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Author Topic: Yet so many modern Orthodox deny Christ suffered for us?  (Read 2543 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jason.Wike
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« on: December 31, 2012, 04:42:19 PM »

This thread split off from here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,48961.msg857581.html#msg857581

-PtA


His Church is the body of believers who believe in Him, His sacrifice on the Cross for sins, and their trust in Him as Savior.

So unless you believe in the Anselmian-Lutheran theory of penal substitution you're out?

Last week as I was praying and read the Creed, it struck me where it says "And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried." Yet so many modern Orthodox deny Christ suffered for us? I know this is not the teaching of the Church but it seems like people on this board at least throw it out.
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2012, 04:44:22 PM »

His Church is the body of believers who believe in Him, His sacrifice on the Cross for sins, and their trust in Him as Savior.

So unless you believe in the Anselmian-Lutheran theory of penal substitution you're out?

Last week as I was praying and read the Creed, it struck me where it says "And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried." Yet so many modern Orthodox deny Christ suffered for us?
Not at all! A denial of penal substitution theology does not equal a denial of Christ's suffering.
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2012, 04:47:29 PM »

His Church is the body of believers who believe in Him, His sacrifice on the Cross for sins, and their trust in Him as Savior.

So unless you believe in the Anselmian-Lutheran theory of penal substitution you're out?

Last week as I was praying and read the Creed, it struck me where it says "And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried." Yet so many modern Orthodox deny Christ suffered for us?
Not at all! A denial of penal substitution theology does not equal a denial of Christ's suffering.
Ok, maybe it is just the language used. Your response is a good example. You just say "Christ's suffering" but I'm not sure I ever hear anyone say "Christ suffered for us."

Sorry I am not trying to be argumentative.
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2012, 04:49:56 PM »

His Church is the body of believers who believe in Him, His sacrifice on the Cross for sins, and their trust in Him as Savior.

So unless you believe in the Anselmian-Lutheran theory of penal substitution you're out?

Last week as I was praying and read the Creed, it struck me where it says "And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried." Yet so many modern Orthodox deny Christ suffered for us?
Not at all! A denial of penal substitution theology does not equal a denial of Christ's suffering.
Ok, maybe it is just the language used. Your response is a good example. You just say "Christ's suffering" but I'm not sure I ever hear anyone say "Christ suffered for us."
I will say that Christ suffered for us. I just don't wish to hold to any abstract theological definitions of this precious mystery.

Sorry I am not trying to be argumentative.
I didn't take your words as being argumentative. Wink
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2012, 05:01:05 PM »

Fwiw, St. Gregory often mentions the sufferings of Christ, and often the implication seems to be that they are especially "for us." For example:

"Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him; yesterday I died with Him; to-day I am quickened with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him; to-day I rise with Him.  But let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us--you will think perhaps that I am going to say gold, or silver, or woven work or transparent and costly stones, the mere passing material of earth, that remains here below, and is for the most part always possessed by bad men, slaves of the world and of the Prince of the world.  Let us offer ourselves, the possession most precious to God, and most fitting; let us give back to the Image what is made after the Image.  Let us recognize our Dignity; let us honour our Archetype; let us know the power of the Mystery, and for what Christ died." St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 1.4

Although I'll say that the passage I find most striking--though it doesn't have the language you spoke of--is this one:

"We needed an Incarnate God, a God put to death, that we might live. We were put to death together with Him, that we might be cleansed; we rose again with Him because we were put to death with Him; we were glorified with Him, because we rose again with Him." - St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 45.28
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2013, 02:53:42 AM »

Yet so many modern Orthodox deny Christ suffered for us? I know this is not the teaching of the Church but it seems like people on this board at least throw it out.
Not most people on the board that I've read.

I've come across several instances of it recently, where people fumed about Augustine or Anselm or just plain "westerners" and our reprehensible idea of Christ suffering on our behalf. Which is why it stood out in the creed to me. If I come across them again I'll post something.
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2013, 06:55:06 PM »

Yet so many modern Orthodox deny Christ suffered for us? I know this is not the teaching of the Church but it seems like people on this board at least throw it out.
Not most people on the board that I've read.

I've come across several instances of it recently, where people fumed about Augustine or Anselm or just plain "westerners" and our reprehensible idea of Christ suffering on our behalf. Which is why it stood out in the creed to me. If I come across them again I'll post something.

I've seen people disagree with the reprehensible idea of the Father vicariously punishing Christ in order to satisfy a compulsion to worldy justice.

