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Author Topic: Penal Substitutionary Atonement and the Wages of Sin  (Read 4014 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 07, 2013, 02:33:47 AM »

This is an argument I've come across from Catholic apologists arguing against the penal substitutionary atonement, and I don't believe I've seen it mentioned here.

Two major premises of the commonly formulated (especially among Reformed) penal substitutionary atonement:
A) The wages (punishment) of sin is "eternal death."
B) Christ bore the full punishment of sin.

The argument against it:
1) If Christ did not bear eternal death, then he did not bear the full punishment of sin.
2) If he did not bear the full punishment of sin, then he was not humanity's penal substitute.
3) If Christ was not humanity's penal substitute, then the penal substitution theory of the atonement is wrong.
4) Christ did not bear eternal death.
Therefore, the penal substitutionary theory of the atonement is wrong.

I just thought I'd share it here since some might be interested. Any thoughts, critiques, or rebuttals?
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 02:45:17 AM by Nephi » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 06:49:31 AM »

The main point of penal substitution is not simply that Jesus bore the full punishment of sin, but the wrath, judgement punishment from FATHER
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 06:57:17 PM »

The main point of penal substitution is not simply that Jesus bore the full punishment of sin, but the wrath, judgement punishment from FATHER
Wouldn't the "wrath, judgment punishment from Father" be the full punishment of sin?
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2013, 04:53:46 AM »

The main point of penal substitution is not simply that Jesus bore the full punishment of sin, but the wrath, judgement punishment from FATHER
Wouldn't the "wrath, judgment punishment from Father" be the full punishment of sin?
How come Jesus would be out of the trinity, separated from and punished by Father?

Where is the trinity?

That's nonsense.
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2013, 10:20:29 AM »

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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2013, 01:18:20 AM »



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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2013, 09:31:45 AM »

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Very interesting videos show what's wrong with penal substitution.
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2013, 02:30:14 PM »


Two major premises of the commonly formulated (especially among Reformed) penal substitutionary atonement:
A) The wages (punishment) of sin is "eternal death."
B) Christ bore the full punishment of sin.

Who said anything about "punishment" and where did this legalistic view come from? God never said in the garden that "I will make you die as punishment," rather, He said "you will die." Likewise, the epistles, when speaking about the purpose of Christ's crucifixion, never say anything about Jesus dying to appease God's wrath or death being related to punishment, rather, they say that He went to defeat death. And that's it.
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2013, 06:46:03 PM »


Two major premises of the commonly formulated (especially among Reformed) penal substitutionary atonement:
A) The wages (punishment) of sin is "eternal death."
B) Christ bore the full punishment of sin.

Who said anything about "punishment" and where did this legalistic view come from? God never said in the garden that "I will make you die as punishment," rather, He said "you will die." Likewise, the epistles, when speaking about the purpose of Christ's crucifixion, never say anything about Jesus dying to appease God's wrath or death being related to punishment, rather, they say that He went to defeat death. And that's it.

Hi.

If you do not think Death is in some sense a punishment, how do you explain what St Athanasius said:

" 2. And seeing the race of rational creatures in the way to perish, and death reigning over them by corruption; seeing, too, that the threat against transgression gave a firm hold to the corruption which was upon us, and that it was monstrous that before the law was fulfilled it should fall through: seeing, once more, the unseemliness of what had come to pass: that the things whereof He Himself was Artificer were passing away: seeing, further, the exceeding wickedness of men, and how little by little they had increased it to an intolerable pitch against themselves: and seeing, lastly, how all men were under penalty of death: He took pity on our race, and had mercy on our infirmity, and condescended to our corruption, and, unable to bear that death should have the mastery— lest the creature should perish, and His Father's handiwork in men be spent for nought— He takes unto Himself a body, and that of no different sort from ours. 3. For He did not simply will to become embodied, or will merely to appear. For if He willed merely to appear, He was able to effect His divine appearance by some other and higher means as well. But He takes a body of our kind, and not merely so, but from a spotless and stainless virgin, knowing not a man, a body clean and in very truth pure from intercourse of men. For being Himself mighty, and Artificer of everything, He prepares the body in the Virgin as a temple unto Himself, and makes it His very own as an instrument, in it manifested, and in it dwelling. 4. And thus taking from our bodies one of like nature, because all were under penalty of the corruption of death"
St Athanasius the Great, On the Incarnation of the Word, Part 8 http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2802.htm

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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2013, 06:52:28 PM »


Two major premises of the commonly formulated (especially among Reformed) penal substitutionary atonement:
A) The wages (punishment) of sin is "eternal death."
B) Christ bore the full punishment of sin.

