somewhere in the sub-apostolic period.

Jamat seems to suggest that everything went to pot following the death of the last apostle - which would imply that things were only on track for 30 or 40 years before they went pear-shaped.

In which case, things had all gone wrong way before the canon of scripture had been formalised and that those who did so had no understanding of the very scriptures they were canonising.

That seems a complete stretch to me - and the sort of thing that someone could only come up with if they'd has a nuance bypass operation.

Or if they were someone who'd converted from a rather rigid and rote form of Tridentine Roman Catholicism to an equally rigid form of Protestant fundamentalism.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
On the apparent absence of PSA from sub-apostolic writings and the Fathers ... although some do selectively cherry-pick quotes to demonstrate the opposite - I don't see that as a 'polemical clincher' either ...

I'm simply saying that it should at least give the PSA-only crowd some pause for thought.

However, it doesn't appear to do that. They simply try to find ways around it. 'Oh, everything went pear-shaped after the death of the last apostle ...' (as if everything was perfect while they were still alive) or by the 4th century or whenever else ...

Of course, there's a similar and parallel fundamentalist tendency on the other side of the fence. 'We have icons because St Luke painted one of the Theotokos ...'

The issue, it seems to me, is one of reductionism and fundamentalism.

Things have to boil down to nice neat 'onlys'.

As if any of this stuff can possibly stand alone.

'By grace alone, by faith alone ...' well, they might add the caveat that the 'faith that saves is never alone', but ultimately it's reduce,reduce, reduce, cut back, cut back ...

It has to boil down to one thing, one particular certainty. No PSA, no salvation.

Which is what Jamat is saying.

None of the other PSA supporters here are saying that - they are putting PSA alongside other models - and they are acknowledging that there are other ways to understand these things.

I'm surprised Jamat hasn't challenged them about the reality of their faith or the efficacy of the atonement in their particular cases. Perhaps it's because they haven't indicated a penchant for icons ...

Or because they remain within the footprint of what he finds acceptable within the canon of the Gospel according to Jamat.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
The question is whether the atonement is really one of those things and whether one can have any certainty that in the NT era they believed in PSA.

There is no evidence whatsoever that this is the case.


That's amusing. Looking at the scriptures, I'd say there was no evidence they believed in anything OTHER than an atonement which involved a penal element.
Then at what point did they modify or abandon that?

At what point were they ever SOLO Scriptura?

You are anochronistic and assume that because your conservative evangelical tradition interprets the scriptures in a particular way then everyone else must have done the same until somebody or other deviated from it at some point.

Listen good Gamaliel. To me this is not a contest of traditions. It is a battle for souls. Take Timothy, he was enjoined by Paul to maintain the apostles teaching and rebuke those ho deviated.

The evangelical tradition is NOT mine. I am actually a cradle Catholic. That might surprise you but pretty well every one of the reformers was actually a Catholic priest who recognised through reading the scriptures the error of Catholic teaching on the various doctrinal pillars. The deviation from the very beginning of the faith was AWAY from the apostles teaching after they died.

Personally, I am not influenced by evangelical teaching at all. I am not an evangelical Christian I am a converted Catholic. As such, I find most affinity with people who personally celebrate a personal relationship with the Lord because I share that. Catholics have this powerful push of guilt. That is why they have the sacrament of penance. When a Catholic actually is lifted up by the reality of the Lord, when he or she recognises that the liturgical edifice they were born into is actually leading them towards more bondage rather than heaven, the feeling you can know the Lord,hear the Lord and serve the Lord independently of it, is actually like waking out of a dark night.

One think you quickly learn is the authority of the Bible and central to that authority is the power of the atonement. It is not confession or as they now term it 'reconciliation' the sacrament that cleanses. It is the Biblical atonement. And the power of the atonement, the heart of it, is the revelation that Jesus, once for all was the sacrifice as the book of Hebrews states so clearly. You do not need an ordained so called 'priest' celebrating 'mass' for you to experience it or benefit from it. What you need is a trust in the blood of Jesus.

That blood is the engine room of the transformation of the individual. It is what defeats the enemy by changing the ownership papers on the lives of believers. Why is it so powerful? Hebrews tells us when it says without shedding of blood,there is no forgiveness of sins. Now why would that be? It is kind of obvious, Christ, the lamb, the real lamb of God was our Passover,sacrificed for us. There was judgement,there was wrath,the blood of Christ has turned it aside.

It is unfortunate that the word penal has had to come into the deal as a kind of intellectualisation of it but the outcome doesn't alter. Somehow Christ absorbed that judgement, diverted that wrath and restored the relationship of humanity to its creator. That is the heart of the faith.

If you do not have a revelation of that and an acceptance of it, you are not a Christian. All the traditions that have ever been or ever will be cannot change your eternal destiny. Go play games with the Orthodox Gamaliel. Go light a few candles and get yourself an icon or two. Why, buddy, maybe you could even grow a beard. It won't change you.The atonement can..but has It?

Then you and Kaplan have a nice time in heaven, alone. The rest of us will be doing just fine in Hell with Jesus.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Come now, Martin60. Kaplan has conceded / acknowledged that there will be people in heaven who didn't accept PSA as an atonement model ...

I suspect that even Jamat believes that too, even if people don't consciously 'sign-up' to PSA I would imagine he believes that PSA is efficacious irrespective of whether people actively acknowledge it or not ...

Which doesn't stop him asking those who may differ from him whether the atonement has been effective in their case or not ...

[Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
Might I ask, which aspect of the atonement rids me of my guilt?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Might I ask, which aspect of the atonement rids me of my guilt?

That's an interesting question. I've often reflected on the response to the Lord in the gospels and how remarkably lacking in self-loathing and guilt the depicted characters appear to be.

My conclusion is that on meeting the Christ, it wasn't so much that individuals had the guilt "taken away" so much as that it didn't matter any more. I suspect Zacchaeus felt a bit guilty about ripping people off, that the mother of James and John felt a bit guilty about pestering the Lord about giving them a special ministry in the kingdom. In those and other situations, I don't see the Lord saying "it's ok guys, I'm going to take away that guilt you are feeling" as much as he refocussed them onto something else. Come down Zacchaeus, I'm hungry. Nope, Mrs mother-of-James-and-John, that's the wrong question. Nope, person previously paralysed, lady with problematic background, blind person, leper, man at well. This isn't about how awful you are, stop worrying about that and be whole.

Even Paul, who one presumes would be carrying a lot of guilt doesn't seem to waste a lot of time on it nor seems to be particularly focussed on the atonement as a reason of it being taken away IIRC. He's struck blind for a few days then gets up and gets on with it.

Which makes me think that this whole "you're really sinful and awful and God can't possibly get close to you in that state - you horrible little man - so go and get washed in the blood of the lamb and come back when you are properly cleaned of all your guilt" is a load of bunk.

Simply not the way Jesus operated.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
That's a good question, but it begs a few others in my mind.

Why do you need to know?

Why do we need to fillet it in the first place?

'Model X of the atonement delivers me from death, whereas Models Y and Z free me from the power and guilt of sin ...'

It also raises the question of how PSA deals with our guilt. Is our guilt imputed to Christ? That he, being innocent, accepts our guilt in our place?

The ins and outs of that have been discussed at length here.

If I came to your house and stole a leg of beef ('Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief / Taffy came to my house and stole a leg of beef ...') and you magnanimously decided to forgive me for doing so and let me off with a reprimand, say ...

What happens to the guilt in that instance?

I'm still guilty of stealing your leg of beef.

But you have graciously chosen to forgive me for that.

Does that mean that you then have to hand yourself into the police and offer to serve a prison sentence or pay a fine on my behalf?

Now, don't get me wrong ... I can see where you're going with this one but one could argue that it's the wrong question to ask. It presupposes a very juridical model for one thing and also that guilt is something that can be transferred in some way.

I stole your leg of beef. You didn't steal it.

In that sense my guilt remains whether or not you choose to forgive me for nicking your Sunday lunch.

You see, already we're getting tied up in knots trying to make that fit into an atonement model.

I understand the model. But it depends on how far we want to stretch it.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I think, mr cheesy, that there is a difference between being guilty of something and feeling guilty about something.

If I stole a leg of beef from Mudfrog I'd certainly be guilty. Whether I felt guilty about that or not would be a different matter. I rather hope I would (just as I hope I wouldn't steal a leg of beef from him in the first place) ...

Feeling guilty doesn't achieve a great deal though, unless it leads to repentance and restitution.

I'm not saying Mudfrog is wrong to pursue this particular line of enquiry, but I do think it can often lead to guilt-manipulation on the part of certain types of preacher - both evangelical and from the Catholic end of the spectrum ... as in the famous and terrifying Hell Fire sermon in Joyce's 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.'

Of course, things may have swung too far in the other direction in wishy-washy milk and water forms of Christianity, but the tradition of guilt-inducement and trying to put the fear of God into congregations by making them feel guilty of the most trivial apparent infringements is something to avoid - in my view.

I once had an interesting cassette tape of testimonies and stories from the Lewis Revival of the 1950s which had been produced by a very conservative evangelical group in Ulster.

I don't doubt the reality of the Revival nor the depth of the faith and experience of those converted through it ... however, one sweet old dear on there was saying how she'd been reading The People's Friend and was struck with conviction when she attended a Kirk service and heard the minister declare, 'Some of you here today have the Bible in one hand and The People's Friend in the other ...'

'Oh dear,' she thought to herself, 'I am undone ...'

The People's Friend for goodness sake ...

We aren't talking about hard-core pornography or '10 Ways to Murder Your Relatives' ...

Now, I know the whole evangelical and Holiness thing - properly understood - isn't all about guilt-inducement and pernicketiness - and that the Confessional in the RC tradition could cultivate an equally unhealthy approach to life ...

But I'm happy to accept that the Atonement deals with all aspects of the human condition in terms of reconciling humanity to God. I don't go around with a spirit-level, theodolyte and set of set-squares trying to measure it all out and determine which aspect of the Atonement deals with what particular condition ...

Heck, that way lies madness. It reminds me of some of the extreme Penties and extreme healing evangelists I came across back in the day who used to say that this, that or the other of Christ's wounds or sufferings dealt with this, that or the other ailment ...

The Crown of Thorns dealt with mental issues, the nails in his hands and feet dealt with sins carried out manually or by going to places we shouldn't ... the stripes on Christ's back dealt with something else ...

Etc, etc ...

It almost gets medieval.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I'd generally suggest that guilt is an issue that has commonly gone together with the most staunch advocates of PSA. The notion that one should be feeling permanently guilty for sin has grown alongside the idea that PSA gives a mechanism for taking it away.

In a different way it is a bit like the idea of whether one is "sure of my salvation". It seems to me like a whole lot of effort has gone into Calvinists showing that salvation is assured to the believer and a whole load of other effort gone into the other side showing that it might be lost.

And alongside this belief has grown the fear of being unsure in one's salvation and being scared that one isn't properly saved.

To me it just looks like a whole lot of asking-the-wrong-question and unhealthy doses of woe-is-me-a-terrible-sinner.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I think, mr cheesy, that there is a difference between being guilty of something and feeling guilty about something.

If I stole a leg of beef from Mudfrog I'd certainly be guilty. Whether I felt guilty about that or not would be a different matter. I rather hope I would (just as I hope I wouldn't steal a leg of beef from him in the first place) ...

Mm. I need to think about that.

It reminds me a bit of reading that Solitary Confinement (as an idea in terms of prison) was something promoted initially by Quaker reformers. The idea was that the prisoner was supposed to be put away from distractions, which would help him focus on the crime and his guilt and this would lead him to resolve to be a better person.

In practice, of course, it leads to madness.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Cross-posted with mr cheesy ...

Yes, I can see that. There's an irony, of course, that some of those who most emphasise 'free and sovereign grace' can be among the most ungracious people you could ever wish to meet ...

Or that those who proclaim, 'Hallelujah! Jesus took away my guilt and shame ...' can often either be wracked with guilt over the most trivial things or else triumphalistic about their apparent victory over the world, the flesh and the Devil and blind to their own particular besetting sins or the effect their hyper-spirituality has on other people ...

There is a balance somewhere of course.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Might I ask, which aspect of the atonement rids me of my guilt?

That's an interesting question. I've often reflected on the response to the Lord in the gospels and how remarkably lacking in self-loathing and guilt the depicted characters appear to be.

My conclusion is that on meeting the Christ, it wasn't so much that individuals had the guilt "taken away" so much as that it didn't matter any more. I suspect Zacchaeus felt a bit guilty about ripping people off, that the mother of James and John felt a bit guilty about pestering the Lord about giving them a special ministry in the kingdom. In those and other situations, I don't see the Lord saying "it's ok guys, I'm going to take away that guilt you are feeling" as much as he refocussed them onto something else. Come down Zacchaeus, I'm hungry. Nope, Mrs mother-of-James-and-John, that's the wrong question. Nope, person previously paralysed, lady with problematic background, blind person, leper, man at well. This isn't about how awful you are, stop worrying about that and be whole.

Even Paul, who one presumes would be carrying a lot of guilt doesn't seem to waste a lot of time on it nor seems to be particularly focussed on the atonement as a reason of it being taken away IIRC. He's struck blind for a few days then gets up and gets on with it.

Which makes me think that this whole "you're really sinful and awful and God can't possibly get close to you in that state - you horrible little man - so go and get washed in the blood of the lamb and come back when you are properly cleaned of all your guilt" is a load of bunk.

Simply not the way Jesus operated.

This.

And I would add-- the examples you cited (and we could add more) of those transformed by their encounters with Jesus seem to be quite happy about those transformations. There's no indication that Zacchaeus spent any time nostalgically reminiscing about the good old days when he was wealthy. Even with Paul, who's post-conversion life was anything but easy, there's no sense of the dreary in the Christian life, no sense of dutifully doing what you gotta do to avoid eternal damnation but dang it's hard. No, even with the persecuted Paul there's this sense of sheer joy-- that whatever pain he's experiencing it was worth it.

This again, suggests that the "sin problem" is not so much about how pissed off God is at us because we broke the rules as it is about how much suffering is caused by our sin. As much as we may think like pre-conversion Zacchaeus that our freedom to steal or cheat is the path to true happiness, we find the truth that it only leads to suffering. Jesus comes to save us from that, to give us the opportunity for a new & different life, not because he's pissed off and this is a last chance for us to shape up, but because he is heartbroken by the suffering caused by sin.

A related idea: in the NT you see all these different groups of people trying to "be pure". The Pharisees do this by scrupulous if joyless adherence to the Law and avoidance of law-breakers (sinners). The zealots do this by seeking to remove the impure Roman overlords from the Promised Land. The essenes do this by avoiding the contamination of "the world" and forming their separatist communities. All are concerned with purity, and all seek to achieve it by distancing themselves from the "impure" so they will not be contaminated by their impurity.

But Jesus does the exact opposite-- rather than distancing himself from the impure, Jesus is constantly moving toward the impure-- tax-collectors, prostitutes. He even allows a hemorrhaging woman to touch him and rewards that audacious act with healing. The idea seems to be that rather than being contaminated by our impurity, Jesus moves to us to infect us with his purity.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

But Jesus does the exact opposite-- rather than distancing himself from the impure, Jesus is constantly moving toward the impure-- tax-collectors, prostitutes. He even allows a hemorrhaging woman to touch him and rewards that audacious act with healing. The idea seems to be that rather than being contaminated by our impurity, Jesus moves to us to infect us with his purity.

Exactly. Those who insist that God and man are separated by the a gulf which can only be bridged by the cross clearly haven't been paying a lot of attention to the actions of Jesus gospels. Or the parables.

Here is God - depicted as a man who sees his son, a drunken partying lout who has spent all his money on drugs and has recently pulled himself out of the gutter because he has in the back of his mind that his father might take pity on him and offer him a manual job on the farm at minimum wage - running out to welcome him home.

For me, for all the claims of being "bible believing", this is where those who want to claim that there is an angry wrathful God who is forced to punish sin come unstuck.

They just don't sound like Jesus.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
The question is whether the atonement is really one of those things and whether one can have any certainty that in the NT era they believed in PSA.

There is no evidence whatsoever that this is the case.


That's amusing. Looking at the scriptures, I'd say there was no evidence they believed in anything OTHER than an atonement which involved a penal element.
Then at what point did they modify or abandon that?

At what point were they ever SOLO Scriptura?

You are anochronistic and assume that because your conservative evangelical tradition interprets the scriptures in a particular way then everyone else must have done the same until somebody or other deviated from it at some point.

Listen good Gamaliel. To me this is not a contest of traditions. It is a battle for souls. Take Timothy, he was enjoined by Paul to maintain the apostles teaching and rebuke those ho deviated.

The evangelical tradition is NOT mine. I am actually a cradle Catholic. That might surprise you but pretty well every one of the reformers was actually a Catholic priest who recognised through reading the scriptures the error of Catholic teaching on the various doctrinal pillars. The deviation from the very beginning of the faith was AWAY from the apostles teaching after they died.

Personally, I am not influenced by evangelical teaching at all. I am not an evangelical Christian I am a converted Catholic. As such, I find most affinity with people who personally celebrate a personal relationship with the Lord because I share that. Catholics have this powerful push of guilt. That is why they have the sacrament of penance. When a Catholic actually is lifted up by the reality of the Lord, when he or she recognises that the liturgical edifice they were born into is actually leading them towards more bondage rather than heaven, the feeling you can know the Lord,hear the Lord and serve the Lord independently of it, is actually like waking out of a dark night.

One think you quickly learn is the authority of the Bible and central to that authority is the power of the atonement. It is not confession or as they now term it 'reconciliation' the sacrament that cleanses. It is the Biblical atonement. And the power of the atonement, the heart of it, is the revelation that Jesus, once for all was the sacrifice as the book of Hebrews states so clearly. You do not need an ordained so called 'priest' celebrating 'mass' for you to experience it or benefit from it. What you need is a trust in the blood of Jesus.

That blood is the engine room of the transformation of the individual. It is what defeats the enemy by changing the ownership papers on the lives of believers. Why is it so powerful? Hebrews tells us when it says without shedding of blood,there is no forgiveness of sins. Now why would that be? It is kind of obvious, Christ, the lamb, the real lamb of God was our Passover,sacrificed for us. There was judgement,there was wrath,the blood of Christ has turned it aside.

It is unfortunate that the word penal has had to come into the deal as a kind of intellectualisation of it but the outcome doesn't alter. Somehow Christ absorbed that judgement, diverted that wrath and restored the relationship of humanity to its creator. That is the heart of the faith.