But I have seen very few here who deny that Christ suffered for us. Those instances I have seen were based off of a form of docetism and not off of ideas about the atonement per se.
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2013, 09:14:40 AM »

Fwiw, St. Gregory often mentions the sufferings of Christ, and often the implication seems to be that they are especially "for us." For example:

"Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him; yesterday I died with Him; to-day I am quickened with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him; to-day I rise with Him.  But let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us--you will think perhaps that I am going to say gold, or silver, or woven work or transparent and costly stones, the mere passing material of earth, that remains here below, and is for the most part always possessed by bad men, slaves of the world and of the Prince of the world.  Let us offer ourselves, the possession most precious to God, and most fitting; let us give back to the Image what is made after the Image.  Let us recognize our Dignity; let us honour our Archetype; let us know the power of the Mystery, and for what Christ died." St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 1.4

Although I'll say that the passage I find most striking--though it doesn't have the language you spoke of--is this one:

"We needed an Incarnate God, a God put to death, that we might live. We were put to death together with Him, that we might be cleansed; we rose again with Him because we were put to death with Him; we were glorified with Him, because we rose again with Him." - St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 45.28
Is there any church fathers' writings mentioning why Jesus Christ have to be tortured and insulted by Rome soldiers and Isaralities as well as suffered on the cross before He can die?
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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2013, 09:36:25 AM »

It was all part of the process of redeeming humanity that he chose, experiencing what we experience as fully man:

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For Christ also likewise, when it was possible for him to abide in His own honour and deity, not only so far emptied Himself as to take the form of a slave, (Phil. 2:7) but also endured the cross, despising the shame, (Heb. 12:2) that he might by His own sufferings destroy sin, and by death slay death.

-- St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 12.4

It also spurs us on to do good, thinking of what he went through for us:

Quote
We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly, (Dan. 9:5) for we have forgotten Thy commandments and walked after our own evil thought, (Is. 65:2) for we have behaved ourselves unworthily of the calling and gospel of Thy Christ, and of His holy sufferings and humiliation for us; we have become a reproach to Thy beloved, priest and people, we have erred together, we have all gone out of the way, we have together become unprofitable, there is none that doeth judgment and justice, no not one.

-- St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 16.12
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2013, 09:42:19 AM »

You really do like St. Gregory of Nazianzus, don't you? Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2013, 09:50:54 AM »

"There's no question St. Gregory the Theologian can't answer" Wink
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« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2013, 10:07:58 AM »

"There's no question St. Gregory the Theologian can't answer" Wink
You must always venerate, chat and pray with St. Gregory the Theologian.
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« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2013, 10:13:48 AM »

Only one Church Father from Cappadocia called Gregory can be the best...

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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2013, 03:10:26 AM »


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Not at all! A denial of penal substitution theology does not equal a denial of Christ's suffering.

What's the Orthodox theory instead of this, then?
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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2013, 03:43:57 AM »

To answer Walter's question (and all those who would deny that Christ suffered for us), here is a lengthy quote from St. Athanasius the Apostolic, from his work "On the Incarnation"...because there's nothing that a lengthy quote from St. Athanasius isn't improved -- nay, settled -- by:

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"Well then," some people may say, "if the essential thing was that He should surrender His body to death in place of all, why did He not do so as Man privately, without going to the length of public crucifixion? Surely it would have been more suitable for Him to have laid aside His body with honor than to endure so shameful a death." But look at this argument closely, and see how merely human it is, whereas what the Savior did was truly divine and worthy of His Godhead for several reasons. The first is this. The death of men under ordinary circumstances is the result of their natural weakness. They are essentially impermanent, so after a time they fall ill and when worn out they die. But the Lord is not like that. He is not weak, He is the Power of God and Word of God and Very Life Itself. If He had died quietly in His bed like other men it would have looked as if He did so in accordance with His nature, and as though He was indeed no more than other men. But because He was Himself Word and Life and Power His body was made strong, and because the death had to be accomplished, He took the occasion of perfecting His sacrifice not from Himself, but from others. How could He fall sick, Who had healed others? Or how could that body weaken and fail by means of which others are made strong? Here, again, you may say, "Why did He not prevent death, as He did sickness?" Because it was precisely in order to be able to die that He had taken a body, and to prevent the death would have been to impede the resurrection. And as to the unsuitability of sickness for His body, as arguing weakness, you may say, "Did He then not hunger?" Yes, He hungered, because that was the property of His body, but He did not die of hunger because He Whose body hungered was the Lord. Similarly, though He died to ransom all, He did not see corruption. His body rose in perfect soundness, for it was the body of none other than the Life Himself.
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« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2013, 06:31:10 AM »

It would seem that some forget, if indeed they ever knew, that we use the word Pascha (ΠΑΣΧΑ-Πάσχα). Often we assume or read this to be "Passover", but the root Greek word means "suffering" (if I am learning anything at all in my Attic studies). This word also is the root of 'Passion' in meaning.
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« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2013, 06:53:18 AM »

It would seem that some forget, if indeed they ever knew, that we use the word Pascha (ΠΑΣΧΑ-Πάσχα). Often we assume or read this to be "Passover", but the root Greek word means "suffering" (if I am learning anything at all in my Attic studies). This word also is the root of 'Passion' in meaning.

True.  If I remember correctly πάσχειν means 'to suffer'.
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« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2013, 11:42:19 AM »

Suffering isn't the issue.  "For us" isn't the issue.