Who said anything about "punishment" and where did this legalistic view come from? God never said in the garden that "I will make you die as punishment," rather, He said "you will die." Likewise, the epistles, when speaking about the purpose of Christ's crucifixion, never say anything about Jesus dying to appease God's wrath or death being related to punishment, rather, they say that He went to defeat death. And that's it.

Hi.

If you do not think Death is in some sense a punishment, how do you explain what St Athanasius said:

" 2. And seeing the race of rational creatures in the way to perish, and death reigning over them by corruption; seeing, too, that the threat against transgression gave a firm hold to the corruption which was upon us, and that it was monstrous that before the law was fulfilled it should fall through: seeing, once more, the unseemliness of what had come to pass: that the things whereof He Himself was Artificer were passing away: seeing, further, the exceeding wickedness of men, and how little by little they had increased it to an intolerable pitch against themselves: and seeing, lastly, how all men were under penalty of death: He took pity on our race, and had mercy on our infirmity, and condescended to our corruption, and, unable to bear that death should have the mastery— lest the creature should perish, and His Father's handiwork in men be spent for nought— He takes unto Himself a body, and that of no different sort from ours. 3. For He did not simply will to become embodied, or will merely to appear. For if He willed merely to appear, He was able to effect His divine appearance by some other and higher means as well. But He takes a body of our kind, and not merely so, but from a spotless and stainless virgin, knowing not a man, a body clean and in very truth pure from intercourse of men. For being Himself mighty, and Artificer of everything, He prepares the body in the Virgin as a temple unto Himself, and makes it His very own as an instrument, in it manifested, and in it dwelling. 4. And thus taking from our bodies one of like nature, because all were under penalty of the corruption of death"
St Athanasius the Great, On the Incarnation of the Word, Part 8 http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2802.htm



The "penalty" is our own self-inflicted penalty from our rejection of God's illuminating, life-sustaining love. It wasn't a penalty that He imposed upon us out of wrath, rather, something that occured as a result of our rejection of His love, and allowing our souls as well as our bodies to fall into Hades.
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« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2013, 06:58:03 PM »


Two major premises of the commonly formulated (especially among Reformed) penal substitutionary atonement:
A) The wages (punishment) of sin is "eternal death."
B) Christ bore the full punishment of sin.

Who said anything about "punishment" and where did this legalistic view come from? God never said in the garden that "I will make you die as punishment," rather, He said "you will die." Likewise, the epistles, when speaking about the purpose of Christ's crucifixion, never say anything about Jesus dying to appease God's wrath or death being related to punishment, rather, they say that He went to defeat death. And that's it.

Hi.

If you do not think Death is in some sense a punishment, how do you explain what St Athanasius said:

" 2. And seeing the race of rational creatures in the way to perish, and death reigning over them by corruption; seeing, too, that the threat against transgression gave a firm hold to the corruption which was upon us, and that it was monstrous that before the law was fulfilled it should fall through: seeing, once more, the unseemliness of what had come to pass: that the things whereof He Himself was Artificer were passing away: seeing, further, the exceeding wickedness of men, and how little by little they had increased it to an intolerable pitch against themselves: and seeing, lastly, how all men were under penalty of death: He took pity on our race, and had mercy on our infirmity, and condescended to our corruption, and, unable to bear that death should have the mastery— lest the creature should perish, and His Father's handiwork in men be spent for nought— He takes unto Himself a body, and that of no different sort from ours. 3. For He did not simply will to become embodied, or will merely to appear. For if He willed merely to appear, He was able to effect His divine appearance by some other and higher means as well. But He takes a body of our kind, and not merely so, but from a spotless and stainless virgin, knowing not a man, a body clean and in very truth pure from intercourse of men. For being Himself mighty, and Artificer of everything, He prepares the body in the Virgin as a temple unto Himself, and makes it His very own as an instrument, in it manifested, and in it dwelling. 4. And thus taking from our bodies one of like nature, because all were under penalty of the corruption of death"
St Athanasius the Great, On the Incarnation of the Word, Part 8 http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2802.htm



The "penalty" is our own self-inflicted penalty from our rejection of God's illuminating, life-sustaining love. It wasn't a penalty that He imposed upon us out of wrath, rather, something that occured as a result of our rejection of His love, and allowing our souls as well as our bodies to fall into Hades.