If you do not have a revelation of that and an acceptance of it, you are not a Christian. All the traditions that have ever been or ever will be cannot change your eternal destiny. Go play games with the Orthodox Gamaliel. Go light a few candles and get yourself an icon or two. Why, buddy, maybe you could even grow a beard. It won't change you.The atonement can..but has It?

Then you and Kaplan have a nice time in heaven, alone. The rest of us will be doing just fine in Hell with Jesus.
Martin 60: Romans 10:9-13 ,John 10:9 Martin as you know perfectly well, these passages lay out salvation basics. Just follow the Romans road.🌞

Kaplan Corday: I too have met some wonderful Catholic believers. However, as I recall it Catholic soteriology is a mixture of grace and works and Catholicism AFAIK regards grace as ministered to the individual by means of the 7 sacraments. The sacraments are ministered through the Catholic Church. Grace, is thus not necessarily defined Biblically in Catholicism which claims the control of the process thus failing on 3 scores, their assumption that they alone speak for God and that they alone control the dispensing of God's efficacy and the actual nature of that efficacy which they call grace.

The bottom line anyway is that you have to submit to them to receive it. Thus, "works" and "Grace". The Catholic system is very paradoxical since you will find it strives to be inclusive but scratch the surface and you find some pretty iron clad doctrines that are anything but. It has evolved somewhat from the burning of heretics but I suspect that if it ever again became a geopolitical force, then the same things would happen as happened in the past.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
It has evolved somewhat from the burning of heretics but I suspect that if it ever again became a geopolitical force, then the same things would happen as happened in the past.

Yeah, because as we know, when Luther and Calvin were in charge that never happened.

Oh wait.

[ 13. May 2017, 15:21: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
It has evolved somewhat from the burning of heretics but I suspect that if it ever again became a geopolitical force, then the same things would happen as happened in the past.

Yeah, because as we know, when Luther and Calvin were in charge that never happened.

Oh wait.

Yes, Luther and Calvin also behaved badly but that is completely irrelevant to my point.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Yes, Luther and Calvin also behaved badly but that is completely irrelevant to my point.

How is it irrelevant to your point?
Calvin, Luther and the others managed to uncover the deep forgotten truths about the atonement but somehow missed the memo about burning heretics?

That Roman Catholicism at root would burn heretics given a chance, but that Evangelicals, who according to you need to return to the faith of Luther and Calvin are not?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
You seem to have a very pre-Vatican 2 view of Rome. I'm by no means suggesting that Rome is the beesknees, far from it, but from what I can gather the RCC doesn't niece that grace is restricted to the RCC.

Yes, they believe that their Church is THE one and all the others aren't up to scratch, but they certainly don't teach that grace isn't to be found in Protestant churches or Orthodox Churches or even outside Christianity itself ...

The ones who are really exclusive aren't the RCs, apart perhaps from some of the hard-line traditionalists, but those at the more fundamentalist end of the Protestant fundamentalist spectrum.

I don't see RCs here questioning the salvation or the spiritual state of other Shipmates but I see you doing it all the time.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Mr Cheesy: Exactly. Those who insist that God and man are separated by the a gulf which can only be bridged by the cross clearly haven't been paying a lot of attention to the actions of Jesus gospels. Or the parables
Only if you decontextualise Jesus from the role of Jewish Messiah could you say this.

Regarding the woman with the issue of blood, the way I see this is that that miracle demonstrated ( amongst many other things) his authority over the law as well as his submission to it. By touching him, the woman broke the law but by healing her, he made her clean so the law was not violated.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
'Neice'?

I meant believe ... Dang that predictive text ...

Meanwhile, Luther and Calvin believed all sorts of things contemporary evangelicals don't believe.

They believed in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary - as did John Wesley, apparently.

They believed in the Real Presence in the Eucharist - although in a different way to the RCs of course.

They believed in baptismal regeneration ...

Need I go on?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'm with you on the miracle of the woman with the issue of blood - or can see the point you are making there.

How, though, is what mr cheesy saying decontextualising Christ from the role of the Jewish Messiah?

The Jews had various interlocking or overlapping views of the role of the Messiah. Which one is Mr cheesy decontextualising? Mr cheesy
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Yes, Luther and Calvin also behaved badly but that is completely irrelevant to my point.

How is it irrelevant to your point?
Calvin, Luther and the others managed to uncover the deep forgotten truths about the atonement but somehow missed the memo about burning heretics?

That Roman Catholicism at root would burn heretics given a chance, but that Evangelicals, who according to you need to return to the faith of Luther and Calvin are not?

Yes, Luther was anti Semitic and Calvin would have certainly burned me at the stake.. So what? I was pointing out the nature of Catholicism as I understand it.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Mr Cheesy: Exactly. Those who insist that God and man are separated by the a gulf which can only be bridged by the cross clearly haven't been paying a lot of attention to the actions of Jesus gospels. Or the parables
Only if you decontextualise Jesus from the role of Jewish Messiah could you say this.

Regarding the woman with the issue of blood, the way I see this is that that miracle demonstrated ( amongst many other things) his authority over the law as well as his submission to it. By touching him, the woman broke the law but by healing her, he made her clean so the law was not violated.

Which, again, is the point-- that Jesus was not contaminated by her impurity, but rather she was contaminated by his purity. Jesus' default stance toward impurity is to move toward the impure rather than away. But we don't just see this with the sort of involuntary ritual impurity that the hemorrhaging woman ran afoul of-- we also see this with voluntary sin. Jesus takes the initiative to eat with Zacchaeus. Jesus allows an adulteress to touch him and wash his feet. This is the complete antithesis of the picture of God you have argued for here-- a God who is incompatible with human sinfulness and so pissed off at us disgusting, filthy humans that he can only be near us through the most extreme of remedies-- the "cleansing blood" of Jesus.

If Jesus is the best representation we have of God (and obviously those of us who believe in the incarnation believe that he is) then the gospels are showing us a God who is very, very different than the one you have argued for here. The reasons and motives for the "cleansing blood" of Jesus are almost 180 different from what you have suggested. It is still what redeems us and brings us into God's presence-- but for the exact opposite reasons you have suggested.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Yes, Luther and Calvin also behaved badly but that is completely irrelevant to my point.

How is it irrelevant to your point?
Calvin, Luther and the others managed to uncover the deep forgotten truths about the atonement but somehow missed the memo about burning heretics?

That Roman Catholicism at root would burn heretics given a chance, but that Evangelicals, who according to you need to return to the faith of Luther and Calvin are not?

Yes, Luther was anti Semitic and Calvin would have certainly burned me at the stake.. So what? I was pointing out the nature of Catholicism as I understand it.
At best, the very very similar sins of Luther and Calvin demonstrate that it is not a unique characteristic of Catholicism, but rather a danger for every human community, everywhere. It's an important and meaningful warning, but one that seems irrelevant to the discussion here. At the risk of stating the obvious: your failure to recognize that completely undermines whatever point you were laboring to make.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I'm with you on the miracle of the woman with the issue of blood - or can see the point you are making there.

How, though, is what mr cheesy saying decontextualising Christ from the role of the Jewish Messiah?

The Jews had various interlocking or overlapping views of the role of the Messiah. Which one is Mr cheesy decontextualising? Mr cheesy

Mmmm? Did you forget to type something in that last sentence?

I don't think I'm decontextualising anything, of course. I don't think this idea of sin-as-separation has any legs in the OT either. In fact someone could only say that if they'd been paying no attention in Sunday School and/or didn't actually read the bible stories that they claim to believe in.

If it was the case that God could not approach sinful man, then there would always be a sacrifice before God could interact with mankind from Adam and Eve onwards.

Well, let's see if we can remember any occasion for any OT character that follows that pattern.

Noah: God meets Noah, he builds ark, lands, rainbow, sacrifice. Gets drunk and naked.

Moses: murder, burning bush, shoes, no - send Aaron, Pharoah, sacrifice etc

Jonah: calling, refusal, boat, storm, fish, Ninevah, cave, moaning (no sacrifice at all mentioned IIRC)

David: sheep, wolves, dancing, war, sacrifice, adultery, more sacrifice

Can you think of anyone who had to purify themselves of sin before they could interact with the deity?

[ 13. May 2017, 16:15: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
Exactly. In both the OT and the NT the trajectory is in the opposite direction, and it is always God who is taking the initiative.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
Exactly. In both the OT and the NT the trajectory is in the opposite direction, and it is always God who is taking the initiative.

Fascinating, isn't it? Apparently I'm not a "bible believer" and yet they're pushing a theology which on the face of it has no basis in the bible whatsoever.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
Exactly. In both the OT and the NT the trajectory is in the opposite direction, and it is always God who is taking the initiative.

There is something there though.

Moses has to remove his shoes, to avert his face (once, though another time conspicuously doesn't)
Again there, it's God who takes the initiative and bother to come to us safely. Who veils himself, which suggests the problem is our end.

Isiah (even in a vision) gets panicy (in the ESV that does have guilt and atoned together).
You also have the tabernacle, which I guess could be put either way.

And on the other side you have the ark with the Philistines and coming back.
(that was after sacrifices).
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jay-Emm:
There is something there though.

Moses has to remove his shoes, to avert his face (once, though another time conspicuously doesn't)

Again there, it's God who takes the initiative and bother to come to us safely. Who veils himself, which suggests the problem is our end.

Yes. There is something, but with Moses it isn't sacrifice.

quote:
Isiah (even in a vision) gets panicy (in the ESV that does have guilt and atoned together).
You also have the tabernacle, which I guess could be put either way.

Isaiah 1 is quite interesting in this context.

quote:
And on the other side you have the ark with the Philistines and coming back.
(that was after sacrifices).

I'm not saying sacrifices weren't important or weren't mentioned in the OT. But it wasn't about individual purity or about mending the bridge between God and sinful people before he could approach them.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
Exactly. In both the OT and the NT the trajectory is in the opposite direction, and it is always God who is taking the initiative.

Fascinating, isn't it? Apparently I'm not a "bible believer" and yet they're pushing a theology which on the face of it has no basis in the bible whatsoever.
You simply don't understand the big picture. You take Jesus away from his Jewishness. The OT scenario is God setting boundaries FOR people to interact with him. The issue is way too big to argue here though. You are making Jesus out to be a 1st century Gandhi a kind of all purpose humanitarian socialist. To do this you have to ignore great chunks of the Bible. But shucks,take no notice, I'm delusional right?
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
I want to say on the first it's almost like the problems with us being the ones unable to cope. There's clearly some issue.

With the last one the observation was that sacrifices didn't mend the gap.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:

To do this you have to ignore great chunks of the Bible. But shucks,take no notice, I'm delusional right?

Yeah. I'm ignoring every single occasion we have of in the OT of how God met and interacted with people before they were ritually pure by sacrifice. Every one.

Oh no, that's you.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
It is irrefutable as at least a possibility.

That is one of the most nonsensical things I think I've ever read here.
If you can't cope with something as obviously true - and in context, relevant - as this, then you should stay out of the discussion.
If you can't handle someone questioning something you said, maybe the Ship isn't your place.

quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
For goodness sake stop and think before you respond, instead of just flying off the handle every time something presses one of your buttons.

You're just full of insults today. Beats thinking.

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
This thread ain't all about you, you know ...

Dear God, it's a disease.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jay-Emm:
I want to say on the first it's almost like the problems with us being the ones unable to cope. There's clearly some issue.

With the last one the observation was that sacrifices didn't mend the gap.

I don't believe that sacrifice ever made any difference to God at all. If I'm the creator-of-all-things, what difference does it make to me if an animal dies in this way rather than that?

And as Isaiah 1 (Amos 5) etc shows, God is under absolutely no obligation to accept sacrifices at all.

Those two clear messages from the OT must surely give pause to those who insist that PSA is the only way to understand the atonement in the context of OT sacrifice.

[ 13. May 2017, 16:58: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Odd, isn't it, that a thread on atonement never fails to create bitter discord among the faithful?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
A disease? Perhaps it's Original Sin, Mousethief.

Besides, I can't speak for Kaplan but my comments were intended as gentle ribbing only.

Coming back to the OP ...

It strikes me that there are possible parallels here with the way Western theology has tended to tackle other issues - by filleting and over-analysing everything. You should like that observation, Mousethief ...

So, the RCC can't just have a belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, it has to have God miraculously changing the elements and then performing a further miracle to ensure that we don't notice in terms of taste, texture and so on ...

Yes, I know I've over-simplified it there, but you'll see my point in a moment ...

Equally, evangelical Protestants can't have a belief in PSA without stretching it so far that it becomes the only possible way to understand the atonement ...

Both take one or other aspect of something and then, arguably, stretch it further than it actually goes ...

Sometimes the Orthodox emphasis on Mystery looks tantalisingly attractive ...
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Odd, isn't it, that a thread on atonement never fails to create bitter discord among the faithful?

That's because it's a battle for souls, Kwesi and some here are True Believers and others aren't because they clearly don't believe the Gospel according to Jamat.

Satan has blinded their eyes. They are unable to benefit from the Atonement because they ignore the Plain Teaching of Scripture and have a vested interest in dissing PSA because they think they can save themselves by their own efforts ...

Moreover, they dismiss the Jewish context of the NT and also refuse to acknowledge the obvious truth of Young Earth Creationism, turning instead to godless and humanistic myths about Evolution.

Even worse, they refuse to accept the Dispensationalist schema that neatly sets out a timetable for the End of the World and in so doing empty their lamps of oil and will not be ready on that great and terrible day when the redeemed are Raptured away before the Great Tribulation descends ...

So, it's hardly surprising it causes contention, because the Gospel according to Jamat says so ...
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:

To do this you have to ignore great chunks of the Bible. But shucks,take no notice, I'm delusional right?

Yeah. I'm ignoring every single occasion we have of in the OT of how God met and interacted with people before they were ritually pure by sacrifice. Every one.

Oh no, that's you.

Well I doubt there is much point in discussion, but out of interest where do you get the notion that OT Jewish people had to be ritually clean to pray or approach the Lord? They were enjoined to go to the place the Lord indicated, to sacrifice on the feasts as I understand it, if they could practically get there, and the temple sacrifices were done by priests on behalf of the congregation, but your comments regarding Jonah, Moses etc seem naive to me.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Well I doubt there is much point in discussion, but out of interest where do you get the notion that OT Jewish people had to be ritually clean to pray or approach the Lord? They were enjoined to go to the place the Lord indicated, to sacrifice on the feasts as I understand it, if they could practically get there, and the temple sacrifices were done by priests on behalf of the congregation, but your comments regarding Jonah, Moses etc seem naive to me.

You clearly know less about the stories in the OT than you know about theories of the atonement - and that's saying something.

Go away and read some of the stories I've noted above and then we'll talk about sacrifice. And then we can talk about the atonement and how that fits into it - and how PSA clearly doesn't.

Until the point when you know the basics of what it is that you are talking about, there really is no way to have a discussion.
 
Posted by agingjb (# 16555) on :
 
The plain teaching of scripture is to avoid calling people fools, and to reflect that we shall be judged on how we treat the least of His brethren.

No, I haven't a clue about theories of Atonement, and it's clear to me that evolution happened over a few billion years. Best I look elsewhere than the plain teaching of scripture I suppose.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Odd, isn't it, that a thread on atonement never fails to create bitter discord among the faithful?

That's because it's a battle for souls, Kwesi and some here are True Believers and others aren't because they clearly don't believe the Gospel according to Jamat.

Satan has blinded their eyes. They are unable to benefit from the Atonement because they ignore the Plain Teaching of Scripture and have a vested interest in dissing PSA because they think they can save themselves by their own efforts ...

Moreover, they dismiss the Jewish context of the NT and also refuse to acknowledge the obvious truth of Young Earth Creationism, turning instead to godless and humanistic myths about Evolution.

Even worse, they refuse to accept the Dispensationalist schema that neatly sets out a timetable for the End of the World and in so doing empty their lamps of oil and will not be ready on that great and terrible day when the redeemed are Raptured away before the Great Tribulation descends ...

So, it's hardly surprising it causes contention, because the Gospel according to Jamat says so ...

Gamaliel, you forgot the most important reason for contention.
People getting super defensive if anyone dares to suggest that there are NOT a million legitimate viewpoints on the basics of the faith
[Biased]
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jay-Emm:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
Exactly. In both the OT and the NT the trajectory is in the opposite direction, and it is always God who is taking the initiative.

There is something there though.

Moses has to remove his shoes, to avert his face (once, though another time conspicuously doesn't)
Again there, it's God who takes the initiative and bother to come to us safely. Who veils himself, which suggests the problem is our end.

Isiah (even in a vision) gets panicy (in the ESV that does have guilt and atoned together).
You also have the tabernacle, which I guess could be put either way.

And on the other side you have the ark with the Philistines and coming back.
(that was after sacrifices).

Yes. There is definitely a theme of God's holiness and our sinfulness. Again, the issue is not whether or not there is a "sin problem"-- the question is what is the nature of that sin problem. God's actions throughout the OT and particularly the NT and as exemplified by Jesus is that the problem is not one of separation-- it's not that God's holiness is repulsed by our sinfulness. Rather, the problem seems to be the heartbreaking suffering caused by sin. I suspect that the pain and suffering-- both individual and corporate-- that results from our sins (again, both individual & corporate) is far, far greater than we even recognize. And that breaks God's heart and causes him to move not out of anger but out of compassion. The picture is one of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem rather than chortling over the smoldering Sodom.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Might I ask, which aspect of the atonement rids me of my guilt?

That's an interesting question. I've often reflected on the response to the Lord in the gospels and how remarkably lacking in self-loathing and guilt the depicted characters appear to be.

My conclusion is that on meeting the Christ, it wasn't so much that individuals had the guilt "taken away" so much as that it didn't matter any more. I suspect Zacchaeus felt a bit guilty about ripping people off, that the mother of James and John felt a bit guilty about pestering the Lord about giving them a special ministry in the kingdom. In those and other situations, I don't see the Lord saying "it's ok guys, I'm going to take away that guilt you are feeling" as much as he refocussed them onto something else. Come down Zacchaeus, I'm hungry. Nope, Mrs mother-of-James-and-John, that's the wrong question. Nope, person previously paralysed, lady with problematic background, blind person, leper, man at well. This isn't about how awful you are, stop worrying about that and be whole.

Even Paul, who one presumes would be carrying a lot of guilt doesn't seem to waste a lot of time on it nor seems to be particularly focussed on the atonement as a reason of it being taken away IIRC. He's struck blind for a few days then gets up and gets on with it.

Which makes me think that this whole "you're really sinful and awful and God can't possibly get close to you in that state - you horrible little man - so go and get washed in the blood of the lamb and come back when you are properly cleaned of all your guilt" is a load of bunk.

Simply not the way Jesus operated.

Superb.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
@Jamat, ha ha ...