Penal suffering is the problem. We believe Christ suffered for us.  We do not believe Christ was punished for us. 
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« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2013, 12:33:09 PM »

Jesus was suffered and punished in order to satisfy a harsh and horrible God , it seems that Jesus was  suffered for Father or even himself rather than all men.

And Jesus tried to change an unchanged and a perfect  God rather than all men.
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« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2013, 02:56:52 PM »

nvm
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« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2013, 03:07:17 PM »

Does anyone believe that Christ actually taught an Atonement theory? I mean it seems that the Apostles themselves had a hard time even understanding that he had to die let alone grasp the reason of exactly why. Correct me where I'm wrong as I'm no scholar but it seems these theories on atonement are just that, theories. No one knows for sure because it wasn't divinely reveled.
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« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2013, 01:54:22 PM »


Quote
Not at all! A denial of penal substitution theology does not equal a denial of Christ's suffering.

What's the Orthodox theory instead of this, then?


The Orthodox "theory" is that it works because it works, and if one kind of language helps you draw closer to it, then more power to you.

To paraphrase C.S. Lewis a bit (and it was he who helped me to see that one can deny "penal substitutionary atonement" as an absolute reality and still affirm that Christ suffered and died for us), we have to be careful that we do not confuse the "thing" with the "explanation of the thing". He gives an example of eating supper: long before we developed our modern understanding of acids and proteins and minerals and such, people still ate their supper and benefited from it. Whether they understood how it worked or not, they still ate, and they still knew that it was good to eat. And it could be that our understanding of nutrition is flawed, and perhaps some day in the future we'll have a different explanation as to why eating supper is good for us. But that won't make our experience of eating supper any less significant, or any less real, or any less good.

It's the same with Christ. There are different ways of explaining why He did what He did, and why it benefits mankind. But whether we have the exact understanding or not, it doesn't change our experience with that reality and make it any less good for us.

Another issue is that Who Christ is and what He has accomplished for us is something that is beyond the ability of human language to fully express. Although we speak and communicate ideas with speech, there are things, especially pertaining to God, that our language simply cannot fully express. Christ and our salvation are the same way. We can use human experiences and examples as means of describing what Christ did, but all those examples and models ultimately fall short. In other words, the best that we can do with human language is to make analogies of this, but we will never be able to make a tautology.

We find this all over the New Testament, especially in the Gospels (Christ makes use of a wide range of "atonement theories", so to speak). Christ uses the analogy of being lost and then being found; of being judged for a crime; of being sick and then being made well; of being on the wrong path and then finding the true path; etc. Paul and the other Apostles make use of a variety of analogies as well: being dead and being made alive; being in darkness and then coming into the light; being objects of wrath and then being made objects of mercy; etc. All of these analogies are different, and none of them are the actual reality of our salvation.

So there really is not problem with the use of substitutionary language. That only becomes a problem when people try to make substitutionary language to be "the thing", as if it were the totality of the reality of our salvation. And because of all the baggage associated with that language and the layers of theology that are built upon it in many Protestant circles, we tend just to avoid the language altogether lest people think that we agree with all the "baggage" that is most often associated with that language.
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« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2013, 01:58:04 PM »

Does anyone believe that Christ actually taught an Atonement theory? I mean it seems that the Apostles themselves had a hard time even understanding that he had to die let alone grasp the reason of exactly why. Correct me where I'm wrong as I'm no scholar but it seems these theories on atonement are just that, theories. No one knows for sure because it wasn't divinely reveled.

I believe that you are right. As I mentioned in my previous post, Christ made use of many types of language to describe our salvation, never singling one of them out as "the" theory above all theories.
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« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2013, 02:13:44 PM »

One reason that I have noticed that people have a hard time with our view on this is that the assumption is made that "for" = "instead of". But we use "for" in many other ways in our everyday speech:

"The soldier died for our freedom."
"I bought these flowers for you."
"I voted for Candidate X."
"My wife and I went to McDonald's for our anniversary."
And many others.

Why should we assume that "for" means "instead of" when "for" can mean so many other things?
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« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2013, 06:21:10 PM »

Just came back across this passage and I thought of this thread...

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Let us rejoice as we keep the feast, my brethren, knowing that our salvation is ordered in the time of affliction. For our Saviour did not redeem us by inactivity, but by suffering for us He abolished death. And respecting this, He intimidated to us before, saying, 'In the world you shall have tribulation.' (John 16:33) But He did not say this to every man, but to those who diligently and faithfully perform good service to Him, knowing beforehand, that they should be persecuted who would live godly toward Him.