Ok, i agree, that is why i said "in some sense", just like when we eat too much, we become fat, wich is our self inflicted punishment.
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2013, 04:07:29 PM »

I came across this great lecture on youtube by Fr. James Bernstein who has authored a book, Surprised by Christ: My Journey From Judaism to Orthodox Christianity.  This lecture is based on chapters from his book.

I came across Fr. James on a podcast and have now bought the book and can't wait to read it.  I need to finish up a couple first.

Back to the lecture.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrK27w-gQvY

The lecture is quite lengthy.  He begins with a bit of his own story.  His discussion of different theories of atonement begins at about the 1 hour mark.  The preceding parts of the lecture deal with the fall.  So I recommend listening to the whole lecture.

He explains the three major western theories of atonement then ends with the Orthodox view.
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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2013, 11:38:43 PM »

I think the problem with Penal Substitution is that we are so fixated on what is wrong with it that we miss out on where it is actually correct. That is, parts of it are correct. It only goes into the "wrong" category when one attempts to make it the centerpiece of the atonement (but this is true of all theories on the atonement, save for "Christ saves us from death").

For instance, a reading of any of the Church Fathers and even in our own liturgy leaves us knowing that we were/are guilty of our sin before God. Furthermore, we know that Christ became sin for us and eradicated the guilt of our sin. However, this is an aspect of what it means to be saved from death and not the summation of that belief. Thus, it is not that penal substitution is wrong per se, but only reaches an error when one attempts to place it at the center of what Christ accomplished. In order to place it in the center, one must take extra steps - such as making God the instigator of wrath upon Christ - things that are not necessary if penal substitution is put in its proper place. 

After all, wouldn't we deny liberation theology, but not deny that Christ came to liberate the oppressed? Or ransom theory, that Christ ransomed us from the Devil and from Death, though we would not say we ascribe to ransom theory as a whole?

To say that Christ saved us from death creates an umbrella that covers parts of all these theories. Rather than discarding these theories as a whole, perhaps it is better to embrace the parts covered by a proper view of the Atonement and show how the excessive aspects of these theories contradict the core elements of these theories.
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« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2013, 01:09:45 PM »


Two major premises of the commonly formulated (especially among Reformed) penal substitutionary atonement:
A) The wages (punishment) of sin is "eternal death."
B) Christ bore the full punishment of sin.

Who said anything about "punishment" and where did this legalistic view come from?

Isaiah 53:4-6

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our trangressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.


Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Quote
God never said in the garden that "I will make you die as punishment," rather, He said "you will die."

Genesis 3
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.


Whilst the word punishment is not actually used; before this they were not intended to die. From the moment of disobeying God's word they became subject to death i.e. their bodies started to die. In what way is that not a punishment?

Quote
Likewise, the epistles, when speaking about the purpose of Christ's crucifixion, never say anything about Jesus dying to appease God's wrath or death being related to punishment, rather, they say that He went to defeat death. And that's it.

Let's look at some dictionary definitions:
transgression - violation of a law; sin
iniquity - wicked act; sin
chastisement - punishment
smite - to strike down, injure, slay

Isaiah 53
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our trangressions,
5 he was bruised for our iniquities:
5 the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
5 and with his stripes we are healed.
Romans 5
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:


Dictionary definition of atonement - satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury

1 Corinthians 15:
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures1 Peter 3
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God
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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2013, 01:22:35 PM »

Isaiah 53:4-6

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,50073.msg884467.html#msg884467
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« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2013, 06:32:31 PM »

   Penal substitution is about Christ's physical death, not his duration in Hell per se . Since he was not a sinner, his death was satisfactory punishment that he did not have to endure at all.    It's not really that different from Anselm's theory.