Fair enough with the riposte, but nowhere have I ever said there are a million ways to understand these things, simply that a range of views are available within the foot print of historic Creedal Christianity... Which is essentially what I'm interested in rather than narrow sectional interests of a reductionist kind ...

To be fair also, and to stop teasing, I think you are right to feel strongly about these issues and to contend for the Gospel as you understand it.

I simply happen to think that you've ratcheted things up so tightly that you've barely room to breathe ...

That isn't to say that there's no air at all where you are, but the atmosphere is rather stuffy ...
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Might I ask, which aspect of the atonement rids me of my guilt?

That's an interesting question. I've often reflected on the response to the Lord in the gospels and how remarkably lacking in self-loathing and guilt the depicted characters appear to be.

My conclusion is that on meeting the Christ, it wasn't so much that individuals had the guilt "taken away" so much as that it didn't matter any more. I suspect Zacchaeus felt a bit guilty about ripping people off, that the mother of James and John felt a bit guilty about pestering the Lord about giving them a special ministry in the kingdom. In those and other situations, I don't see the Lord saying "it's ok guys, I'm going to take away that guilt you are feeling" as much as he refocussed them onto something else. Come down Zacchaeus, I'm hungry. Nope, Mrs mother-of-James-and-John, that's the wrong question. Nope, person previously paralysed, lady with problematic background, blind person, leper, man at well. This isn't about how awful you are, stop worrying about that and be whole.

Even Paul, who one presumes would be carrying a lot of guilt doesn't seem to waste a lot of time on it nor seems to be particularly focussed on the atonement as a reason of it being taken away IIRC. He's struck blind for a few days then gets up and gets on with it.

Which makes me think that this whole "you're really sinful and awful and God can't possibly get close to you in that state - you horrible little man - so go and get washed in the blood of the lamb and come back when you are properly cleaned of all your guilt" is a load of bunk.

Simply not the way Jesus operated.

This.

And I would add-- the examples you cited (and we could add more) of those transformed by their encounters with Jesus seem to be quite happy about those transformations. There's no indication that Zacchaeus spent any time nostalgically reminiscing about the good old days when he was wealthy. Even with Paul, who's post-conversion life was anything but easy, there's no sense of the dreary in the Christian life, no sense of dutifully doing what you gotta do to avoid eternal damnation but dang it's hard. No, even with the persecuted Paul there's this sense of sheer joy-- that whatever pain he's experiencing it was worth it.

This again, suggests that the "sin problem" is not so much about how pissed off God is at us because we broke the rules as it is about how much suffering is caused by our sin. As much as we may think like pre-conversion Zacchaeus that our freedom to steal or cheat is the path to true happiness, we find the truth that it only leads to suffering. Jesus comes to save us from that, to give us the opportunity for a new & different life, not because he's pissed off and this is a last chance for us to shape up, but because he is heartbroken by the suffering caused by sin.

A related idea: in the NT you see all these different groups of people trying to "be pure". The Pharisees do this by scrupulous if joyless adherence to the Law and avoidance of law-breakers (sinners). The zealots do this by seeking to remove the impure Roman overlords from the Promised Land. The essenes do this by avoiding the contamination of "the world" and forming their separatist communities. All are concerned with purity, and all seek to achieve it by distancing themselves from the "impure" so they will not be contaminated by their impurity.

But Jesus does the exact opposite-- rather than distancing himself from the impure, Jesus is constantly moving toward the impure-- tax-collectors, prostitutes. He even allows a hemorrhaging woman to touch him and rewards that audacious act with healing. The idea seems to be that rather than being contaminated by our impurity, Jesus moves to us to infect us with his purity.

He didn't allow it and He didn't heal her.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Mr Cheesy: until the point when you know the basics of what it is that you are talking about, there really is no way to have a discussion
Duh totally agreed. I'm off to do some Bible study.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
<big snip ending with> Simply not the way Jesus operated.

Superb.
Agreed.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

To be fair also, and to stop teasing, I think you are right to feel strongly about these issues and to contend for the Gospel as you understand it.

I simply happen to think that you've ratcheted things up so tightly that you've barely room to breathe ...

I like everything about this (content and the heart behind it).
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
He even allows a hemorrhaging woman to touch him and rewards that audacious act with healing. The idea seems to be that rather than being contaminated by our impurity, Jesus moves to us to infect us with his purity.

He didn't allow it and He didn't heal her.
[Confused]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
To mousethief's snip: Ouch! Not undeserved. I am tacitly reproached. Smote by my own conscience. Especially due to my deliberate use of that as a weapon with cliffdweller, who said a lot of good stuff, BUT had a mote in her eye. My beam looks larger.

[ 13. May 2017, 19:11: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
He even allows a hemorrhaging woman to touch him and rewards that audacious act with healing. The idea seems to be that rather than being contaminated by our impurity, Jesus moves to us to infect us with his purity.

He didn't allow it and He didn't heal her.
[Confused]
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Especially due to my deliberate use of that as a weapon with cliffdweller, who said a lot of good stuff, BUT had a mote in her eye. My beam looks larger.

Before we start comparing who's is bigger [Big Grin] could you explain the mote??? I'm sure I have many, but not at all sure what one you're talking about here. [Confused]
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
[qb] He even allows a hemorrhaging woman to touch him and rewards that audacious act with healing. The idea seems to be that rather than being contaminated by our impurity, Jesus moves to us to infect us with his purity.

He didn't allow it and He didn't heal her.

[Confused]

quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Especially due to my deliberate use of that as a weapon with cliffdweller, who said a lot of good stuff, BUT had a mote in her eye. My beam looks larger.

Before we start comparing who's is bigger [Big Grin] could you explain the mote??? I'm sure I have many, but not at all sure what one you're talking about here. [Confused]
Im guessing he means that the woman touched Jesus before he had a chance to allow or not allow it, and that Jesus said her faith healed her.

Meanwhile, I echo Martin's and mt's approval of your posts.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
Ah, I follow the reasoning. I'm not sure I agree, but that's probably a discussion for a different forum.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
ISTM that the perennial problem associated with the Ship’s consideration of PSA is less the differences of opinion regarding “theories” of the atonement than of fundamentally different approaches to doing theology: its purposes and objectives; and that difference goes much of the way to account for the intensity and frustration that surround our debates.

A recent commentator on the atonement, Tom Stuckey,* indicates that his approach is to see the various atonement “theories” as explicable in terms of (a) the social and cultural context in which they were constructed and (b) their utility, which explains why they were adopted and fell into relative desuetude, or not. They are less explanations of how the atonement works than attempts to convey a sense of what the atonement is about to specific cultures and specific times of varying duration. A second approach is to regard theology as the discovery of eternal truths about God which transcend time and space and are in no sense culture-bound. For such persons, the truth about how the atonement works is as important as the formulations of Chalcedon and Nicaea: outside belief in the agreed conclusions inspired by the Holy Spirit there is heresy and the threat of damnation.

On the Ship, the ardent supporters of PSA tend to have the latter approach, regarding their theory as the only one revealed in scripture and eternally fixed, unconstrained by utility and context. Additionally, they hold that efficacious access to the saving power of Christ involves belief in PSA. That is why to defend and preach it is very important. They are upholding the integrity of the gospel and are not advocates to people with itching ears. That is why they are unwilling to entertain criticism of the theory, and dismiss the provenances of other approaches: they are heresies, or at best only acceptable as far as they in conformity with PSA or point to its primordial status.

The critics, because they do not appear committed to particular alternatives, are of the former school, regarding theological propositions as contextual and utilitarian, rather than eternally true formulations, or as attempts to express eternal truths to contemporary audiences in ways they (including the theologian) can understand. They get angry with PSA not only because they have problems with it, as they have with other theories as well, but that its advocates are so unwilling to debate the matter in a detached academic manner.

Both the supporters and critics of PSA have argued their respective cases ad nauseam so that there can be little doubt as to where each stand. The problem ISTM is that the foundations of the theological approaches have not been discussed, so that the debate drifts towards frustration and abuse because the theological paradigms are incompatible.

Tom Stuckey, The Wrath of God Satisfied? Eugene, 2012
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Actually I was agreeing with mr. cheesy
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Kwesi the meta-analysis is fascinating, thank you. It makes a lot of sense.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Mr Cheesy: until the point when you know the basics of what it is that you are talking about, there really is no way to have a discussion
Duh totally agreed. I'm off to do some Bible study.
Careful mate! It cuts!!
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
So what are we to do Kwesi?
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Actually I was agreeing with mr. cheesy

Oh, you're right. My bad—my brain was getting muddled. You were both agreeing with mr cheesy, not cliffdweller. Sorry about that.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Actually I was agreeing with mr. cheesy

Oh, you're right. My bad—my brain was getting muddled. You were both agreeing with mr cheesy, not cliffdweller. Sorry about that.
Not offended.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
I thought Mr Cheesy was agreeing with me?
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Martin60
quote:
So what are we to do Kwesi?
To be honest, Martin, I don’t know, but I can’t believe that the tone of many of the posts reflects well on our acceptance of atonement, whatever our views on how it works. Personally, I enjoy getting my teeth into a good argument and to be provocative, but when a discussion, particularly on atonement, drifts towards personal antagonism with fellow Christians, let alone others, then I have to ask myself whether the argument is worth continuing at such a cost. Whose spirit is at work?

For many years it was my privilege to know a modest, but internationally respected New Testament scholar, who exemplified the Christian virtues in his practical living, but was also a staunch promoter of PSA through some of his publications. He did not, however, use his status to advance his views confrontationally from the pulpit of his local Methodist congregation, of which he was a faithful and hard-working member, out of respect for what he knew were different views held by those like myself. It would have been divisive and abuse of the pulpit. I decided it was best not to raise the topic in any forum with him because it wasn’t the Christian thing to do, and could only have negative consequences. Perhaps the unspoken understanding was a greater cost to him than me. He may have concluded that love conquered his evangelical duty. On one occasion we attended a Cathedral service at which the presbyterian minister suggested there was no atonement. We both agreed he was mistaken!

Generally speaking, I believe there is much to be learned from religious discussion and controversy, and greatly welcome the space allowed by Ship of Fools because it satisfies my natural inclination to express myself vehemently, helps me to refine my ideas, and allows me room to speculate on things about which I’m very uncertain as to what my position is. In most other context I’m more restrained for a variety of reasons. I suspect that is true of other Shipmates. The Ship may steer an uncertain course but it doesn’t drift towards the shoals when its vigorous debate is underpinned by mutual respect and a recognition that we know and prophecy in part. I think we, and I include myself, find it difficulty to uphold such principles in our discussions on PSA, and wonder whether we are mature enough to debate the issue in a Christian context.

What I was trying to suggest in my post on the theological frameworks or paradigms within which the discussion has been taking place is that an awareness of them might lessen our mutual frustrations and allow us, at least, to agree to differ. If we can't do that I can't see what is the point of this endless discussion in pandemonium, which is exactly what its ruler intends. (OK, I need to deconstruct that, but not now!!)
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
As ever, Kwesi talks a lot of sense.

I think another issue - and I don't wish to be rude or dismissive of anyone here - is that as well as being on different 'pages' in the way we approach theological debate, we are also operating with different models of interpretation texts.

Hence the frustration some of us feel when a Shipmate simply lobs in some barely digested Bible quotes and says, 'There you are, it's obvious. The Bible says so ...'

Equally, when the rest of us start to him and ha and say, 'Well actually, it can be read and understood differently ...' or 'Your interpretation is in itself conditioned by cultural, historical and socio-political forces ...' it can come across as an unwillingness to commit to any definitive position.

I get accused of that all the time aboard Ship - and from all directions. So I must be doing something right ...

But seriously, I'm not suggesting that anyone here is Neanderthal or dim - but there is clearly a 'talking past each other' thing going on - which is partly a generational thing I think - and partly to do with the metanarrative issues Kwesi has highlighted.

There's an impasse.

I don't think the dialogue is unfruitful though even though the whiff of sulphur seeps through the Ship's decks from the bilge below. Provided we can sniff it when it comes and tar across the planks then it's not a problem.

But I do wonder how much further the discussion can go, particularly when Jamat returns from his Bible study wielding his freshly sharpened cutlass of ready-made proof-texts and 'us and them' tropes.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
That's a good question, but it begs a few others in my mind.

Grumpy old man pedantry alert:

No, it RAISES qestions.

Begging the question involves using a premise to support itself.

Raising a question involves simply bringing something up.

Carry on.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Kwesi, as with mr cheesy. Superb. Mature, challenging; inherently, unavoidably, self-deprecatingly rebuking.

Thank you.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Correction received and understood, Kaplan.

Carry on.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Thanks for various messages of support.

A way forward.

In one of his earlier posts, Jamat asks, in reference to an alternative approach to atonement: “That's nice, but how does it affect or transform you?” (p8) I think that is a critical question for us because it asks why does it matter what we believe about the atonement? Is it a mere intellectual exercise or a means of discovering salvation for ourselves and society? Is it a pearl of great price?

My response at the time was to turn the question against PSA (p8), but I think I was mistaken because clearly the doctrine has been transformational in the spiritual experience of Jamat. His adherence to PSA, as far as I understand, has given him an experience of atonement. It’s not my place to question the integrity of his testimony. To my mind, however, he is badly mistaken in his assumption that other spiritual approaches relating to the atonement cannot, therefore, be positively transformational for others. That, of course, has been the source of exasperation with his posts.

Mudfrog has expressed the view that be believes all the theories, though I sense that he regards PSA as foundational, and Gamaliel has tried to find a course that incorporates elements of all the approaches, but is sceptical re PSA. I admire their ecumenical attempts to hold us together. My problem, however, is that both these positions are difficult to sustain because they involve the adoption of mutually exclusive elements, and undermine the integrity and transformational possibilities of different approaches.

Let’s just say that all the approaches are ultimately wrong in an intellectual sense, but justifiable to the extent they have variously enabled individuals to experience atonement. The theories may be hobbled but the outcomes transformational. At present I find the image of Christ as physician and moral influence via Abelard as the most helpful, Christus Victor somewhat dated, and PSA awful. That is not likely to be the position of individuals engaged in spiritual warfare or crushed by the burden of personal sin. Anselm’s emphasis on the need for God’s honour to be satisfied seems less precious when considered not only in the mediaeval context but: “hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth.” That must be both the need for and consequence of atonement. Approaches based on sacrifice and blood leave me bemused, but the experience of being drenched and washed in the Blood of the Lamb have inspired some of the most intimate experiences of being at one with Christ. Attempts at a melange, it seems to me, are not only impossible and unnecessary but weaken their salvic impact.

Sadly, I don’t think this approach will satisfy the monist dogmatists like Jamat, but it might help the rest of us not to allow him to infuriate us. More positively, I think a focus on the transformational objects of the atonement and how various metaphors promote that could be fruitful. We thank Jamat for his prompting.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Thank you for showing the way, leading in this Kwesi.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I like that, Kwesi and yes, you are right, my own position is probably untenable in the longer term, but I suspect it's indicative of a transitional process that Jamat, in his bluntness, and others have already highlighted ...

As someone with a similar evangelical heritage to Mudfrog, Kaplan and even Jamat to a certain extent, I do find it difficult to throw PSA overboard - and I don't find it particularly repugnant as a model provided it doesn't topple over the line to some kind of almost gleefully vengeful and juridical position - Jonathan Edwards's 'Sinners in the hands of an angry God' anyone?

I do have problems with PSA but I have less problem with the kind of positions held by Mudfrog and Kaplan. Jamat, I find difficult -sorry about that, old chap ... But I'm glad he's around and I admire his zeal and his support for the truth as he sees it.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I thought Mr Cheesy was agreeing with me?

He probably was. You were both saying lots of Good Stuff.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
One of my most favourite pieces of music is Allegri's Miserere, illuming as it does, David's penitence in the words of Psalm 51.

I don't believe anyone can make another 'feel' guilty.

I read Psalm 51 - Have mercy, blot out my transgressions, wash away my iniquity, cleanse me from all my sin...

and I feel with him, from my own experience, the crushing weight of wrongdoing - especially when caused to others - and I am also standing with the man who was pointed out by Jesus, beating his breast, not daring to raise his eyes to Heaven as he murmurs, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner.'

Why did I ask this question?
Well not for academic reasons but for pastoral.

Does the atonement grant me mercy, blot out, cleanse and wash my sin, guilt and shame away?

How does it do it?
And where is the assurance that my prayer of penitence and my trust in the blood of Jesus actually does 'cleanse my from all (every) sin' (1 John)?

When someone - anyone - explains to me the doctrine of atonement I want to know that somehow, something has happened.
I want to know that not only has something happened there in front of me, or that something once happened for me; I want to know - I need to know and feel - that something has happened to me.

That God has indeed taken my sin, my shame and my guilt; that he has washed my soul, that he has created a new heart within me.

I want to know that, because I have 'been forgiven much', he will accept the 'much love' I have to pour out to him in adoration and praise.

That's why I asked the question:
I want to know that God has forgiven me.
I want to know what he has done so I can be assured.

[ 14. May 2017, 14:01: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

That's why I asked the question:
I want to know that God has forgiven me.
I want to know what he has done so I can be assured.

OK. He's separated you from your sin - as far as the East is from the West. He's forgotten it, doesn't care about it, not worried about it.

There you go, be assured.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

That's why I asked the question:
I want to know that God has forgiven me.
I want to know what he has done so I can be assured.

OK. He's separated you from your sin - as far as the East is from the West. He's forgotten it, doesn't care about it, not worried about it.

There you go, be assured.

Thanks, if only Jesus had known it was that easy.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Thanks, if only Jesus had known it was that easy.

What is easier, to say "your sins are forgiven" or "get up and walk"?

(Matt 9:5, Luke 5:23)

He did know it was that easy.

[ 14. May 2017, 14:26: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
My point is this:
if it were easy for God to just forgive, then why go through the trauma of Gethsemane, the humiliation of the trial, the horror of Calvary with it's hoped-for glimpse of resurrection?

The cross itself suggests very strongly that our redemption, the whole atonement-thing- was far deeper than God wanting to say 'Don't worry, I love you, I'll forgive you.'

Something was going on on the cross at the deepest level - a transaction was being made not a publicity stunt to show the world just-how-far-God-was-willing-to-go.

If Jesus went through that when God could have merely said, 'No worries, all forgiven, don't mention it', then there has to be something amost 'surgical'going on.

The cross either has an effect on the human soul and 'does something' within us, or else it was a pointless, though noble, statement.

So, my question again - beyond God saying 'I forgive you,' what did the cross actually do to me?

[ 14. May 2017, 14:42: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
You know, Muddy, I'd agree with all of that. The atonement is about more than forgiveness, because God indeed could simply forgive.