-- St. Athanasius of Alexandria, Letter 13, 6
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« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2013, 06:58:38 PM »

And another one:

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I Glorify God, even Jesus Christ, who has given you such wisdom. For I have observed that you are perfected in an immoveable faith, as if you were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in the flesh and in the spirit, and are established in love through the blood of Christ, being fully persuaded with respect to our Lord, that He was truly of the seed of David according to the flesh, and the Son of God according to the will and power of God; that He was truly born of a virgin, was baptized by John, in order that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him; and was truly, under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch, nailed [to the cross] for us in His flesh. Of this fruit we are by His divinely-blessed passion, that He might set up a standard for all ages, through His resurrection, to all His holy and faithful [followers], whether among Jews or Gentiles, in the one body of His Church. Now, He suffered all these things for our sakes, that we might be saved. And He suffered truly, even as also He truly raised up Himself, not, as certain unbelievers maintain, that He only seemed to suffer, as they themselves only seem to be [Christians]. And as they believe, so shall it happen unto them, when they shall be divested of their bodies, and be mere evil spirits.

-- St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, 1-2
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« Reply #26 on: January 06, 2013, 09:08:20 PM »

One reason that I have noticed that people have a hard time with our view on this is that the assumption is made that "for" = "instead of". But we use "for" in many other ways in our everyday speech:

"The soldier died for our freedom."
"I bought these flowers for you."
"I voted for Candidate X."
"My wife and I went to McDonald's for our anniversary."
And many others.

Why should we assume that "for" means "instead of" when "for" can mean so many other things?

Because of all the stuff in Isaiah.
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« Reply #27 on: January 06, 2013, 09:17:06 PM »

Correct me where I'm wrong as I'm no scholar but it seems these theories on atonement are just that, theories. No one knows for sure because it wasn't divinely reveled.
Well, there was this Epistle to the Hebrews...
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« Reply #28 on: January 06, 2013, 09:47:02 PM »

Christ plainly said he gives his life for us willingly, just as we are told we should do for our neighbor.

John 10:18
No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

He was the only one who made it his sole purpose , and told them many times beforehand.

He also told Pilate that he had no power over him , unless It was given to him by God

John 19

7The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

8When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

11Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

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« Reply #29 on: January 06, 2013, 10:09:59 PM »

It would seem that some forget, if indeed they ever knew, that we use the word Pascha (ΠΑΣΧΑ-Πάσχα). Often we assume or read this to be "Passover", but the root Greek word means "suffering" (if I am learning anything at all in my Attic studies). This word also is the root of 'Passion' in meaning.
True.  If I remember correctly πάσχειν means 'to suffer'.

I thought it was a transliteration into greek of the hebrew word for passover.
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« Reply #30 on: January 06, 2013, 10:18:12 PM »

Is there any church fathers' writings mentioning why Jesus Christ have to be tortured and insulted by Rome soldiers and Isaralities as well as suffered on the cross before He can die?

I believe St Athanasius discusses this in On The Incarnation.

You can find links here.
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« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2013, 10:39:57 PM »

It would seem that some forget, if indeed they ever knew, that we use the word Pascha (ΠΑΣΧΑ-Πάσχα). Often we assume or read this to be "Passover", but the root Greek word means "suffering" (if I am learning anything at all in my Attic studies). This word also is the root of 'Passion' in meaning.
True.  If I remember correctly πάσχειν means 'to suffer'.

I thought it was a transliteration into greek of the hebrew word for passover.

The etymological English dictionary says it is from the Aramaic Pasha. If it was from Greek "Paschein" it would be unusual, because no language has a word for it that either has those final vowels or consonants. Or - the Greeks came up with their own word for it and literally every other ancient language took it from Aramaic.
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« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2013, 11:08:04 PM »

Of course He suffered for us. A rejection of Penal Substitutionary Atonement--which is actually quite stupid and senseless I should say--does not equate to that Jesus didn't suffer for us. What we would assert, however, is that He suffered for us on the Cross to defeat Death for us--opposed to satisfying daddy's rage for us.
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« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2013, 11:11:54 PM »

is that He suffered for us on the Cross to defeat Death

Not the only reason he went to the cross.
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« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2013, 11:21:48 PM »

Of course He suffered for us. A rejection of Penal Substitutionary Atonement--which is actually quite stupid and senseless I should say--does not equate to that Jesus didn't suffer for us. What we would assert, however, is that He suffered for us on the Cross to defeat Death for us--opposed to satisfying daddy's rage for us.

You're clearly (frankly) misinterpreting the meaning of "satisfaction" in those theories of atonement since you go with "rage" (which isn't something anything on it mentions that I have ever seen). It isn't some sort base desire of God to inflict pain it means to make complete.
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« Reply #35 on: January 06, 2013, 11:25:30 PM »

Oh, and to be clear, I didn't actually create this thread the mods cobbled it together from another thread, where it had actually reached a conclusion.
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« Reply #36 on: January 06, 2013, 11:32:25 PM »

Of course He suffered for us. A rejection of Penal Substitutionary Atonement--which is actually quite stupid and senseless I should say--does not equate to that Jesus didn't suffer for us. What we would assert, however, is that He suffered for us on the Cross to defeat Death for us--opposed to satisfying daddy's rage for us.