  Still, I don't pretend that penal substitution is perfect.  But then again the ransom view is not perfect either.

  There are preachers that preach that God was so angry he needed somebody sinless to hurt, so he picked on Jesus...  that's not really what penal substitution is about in the Catholic/Lutheran/Calvinist sense.

  In the Calvinist understanding those in Hell are passed over for salvation- not elected out of the massa damnata, the lost mass of humanity, for salvation.  They elect are thus saved by God's unmerited love, and the reprobate are damned due to their own sinfulness.  Not all Christians agree with this but it's more subtle than saying that "God needs to punish people in Hell forever", as if the implication is that God has human passions.
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« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2013, 06:51:29 PM »

  In the Calvinist understanding those in Hell are passed over for salvation- not elected out of the massa damnata, the lost mass of humanity, for salvation.  They elect are thus saved by God's unmerited love, and the reprobate are damned due to their own sinfulness.  Not all Christians agree with this but it's more subtle than saying that "God needs to punish people in Hell forever", as if the implication is that God has human passions.
So instead of a vile act of passion, it is the vile act of an emotionless psychopath?
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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2013, 09:22:31 PM »

Since he was not a sinner, his death was satisfactory
Sorry to say, the cross alone is NOT satisfactory.

"If Christ has not been raised... you are still in your sins" (1 Cor 15:17).

Why would the Christians at Corinth still be in their sins without a resurrection if the cross was "fully satisfactory" to atone for sin? They would not. God would have been "fully satisfied" with the cross, and the Corinthians could be without sin without any resurrection. The death of Christ alone would have been satisfactory for the removal of sin. But it wasn't:

"If Christ has not been raised... you are still in your sins" (1 Cor 15:17).

Though we must sharply deny, therefore, that the crucifixion of our Lord was alone satisfactory for the expiation (removal) of our sins, we must nevertheless insist it is true that Christ was crucified for our sins. But something more is involved in our salvation than a death, even Christ's death. What is necessary to LIFE IN CHRIST (a literal union with Christ) is a CHRIST WHO IS RAISED TO LIFE and actually IN US.

"He was delivered over to death for our sins and was RAISED TO LIFE FOR OUR JUSTIFICATION" (Rom 4:25).

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but CHRIST LIVES in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal 2:20).

Further, Christ not only entered into death: HE DESTROYED DEATH. That is to say, He did far more than just die. Orthodoxy 101. He led He also ascended to the right hand of the Father where even now he intercedes for our sins now and eternally as our High Priest.

"...the processions and the drama of the Middle Ages kept the motif of Christus Victor alive even when Latin theology was no longer able to deal with it adequately because of its preoccupation with interpreting the death of Christ as an act of satisfaction... More than any other treatise between Augustine and the Reformation on any other doctrine of the Christian faith, Anselm's essay has shaped the outlook not only of Roman Catholics, but of most Protestants, many of whom have paid him the ultimate compliment of not even recognizing that their version of the wisdom of the cross comes from him, but attributing it to the Bible itself [see Pelikan, Christian Tradition 3:106-57; 4:23-25, 156-157, 161-163]. Anselm's Why God Became Man belongs to a consideration of the theme of the "wisdom of the cross" for another reason as well In it he develops his argument, as he says, 'as though Christ did not exist [remoto Christo],' claiming to proceed through reason alone. The underlying presupposition of Anselm's thought was the consistency of God and the universe, which God did not violate by arbitrary acts, for such acts would undermine the moral order of the universe itself. Rightness consisted in rendering to each a due measure of honor. Although created for participation in such rightness, the human race had refused to give God due honor and had fallen into sin. This God could not overlook or forgive by fiat, without thereby violating 'rightness' in the moral order; such was the demand of divine justice, which Anselm could have defined as 'God taking himself seriously.' Yet both human wisdom and divine revelation made it clear that God was a God not only of justice, but of mercy, who declared 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live' (Ezek 33:11)." -Jaroslav Pelikan, Jesus Through the Centuries, pp. 106-107.