But it wasn't simply forgiveness.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
For me, there's a distinction between it being "easy" for God to forgive and it being "costly."

And I agree that something deeper than "I forgive you" is going, though I would not describe it as a "transaction." A healing is maybe the closest I can get right now.

I'm also a little leery when the whole shebang is tied to the cross. Without diminishing the importance of the cross at all, I think there's more to it. The whole shebang is the incarnation, life, passion, death, resurrection, ascension be reign. They all are at play in God's reconciling work in Christ, it seems to me.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
@Mudfrog. Whatever you feel and think and say it does for you. Just like every one else here.

[ 14. May 2017, 15:01: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
You know, Muddy, I'd agree with all of that. The atonement is about more than forgiveness, because God indeed could simply forgive.

But it wasn't simply forgiveness.

This is very interesting for many agnostics and doubting atheists, who probably wonder 'why doesn't God just forgive?'. But I tended to think that atonement in part meant at-one-ment, that is overcoming the gap between human and divine. This is not just about sin and purity, is it, but also the boundaries involved, or one might say, inclusion and exclusion? In this light, my old Zen teacher used to say that hell isn't punishment, but training.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
You know, Muddy, I'd agree with all of that. The atonement is about more than forgiveness, because God indeed could simply forgive.

But it wasn't simply forgiveness.

Indeed. [Smile]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
You know, Muddy, I'd agree with all of that. The atonement is about more than forgiveness, because God indeed could simply forgive.

But it wasn't simply forgiveness.

This is very interesting for many agnostics and doubting atheists, who probably wonder 'why doesn't God just forgive?'. But I tended to think that atonement in part meant at-one-ment, that is overcoming the gap between human and divine. This is not just about sin and purity, is it, but also the boundaries involved, or one might say, inclusion and exclusion? In this light, my old Zen teacher used to say that hell isn't punishment, but training.
Atonement is better as 'reconciliation.
Paul talks about being at enmity with God.
We were still sinners - transgressors - when Christ died for us to be=ring an end to our enmity, our hostility.
So much more than forgiveness, Jesus was the penalty paid for the wrongdoing that led to the breach of trust and fellowship, the ransom paid for the prisoner (of war?), the healer of the wounds and trauma.

The cross - and the whole incarnation indeed - is more than just a demonstration, an example; it's a real-time sacrifice, it's the swap of prisoners on the bridge, it's the surgeon's knife bringing healing.

Something happens - not just on the cross, but in the human heart too.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
My point is this:
if it were easy for God to just forgive, then why go through the trauma of Gethsemane, the humiliation of the trial, the horror of Calvary with it's hoped-for glimpse of resurrection?

Because there's more to salvation than forgiveness.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Some Buddhists see it as the death of the separate ego, which claims its own kingdom, and then sees it turn to ash in the face of its overweening narcissism, mine, mine, mine.

But the annihilation of the separate I can lead to the One.

Other interpretations are available.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
My point is this:
if it were easy for God to just forgive, then why go through the trauma of Gethsemane, the humiliation of the trial, the horror of Calvary with it's hoped-for glimpse of resurrection?

Because there's more to salvation than forgiveness.
Yes, that's the whole point of what I'm saying.
God doesn't just forgive - there's a whole lot more to the atonement. It isn't just what God thinks of me, it's what he
does in me.

More than forgiveness - there is healing, redemption, restoration, etc, etc.
Something is done; I am altered.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Some Buddhists see it as the death of the separate ego, which claims its own kingdom, and then sees it turn to ash in the face of its overweening narcissism, mine, mine, mine.

But the annihilation of the separate I can lead to the One.

Other interpretations are available.

That's quite similar to the being 'crucified with Christ' scenario; and the 'It's no longer that lives but Christ that lives in me.
We would agree that the 'old man' has been put to death.

The difference, of course, it seems, is that the Christian would say s/he retains a unique identity and is valued as a person loved by God, remaining so for eternity even in union and fellowship with Jesus.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
My point is this:
if it were easy for God to just forgive, then why go through the trauma of Gethsemane, the humiliation of the trial, the horror of Calvary with it's hoped-for glimpse of resurrection?


Because the cross wasn't about forgiveness.

This is crystal clear in the NT: if I can legitimately tell someone "your sins are forgiven" (and let's be clear - the Lord said that we could John 20:23), what connection can there be to the cross?

Constantly bringing the crux of the atonement around to "little old me and my forgiveness" is missing a major part of the Lord's teaching. And practice.

quote:
The cross itself suggests very strongly that our redemption, the whole atonement-thing- was far deeper than God wanting to say 'Don't worry, I love you, I'll forgive you.'
Absolutely and totally nothing to do with it. Seriously. We have the power to forgive people, the text says so, whether or not that individual understands the atonement.

quote:
Something was going on on the cross at the deepest level - a transaction was being made not a publicity stunt to show the world just-how-far-God-was-willing-to-go.
Yes. But it absolutely wasn't a transaction for sin. Because sin was forgiven by the Lord and because we're told we can forgive sins.

quote:
If Jesus went through that when God could have merely said, 'No worries, all forgiven, don't mention it', then there has to be something amost 'surgical'going on.
Or something far far far deeper than worrying about an individual and his sins.

quote:
The cross either has an effect on the human soul and 'does something' within us, or else it was a pointless, though noble, statement.
Again, asking and answering the wrong question. There is clearly more than one alternative to this, see Christus Victor.

quote:
So, my question again - beyond God saying 'I forgive you,' what did the cross actually do to me?
It showed you how to be godly. If you want to be spiritual, if you want to be whole, if you want to be close to God, if you want to be "somebody" in the kingdom, if you want to be healed. If you want to do all those things, here is what you must do, right there: pick up your cross and carry it wherever it leads. Even to a ridiculous death.

And in fairness, there is every indication that you know this, Mudfrog. Sadly it seems that your focus in this aspect of wrong theology is causing you to stress about the wrong things.

Focus on the cross. The one you're carrying. All this other stuff will be swept away.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, of course 'something is done' - I don't think any of us here are 'externalising' the atonement in some way - I think we are all 'internalising' it too - but perhaps in different ways and with different emphases ...

The Eastern Christian tradition has tended to put more emphasis on our union with Christ - our gradual conforming to the divine nature - the whole 'theosis' thing ...

Whereas the West has tended to see it in more transactional terms ...

I don't think either precludes a sense of 'personal engagement' as it were or of something being done - something 'happening' to us and through us ...

However - we have to be careful when it comes to subjective feelings and senses of assurance - although I don't doubt that they happen ...

It also strikes me that even if we do take the view that it was easy - or relatively easy - for God to forgive - that doesn't mean that we are saying that the Cross was anything but brutal, harsh and absolutely appalling ...

We don't diminish the horror and weight of that if we take a different view of it than the standard evangelical PSA one ...

Christ shared our death. He was condemned by a kangaroo court, roughed up, spat at, beaten, whipped - stripped and humiliated and nailed to a tree ...

In some mysterious way he was 'cursed', in some mysterious way he 'became sin for us ...'

I don't think anyone here is saying that the Atonement didn't 'cost' anything ...

But, like Nick Tamen, I am more inclined these days to look at the whole thing - the whole shebang if you like and if I can put it so crudely - Christ's life, teaching, atoning and sacrificial death, his glorious resurrection and ascension.

I'm less inclined to dissect it all up and fillet it into chunks ...

Which is what I've been trying to say all the way through the thread.

I'm no Saint (Big S) and I'm not clear what 'stage' I'm at on Fowler's Stages of Faith - nor am I convinced it's particularly helpful even to think in those terms ...

But I no longer crave 'assurance' ... I can think of times when I have 'felt' that - I can think of times when I have felt bereft of that ...

But it ain't down to me and it ain't down to how I 'feel' about it all ...

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating an ice-cold, Spock-like approach to faith - but neither am I proposing the kind of roller-coaster 'am I saved, aren't I saved ...' kind of guilt-trip thing that many young evangelicals go through in their teens and 20's - despite all the best efforts of preachers who preach 'assurance' and all the upbeat hymns and choruses ...

'Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine ...'

Sure, there's a place for all that but it ain't where I'm at now.

My wife has cancer. She's been going through a crisis of faith. She is no longer sure what she does or doesn't believe.

That seems only natural to me and I'm no longer trying to interfere. I'm letting that run its course. However the Atonement 'works' and whatever she or I believe or feel about it isn't going to sorted out as some kind of tick-box exercise.

I'm sure the Almighty isn't fazed by any of this.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
What do we make of the following cases?

Zacchaeus. Were the words of Jesus: “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost,” the imprimatur on an atoning moment? Atonement before the cross?

Julian of Norwich. She seems to have had no sense of personal sin and, therefore, no sense of a need of forgiveness. Yet she had incredibly intense experiences of intimacy with Christ and the sweetness of his blood. Crucicentric, but a very different atonement experience to that described by Mudfrog.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
What do we make of the following cases?

Zacchaeus. Were the words of Jesus: “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost,” the imprimatur on an atoning moment? Atonement before the cross?

Hard to conclude anything other than that Jesus had authority to forgive sins. Before the cross.

quote:
Julian of Norwich. She seems to have had no sense of personal sin and, therefore, no sense of a need of forgiveness. Yet she had incredibly intense experiences of intimacy with Christ and the sweetness of his blood. Crucicentric, but a very different atonement experience to that described by Mudfrog.
Don't know anything about it, so can't comment.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
The standard evangelical answer, Kwesi would be that the Cross acts retrospectively and so Zacchaeus and the 'Old Testament saints' alike were all saved by Christ's salvific work upon the Cross ...

I can see that, but as I've said, I no longer like to fillet the whole thing into bite-size chunks.

I like the Orthodox icon of the Harrowing of Hell where Christ strides across a cross-shaped bridge across the gaping gulf of Hell and lifts folk from it.

That will do me.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
The standard evangelical answer, Kwesi would be that the Cross acts retrospectively and so Zacchaeus and the 'Old Testament saints' alike were all saved by Christ's salvific work upon the Cross ...

That's kind of ridiculous though. Why bother with the teaching? He might as well have stood on the mount of olives with multitudes around him and cried out "your sins are forgiven!"

If the cross gave Christ the ability to save before it happened, the only possible explanation for keeping it for a very small number of individuals must be Calvinistic predestination. Any other explanation makes no sense.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Something was going on on the cross at the deepest level - a transaction was being made not a publicity stunt to show the world just-how-far-God-was-willing-to-go.

Yes. But it absolutely wasn't a transaction for sin. Because sin was forgiven by the Lord and because we're told we can forgive sins.
DNF. There's more that needs to be done w.r.t. sins than mere forgiveness. We need to be set free from the power of sin, and the power of death, which are in Scripture linked in a "two sides of the same coin" sort of way. Both were destroyed by the Resurrection.

As for the OT saints, they were in captivity waiting for the cross and the resurrection to spring them. It's all in Chrysostom, what do they teach them in these seminaries:

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
DNF. There's more that needs to be done w.r.t. sins than mere forgiveness. We need to be set free from the power of sin, and the power of death, which are in Scripture linked in a "two sides of the same coin" sort of way. Both were destroyed by the Resurrection.

I think it does follow. If God could forgive and release people their sins then he could also free them from the power of their sins.

Christus Victor says that Christ's life death and resurrection has won a victory over the powers, including the power of death. Because of who Christ is. Because of the kind of God that God is: the redeeming God.

quote:
As for the OT saints, they were in captivity waiting for the cross and the resurrection to spring them. It's all in Chrysostom, what do they teach them in these seminaries:
No idea what they teach in seminaries because I've never been to one. Even if I did, it is highly unlikely that I'd learn about John Chrysostom.

quote:
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.
Yeah. Harrowing of hell doesn't work for me.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
C'mon, even Spurgeon used to quote Chrysostom ...

He's not exactly unknown in the West.

As for the Harrowing of Hell - I'm not sure how 'literally' to take it for it to 'work' but in the context of the Orthodox Easter Vigil it 'works' for me ... It shows the Orthodox emphasis on the Resurrection in action.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
C'mon, even Spurgeon used to quote Chrysostom ...

He's not exactly unknown in the West.

As for the Harrowing of Hell - I'm not sure how 'literally' to take it for it to 'work' but in the context of the Orthodox Easter Vigil it 'works' for me ... It shows the Orthodox emphasis on the Resurrection in action.

Well, I'm not telling you what to believe or who to read as an authority. I'm just saying it doesn't make sense as far as I'm concerned.

If God can forgive anyone he chooses to forgive (and I believe he can, and does, freely forgive anyone who is penitent and forgives others), then no harrowing of hell is necessary. And no backwards effects of the cross is needed.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
The idea, of course, is that Christ overcame the power of death by the Resurrection - so that is then applied retrospectively as it were ...

I'm not saying there aren't issues with it, just as there are with the juridical views - but it explains that odd account in the Gospels about dead people coming back to life and wandering around after the Resurrection.

As for the idea of the benefits of the Cross being applied retrospectively, it's what was generally believed and preached in the evangelical circles I moved in ... Just as it was taught that salvation was always by grace through faith - as per the Apostle Paul's observations about the faith of Abraham in Romans. We had to jump through hermeneutical hoops to deal with the Epistle of James, of course.

I'm not particularly advocating any particular view over any others here - simply outlining how these things are seen in certain circles.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
DNF. There's more that needs to be done w.r.t. sins than mere forgiveness. We need to be set free from the power of sin, and the power of death, which are in Scripture linked in a "two sides of the same coin" sort of way. Both were destroyed by the Resurrection.

I think it does follow. If God could forgive and release people their sins then he could also free them from the power of their sins.
This is like saying "God could unite the divine and human natures without becoming incarnate." No. God becoming incarnate and God uniting the divine and human natures are just two ways of saying the same thing. God destroying death from within requires being within death, which requires the incarnation.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
I agree that salvation is about more than forgiveness. And I agree that Jesus talks about and demonstrates God's ability and eagerness to forgive. But to say the cross has nothing to do with forgiveness seems to me to require ignoring other things that Jesus said. For example, if the cross has nothing to do with forgiveness, what do we do with Matthew 26:28, where at the Last Supper Jesus describes the cup as the blood of the covenant, poured out for the forgiveness of sins? There are other places where the NT links the blood of Jesus to forgiveness. I think it's a distortion to make that the whole story, but I also think it's a distortion to omit it from the story.

My take on it is that the cross is a temporal manifestation—an outcropping or intersection of the divine into human history—of an eternal reality. Revelation describes Christ as the Lamb sacrificed or slain from the foundation of the world. The cross is that sacrifice breaking into our history. In the incarnation-cross-resurrection, it seems to me, the Incarnate God does what the Word eternally does—offer himself in love and bring forth life. What exactly is going on is a mystery, but it is, I think, a mystery that undergirds all of our relation to God and a mystery that we are invited into, not to understand but to participate in and experience. And in experiencing it, we find salvation—healing, wholeness, acceptance, welcome, forgiveness (and self-forgiveness), reconciliation, release from bondage, love, abundant life and more.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
I agree that salvation is about more than forgiveness. And I agree that Jesus talks about and demonstrates God's ability and eagerness to forgive. But to say the cross has nothing to do with forgiveness seems to me to require ignoring other things that Jesus said. For example, if the cross has nothing to do with forgiveness, what do we do with Matthew 26:28, where at the Last Supper Jesus describes the cup as the blood of the covenant, poured out for the forgiveness of sins? There are other places where the NT links the blood of Jesus to forgiveness. I think it's a distortion to make that the whole story, but I also think it's a distortion to omit it from the story.

My take on it is that the cross is a temporal manifestation—an outcropping or intersection of the divine into human history—of an eternal reality. Revelation describes Christ as the Lamb sacrificed or slain from the foundation of the world. The cross is that sacrifice breaking into our history. In the incarnation-cross-resurrection, it seems to me, the Incarnate God does what the Word eternally does—offer himself in love and bring forth life. What exactly is going on is a mystery, but it is, I think, a mystery that undergirds all of our relation to God and a mystery that we are invited into, not to understand but to participate in and experience. And in experiencing it, we find salvation—healing, wholeness, acceptance, welcome, forgiveness (and self-forgiveness), reconciliation, release from bondage, love, abundant life and more.

This. Exactly.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
I agree that salvation is about more than forgiveness. And I agree that Jesus talks about and demonstrates God's ability and eagerness to forgive. But to say the cross has nothing to do with forgiveness seems to me to require ignoring other things that Jesus said. For example, if the cross has nothing to do with forgiveness, what do we do with Matthew 26:28, where at the Last Supper Jesus describes the cup as the blood of the covenant, poured out for the forgiveness of sins? There are other places where the NT links the blood of Jesus to forgiveness. I think it's a distortion to make that the whole story, but I also think it's a distortion to omit it from the story.

My take on it is that the cross is a temporal manifestation—an outcropping or intersection of the divine into human history—of an eternal reality. Revelation describes Christ as the Lamb sacrificed or slain from the foundation of the world. The cross is that sacrifice breaking into our history. In the incarnation-cross-resurrection, it seems to me, the Incarnate God does what the Word eternally does—offer himself in love and bring forth life. What exactly is going on is a mystery, but it is, I think, a mystery that undergirds all of our relation to God and a mystery that we are invited into, not to understand but to participate in and experience. And in experiencing it, we find salvation—healing, wholeness, acceptance, welcome, forgiveness (and self-forgiveness), reconciliation, release from bondage, love, abundant life and more.

This. Exactly.
Yes, I agree with this as well. It seems to nicely express the power, the mystery and a few essential ingredients that make up the way atonement is experienced. I see the atonement (the fact not the theory,) as occurring on the cross. It is from there the 'tetelestai' utterance came. The blood of Jesus is indicative of the giving of his life as mandated in Hebrews 9 and it is this life given as a 'ransom' for many that is the engine of all the benefits such as forgiveness, victory over man's nature, and of course, 'ransom' itself suggests the redemption or buying back of our souls, the change of ownership suggesting that up to that point the Devil had a legal right to our souls, now he has forfeited that right. The exercise of faith can now take it away from him.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Nick Tamen
quote:
I agree that salvation is about more than forgiveness. And I agree that Jesus talks about and demonstrates God's ability and eagerness to forgive. But to say the cross has nothing to do with forgiveness seems to me to require ignoring other things that Jesus said.
Could someone clarify for me what the cross had to do with the forgiveness of sins? As I see it Jesus forgave sins on numerous occasions in the course of his ministry. This power arose not from his atoning work on the cross but from his Trinitarian status, that as God he had power on earth to forgive sins. Jesus forgave sins not because of what he did but because of who he was. (A power he exercised as he was being crucified).

