I haven't read the post from Fr. Stephen's blog yet, but I'm relatively familiar with his writings. I think what Fr. Stephen was most likely trying to convey was not that God has no wrath, but that Christ's death was not necessitated by God's wrath. God's wrath and Christ's atonement have little to do with each other, outside of the fact that God hates sin. Christ's death on the cross, we are told, was motivated by His overly-abundant, freely given Love for Humankind. Christ died because He *wants* to save us; He *wants* to save the ungodly; He wishes that *none* should perish. Christ did not die because God was so angry that He had to exact a bloodthirsty vengeance by torturing His own Son with incomprehensible, inhuman suffering as a retribution and payment for an infinite debt of sin. The point of His death was to destroy Death and its counterparts: sin and Satan, and save us by uniting our Humanity to God.
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From: "oruaseht" <oruaseht@...
Date: Tue, 01 Sep 2009 02:18:23
Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: The Death of Christ � The Life of Man
Father Stephen is a genius, no doubt in my mind. His posts are incredibly insightful and wise. After reading much of what he has written and proposed regarding the wrath of God, I am challenged. It's kind of like the X-Files: "I *want* to believe!" I want to believe that there is no wrath of God. But it's either my Protestant conscience or the "scary God" stories of the OT (like Sodom & Gomorrah for example) that are nagging me. And other verses from the NT like Heb 10:30 "For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people" are fairly compelling that God does have some wrath/vengeance about Him.
I get Father Stephen's main point: the "turn or burn" theology of the Reformed is sickening and breeds Atheism. Also, we should be centered on God's grace and mercy in Christ, rather than His anger. We should be quick NOT to wish God's wrath on other sinners, lest we should wish it upon ourselves. These are all solid points that I agree with wholeheartedly. However, I just don't know if we can say that God has no wrath/anger at sin.
The East has enlightened me personally though in not seeing the cross in a purely "Anselmic" light, of God the Father pouring out His white hot wrath on the Son and then allowing us to go free from that wrath. A truly merciful God would not need to unleash wrath - this is the parable of the prodigal son/Loving Father that makes so much more sense to me now.
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