You're clearly (frankly) misinterpreting the meaning of "satisfaction" in those theories of atonement since you go with "rage" (which isn't something anything on it mentions that I have ever seen). It isn't some sort base desire of God to inflict pain it means to make complete.

God doesn't need to make anything "complete". He's omnipotent and His Grace is not restrained by some arbitrary concept of legalist justice.
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« Reply #37 on: January 06, 2013, 11:38:50 PM »

Its nothing to do with legalist justice. This is what is exasperating about Orthodoxy, everyone is always assuming that people are speaking in terms of some worldview that you oppose: legalism, scholasticism, etc whatever. The worst part is you guys project your Calvinist backgrounds on to everyone else that had nothing to do with them (even former Eastern Catholics do this, they assume everyone is coming from the Catholic background their parents or grand-parents had that they reject. I can tell in talking with someone that they are without them ever telling me).

OO is starting to look really appealing because they're not all trying to prove how wrong their parents were or still one up Bishop Ireland.



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« Reply #38 on: January 07, 2013, 12:14:18 AM »

Its nothing to do with legalist justice. This is what is exasperating about Orthodoxy, everyone is always assuming that people are speaking in terms of some worldview that you oppose: legalism, scholasticism, etc whatever.

No.  Not then, not now.

The worst part is you guys project your Calvinist backgrounds

I don't have a Calvinist background and I want to go protest with the Westboro Baptist Church; however, they do not demonstrate Christian love but harsh judgment.


on to everyone else that had nothing to do with them (even ex-U****** do this, they assume everyone is coming from the Catholic background their parents or grand-parents had that they reject. I can tell in talking with someone that they are without them ever telling me).

OO is starting to look really appealing because they're not all trying to prove how wrong their parents were or still one up Bishop Ireland.

Don't focus on who's wrong or right.
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« Reply #39 on: January 07, 2013, 01:49:03 AM »

Its nothing to do with legalist justice. This is what is exasperating about Orthodoxy, everyone is always assuming that people are speaking in terms of some worldview that you oppose: legalism, scholasticism, etc whatever.

No.  Not then, not now.

This doesn't even mean anything. No what? Not then what? No, people aren't assuming legalism or scholasticism? If so, yes, you can't speak of what I have experienced. I came to Orthodoxy fresh from nearly nothing with just months of believing in Christ, I can count the number of times I've been to a Protestant church on one hand (because right away, I started moving towards Orthodoxy) but right away the people I met addressed my questions as "Protestant baggage." And threw all that dumb stuff about 'legalism' and 'scholasticism' and 'minimalism' at me which in fact, I had never had any experience with at all.

You guys might not get it but it makes as little sense as and is as annoying as if assuming I am coming from a Muslim background or something else totally ridiculous. And this didn't happen on the net I am talking about my experiences in real life. Just stop treating everyone like they were raised in things that have nothing to do with them at all.
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« Reply #40 on: January 07, 2013, 02:03:04 AM »

I'm confused, why is Anselm used in reference to penal substitution in the OP? The satisfaction theory (of Anselm) and penal substitution are very different, however I'm not familiar with Lutheran beliefs on the atonement.

And I'll second what's been said: from an Orthodox perspective, Christ did suffer for us but not by receiving penal punishment from the Father.
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« Reply #41 on: January 07, 2013, 02:20:39 AM »

Its nothing to do with legalist justice. This is what is exasperating about Orthodoxy, everyone is always assuming that people are speaking in terms of some worldview that you oppose: legalism, scholasticism, etc whatever.

No.  Not then, not now.

This doesn't even mean anything. No what? Not then what? No, people aren't assuming legalism or scholasticism? If so, yes, you can't speak of what I have experienced.

I'm sorry.  I usually try to speak from the Gospel when I speak with people who are non-Orthodox.  I could care less about legalism and scholasticism and I can't speak of what you've experienced.

I came to Orthodoxy fresh from nearly nothing with just months of believing in Christ, I can count the number of times I've been to a Protestant church on one hand (because right away, I started moving towards Orthodoxy) but right away the people I met addressed my questions as "Protestant baggage."

That's unfortunate.  Although each of us does carry some baggage which affects how one converts to a different religion.

And threw all that dumb stuff about 'legalism' and 'scholasticism' and 'minimalism' which in fact, I had never had any experience with at all.

Those darn Assumptions.   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #42 on: January 07, 2013, 04:35:42 PM »

Jason, can you give us your atonement view to silence the platitudes?
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« Reply #43 on: January 11, 2013, 02:27:05 AM »

Hopefully this will be of some help.
http://youtu.be/3F7h-TStNd8

If you feel that Orthodoxy doesn't affirm the sufferings of Christ on our behalf enough, watch this lecture from Bishop Kalistos Ware. It's literally loaded with descriptions and answers about how Jesus suffered for us on the cross to bring us salvation and forgiveness, all from an Orthodox perspective.

Orthodoxy doesn't disagree with Christ's suffering on the cross for us. But it tends to disagree with certain theories about how his death and suffering on the cross accomplishes salvation...theories like the penal substitution and the satisfaction theory. Not a problem for me since even as a protestant I disagree with them.