At Pentecost Peter regarded the cross not as a means for the forgiveness of sin but as the greatest of sins, i.e. the murder of the Messiah, which threatened to bring down the wrath of God; "Sirs, what shall we do to be saved?" The cross, in other words, is something for which they (we) were (are) responsible and need to be forgiven. The Acts passage concludes:

quote:
"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.”

Quite how Peter fits the cross into the process of atonement, I'm not sure, but it offers a perspective that is rather different from others in the New Testament, and is worthy of consideration. Of course, as numerous posts emphasise, the whole business is a mystery, which is why, I suppose, we shouldn't be too dogmatic or one-eyed in these matters.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
It strikes me there are two equal and opposite errors we can fall into here - and I'm sure there are others ...

One is to 'isolate' the Cross as if it is some kind of 'stand-alone' aspect ...

The other is to treat it as an add-on extra ...

The same applies to other elements of course, the way we talk about or try to understand the Trinity for instance.

It's very easy to lose equilibrium and balance.

The Cross is literally the 'crux' of the matter - it is 'crucial' - but not in isolation.

Kwesi raises some interesting points about Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost. However, they aren't points which are incompatible with the standard evangelical approach and understanding of the Atonement. Back in the day,I heard plenty of sermons and Bible studies how it was 'by the hands of wicked men' that Christ was killed ...

But also how this was by 'God's set purpose and foreknowledge.'

God didn't kill Christ.

People did.

In a sense, 'we' did as we are part of humanity. I know this view point has been challenged upthread but in some sense 'we' were representively 'present' although, of course, not directly involved. And then there's the whole 'It was my sin that held him there ...' thing that you get in popular worship songs and choruses.

More Mystery.

I'm not sure it's possible to fully reconcile all these aspects. It's not a 2D jigsaw puzzle.

Which is why I'm advocating taking the whole thing whole, as it were and so far as is possible - without dismantling all the components to see 'how they work'.

We can see that they work and are given some indications and instructions as to how to appropriate them - as it were - but we won't get to completely look under the bonnet (hood) until we know fully, even as we are fully known.

These are things into which even the angels long to look.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
I agree that salvation is about more than forgiveness. And I agree that Jesus talks about and demonstrates God's ability and eagerness to forgive. But to say the cross has nothing to do with forgiveness seems to me to require ignoring other things that Jesus said. For example, if the cross has nothing to do with forgiveness, what do we do with Matthew 26:28, where at the Last Supper Jesus describes the cup as the blood of the covenant, poured out for the forgiveness of sins? There are other places where the NT links the blood of Jesus to forgiveness. I think it's a distortion to make that the whole story, but I also think it's a distortion to omit it from the story.

I'm sorry if this was intended to be rhetorical, but I don't think this is really a major problem with the view I've outlined.

Clearly at the point where the Last Supper occurred, the crucifixion hadn't occurred yet. So at that point, the disciples are being invited to enter viscerally into the promised covenant via the blood and body of the Lord, which gives forgiveness. Whilst he was there standing amongst them.

I think it is interesting to read this in association with the cup of suffering in Luke 22:42 and see the imagery of drinking and eating as participation in the work of God.

For me, the Last Supper is an invitation to the disciples to commit themselves to the epoch-making agenda of the Kingdom announced by the life, death and resurrection of the Son. In following on from them, we're reminding ourselves that forgiveness is offered by God freely to us, but that the correct response is to submit ourselves to him, even to death on a cross. This is the thing that we're announcing when we take part in the Eucharist: not just that God has forgiven us, but that he is in the process of redeeming all things.

Making the crucifixion about forgiveness only makes sense if one avoids talking about the actions and words of the Lord leading up to it.

quote:

My take on it is that the cross is a temporal manifestation—an outcropping or intersection of the divine into human history—of an eternal reality. Revelation describes Christ as the Lamb sacrificed or slain from the foundation of the world. The cross is that sacrifice breaking into our history. In the incarnation-cross-resurrection, it seems to me, the Incarnate God does what the Word eternally does—offer himself in love and bring forth life. What exactly is going on is a mystery, but it is, I think, a mystery that undergirds all of our relation to God and a mystery that we are invited into, not to understand but to participate in and experience. And in experiencing it, we find salvation—healing, wholeness, acceptance, welcome, forgiveness (and self-forgiveness), reconciliation, release from bondage, love, abundant life and more.

It is so much more than that, and unfortunately this is where the Evangelical understanding of the atonement and works of Christ fall so short. It just isn't about "you" and your personal release from bondage. That's already offered to you by the God who loves you and wants to see the best for you.

It's about upsetting the Karma applecart and breaking the powers and announcing a new kingdom and a new set of priorities and that all the crap that we see is just temporal and will be swept away.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Gamaliel, I agree with you on the importance of not isolating the crucifixion from other elements in the story. Peter’s sermon is particularly helpful because he contrasts the cruelty of the cross that has been engineered by culpable humanity with the Father’s refusal to accept the outcome by imposing the resurrection: “You, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.  But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death.” The peroration ends with Peter urging his hearers to receive the Holy Spirit. Thus, the process of atonement is one which involves all persons of the Trinity, as well as giving much greater importance to the resurrection than some crucicentric accounts permit. We are offered a well-integrated perspective both historically and theologically.

I agree, too, that “foreknowledge and deliberate plan” raise problems. Foreknowledge, however, does not necessarily mean one desires the overwhelmingly predictable end, as Jesus, himself, recounts in the parable of the tenants of the vineyard. The greater difficulty is with “deliberate plan” because the sermon rests heavily on human moral culpability for the grotesque impiety of the cross, which would lose its force entirely were the participants mere puppets manipulated by the Father. Furthermore, Luke’s gospel (at least), presents the crucifixion as collusion between evil men in alliance with the devil: Satan, Judas, the religious authorities and the Romans. The danger of a determinist slant is to see God as the author of evil, which i don’t think Luke intended. Perhaps it’s best to see the plan in terms of its desired end rather than an indicative process.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Could someone clarify for me what the cross had to do with the forgiveness of sins? As I see it Jesus forgave sins on numerous occasions in the course of his ministry. This power arose not from his atoning work on the cross but from his Trinitarian status, that as God he had power on earth to forgive sins. Jesus forgave sins not because of what he did but because of who he was. (A power he exercised as he was being crucified).

Exactly this.

quote:
At Pentecost Peter regarded the cross not as a means for the forgiveness of sin but as the greatest of sins, i.e. the murder of the Messiah, which threatened to bring down the wrath of God; "Sirs, what shall we do to be saved?" The cross, in other words, is something for which they (we) were (are) responsible and need to be forgiven. The Acts passage concludes:

quote:
"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.”

Quite how Peter fits the cross into the process of atonement, I'm not sure, but it offers a perspective that is rather different from others in the New Testament, and is worthy of consideration. Of course, as numerous posts emphasise, the whole business is a mystery, which is why, I suppose, we shouldn't be too dogmatic or one-eyed in these matters.
I don't see that Peter is asking the crowd to believe in the atoning and forgiving power of the cross at all in that passage.

Unfortunately this verse (and a few others) have been a source of historic antisemitism because of the suggestion that the Jews had somehow committed a crime against God.

The best light I can put onto it is that Peter is inviting those who had participated in the actual events of Holy Week to recognise their mistake, accept the forgiveness offered by God and participate in the Kingdom programme instead.

I don't think we should see this as a general condemnation of Jewish people - and I don't really see the value of the imagery which associates us, individually, with those who did it.

It seems to me that one of the themes of the epistles is the call to participation. To participate, submit, to the project of God. To consider our old motivations and will sacrificed with Christ on the cross, to be new people with a perspective that is more than individual and temporal but looks to see how to participate in the loving project of God in the world via the death of self.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, I wasn't saying otherwise ...

On the issue of how the Cross deals with forgiveness ... well, surely all these things are interlinked?

In the Orthodox understanding, as far as I understand it, the Cross deals with sin and its consequences as the power of sin is broken at the Cross - just as the power of death is - 'trampling down death by death ...'

The Resurrection doesn't then simply put a 'rubber-stamp' on the transaction, as it were, it is an integral part of the whole thing ... and yes, I would agree that certain - but my no means all - evangelical presentations of the Atonement can be weak on the Resurrection ...

As I've said upthread, with certain Big E Evangelicals you get the impression that Christ should have been crucified the moment he was born ...

It's almost as if the rest of the narrative is unimportant - save, perhaps, for some of the End-Times predictions that certain types of evangelical love to speculate and salivate over ...

Ok, that's a caricature ... but you'd be forgiven for getting the impression from some evangelicals that the whole thing is simply about one's own individual salvation and a tick-box list of what's 'sound' ...

People in other traditions are capable of equal and opposite distortions.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
What an excellent, compelling relay. The baton being passed smoothly for whole laps.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
As far as I understand it, the Orthodox link sin and the fear and power of death ... 'Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die ...'

They do indeed see sin and death as interlinked in scripture and the power of both as being broken by the Resurrection (which of course requires the Cross as no death / no Resurrection ...)

As Mousethief put it: 'We need to be set free from the power of sin, and the power of death, which are in Scripture linked in a "two sides of the same coin" sort of way. Both were destroyed by the Resurrection. '

This may not be 'crucicentric' enough for some people - but surely it's another of these both/and things?

You can't have one without the other. You can't have the Cross without the Resurrection. You can't have the Resurrection without the Cross.

It's always tempting to fall back on hymnody ... and I'm reminded of the old Sunday school song which has a verse which runs, 'If you don't bear the Cross / You won't wear a Crown ...'

Or something like that.

So, mr cheesy's emphasis on identification, on participation if you like - is also valid. Why? Because it accommodates those passages and incidents which seem to indicate 'free' forgiveness as it were and human responsibility and also lifts us beyond the purely individualistic into the realm of the corporate and the social ...

Alongside, I would suggest, other possible insights and models - but not necessarily 'instead of' them ...
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Mr Cheesy
quote:
I don't see that Peter is asking the crowd to believe in the atoning and forgiving power of the cross at all in that passage.

Couldn't agree more.

quote:
Unfortunately this verse (and a few others) have been a source of historic antisemitism because of the suggestion that the Jews had somehow committed a crime against God.

Ethnically speaking, of course, the audience included a significant number of proselytes, Gentiles.

What interests me are the various paradigm shifts in the apportionment of blame for the crucifixion. In the gospels (inc, Luke), the charge sheet is very narrowly focussed: the religious leaders and Judas who have sold out to Satan and the Roman authorities. In Peter's sermon, as we have discussed, culpability is extended by the apostle to Jewish believers of Gentile and Jewish origin. Eventually, the charge sheet is extended to the whole of humanity, so that we find Charles Wesley describing himself as "me who caused his pain: me who him to death pursued." The process of expansion is, perhaps, exemplified by Romans 1-2.

ISTM that most (if not all) interpretations of the cross and resurrection are weakly supported by the biblical record. Dare I include Paul in that? What scriptural authority did he claim for much of his writing. What possible basis is there for Charles Wesley to add himself to the charge sheet? Do you, shipmates, see your names on the list?

I think that somewhere in all this we have to recognise the important influence of the Holy Spirit bearing witness to our spirits, because in trying to articulate the atonement, however insecurely, there are great doses of religious imagination that have uncertain scriptural bases at best and almost none at all in many cases. That is not to say these insights are false but we are in trouble if we seek to anchor them solely in biblical authority. Don't let scripture limit the Witness of Truth!
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:

ISTM that most (if not all) interpretations of the cross and resurrection are weakly supported by the biblical record. Dare I include Paul in that? What scriptural authority did he claim for much of his writing. What possible basis is there for Charles Wesley to add himself to the charge sheet? Do you, shipmates, see your names on the list?

Again, apologies if that was rhetorical, but I don't. I dislike the poetic notion that the hands and cries of "crucify him" were mine.

As far as I read, the calling is to consider myself crucified with Christ, not to consider myself the abuser and crucifier.

quote:
I think that somewhere in all this we have to recognise the important influence of the Holy Spirit bearing witness to our spirits, because in trying to articulate the atonement, however insecurely, there are great doses of religious imagination that have uncertain scriptural bases at best and almost none at all in many cases. That is not to say these insights are false but we are in trouble if we seek to anchor them solely in biblical authority. Don't let scripture limit the Witness of Truth!
Exactly. Part of my objective here has been to articulate a view that attempts to be rooted in the scriptures but is 180 degrees at odds with the Evangelical understanding of the atonement. It is, by any estimation, "biblical".

But as my sig suggests, anything that is worth believing needs to be more than just "biblical", it also needs to be "not bollocks".
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
mr. cheesy wrote:
quote:
I dislike the poetic notion that the hands and cries of "crucify him" were mine.

As far as I read, the calling is to consider myself crucified with Christ, not to consider myself the abuser and crucifier.

I don't think you have to be a grade A exegete to suggest those two things run together - the former point relating to the human nature, the second (through repentance and burying the old man) to putting that aside and growing in the Holy Spirit/theosis/etc.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
He even allows a hemorrhaging woman to touch him and rewards that audacious act with healing. The idea seems to be that rather than being contaminated by our impurity, Jesus moves to us to infect us with his purity.

He didn't allow it and He didn't heal her.
[Confused]
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Especially due to my deliberate use of that as a weapon with cliffdweller, who said a lot of good stuff, BUT had a mote in her eye. My beam looks larger.

Before we start comparing who's is bigger [Big Grin] could you explain the mote??? I'm sure I have many, but not at all sure what one you're talking about here. [Confused]
Ay up cliffdweller, the mote is your singular hermeneutic, as Nick pointed out and your insistence on it. As in other areas [Smile] Well one.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
mr cheesy
quote:
Kwesi: Do you, shipmates, see your names on the list?
I suppose in tone, mr cheesy, it was a rhetorical question, but it was intended to provoke responses, not only from such as yourself but from those of a different opinion. Really, I'm just looking for sincerity, because there are those for whom such an identification leads to an atoning experience. Evidently, not for you, which is just fine.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
mr. cheesy wrote:
quote:
I dislike the poetic notion that the hands and cries of "crucify him" were mine.

As far as I read, the calling is to consider myself crucified with Christ, not to consider myself the abuser and crucifier.

I don't think you have to be a grade A exegete to suggest those two things run together - the former point relating to the human nature, the second (through repentance and burying the old man) to putting that aside and growing in the Holy Spirit/theosis/etc.
I identify with all parties. Easily.

[ 15. May 2017, 12:08: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Could someone clarify for me what the cross had to do with the forgiveness of sins? As I see it Jesus forgave sins on numerous occasions in the course of his ministry. This power arose not from his atoning work on the cross but from his Trinitarian status, that as God he had power on earth to forgive sins. Jesus forgave sins not because of what he did but because of who he was. (A power he exercised as he was being crucified).

I don't know that I can clarify it. I don't think I can explain it. But I do think it's incomplete to exclude the cross from the forgiveness of sin or God's reconciling work in Christ (which are intertwined—forgiveness is part of reconciliation.) It seems to me that it's not just his Trinitarian status at work, but his Incarnation as well.

Yes, the cross—and what we call the atonement—is talked about a variety of ways in the NT. My point is simply that it's worth paying attention to all of those ways. In the other recent thread on this topic, I said this all seems to me like the story of the blind men and the elephant—lots of differing descriptions, some of which can appear to be describing totally different things, that add to the picture but that, on their own, are incomplete or even wrong. I tend to think of these various descriptions as akin to the parables—"The kingdom of heaven is like....". Not "is," but "is like."

Certainly, others' mileage may differ, but I find myself increasingly disinclined to need to know how exactly it all works, and increasingly content to live with tension and even paradox that arises from the different descriptions.

So all that is to say that I'm far from a full-blown PSAer. Quite far. But at the same time, there is enough in Scripture—both from Jesus himself, from the apostles and from the underlying OT context—describing the cross's role in God's reconciling work in Christ, of which forgiveness is part, for me feel uncomfortable ignoring it.

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen
My take on it is that the cross is a temporal manifestation—an outcropping or intersection of the divine into human history—of an eternal reality. Revelation describes Christ as the Lamb sacrificed or slain from the foundation of the world. The cross is that sacrifice breaking into our history. In the incarnation-cross-resurrection, it seems to me, the Incarnate God does what the Word eternally does—offer himself in love and bring forth life. What exactly is going on is a mystery, but it is, I think, a mystery that undergirds all of our relation to God and a mystery that we are invited into, not to understand but to participate in and experience. And in experiencing it, we find salvation—healing, wholeness, acceptance, welcome, forgiveness (and self-forgiveness), reconciliation, release from bondage, love, abundant life and more.

It is so much more than that, and unfortunately this is where the Evangelical understanding of the atonement and works of Christ fall so short. It just isn't about "you" and your personal release from bondage. That's already offered to you by the God who loves you and wants to see the best for you.

It's about upsetting the Karma applecart and breaking the powers and announcing a new kingdom and a new set of priorities and that all the crap that we see is just temporal and will be swept away.

I agree completely. That's why I said "and more." But I can see how what I listed emphasized the individual to the point it could read like I think that's the extent of it. Thanks for the corrective/expansion.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Could someone clarify for me what the cross had to do with the forgiveness of sins? As I see it Jesus forgave sins on numerous occasions in the course of his ministry. This power arose not from his atoning work on the cross but from his Trinitarian status, that as God h
If The atonement relied on his status as you put it, then that would not create an identification with us. Jesus was the 'last Adam'. 1Cor 15:45,46. He was obviously always God as well but as Paul states in Philippians 2:6, while he thought it not robbery to be equal with God, he humbled himself to the point of becoming truly man with it and further, to the death on the cross which Galatians 3:13 tells us was a curse.

Regarding forgiveness and the cross, time is irrelevant. The cross, as Gamaliel suggested above, is the central event of history. All revelation of scripture looks either forward to it or back from it. The OT sacrificial system provided temporary forgiveness in the sin offering, but as Hebrews explains, in ch 8,9,10, Christ's death on the Cross is the real,unique thing that deals with that for all time. He is priest and victim. All further offerings for sin from that point are unnecessary and irrelevant to ones true spiritual status.

The cross expunged sin once and for all time rather than temporarily covering it. The life given by Christ in his humanity, the shed blood, without which, under the law there was no forgiveness, now enabled forgiveness to flow forward and backward in time.

When Christ as Peter states preached to the 'spirits in prison' 1 Pet 3:19, when he, as stated in Colossians 2:13,14, disarmed Satan, it was by cancelling out the debt against us through the cross, he was saying in effect, 'now you can be 'truly' justified.'

Thus, OT believers looked forward to the cross. NT believers look back to it. Either way, the cross is the central sacrifice that enables forgiveness.