It is obviously no accident that Pelikan, arguably one of the most important and prolific church historians of the last century, ultimately abandoned Lutheranism for Eastern Orthodoxy during the last decade of his life and after a lifetime of learning (and unlearning).

The first Christian millennium knows absolutely nothing of such reductionistic "satisfaction" theories, which began with Anselm's attempt to frame a rational apologetic about forgiveness in Christ in reply to Islamic criticism. The worst of it is not the reductionism to a single element, but the endless extrapolations about the implication about the cross being the satisfactory Sum of All Things. Ours is not a religion satisfied with death; ours is a religion of life, of a living Lord, a religion of union (theosis). Theosis isn't just some "tacked on extra"; it is the center of the cosmic drama of Christ. If He was not raised there would be no union and we would still be in our sins unjustified/unrighteous.

So the worst problem for penal satisfaction is that Christ's death was in fact not alone satisfactory. A lesser problem is that no one ever said or thought that it was until a medieval Roman Catholic writer formed it as a rationalist apologetic "as if Christ did not exist."
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2013, 10:28:25 PM »


The first Christian millennium knows absolutely nothing of such reductionistic "satisfaction" theories, which began with Anselm's attempt to frame a rational apologetic about forgiveness in Christ in reply to Islamic criticism. The worst of it is not the reductionism to a single element, but the endless extrapolations about the implication about the cross being the satisfactory Sum of All Things. Ours is not a religion satisfied with death; ours is a religion of life, of a living Lord, a religion of union (theosis). Theosis isn't just some "tacked on extra"; it is the center of the cosmic drama of Christ. If He was not raised there would be no union and we would still be in our sins unjustified/unrighteous.

  This is an unfair characterization of western theology.   I don't think Pelikan rebuked Anselm when he converted to Orthodoxy.  Nor should he have to.

  At the conservative Episcopalian Church I attended this Easter, yes there was talk about Jesus dying for us, paying a price we could not pay.  Bishop Brewer's sermon was actually heavier with talk about satisfaction than the dean (who is a big fan of N.T. Wright), and yet he still pointed out that it was "Love itself that rose from the grave".  This idea that western Christians know nothing about the resurrection, or don't factor it into their theology of the cross, is silly.   If not for the resurrection, the satisfaction that Jesus merited wouldn't be worth much because there would be no one to have faith in, and this is how we acquire the merits of Christ's death, through faith in him through his resurrection, precisely because he still lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

  Westerners worship the Lord Jesus' Passion and Cross in a unique way that is sometimes hard for Orthodox to understand, especially those school in the Romanides style revisionism.  That doesn't mean its wrong.  I personally find the piety of the Cross, in Jesus paying a debt that I could not owe to the Father to be beautiful.   And combined with Abelard's understanding, that sacrifice, when accepted with faith, brings forth love answering Love, which in itself is union with Christ.  This is not about a wrathful, offended abusive father but about God condescending to our need to have something to try to give him to make up for our own failure.  God himself provides the sacrifice for our sins.  That should be amazing, revolutionary, because it is proof of God's love for us.  Sometimes I think this idea is lost on Orthodox, they are afraid of too much free grace, of God taking the initiative, perhaps, and too focused on monkish asceticism.  We don't climb to God, God comes down to us.
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« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2013, 12:50:45 AM »


The first Christian millennium knows absolutely nothing of such reductionistic "satisfaction" theories, which began with Anselm's attempt to frame a rational apologetic about forgiveness in Christ in reply to Islamic criticism. The worst of it is not the reductionism to a single element, but the endless extrapolations about the implication about the cross being the satisfactory Sum of All Things. Ours is not a religion satisfied with death; ours is a religion of life, of a living Lord, a religion of union (theosis). Theosis isn't just some "tacked on extra"; it is the center of the cosmic drama of Christ. If He was not raised there would be no union and we would still be in our sins unjustified/unrighteous.

  This is an unfair characterization of western theology.   I don't think Pelikan rebuked Anselm when he converted to Orthodoxy.  Nor should he have to.
No Pelikan didn't "rebuke Anselm." He just said his idea of satisfaction originated, by Anselm's own admission, through reason alone "as though Christ did not exist [remoto Christo]" and that the idea is not found in the Bible.