Also, Orthodoxy tends to look upon everything Christ did as a man on earth, from his incarnation to his ascension as a saving work. The cross is an essential part of it, but since the work began with his incarnation, you will find many orthodox statements about Jesus to read like: For our salvation he became man" without a lot of references to the crucifixion. It's a little off-putting, but I don't sense that the understanding that he died for us has been lost or muddled.
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« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2013, 12:31:47 PM »

Quote
Because of all the stuff in Isaiah.
That's a bit like putting the prequel before the main event. The OT is there to understand the NT. I would be wary of basing any theology on the basis of the priority of the OT.

The most widespread view of the atonement in the Patristic age was 'Christus Victor' according to which Christ defeated the powers of evil and death. Penal substitution was largely a Latin idea originating with St Anselm. It harks back to Jewish temple sacrifices.

Whatever people think about what it means when it is said that Christ suffered for our sins, it has to be seen in the context of divine impassibility and the primacy of Christ's absolute divinity.
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« Reply #45 on: February 06, 2013, 04:25:54 PM »

Suffering isn't the issue.  "For us" isn't the issue.

Penal suffering is the problem. We believe Christ suffered for us.  We do not believe Christ was punished for us. 

I concur! A just God CANNOT punish an innocent man. Christ is the propitiation for our sins. This means that He turned God's wrath away. But if He was punished, then He did not turn God's wrath away.
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« Reply #46 on: February 07, 2013, 10:53:36 AM »

Can this thread be closed since I didn't even actually create it? If a mod wanted to start a thread on this they should've started one with their own name.
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« Reply #47 on: February 07, 2013, 11:00:40 AM »

Can this thread be closed since I didn't even actually create it? If a mod wanted to start a thread on this they should've started one with their own name.
Why is it such a big deal that your name, and not someone else's, is on the OP?

Also, do be careful how much freedom you give yourself to criticize a moderator's actions publicly, since that's one of the best ways to get yourself into trouble on this forum.
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« Reply #48 on: February 07, 2013, 11:06:38 AM »

Can this thread be closed since I didn't even actually create it? If a mod wanted to start a thread on this they should've started one with their own name.
Why is it such a big deal that your name, and not someone else's, is on the OP?

Also, do be careful how much freedom you give yourself to criticize a moderator's actions publicly, since that's one of the best ways to get yourself into trouble on this forum.

Because I did not create this thread and it is falsely ascribed to me. Falsely attributing people is rude and dishonest. Anything someone puts under my name I have every right to say anything against.
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« Reply #49 on: February 07, 2013, 12:20:15 PM »

I would like to see the thread stay open because I think penal substitution is a gross misconception of the atonement. I come from the Reformed tradition which teaches penal substitution. I came to question it about two years ago and am now fully persuaded it is error. It hinges upon the mis-translation of one lone statement in Isaiah 53.
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« Reply #50 on: February 07, 2013, 12:23:11 PM »

I would like to see the thread stay open because I think penal substitution is a gross misconception of the atonement. I come from the Reformed tradition which teaches penal substitution. I came to question it about two years ago and am now fully persuaded it is error. It hinges upon the mis-translation of one lone statement in Isaiah 53.


Perhaps we should start a new thread?

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« Reply #51 on: February 07, 2013, 12:33:47 PM »

I would like to see the thread stay open because I think penal substitution is a gross misconception of the atonement. I come from the Reformed tradition which teaches penal substitution. I came to question it about two years ago and am now fully persuaded it is error. It hinges upon the mis-translation of one lone statement in Isaiah 53.


Oh, that the world were so simple!
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« Reply #52 on: February 07, 2013, 12:34:11 PM »

I would like to see the thread stay open because I think penal substitution is a gross misconception of the atonement. I come from the Reformed tradition which teaches penal substitution. I came to question it about two years ago and am now fully persuaded it is error. It hinges upon the mis-translation of one lone statement in Isaiah 53.


Perhaps we should start a new thread?



It will be one for the ages, I am sure.
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« Reply #53 on: February 07, 2013, 01:50:46 PM »

Can this thread be closed since I didn't even actually create it? If a mod wanted to start a thread on this they should've started one with their own name.
Why is it such a big deal that your name, and not someone else's, is on the OP?

Also, do be careful how much freedom you give yourself to criticize a moderator's actions publicly, since that's one of the best ways to get yourself into trouble on this forum.

Because I did not create this thread and it is falsely ascribed to me. Falsely attributing people is rude and dishonest.
Chill out, guy. A lot of people on this forum know that when a thread gets split, the first post in the tangent split off becomes the OP of the new thread. There's nothing rude or dishonest about that. In a way, then, by veering off topic on another thread, you did start this thread. Wink

Anything someone puts under my name I have every right to say anything against.
Once you start a thread or submit a post on this forum, it becomes the property of the forum, and you really can't control where it and the following discussion will go.