This is well laid out in the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 9:12 : Christ through his own blood entered the holy place once,for all:14, how much more will the blood of Christ..cleanse your conscience from dead works: 28, Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many: 26, he was manifested,to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

It couldn't be much more clearly stated.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
I think what might be missing is this.
Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
In other words, in the very heart of God is the experience of death and sacrifice.

It cannot be true that before Jesus' death there was no atonement, no sacrifice.
When Jesus died that was not God's first experience of suffering and death; there is always death in the heart of God.

The atonement of the cross is not a new act of God.
It's the final act of atonement that fulfills and validates all the sacrifices that went before.
Jesus, on effect, was the last and perfect Mosaic 'animal' sacrifice (he was the lamb remember).

Jesus was born under the Torah, lived under the Torah, and died as a Torah-stipulated sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin.

People ask how Jesus could forgive all those Jewish people he met.
Did he forgive them all simply because he was God? Well yes, 'only God has authority to forgive sins.'

But what is the basis of God's authority, what is the process, the mechanism, the justification for him saying 'I forgive'?

According to the entire Old Testament, it's the gift of the sacrificial system - we are told clearly 'without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.
Now, don't protest and say that's not right, because that is that the Bible says - whether we like it or not. Forgiveness can only be provided by the shedding of sacrificial blood.
God said it, set the entire sacrificial system up through Moses - and of course it was accepted and used by God in the times of the patriarchs as well.

So, when Jesus went round forgiving people it was as the lamb of God; he embodied atoning sacrifice in his very being and essence.

Many have said already that the atonement wasn't just the nails and the spear. It is Christ's incarnation, his life, his words, his miracles, his humble obedience in Gethsemane, his silence before Pilate, his crucifixion, his resting in the tomb, his rising, ascending and expected coming again in power and glory.

As he laid his hand on the penitent, his own sacrifice effected the atonement in that moment, in that person.

His own death 'from the foundation of the world', prefigured and demonstrated in Mosaic animal sacrifice and perfectly fulfilled finally 'once for all' upon the cross, revealed the atoning power of God and completed it - thus 'it is finished' - so that the sacrificial system ended upon the cross, destroying the work of the evil one for the whole world in that one 'dread act'.

The sacrificial system was fulfilled on Calvary, the Mosaic Covenant was fulfilled at Calvary so that from that moment, any Jew who had lived under the Torah and who accepted Jesus as the crucified and risen Messiah, the lamb who takes away the sin of the world, was forgiven whilst still under their Mosaic covenant, now fulfilled and ended on the cross.

That's how the thousands on the Day of Pentecost were added to the church - they believed that Jesus was their Messiah.

It was the crucifixion and the resurrection that 'cut the people to the heart' and they were encouraged to repent and baptised in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.

The crucifixion has everything to do with forgiveness. The cross is the sacrament of the eternal sacrifice, the ever-slain lamb of God.


.

[ 15. May 2017, 16:15: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Mudfrog
quote:
But what is the basis of God's authority, what is the process, the mechanism, the justification for him saying 'I forgive'?
Does God need a basis of authority other than what he is?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

According to the entire Old Testament, it's the gift of the sacrificial system - we are told clearly 'without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.
Now, don't protest and say that's not right, because that is that the Bible says - whether we like it or not. Forgiveness can only be provided by the shedding of sacrificial blood.
God said it, set the entire sacrificial system up through Moses - and of course it was accepted and used by God in the times of the patriarchs as well.

Heb 9:21 And both the tabernacle and all the utensils of worship he likewise sprinkled with blood. 9:22 Indeed according to the law almost everything was purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

The text doesn't say what you think it says.

It cannot be talking about the forgiveness of individual sins because there are a multiple number of examples in the OT of characters who were forgiven without the shedding of blood.

[ 15. May 2017, 16:27: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Mudfrog
quote:
But what is the basis of God's authority, what is the process, the mechanism, the justification for him saying 'I forgive'?
Does God need a basis of authority other than what he is?
Yes. He governs a universe of justice, law and his own expressed will. He himself said, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:


According to the entire Old Testament, it's the gift of the sacrificial system - we are told clearly 'without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.
Now, don't protest and say that's not right, because that is that the Bible says - whether we like it or not. Forgiveness can only be provided by the shedding of sacrificial blood.
God said it, set the entire sacrificial system up through Moses - and of course it was accepted and used by God in the times of the patriarchs as well.

Also this doesn't work - because the way you've explained it, God has to accept sacrifices where there was the shedding of blood. And Isaiah 1 and Amos 4 shows that's not the case. Not only is there no obligation on the deity to accept the sacrifice, the prophets effectively tell the people to stop, because he can't stand it.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Yes. He governs a universe of justice, law and his own expressed will. He himself said, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.

You're banking rather a lot on one chapter of Hebrews and ignoring all my other points about forgiveness in the OT offered without sacrifice, and prophetic injunctions in Isaiah and Amos to dispense with the sacrifice in favour of doing justice.

According to you, God is wrong to say that in Amos - if there is no blood, he can't forgive.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
All that goes back to a ritual which is only of antiquarian interest. But behind it there is an eternal principle--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.
This is taken from William Barclay's Daily Study Bible, Hebrews 9

It may be a few years old now, and Barclay was no fundamentalist PSA evangelical, as far as I know.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
William Barclay, originally posted by Mudfrog:
Where there is forgiveness someone must be crucified.

I agree with this. The "someone" who must be crucified is the self.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:


According to the entire Old Testament, it's the gift of the sacrificial system - we are told clearly 'without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.
Now, don't protest and say that's not right, because that is that the Bible says - whether we like it or not. Forgiveness can only be provided by the shedding of sacrificial blood.
God said it, set the entire sacrificial system up through Moses - and of course it was accepted and used by God in the times of the patriarchs as well.

Also this doesn't work - because the way you've explained it, God has to accept sacrifices where there was the shedding of blood. And Isaiah 1 and Amos 4 shows that's not the case. Not only is there no obligation on the deity to accept the sacrifice, the prophets effectively tell the people to stop, because he can't stand it.
Yeah, even a cursory reading of those 2 passages reveals that the people of Israel were performing ritual actions whilst still unrepentant and far from God in their hearts.

The sacrificial system was a gift of grace to those who were repentant. It was the means of atonement for those who confessed their sins, not who just performed outward religious exercises with sinful hands.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
William Barclay, originally posted by Mudfrog:
Where there is forgiveness someone must be crucified.

I agree with this. The "someone" who must be crucified is the self.
Oh very good!
We now die for our own sins.

Sorry Cheesy but I'm not good enough to be a spotless and blameless sacrifice.
I think the multitude in Heaven in the Book of Revelation are quite right when they testified that Jesus is the only one who is worthy.

I've seen it all now.
Keep deluding yourself.

[ 15. May 2017, 16:46: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Yeah, even a cursory reading of those 2 passages reveals that the people of Israel were performing ritual actions whilst still unrepentant and far from God in their hearts.

The sacrificial system was a gift of grace to those who were repentant. It was the means of atonement for those who confessed their sins, not who just performed outward religious exercises with sinful hands.

OK well I don't see it like that. You've interpreted away the injunctions in Amos, I think they're the crux of the whole of the OT relationship of the deity.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Mudfrog
quote:
Kwesi: Does God need a basis of authority other than what he is?

Mudfrog: Yes.

This doesn't look like a satisfactory answer to me because it appears God requires permission to exercise his sovereign will.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Oh very good!
We now die for our own sins.

Sorry Cheesy but I'm not good enough to be a spotless and blameless sacrifice.
I think the multitude in Heaven in the Book of Revelation are quite right when they testified that Jesus is the only one who is worthy.

I've seen it all now.
Keep deluding yourself.

It's not a sacrifice for sin. I think I've been fairly clear about that if you read my previous longer posts.

Anyway, you're just highlighting how PSA doesn't work and isn't at all biblical.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Mudfrog
quote:
Kwesi: Does God need a basis of authority other than what he is?

Mudfrog: Yes.

This doesn't look like a satisfactory answer to me because it appears God requires permission to exercise his sovereign will.
No, God set that sovereign will in the first place. He will not go against the laws he has set.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Oh very good!
We now die for our own sins.

Sorry Cheesy but I'm not good enough to be a spotless and blameless sacrifice.
I think the multitude in Heaven in the Book of Revelation are quite right when they testified that Jesus is the only one who is worthy.

I've seen it all now.
Keep deluding yourself.

It's not a sacrifice for sin. I think I've been fairly clear about that if you read my previous longer posts.

Anyway, you're just highlighting how PSA doesn't work and isn't at all biblical.

In what way?
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Many have said already that the atonement wasn't just the nails and the spear. It is Christ's incarnation, his life, his words, his miracles, his humble obedience in Gethsemane, his silence before Pilate, his crucifixion, his resting in the tomb, his rising, ascending and expected coming again in power and glory.

Strongly agreee - so what we sre talking about here isn't penal substitution but the sacrificial metaphor/model.

[ 15. May 2017, 17:25: Message edited by: leo ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
In what way?

In the way that it doesn't address the witness of the OT, does not address the actions of Jesus, does not address the words of Jesus, does not address the teaching of the epistles relating to self-sacrifice.

PSA says that the atonement is mechanistic - man must do x, because God is y and therefore z.

But the biblical witness is that nobody can force God to do anything, that he doesn't need y, that he detests z.

[ 15. May 2017, 17:31: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Many have said already that the atonement wasn't just the nails and the spear. It is Christ's incarnation, his life, his words, his miracles, his humble obedience in Gethsemane, his silence before Pilate, his crucifixion, his resting in the tomb, his rising, ascending and expected coming again in power and glory.

Strongly agreee - so what we sre talking about here isn't penal substitution but the sacrificial metaphor/model.
Indeed. I haven't mentioned PSA in these last few posts whatsoever. I was surprised that Cheesy brought it up.
I'm talking about how Jesus is the Lamb of God - the sacrifice - and how forgiveness is dependent upon that; even indirectly.

Jesus was able to forgive with a word simply because he was in himself, the lamb of God.

Yes, in this context, nowt to do with PSA at all.

You see, I'm not so obsessed with it.
Who brought it up? Not me.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
The thing is a single idea: PSA is needed because (a) God can't stand sin and therefore (b) needs a sacrifice to pay for it and (c) the atonement is therefore best understood as a transactional payment to take it away.

Which is why it is so undermining of the structure of evangelical understanding of the incarnation to deny that the atonement is about forgiving individual sins and the witness of the bible that God forgives the penitent is such a threat.

[ 15. May 2017, 17:36: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
In what way?

In the way that it doesn't address the witness of the OT, does not address the actions of Jesus, does not address the words of Jesus, does not address the teaching of the epistles relating to self-sacrifice.

PSA says that the atonement is mechanistic - man must do x, because God is y and therefore z.

But the biblical witness is that nobody can force God to do anything, that he doesn't need y, that he detests z.

As I've just said in the previous post, who's talking PSA?

I'm talking about sacrifice as the basis for forgiveness.

You then brought in Amos 4 which all my commentaries are telling me is about selfish observance of outward ritual without actual change of heart.

Sacrifice is to be accompanied by penitence and repentance, not just performed because it will 'do something' (which it won't.)
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
As I've just said in the previous post, who's talking PSA?

I'm talking about sacrifice as the basis for forgiveness.

You then brought in Amos 4 which all my commentaries are telling me is about selfish observance of outward ritual without actual change of heart.

Away with your sacrifice, says God in Amos, because I can't stand them.

It isn't a call to do justice as well, it is a call to put away the animal sacrifice and instead focus on the true sacrifice, which is to do justice.

Your express words on this thread are doubting that God is able to accept forgiveness without blood, and is therefore against the witness of Amos, and by your own definition not biblical.

quote:
Sacrifice is to be accompanied by penitence and repentance, not just performed because it will 'do something' (which it won't.)
Amos isn't about being penitant, it is about doing justice. Go read it.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
The thing is a single idea: PSA is needed because (a) God can't stand sin and therefore (b) needs a sacrifice to pay for it and (c) the atonement is therefore best understood as a transactional payment to take it away.

Which is why it is so undermining of the structure of evangelical understanding of the incarnation to deny that the atonement is about forgiving individual sins and the witness of the bible that God forgives the penitent is such a threat.

Sacrifice does not need penal substitution. That's why it's sacrifice.
Why are you obsessed with PSA??

And are you really saying that an individual man or woman cannot have their own, individual, personal sins forgiven by the grace and forgiveness of God?
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
As I've just said in the previous post, who's talking PSA?

I'm talking about sacrifice as the basis for forgiveness.

You then brought in Amos 4 which all my commentaries are telling me is about selfish observance of outward ritual without actual change of heart.

Away with your sacrifice, says God in Amos, because I can't stand them.

because...?

What are they doing wrong in those sacrifices?
What are they not doing in their worship that they should have been doing?

Sorry, I have to go out now and conduct a Bible study where we will not be taking a passage out of context, reading it entirely at face value; but will be looking at the background and also looking a other biblical texts which will give a broader understanding that can be gained by taking some verses literally.

[ 15. May 2017, 17:43: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Mudfrog
quote:
No, God set that sovereign will in the first place. He will not go against the laws he has set.

What if God wishes to change his mind? Does his will never change? Are there not numerous examples, especially in the OT, of exactly that?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
because...?

What are they doing wrong in those sacrifices?
What are they not doing in their worship that they should have been doing?

God isn't interested in the blood, he is interested in justice.

Isaiah 1:11 “Of what importance to me are your many sacrifices?” says the Lord.
“I am stuffed with burnt sacrifices
of rams and the fat from steers.
The blood of bulls, lambs, and goats
I do not want.

1:14 I hate your new moon festivals and assemblies; they are a burden that I am tired of carrying.
1:15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I look the other way;
when you offer your many prayers, I do not listen,
because your hands are covered with blood.
1:16 Wash! Cleanse yourselves!
Remove your sinful deeds
from my sight.
Stop sinning!
1:17 Learn to do what is right!
Promote justice!
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

Sorry, I have to go out now and conduct a Bible study where we will not be taking a passage out of context, reading it entirely at face value; but will be looking at the background and also looking a other biblical texts which will give a broader understanding that can be gained by taking some verses literally.

Right, yeah. When I talk about the broad message of the OT and in detail about individual passages which specifically address the point about the blood sacrifice I'm being a literalist - whereas you're entitled to determine everything through the lens of your faulty understanding of one passage in the epistles.

Ooookay then.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Goodness me ...

Meanwhile, Jamat's exposition of Hebrews and how the Cross works forwards and backwards in time is certainly how I've understood all this ...

I might be wrong, but in terms of 'kairos' it doesn't seem a million miles from RC understandings of how the Eucharist 'works' ...

Although, obviously it differs from that in important respects ...
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
because...?

What are they doing wrong in those sacrifices?
What are they not doing in their worship that they should have been doing?

God isn't interested in the blood, he is interested in justice.

Isaiah 1:11 “Of what importance to me are your many sacrifices?” says the Lord.
“I am stuffed with burnt sacrifices
of rams and the fat from steers.
The blood of bulls, lambs, and goats
I do not want.

1:14 I hate your new moon festivals and assemblies; they are a burden that I am tired of carrying.
1:15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I look the other way;
when you offer your many prayers, I do not listen,
because your hands are covered with blood.
1:16 Wash! Cleanse yourselves!
Remove your sinful deeds
from my sight.
Stop sinning!
1:17 Learn to do what is right!
Promote justice!

Absolutely promote justice! And yet...

• Jesus's parents offer the required sacrifices when he is circumcised.

• John calls Jesus the Lamb of God, which is a clear sacrificial reference.

• Jesus said the Son of Man came to give his life (which sounds like sacrifice to me) as a ransom (Matt. 20:28).

• Jesus, whom the Gospels never suggest avoided offering sacrifices, told his disciples to prepare the Passover meal, which involved Temple sacrifice.

• Jesus said he did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it (every jot and tittle) and the Law included sacrifice.

• Jesus, in instituting the Eucharist, described his blood being poured out in sacrificial terms.

• Jesus's death is clearly linked in the Gospels to the Passover. John would appear to have Jesus's death happen at the time that the lambs for Passover were being sacrificed.

• The apostles at times speak of Jesus's death in sacrificial terms; John the Divine even describes it as an eternal sacrifice. Paul calls Jesus the paschal lamb who has been sacrificed for us (1 Cor. 5:7).

Given all of that, I just don't see how Amos can possibly mean that God rejects sacrifice per se. Amos clearly seems to be talking about the attitudes and abuses of those who offer the sacrifices make the sacrifices themselves repugnant. I've never heard the passage interpreted any other way, except by the JWs.

Much less can I see how that one passage in Amos means that Jesus's death could not have been a sacrifice.

[ 15. May 2017, 19:01: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
I'd also note that Isaiah 1 isn't the last word of the prophets on sacrifices. Isaiah 56:6-7 has the prophet envisioning a future where foreigners "joined to the LORD" will be part of the people, with the promise in v7 that "their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar" - clearly, the total abolition of sacrifices is not in view here. Earlier on in the book, in ch 43, God laments that Israel considered even the small sacrifices he called on them to make to be burdensome and didn't do it.

I think the picture's more complicated than a simple quotation of Isaiah 1 and Amos would suggest.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:


Given all of that, I just don't see how Amos can possibly mean that God rejects sacrifice per se. Amos clearly seems to be talking about the attitudes and abuses of those who offer the sacrifices make the sacrifices themselves repugnant. I've never heard the passage interpreted any other way, except by the JWs.

Much less can I see how that one passage in Amos means that Jesus's death could not have been a sacrifice.

But I'm not arguing that God rejects the sacrifice per say I'm saying that there is evidence within the teaching of the prophets that God offers forgiveness without blood, which Mudfrog above argued was not possible.

Indeed, the Isaiah passage goes further and suggests that God's actually more interested in justice than blood.

As someone else has said in this thread, "it couldn't be clearer".
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
I'd also note that Isaiah 1 isn't the last word of the prophets on sacrifices. Isaiah 56:6-7 has the prophet envisioning a future where foreigners "joined to the LORD" will be part of the people, with the promise in v7 that "their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar" - clearly, the total abolition of sacrifices is not in view here. Earlier on in the book, in ch 43, God laments that Israel considered even the small sacrifices he called on them to make to be burdensome and didn't do it.

I think the picture's more complicated than a simple quotation of Isaiah 1 and Amos would suggest.

Thanks, yes. It is more complex than I've said - however, it is clearly not the case that blood is always necessary for forgiveness and therefore it clearly isn't true that God required Christ's atoning blood to pay the price of sin as is suggested by PSA.

We have a choice: either we say that the bible in general and the OT (or Isaiah) in particular are many different passages that say contradictory things - in which case there is no way that we can call anything "biblical" or we seek to find a way to knit together these passages which say different things.

For the sake of this discussion, I'm arguing that the latter is possible - and that the only way to do that is to argue for:

(1) an unchanging God who forgives the penitent sinner - who forgives others - out of grace and because of his mercy
(2) who is more interested in justice and mercy than blood sacrifice
(3) where sacrifice is important, but not redemptive (in the sense of changing God's mind or placating his anger)

and because of these, to formulate a completely different understanding of sacrifice which has nothing to do with God's wrath.

[ 15. May 2017, 19:32: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
lWe have a choice: either we say that the bible in general and the OT (or Isaiah) in particular are many different passages that say contradictory things - in which case there is no way that we can call anything "biblical" or we seek to find a way to knit together these passages which say different things.

For the sake of this discussion, I'm arguing that the latter is possible - and that the only way to do that is to argue for:

(1) an unchanging God who forgives the penitent sinner - who forgives others - out of grace and because of his mercy
(2) who is more interested in justice and mercy than blood sacrifice
(3) where sacrifice is important, but not redemptive (in the sense of changing God's mind or placating his anger)

and because of these, to formulate a completely different understanding of sacrifice which has nothing to do with God's wrath.

And what some of us are saying is that's not the only way to knit them together. Another way to do it is to say that the blood that is shed for forgiveness and human-divine reconciliation is the blood of the Incarnate God, which the blood of animal sacrifices foreshadowed, which is part of the eternal self-offering of the second person of the Trinity, and which underlies all of God's redemptive activity throughout Scripture.

Meanwhile, as noted repeatedly, none of us have said a word about placating God's wrath in this most recent phase of the discussion. I certainly have not; the option I outlined has nothing to do with God's wrath. At all.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
And what some of us are saying is that's not the only way to knit them together. Another way to do it is to say that the blood that is shed for forgiveness and human-divine reconciliation is the blood of the Incarnate God, which the blood of animal sacrifices foreshadowed, which is part of the eternal self-offering of the second person of the Trinity, and which underlies all of God's redemptive activity throughout Scripture.

I didn't say it was the only way to knit them together, I said I thought it was the only way which makes any sense.

quote:

Meanwhile, as noted repeatedly, none of us have said a word about placating God's wrath in this most recent phase of the discussion. I certainly have not; the option I outlined has nothing to do with God's wrath. At all.

Yes, I have noted this. However I don't understand what you think the sacrificed blood was doing if it wasn't placating God's wrath, maybe you could explain.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
Sorry for the double-post, but on re-reading I picked up on one or two things I missed on first (and second) read. Yes, there's a lesson for me there.

In some ways, I think your option, mr cheesy, and mine are compatible. The eternal self-offering I'm talking about is part and parcel of the grace and mercy of God.

And somehow I missed the parenthetical where you said "but not redemptive (in the sense of changing God's mind or placating his anger)." That's a key error on my part. We all bring our own backgrounds and contexts into play, me included. Perhaps because I don't come from an Evangelical background, it frankly never occurred to me to assume that by "redemptive" you did mean "in the sense of changing God's mind or placating his anger."

As a result, we well may have been talking about two very different ideas of "redemption," which led to not being on the same page with regard to the relationship between (blood) sacrifice and redemption.
 
Posted by agingjb (# 16555) on :
 
Is forgiveness sufficient for salvation?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Mudfrog
quote:
But what is the basis of God's authority, what is the process, the mechanism, the justification for him saying 'I forgive'?
Does God need a basis of authority other than what he is?
Yes. He governs a universe of justice, law and his own expressed will. He himself said, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.
Context?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by agingjb:
Is forgiveness sufficient for salvation?

Being human is. The vast majority of human beings have done nothing to compromise their assured salvation. Have nothing they need forgiving of that could prevent it. They just have some kinks that need walking out.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by agingjb:
Is forgiveness sufficient for salvation?

This is the danger of defining salvation using a legal paradigm, as a get-out-of-hell-free card, instead of a transformation.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
However I don't understand what you think the sacrificed blood was doing if it wasn't placating God's wrath, maybe you could explain.

I'll try.

Blood is life, and the pouring out of blood is the offering of life. It is offering everything, offering oneself completely. Jesus pours out his blood, his life, voluntarily and completely, and in baptism he calls us to die with him. (Not like him; with him.) In inviting us to drink his blood he pours out his life that his life may be our life.

The sacrificied blood doesn't placate wrath; it heals. It heals the effects of sin and alienation from God and it draws us into life with God. It heals the effects of sin and alienation from our neighbors and draws us into life with them. It heals the effects of sin and our alienation from ourselves and who God created us to be.

The blood isn't about placating wrath. It's about sacrificial love that redeems us—individually and collectively—and makes us whole. It's about the length and depth and breadth of God's love for the world.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by agingjb:
Is forgiveness sufficient for salvation?

This is the danger of defining salvation using a legal paradigm, as a get-out-of-hell-free card, instead of a transformation.
Agree, and I say that as one from a tradition that historically has often veered to the legal paradigm.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
That was beautiful. I agree with Nick.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
That was beautiful. I agree with Nick.

[Hot and Hormonal]

Thanks.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Well said, Nick.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by agingjb:
Is forgiveness sufficient for salvation?

This is the danger of defining salvation using a legal paradigm, as a get-out-of-hell-free card, instead of a transformation.
You know what Gamaliel would say ...
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Both / and ...?

On this occasion, I agree with Nick.

So, mr cheesy, Mousethief and nice Nick and myselfu are pretty much on the same page on this particular point, although I'm still quite evangelical in some ways ...
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Nick Tamen:It heals the effects of sin
The word heals can be a bit vague though. It avoids the harshness of judgement but the sinful world that does not have the blood covering is in fact under God's judgement.

My understanding is that a better term would be 'covers.' The blood did not heal in the Passover, it protected, shielded and covered the houses where it was on the doorposts.

The bottom line is that you can't be Biblical in discussing atonement without using terms like 'wrath' and the Legal metaphor contains the 'justice' concept. God has wrath. It is not human wrath of course but it invokes judgement on sin. This is Biblically certain whatever your angle or interpretation.

The place of Satan is highlighted by this as he is the 'prince of this world' as Jesus admitted and the cross was about dispossessing him. How was he (Satan)thus if not legally? How could he offer the kingdoms of this world to Jesus if he did not own them legally. How did Jesus by his blood restore the 'balance in the force' on the cross if not legally?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Which is where the various ransom theories come into play, of course, Jamat.

Ransom theories do not preclude PSA, they can be complementary to it - but they need not necessarily include it.

It could be argued that by destroying the power of Death by his death and resurrection, Christ despoiled Satan's kingdom by taking away the hold and bondage of its sway over humanity ...

That can be visualised in a legal kind of way as well as in a Christus Victor kind of way.

It depends how far we stretch or apply these things.

One could argue that sin and death is judged and condemned through Christ's absorption of them - 'What is not assumed cannot be healed' - as one of the Father's put it.

Christ assumed our humanity. He also assumed our death and in so doing overthrew its hold.

Christ 'judged sin in sinful man' and as sin has cosmic consequences, so Christ's death and resurrection, his conquering of sin and death, has cosmic effects for the whole of Creation ...

Just a few thoughts. It's late and I've woken up and pottering around. I'll go back to bed soon ...
 
Posted by agingjb (# 16555) on :
 
I asked my question ("is forgiveness sufficient for salvation"), which may not be meaningful, because I see the words "forgiveness", "salvation", "atonement", and others used here - and generating some disagreement.

From outside theology, if not belief, I would have to admit that I probably do not know what exactly people are talking about, asserting, and denying.

Probably best if I leave it to those who do know.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
No one knows more than you. Nick's imagery is good.

[ 16. May 2017, 09:14: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
We're all groping towards the light, agingjb.

I think your question was a good one. The responses - from whatever direction - are probably best summarised as, 'Ok, but there's more than simply forgiveness involved ...'

If that makes sense ...
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
aginjb
quote:
I asked my question ("is forgiveness sufficient for salvation"), which may not be meaningful, because I see the words "forgiveness", "salvation", "atonement", and others used here - and generating some disagreement.

Thanks for that, aginjb, I agree that we need to clarify terms that have been bandied about in the discussion as they tend to be used in different ways, thereby confusing debate.

Perhaps you might add “What is salvation? “Is salvation the same as atonement?” “Are salvation and atonement interchangeable? ”Is forgiveness a necessary condition for salvation?” “Is forgiveness a necessary condition for atonement?”

Can I throw the odd observation into the pot?

Forgiveness is something that can be undertaken without the participation of a second party. There are, for example, acts of forgiveness for abusers who have already died. One may be forgiven, therefore, without knowing it. St Paul urges the Corinthians to inform individuals they are forgiven and should, therefore, seek reconciliation (atonement). (2 Cor. 5 18-19).

Salvation is something one can experience unconditionally- the unconscious victim of a violent assault can be saved by a Samaritan.

Atonement necessary involves the participation and assent of two parties. It might involve an element of forgiveness, but not necessarily. The mystic, Julian of Norwich, I’m told, had no sense of sin and, therefore, no need for forgiveness. On the other hand her participation in the sweet blood of Jesus was viscerally profound.

What I think about our discussion is that we tend to see the cross in terms of forgiveness rather than focussing on atonement.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
........incidentally, it occurs to me that Ransom and PSA are not about forgiveness but the satisfaction of the debt and the requirements of the law. Everything is settled. Forgiveness involves setting aside the ransom and failure to execute the sentence,
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
........incidentally, it occurs to me that Ransom and PSA are not about forgiveness but the satisfaction of the debt and the requirements of the law. Everything is settled. Forgiveness involves setting aside the ransom and failure to execute the sentence,

Well. I think those who believe in PSA think that forgiveness is a transactional process, so that blood is needed to seal the deal, to satisfy the debt and to meet the law requirements.

I'm not entirely sure how they square this with the Christ's actions in gracefully healing and telling people they are forgiven - but I assume they think this is only possible because of the transaction at the cross.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
The mystic, Julian of Norwich, I’m told, had no sense of sin and, therefore, no need for forgiveness. On the other hand her participation in the sweet blood of Jesus was viscerally profound.

Do you have a source for the idea that she had no sense of sin or need for forgiveness? It doesn't square with what I recall. My memory is that she had an acute sense of sin—perhaps more in the sense of a pervasive human condition than in the sense of specific sinful acts—but that she also came to have an acute sense of Christ's love and, for want of a better way of putting it—control of the situation.

Per one of her "shewings":
quote:
In my folly, before this time I often wondered why, by the great foreseeing wisdom of God, the onset of sin was not prevented: for then, I thought, all should have been well. This impulse [of thought] was much to be avoided, but nevertheless I mourned and sorrowed because of it, without reason and discretion.

But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that is needed by me, answered with these words and said: "It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."

These words were said most tenderly, showing no manner of blame to me nor to any who shall be saved.

Perhaps it's more accurate to say she came to the place where she didn't have a sense of guilt, because she was perceived that Jesus imparted no blame? Which is, I think, a very different thing from not having a sense of sin.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
see previous post by mr cheesy

My purpose in raising the issue, of course, was in relation to forgiveness and theories of the atonement. It just seemed to me that Ransom and PSA are theories of atonement which see no
necessity for forgiveness as part of the atoning process. Nothing is set aside, there is no jubilee.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
Perhaps it's more accurate to say she came to the place where she didn't have a sense of guilt, because she was perceived that Jesus imparted no blame? Which is, I think, a very different thing from not having a sense of sin.

Quite possibly I'm talking out of my hat, but is it possible that she's talking about sin in the abstract - that thing that exists in the world which the Lord is in the business of redeeming - rather than individual sins that she's done?

I know nothing about her, so maybe this is a load of tummy-rot.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by agingjb:
I asked my question ("is forgiveness sufficient for salvation"), which may not be meaningful, because I see the words "forgiveness", "salvation", "atonement", and others used here - and generating some disagreement.

From outside theology, if not belief, I would have to admit that I probably do not know what exactly people are talking about, asserting, and denying.

Probably best if I leave it to those who do know.

I too liked your question because it got us to the heart of the matter as well as highlighted the often-overlooked problem raised by the fact that we're using lots of technical, insider "churchy" language but may not all be using the words in the same way.

I think I would say forgiveness is one sign of salvation-- it is a byproduct and a marker, one that points us to the fact that we have been "saved" or "redeemed"-- that we are counted among God's people and will live in the house of the Lord forever. (I think that's a pretty big house, but that's another thread). Rather than the means or prerequisite to salvation.

What is "sufficient for salvation" is Jesus.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Your last line.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Nick Tamen
quote:
Perhaps it's more accurate to say she came to the place where she didn't have a sense of guilt, because she was perceived that Jesus imparted no blame? Which is, I think, a very different thing from not having a sense of sin.
Thanks for that. I confess I'm not so steeped in the text as you clearly are, which explains my egregious over-simplification. Are we, however, agreed that Julian has a slant on the cross in which the various elements involved in atonement are differently arranged, differently valued, even to the point of absence when compared with some less subjective interpretations?

My source is Stuckey's, The Wrath of God Satisfied?, in which he quotes the mystic:

"I believe that it (sin) has no substance or portion of being, nor would it be recognised were it not for the suffering which it causes. And this suffering seems to be something transient, for it purges us and makes us know ourselves and pray for mercy."

Commenting, Stuckey remarks: "If sin has no substance then the blood of the crucified has nothing to do with sacrifice and everything to do with grace and joy since for her " only suffering blames and punishes." Anger in God is an impossibility. Humanity would not exist if God were wrathful. By discarding blame Julian also removes the need for forgiveness.

Julian "And though our earthly mother may allow her child to perish, our heavenly mother Jesus cannot allow us who are his children to perish; for he and none but he is almighty, all wisdom and all love."
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Cliffdweller
quote:
I think I would say forgiveness is one sign of salvation
So, how do you handle Paul's injunction to the Corinthians that they are to tell people they are already forgiven and should, therefore, seek reconciliation? If we are all forgiven willy-nilly then are we all saved? Perhaps we are.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Cliffdweller
quote:
I think I would say forgiveness is one sign of salvation
So, how do you handle Paul's injunction to the Corinthians that they are to tell people they are already forgiven and should, therefore, seek reconciliation? If we are all forgiven willy-nilly then are we all saved? Perhaps we are.
Perhaps indeed
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'm no expert on Julian of Norwich either, but her views have tended to make people a bit jumpy ...

I've always taken her thing about sin having no 'substance' being more about it being the absence of good or virtue in a kind of apophatic sense ... ie sin is 'not virtue' or sin is 'the absence of good' as it were ...

In a similar way to how people talk about evil not having a 'positive' existence itself but being the absence of all that is good and true ...

But that's just my surmise ...

Mother Julian certainly put an emphasis on the Cross though ...
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
So, how do you handle Paul's injunction to the Corinthians that they are to tell people they are already forgiven and should, therefore, seek reconciliation? If we are all forgiven willy-nilly then are we all saved? Perhaps we are.

Or maybe the whole beef that Paul was talking about just wasn't about God's forgiveness. That offering to forgive the penitent was the first part of the process of atonement, not the last.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Gamaliel
quote:
Mother Julian certainly put an emphasis on the Cross though.

She certainly makes me "jumpy"! Of course she places a heavy emphasis on the cross, but clearly in ways which are quite distinct from other approaches. My reference to her originally was to underline the catholicity of approaches to the cross and the impossibility, even undesirability, of identifying any one of them as primordial. Religious imagination is so diverse. Julian's may be unique, but that doesn't make it invalid or false.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
mr cheesy
quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
So, how do you handle Paul's injunction to the Corinthians that they are to tell people they are already forgiven and should, therefore, seek reconciliation? If we are all forgiven willy-nilly then are we all saved? Perhaps we are.

mr cheesy :Or maybe the whole beef that Paul was talking about just wasn't about God's forgiveness. That offering to forgive the penitent was the first part of the process of atonement, not the last.

I tend to agree with you. My beef is that many people talk about the cross largely in terms of forgiveness, but that is not atonement. Furthermore, Christ did not need the cross to forgive, as God he had the power to forgive sins and used it greatly in his ministry. Atonement is about establishing a positive relationship between two consenting parties. Our concern, is it not, is in trying to understand how the cross brings that about, if, indeed, it is about atonement?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, what I meant was that she makes those who favour a fairly penitential approach somewhat 'jumpy' ... and you can tell from her writings that she felt jumpy about it herself ...

But yes, on the catholicity of approaches rather than homing in on one particular primordial one - then yes, I got that and can see where you are coming from.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Atonement is about establishing a positive relationship between two consenting parties. Our concern, is it not, is in trying to understand how the cross brings that about, if, indeed, it is about atonement?

I think ultimately what matters is how we respond to the gift of forgiveness. The Way of Christ calls us to picking up our cross and following.
No cross (the one that we're carrying), no crown as William Penn said.

[ 16. May 2017, 16:28: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Cliffdweller
quote:
I think I would say forgiveness is one sign of salvation
So, how do you handle Paul's injunction to the Corinthians that they are to tell people they are already forgiven and should, therefore, seek reconciliation? If we are all forgiven willy-nilly then are we all saved? Perhaps we are.
I realise this wasn't addressed to me and that cliffdweller's already given an answer, but I don't think that's what Paul's saying in those verses. In verse 20, Paul urges the Corinthians to "be reconciled to God". So he's not telling the Corinthians to tell anyone else anything; he's telling them to get their own status/relationship with God sorted.

Why? Because "God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ" (v19); and God's done this through making "him who had no sin to be sin for us" which, to me at least, points to something greater than God 'just forgiving' people, almost as if that sin was something that had to be taken away by Christ.

I'm not saying it proves PSA or anything like that (I have mixed feelings about PSA myself), but I do think it says something different than what you're saying here.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
I think there may also be a degree of "now, with God's help, I shall become what I am" (quoting Kierkegaard as best I can from memory) at play. That whatever it is Paul is inducing the Corinthians to do there is a sense that it is already done. It is a kind of "living into" the already present reality, I think.

That sounds loopy and vague because it's all still rather loopy and vague in my brain. As we've seen on this thread, the atonement is a transcendent, cosmic process that yes, has a definitive and exacting meaning, but may be difficult for us to nail down in precisely those terms.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Nick Tamen
quote:
Perhaps it's more accurate to say she came to the place where she didn't have a sense of guilt, because she was perceived that Jesus imparted no blame? Which is, I think, a very different thing from not having a sense of sin.
Thanks for that. I confess I'm not so steeped in the text as you clearly are, which explains my egregious over-simplification. Are we, however, agreed that Julian has a slant on the cross in which the various elements involved in atonement are differently arranged, differently valued, even to the point of absence when compared with some less subjective interpretations?