Besides, you will find that I fixed your OP for you so others will see more clearly where the thread started.
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« Reply #54 on: February 07, 2013, 01:57:00 PM »

Can this thread be closed since I didn't even actually create it? If a mod wanted to start a thread on this they should've started one with their own name.
Why is it such a big deal that your name, and not someone else's, is on the OP?

Also, do be careful how much freedom you give yourself to criticize a moderator's actions publicly, since that's one of the best ways to get yourself into trouble on this forum.

Because I did not create this thread and it is falsely ascribed to me. Falsely attributing people is rude and dishonest.
Chill out, guy. A lot of people on this forum know that when a thread gets split, the first post in the tangent split off becomes the OP of the new thread. There's nothing rude or dishonest about that. In a way, then, by veering off topic on another thread, you did start this thread. Wink

Anything someone puts under my name I have every right to say anything against.
Once you start a thread or submit a post on this forum, it becomes the property of the forum, and you really can't control where it and the following discussion will go.

Besides, you will find that I fixed your OP for you so others will see more clearly where the thread started.

PtA, no matter what everyone else says, including myself, you are a real mensch.

Srsly, being a mod has gotta be a drag. Can the board decide on a mod appreciation day, where we don't act like fools and children and pretend we appreciate what you all do?
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« Reply #55 on: February 07, 2013, 02:27:44 PM »

Can the board decide on a mod appreciation day, where we don't act like fools and children and pretend we appreciate what you all do?

We do that every year on clean monday.
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« Reply #56 on: February 07, 2013, 05:18:58 PM »

Penal substitution was largely a Latin idea originating with St Anselm. It harks back to Jewish temple sacrifices.
And Christ's sacrifice was the fulfillment of those temple sacrifices, yes?
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« Reply #57 on: February 07, 2013, 05:20:34 PM »

Penal substitution was largely a Latin idea originating with St Anselm. It harks back to Jewish temple sacrifices.
And Christ's sacrifice was the fulfillment of those temple sacrifices, yes?

I dunno about that at least not strictly speaking.
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« Reply #58 on: February 07, 2013, 05:42:12 PM »

There was some discovery done a few years ago that found out Jews were crucifying lambs about 30-100 years before Christ.

I though that bit was interesting.
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« Reply #59 on: February 07, 2013, 05:54:48 PM »

Penal substitution was largely a Latin idea originating with St Anselm. It harks back to Jewish temple sacrifices.
And Christ's sacrifice was the fulfillment of those temple sacrifices, yes?

According to the substitution theory, yes. Although one of my professors taught me that as far as Jewish theology was concerned it didn't require any fulfilment.
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« Reply #60 on: February 07, 2013, 11:39:12 PM »

Suffering isn't the issue.  "For us" isn't the issue.

Penal suffering is the problem. We believe Christ suffered for us.  We do not believe Christ was punished for us.  

I concur! A just God CANNOT punish an innocent man. Christ is the propitiation for our sins. This means that He turned God's wrath away. But if He was punished, then He did not turn God's wrath away.

There are no innocent men. Grin
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« Reply #61 on: February 08, 2013, 11:37:18 AM »

Penal substitution was largely a Latin idea originating with St Anselm. It harks back to Jewish temple sacrifices.
And Christ's sacrifice was the fulfillment of those temple sacrifices, yes?

According to the substitution theory, yes. Although one of my professors taught me that as far as Jewish theology was concerned it didn't require any fulfilment.

What about the theology of the one who penned Hebrews? Chapter 9 in particular. He certainly seemed to believe the Jewish sacrifices in the Old Covenant were in need of fulfilment--they were types of the true sacrifice of the ONE who was to come and 'bear the sins of many' (HEB 9:28).  HIS was the blood of the New Covenant; theirs was the blood of the Old (Heb 9:19-22).
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« Reply #62 on: February 08, 2013, 09:28:15 PM »

That only speaks to the necessity of Christs death for the remission of sins, nothing about it being punitive in nature.
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« Reply #63 on: February 08, 2013, 09:45:57 PM »

This topic is so confused.

All that we teach against is that Jesus died to save us from God the Father.

That's it. Ignore the rest.
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« Reply #64 on: February 08, 2013, 09:47:20 PM »

This topic is so confused.

All that we teach against is that Jesus died to save us from God the Father.

That's it. Ignore the rest.

I wish you wrote textbooks. You could have saved me a lot of head-scratching years ago.  Smiley
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« Reply #65 on: February 08, 2013, 10:50:57 PM »

Suffering isn't the issue.  "For us" isn't the issue.

Penal suffering is the problem. We believe Christ suffered for us.  We do not believe Christ was punished for us. 