My source is Stuckey's, The Wrath of God Satisfied?, in which he quotes the mystic:

"I believe that it (sin) has no substance or portion of being, nor would it be recognised were it not for the suffering which it causes. And this suffering seems to be something transient, for it purges us and makes us know ourselves and pray for mercy."

Commenting, Stuckey remarks: "If sin has no substance then the blood of the crucified has nothing to do with sacrifice and everything to do with grace and joy since for her " only suffering blames and punishes." Anger in God is an impossibility. Humanity would not exist if God were wrathful. By discarding blame Julian also removes the need for forgiveness.

Julian "And though our earthly mother may allow her child to perish, our heavenly mother Jesus cannot allow us who are his children to perish; for he and none but he is almighty, all wisdom and all love."

Not sure I'm really "steeped" in Julian. More like I've been wading enough to be dangerous.

That said, two thoughts: I think what Stuckey says works if sacrifice is only understood as being related to divine wrath, and from the title of the work you quote, I assume that is his focus. But that seems to me (as noted above) to be a false equivalence. Love can also be sacrificial—powerfully so—and I think Julian's writings reflect that strongly. It seems he may be using categories she would not have used. Which leads to...

Second, and perhaps in line with recent threads on precision of word usage, I think it's vital to remember that Julian was a mystic, not a theologian. She was not writing theology, she was writing about her experience of the divine. That's a different "language" from theology—equally important and valuable, but different.

So I think there needs to be some care in taking what Julian wrote and applying it to theological ideas and constructs, which is what most of this thread has been about. There needs to be acknowledgement that we're starting with two different languages as we weave together what can be learned from both.

I hope that makes some sense.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I think there may also be a degree of "now, with God's help, I shall become what I am" (quoting Kierkegaard as best I can from memory) at play. That whatever it is Paul is inducing the Corinthians to do there is a sense that it is already done. It is a kind of "living into" the already present reality, I think.

That sounds loopy and vague because it's all still rather loopy and vague in my brain. As we've seen on this thread, the atonement is a transcendent, cosmic process that yes, has a definitive and exacting meaning, but may be difficult for us to nail down in precisely those terms.

Agree with the first paragraph totally: although Paul says "be reconciled to God", it's all in the context of a reconciliation that Christ has already made available. "Take hold of that reconciliation; live in that reconciliation" might be closer to the spirit of what he's saying?

And yes, I can only come up with "loopy and vague"; I can't help thinking there's a lot more to this (atonement, forgiveness, reconciliation) than can be definitely, precisely put down - which is why we have all these pictures, images, models and ideas, all trying to point at something that's ultimately beyond what we can say in human language.

Or maybe I'm just too comfortable with loopy and vague - one or t'other...
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
One or two comments on sacrifice.

I don’t know what other shipmates think, but I have trouble with the way in which the concept of “the lamb slain from the foundations of the world” is used as some kind of get out of goal free card to explain why, for example, Jesus could pronounce Zacchaeus saved before the cross. If the concept is used in that way i.e. Jesus was already sacrificed at the beginning of time (the foundation of the world) why did he need to be sacrificed circa 33 A.D.?

A problem I have with Jesus as the perfect sacrifice to God is that as far as I can see there is no place for human sacrifice in the OT and no indication of a need for an unblemished human sacrifice in the Jewish tradition.

As with much of atonement talk analogies have their uses, and some are more powerful than others, but they cannot be pushed too far. The concept of Jesus as The Pascal Lamb is powerfully evocative: saving from death, freedom from slavery, the timing of the crucifixion and so on, but in terms of Jewish history it doesn’t have much to do with atonement, let alone the salvation of the Egyptians.


An important question is to whom the sacrifice is offered. According to James Alison, the sacrifice of Jesus is not offered to God but to humanity because the sprinkling of blood on the people in the OT represented the deity sharing his life with them, sealing the covenant. I must confess, I find his approach convincing in the sacrificial context. (As Charles Wesley expressed it: “Send him the sprinkled blood to apply/ Send him our souls to sanctify/ And show and seal us ever thine”). In other words, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is not substitutionary in character but about the binding of the New Israel in the life of God.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
One or two comments on sacrifice.

Good comments worth thinking about

quote:
I don’t know what other shipmates think, but I have trouble with the way in which the concept of “the lamb slain from the foundations of the world” is used as some kind of get out of goal free card to explain why, for example, Jesus could pronounce Zacchaeus saved before the cross. If the concept is used in that way i.e. Jesus was already sacrificed at the beginning of time (the foundation of the world) why did he need to be sacrificed circa 33 A.D.?
My take is that circa A.D. 33 is the intersection of eternal reality and human history. The second person of the Trinity eternally offers himself. The Incarnate Word joins human self-offering to that eternal self-offering and enables us to join in that. That joining of the human and the divine is key to reconciliation (atonement) between God and humanity.

quote:
A problem I have with Jesus as the perfect sacrifice to God is that as far as I can see there is no place for human sacrifice in the OT and no indication of a need for an unblemished human sacrifice in the Jewish tradition.
Agreed! The sacrifice of Jesus isn't about human sacrifice; it's about complete self-sacrifice, about sacrificial love.

quote:
As with much of atonement talk analogies have their uses, and some are more powerful than others, but they cannot be pushed too far. The concept of Jesus as The Pascal Lamb is powerfully evocative: saving from death, freedom from slavery, the timing of the crucifixion and so on, but in terms of Jewish history it doesn’t have much to do with atonement, let alone the salvation of the Egyptians.
I'd say it goes a little further than that. The Passover is The Defining Moment of Jewish history. It is the "remember who you are" moment. And I would say that the themes of Passover—redemption, liberation from bondage, the God who now tabernacles in the midst of the people, the God who leads to the Promised Land—are inextricably part of what we're taking about when we talk about atonement/God's reconciling work in Christ.

But agreed about pushing analogies too far.

quote:
An important question is to whom the sacrifice is offered. According to James Alison, the sacrifice of Jesus is not offered to God but to humanity because the sprinkling of blood on the people in the OT represented the deity sharing his life with them, sealing the covenant. I must confess, I find his approach convincing in the sacrificial context. (As Charles Wesley expressed it: “Send him the sprinkled blood to apply/ Send him our souls to sanctify/ And show and seal us ever thine”). In other words, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is not substitutionary in character but about the binding of the New Israel in the life of God.
I've had that same thought about Christ's sacrifice really being offered to humanity, and it has traction with me. I think it's part of the picture, but not all of it. I say that because I think the Son offering himself to the Father is also part of the picture.

But I don't think it has to be "either/or." I think both views tell us part (and still only part) of what's going on, and tell us part of what a life in Christ means—offering ourselves, all that we are, to God and to humanity.
 
Posted by stonespring (# 15530) on :
 
I saw this interview with the author of a new book on the crucifixion and thought it might be germane to this thread. Sorry if someone has already mentioned this author (Fleming Rutledge) or her new book. The link also has a video of her giving a speech on her book's topic.

http://religionnews.com/2017/05/17/fleming-rutledge-woman-crucifixion/
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Thanks, that's interesting.

This is a much longer series of teaching by Fleming Rutledge on the Cross, the relevant bit seems to start at 1h:18m - where she expounds about sin being both about individual guilt and corporate powers.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
Thanks stonespring and mr cheesy. Having heard Fleming Rutledge preach, I look forward to reading and watching.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:

A problem I have with Jesus as the perfect sacrifice to God is that as far as I can see there is no place for human sacrifice in the OT and no indication of a need for an unblemished human sacrifice in the Jewish tradition.

On the face of it, this does not appear to be a problem to the writer of Hebrews.

Do you have a problem with the book's canonicity?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Canonicity or interpretation?

There are different questions here.

It could be that Kwesi understands the way that Christ fulfils the OT sacrificial system in a different way to how you understand it, Kaplan.

That's a different issue to not accepting it's canonicity.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Kaplan Corday
quote:
On the face of it, this does not appear to be a problem to the writer of Hebrews.

Fair point.

I must confess I’m not over-familiar, even in my amateur way, with the sacrificial aproach to the cross, though this thread has done much to get me thinking more seriously about it.

I have, however, long been intrigued as to how the author of Hebrews gets to the notion of the need for or the role of a perfect human sacrifice from his religious tradition. Clearly, it doesn’t ever seem to have been then or subsequently a feature of Judaism.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
I think it is fair to say that the writer to the Hebrews is writing precisely because the Jewish members of the early church were having a problem understanding how the OT sacrifices were prefiguring the one-time offering of Jesus.

It's also worth pointing out that in stressing that this sacrifice is a one-off for all time, the writer indicates that the reason for this is that the earlier sacrifices were by mortals in the copy of the holy places (i.e. the temple). Jesus's offering by contrast is in the real holy place (i.e. heaven). The blood of bulls and goats (i.e. the Yom Kippur ritual) doesn't actually take away sins.

As to there being no human sacrifices in the OT, indeed not! That surely is the main purpose of the non-sacrifice of Isaac. Through the demonstration of ultimate loyalty to YHWH, the entire concept of sacrifices is turned on its head. "God will provide" in future.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, and as the writer to the Hebrews appears to be at pains to highlight the divinity of Christ ... then it goes beyond what we might call 'human sacrifice' - as God in Christ is 'absorbing' and fulfilling the OT sacrificial system ...

At least, that's always been the way it's been taught/understood in the circles I've moved in.

'To which of the angels did God ever say ...?' etc

So, yes, I can certainly see how the Epistle to the Hebrews can be used to support a 'sacrificial' and 'satisfaction' model of the atonement - particularly as we are told that the earthly and ritualised sacrifices of the OT 'dispensation' (if I can put it that way with a slight nod towards Jamat and Mudfrog ... [Biased] ) are somehow shadows/reflections of the heavenly 'Holy of Holies' ...

Which in turn supports Mudfrog's point about the 'Lamb slain before the foundation of the world' ...

There is something eternal and cosmic at the heart of the Atonement - however we understand it.

I still don't think though, that it boils down to a case of regarding this, that or the other NT book as not deserving a place in the canon.

There are still issues of interpretation, emphasis and the weight we put on various aspects - as well as the inevitable extent to which our own particular Christian traditions incline us towards one or another interpretation or model.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
On the face of it, this does not appear to be a problem to the writer of Hebrews.

Do you have a problem with the book's canonicity?

It seems to me that there is a problem with integrating the Hebrews understanding into the OT whichever way around you do it.

If one takes the position that Hebrews is the "ultimate" (and/or highest or latest) understanding of sacrifice, then one appears to be saying that all the temple stuff was in vain, that the only true sacrifice was that of Christ on the cross. Which is problematic because it seems to contradict what the OT records about directions for the temple sacrifice.

But if one takes the view that the activities in the temple were salvic - and did have an effect on taking away corporate, and by extension individual sins, then what was the point in the atonement at all? If it was about a payment for sin, then why not carry on with the animal sacrifice?

As for the canonicity, I think the time for that is long gone now; we have what we have. Actually I think having texts which make us think and re-evaluate our thinking is good - I just don't accept that belief "in" Hebrews means that we inevitably have to accept an atonement which is about substitution or payment for sin.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Gamaliel
quote:
Which in turn supports Mudfrog's point about the 'Lamb slain before the foundation of the world' ...

Meaning what exactly? Believe me, i ask the question quite neutrally.

On the question of accessibility in Hebrews- the veil and so on, isn't it in conflict with the concept of the incarnation?

Also, why is the sacrifice of Christ required for the forgiveness of sin? Does not Christ forgive because it is an attribute of his participation in the Trinity? There seems to me a conflict here between the writer of Hebrews and the gospel witnesses.

The most helpful way I can look at Christ's sacrifice and blood symbolically is in covenant terms: the creation of a new community sealed by the sprinkling of blood as was the case with the sealing of the old covenant in the desert. In this context, in other words, sacrifice is about the creation of community and sustaining it with the life of the God, a God at one with his people (atonement).
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Mr Cheesy: it seems to me that there is a problem with integrating the Hebrews understanding into the OT whichever way around you do i
No, there is not problem at all. Hebrews explains quite clearly how Jesus replaced the many OT sacrifices with the once for all sacrifice of himself. Their function was perfectly clear, they covered sin temporarily, but were simply a type of the permanent covering for sin,the blood of Jesus himself, who was offered once ..as stated, " at the consummation of the ages he has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself " Heb9:26b.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I offered Mudfrog's point quite 'neutrally' too, insofar as I am stating that I understand it and can see both where he gets it from and how he is applying it.

The 'what exactly?' I took from Mudfrog's deployment of this text was that sacrifice was 'in the mind of God' if we can put it that way, from eternity ...

That Christ's atoning and sacrificial death wasn't a bolt-on extra or afterthought but something that was mysteriously ordained - as it were - from eternity ...

It had been in the mind and heart of God - if we can anthropomorphise it that way, even before the creation of the world.

So, by extension, the elaborate OT system of sacrifices were there to foreshadow and lead up to the ultimate and final sacrifice that was carried out by God himself - in Christ.

Of course, as with the Apostle Paul's argument in Romans, the early Christians had to find some kind of way to explain / understand how the work of Christ somehow superseded and fulfilled the OT Law and ceremonies ...

And the Epistle to the Romans - which is essentially about how Gentiles can be included in the Covenant community - and the Epistle to the Hebrews represent how they did that ...

Which is one of the reasons why I keep wanting to bounce discussions about Romans out of the 16th century and into its 1st century context - but that's by the by ...

As far as the 'accessibility' aspect goes, the 'veil' and so on - well no, I don't see how that is in conflict with the concept of the Incarnation. The 'veil' was 'torn in two' we're told at Christ's death on the Cross.

Liturgically, as it were, the 'veil' is represented and transcended, if you like, in the Orthodox tradition by the use of the iconostasis - and the way the priest, deacon and the 'Holy Gifts' come 'out' from behind it is a physical reminder of how God in Christ came from that which was veiled into the here and now ...

It also physically demonstrates a now and not yet aspect too ...

Is anyone suggesting that the Orthodox don't have an understanding of the Incarnation because elements of their Liturgical actions are effectively 'veiled' to a certain extent?

I would understand the 'accessibility' aspect being fully compatible between Hebrews and the rest of the NT. Why? Because Hebrews does a different 'job' if you like, to the Gospels ... The other Epistles do a different 'job' to the Gospels ... the Gospels each do different 'jobs' to one another ...

I understand that there was some controversy as to whether to admit Hebrews to the NT canon as there were issues around authorship and so on.

But that's another issue.

The issue as to whether the sacrifice of Christ is required for the forgiveness of sins - rather than forgiveness simply being an attribute of God's grace and mercy - well, that's what we're trying to work out and grapple with in this thread ...

Jolly Jape, mr cheesy and others believe that the atonement has little or nothing to do with 'forgiveness' as such - that's a 'given' - but everything to do with the conquest of Death and the provision of an example to live by ...

If I understand them correctly ...

Others, obviously, take a different view. I'm here to hear all sides.

On the covenantal/community terms you've highlighted, again, I don't see how that is incompatible with any of the atonement models we've been discussing.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
No, there is not problem at all. Hebrews explains quite clearly how Jesus replaced the many OT sacrifices with the once for all sacrifice of himself. Their function was perfectly clear, they covered sin temporarily, but were simply a type of the permanent covering for sin,the blood of Jesus himself, who was offered once ..as stated, " at the consummation of the ages he has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself " Heb9:26b.

Again, that's simply not the OT record, which fairly clearly makes the case that the temple sacrifice wasn't sufficient.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
No, there is not problem at all. Hebrews explains quite clearly how Jesus replaced the many OT sacrifices with the once for all sacrifice of himself. Their function was perfectly clear, they covered sin temporarily, but were simply a type of the permanent covering for sin,the blood of Jesus himself, who was offered once ..as stated, " at the consummation of the ages he has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself " Heb9:26b.

Again, that's simply not the OT record, which fairly clearly makes the case that the temple sacrifice wasn't sufficient.
That's right, but it does rely on the belief that the temple actions were operative rather then representative. Whilst no doubt some Jews thought they were the former, there is plenty of evidence that many thought the latter, and believed that to be the official view. The high priest after all bears a diadem - a gold plate inscribed with the consecration of the tetragrammaton (YHWH)when he enters the Holy of Holies. Certainly there are writings in second temple Judaism bold enough to say that in this respect, the high priest is YHWH.

The day of atonement ritual is essentially a rite of cosmic healing. There is also the issue of "bearing sin", which is also a priestly activity and which is ultimately transferred to the scapegoat.

Quite a few people have written drawing attention to the symbology of all these temple rites. Let me see if I can find one online. It's all interesting stuff, because it tends to get overlooked in favour of the passover lamb symbology. That is very important but will only take you so far and we are now beyond that point in the discussion.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Eternity is a long time. The man Jesus was not sacrificed from then.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Eternity is a long time. The man Jesus was not sacrificed from then.

Which is part of the mystery of the Incarnation—Jesus is simultaneously fully human, bound by time whose sacrifice occurs at a point in time, and fully divine, who offers himself eternally.

And fwiw, I think there's a terminology issue in your sentence that bears some import: "Jesus was not sacrificed" vs "Jesus did not offer himself as a sacrifice." When talking about the death of Jesus as sacrifice, it seems critical to me to be clear about who is offering the sacrifice. Jesus was not the passive object.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
The divine human Jesus sacrificed Himself for humanity aye.

Not for the countless other sapient species.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Martin60
quote:
Eternity is a long time. The man Jesus was not sacrificed from then.
The problem, Martin, is that 'eternity' has nothing to do with time. Time is a function of creation and will be no more when creation dies. "From the foundation of the world" means "at the point at which God created matter," and is a time-bound concept. Why Christ was slain at the point of creation I have no idea? If we take it at face value then we have some questions to ask regarding the nature of that creation. Was it fallen from its foundations if the lamb was slain at the same point, for example? And that just gets us started! Eternity is a state outside time.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
It's poetic Kwesi. Jesus wasn't sacrificed from 13.7 Ga ago. God has always participated in sacrifice for creation.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Martin60
quote:
It's poetic Kwesi.
I agree, entirely! My objection is to its use outside a poetic context in some sort of rational argument.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Wouldn't dream of it! Eternity within God speaks for itself. We infinitely underestimate Him.
 
Posted by Jamat (# 11621) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
No, there is not problem at all. Hebrews explains quite clearly how Jesus replaced the many OT sacrifices with the once for all sacrifice of himself. Their function was perfectly clear, they covered sin temporarily, but were simply a type of the permanent covering for sin,the blood of Jesus himself, who was offered once ..as stated, " at the consummation of the ages he