I have thought about this question quite a bit lately. Whether penal retribution or liberal theology's example of love it is pretty disgusting to our modern (or post modern) mindset to sacrifice your son as an example of love to all humankind OR to satisfy your own wrath.
A. We think differently than the ancients. We might be the ancient Church's inheritors and we may follow the ancient Church's liturgy and Tradition but we do not THINK like them. What communicated a theological reality to them may be lost on us. Just like committing genocide against the Canaanites (which never actually happened even according to the actual testimony of the old testament / there were a few pitched brutal battles then assimilation on Israel's part and capitulation on Canaanites part). But some ancient editor of the Pentateuch and Joshua thought it an effective communication technique to posit YHWH as a bigger badder God than theirs who commands us to wipe them out
B. We CAN relate to Jesus of his own volition choosing to suffer for us and by whose voluntary stripes we are healed.
C. We have ABSOLUTELY NO understanding of the inner workings and unity/ communion of the Holy Trinity to know how the will of one is the will of the other Persons so it really is a mystery how/why the son suffered.
D. The ransom theory is slightly less problematic than satisfying wrath or giving a pretty expensive and precious ( to say the least) "example" of love because the ONE actually rescues the many and if you look at the Aslan analogy ala CS Lewis (a deeper magic mandated the ultimate rescue of the ONE through resurrrection and tricked the witch/devil; however it still doesn't address the suffering of the ONE) you still have the dilemma of how can God "owe" a debt to the devil? Or the ethicality of the " trick" of a deeper magic.
E. Rescuing from sin and death is the one reality we can best relate to and is most readily grasped by our modern/postmodern minds.
 This makes me more readily appreciate the true mystery of the cross and Orthodoxy's non dogmatic embrace of all the paradigms for approximatetely describing (but not explaining) a mystery as well as Orthodoxy's leaning toward ransom and especially rescuing from sin and death.
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« Reply #66 on: February 09, 2013, 01:13:00 AM »

Sorry for the run-on paragraph in the above post. It was done at a bistro on a Kindle Fire. It looked better on the screen before I submitted it, than it does now and the time to modify has run out!
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« Reply #67 on: February 09, 2013, 01:29:33 AM »


Quote
Not at all! A denial of penal substitution theology does not equal a denial of Christ's suffering.

What's the Orthodox theory instead of this, then?


The Orthodox "theory" is that it works because it works, and if one kind of language helps you draw closer to it, then more power to you.

To paraphrase C.S. Lewis a bit (and it was he who helped me to see that one can deny "penal substitutionary atonement" as an absolute reality and still affirm that Christ suffered and died for us), we have to be careful that we do not confuse the "thing" with the "explanation of the thing". He gives an example of eating supper: long before we developed our modern understanding of acids and proteins and minerals and such, people still ate their supper and benefited from it. Whether they understood how it worked or not, they still ate, and they still knew that it was good to eat. And it could be that our understanding of nutrition is flawed, and perhaps some day in the future we'll have a different explanation as to why eating supper is good for us. But that won't make our experience of eating supper any less significant, or any less real, or any less good.

It's the same with Christ. There are different ways of explaining why He did what He did, and why it benefits mankind. But whether we have the exact understanding or not, it doesn't change our experience with that reality and make it any less good for us.

Another issue is that Who Christ is and what He has accomplished for us is something that is beyond the ability of human language to fully express. Although we speak and communicate ideas with speech, there are things, especially pertaining to God, that our language simply cannot fully express. Christ and our salvation are the same way. We can use human experiences and examples as means of describing what Christ did, but all those examples and models ultimately fall short. In other words, the best that we can do with human language is to make analogies of this, but we will never be able to make a tautology.

We find this all over the New Testament, especially in the Gospels (Christ makes use of a wide range of "atonement theories", so to speak). Christ uses the analogy of being lost and then being found; of being judged for a crime; of being sick and then being made well; of being on the wrong path and then finding the true path; etc. Paul and the other Apostles make use of a variety of analogies as well: being dead and being made alive; being in darkness and then coming into the light; being objects of wrath and then being made objects of mercy; etc. All of these analogies are different, and none of them are the actual reality of our salvation.

So there really is not problem with the use of substitutionary language. That only becomes a problem when people try to make substitutionary language to be "the thing", as if it were the totality of the reality of our salvation. And because of all the baggage associated with that language and the layers of theology that are built upon it in many Protestant circles, we tend just to avoid the language altogether lest people think that we agree with all the "baggage" that is most often associated with that language.

This is an outstanding post. I actually saved it for future reference. Thank you!
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akimel
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« Reply #68 on: February 09, 2013, 06:38:03 PM »

In the most commonsense way, Jesus suffered both for God and for humanity.  He suffered for God, because God had given him a mission to proclaim the coming Kingdom and fidelity to this mission inevitably resulted in conflict both with Jewish authorities and with Rome.  He suffered for us because his mission was a mission for the good of Israel and ultimately the good of all mankind.  And again, fidelity to this mission ultimately left him with the choice either to abandon his mission (God forbid!) or to embrace the cup of suffering.  Everything else is theory and theological interpretation.  And as Brother Aidan has noted, we are not saved by theory; we are saved by the reality of Christ's death and resurrection.     
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