At the conservative Episcopalian Church I attended this Easter, yes there was talk about Jesus dying for us, paying a price we could not pay.  Bishop Brewer's sermon was actually heavier with talk about satisfaction than the dean (who is a big fan of N.T. Wright), and yet he still pointed out that it was "Love itself that rose from the grave".
Bishop N. T. Wright does indeed "get it" to a degree that many others do not. I am a fan and avid reader or Wright. If Pelikan does not "rebuke Anselm" there is no shortage of Reformed Calvinists who set out to "rebuke Wright" (unsuccessfully IMO). The New Pauline Perspective is a welcome breath of not simply fresh air, but more classically correct air, as I have averred on my blog. http://katachriston.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/did-luther-get-it-wrong-most-major-contemporary-pauline-scholars-say-yes/

This idea that western Christians know nothing about the resurrection, or don't factor it into their theology of the cross, is silly.
That is, of course, quite true. But where are your quotations and documentation from advocates of Penal Satisfaction Theory that the resurrection is ATONING in a manner such as without it THE CROSS ALONE WOULD NOT BE SATISFACTORY TO EXPIATE OUR SINS? (*shakes ice in glass, waiting...*).

As Joel B Green, Protestant author from Asbury Seminary in Kentucky writes, “because of the singular focus on penal satisfaction, Jesus’ resurrection is not really necessary according to this model" (Joel B. Green and Mark D. Baker, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross (Downers Grove: IVP, 2000), p. 148). You have asserted but not demonstrated the contrary of professor Green. I have seen a variety of replies to this criticism echoed by Green (though not limited to him), including the claim that Penal Satisfaction Theory advocates do understand the importance of the resurrection insofar as the Penal Satisfaction makes it possible by clearing the path of what prevents it (sin). But this is a far cry from affirming, as the passages cited certainly do affirm, that the resurrection is absolutely integral to the atonement of sin in a manner that without it there would be no expiation of our sins whatsoever, and that, as documented previously, is precisely what St. Paul affirms. Least of all do we see an emphasis upon the necessity of what all the early fathers understood salvation to be, namely theosis/ union with Christ/ abiding in Christ. It is just a "consequence" of salvation as the cross alone, not an absolute necessity and integral to what salvation is by definition.

Crucial the crucifixion certainly is. For sin it is. Satisfactory alone it is not. Unless one wants to speak candidly of it being only partially satisfactory, the birth, incarnation, resurrection, ascension, and intercession of Christ being a necessary part of the complete -and minimally adequate- picture, in which case, welcome to Orthodoxy (and a band of patristic authors who preceded you by centuries).

Westerners worship the Lord Jesus' Passion and Cross in a unique way that is sometimes hard for Orthodox to understand, especially those school in the Romanides style revisionism.
You not bothered to consider that a person you do not know and haven't bothered to get to know whom you presume surely "knows nothing about Protestantism" was in fact after college educated in a Protestant seminary and was a Protestant Christian for three decades including a good deal of preaching and teaching who is the proud owner of  thousands (not exaggerating) of Protestant books (my other areas of formal academic training are Biology/undergrad and philosophy/grad school). What seems hard for you to entertain is that elements held by most "classical" Protestants (though in important respects decreasing sharply among major contemporary Protestant scholars) can be thoughtfully considered and rejected as opposed to having merely been misunderstood, even by persons who are products of that faith and education, or being supposedly obscured from reading materials by Fr. John Romanidies (PhD) et al. That is not to disparage Fr. John.

Your continual portrayal of everyone here as on some sort of anti-Western rant is as tiresome as it is unfair. Not to say that such a flavor does not exist among the Orthodox, but you cannot paint the whole of Orthodox Christianity with so broad a brush as that (as you are doing in multiple threads). Nor should anyone entertain delusions that anyone opposing Penal Satisfaction Theory is on an anti-Western or Catholic rant, seeing as the scholarly opposition to that theory within Protestantism itself is considerable just as it is outside of Protestantism (Professor Green op cit being a prominent example).

I personally find the piety of the Cross, in Jesus paying a debt that I could not owe to the Father to be beautiful.
Where pray tell does scripture say Jesus paid something to the Father? It indeed speaks of a ransom from death, but not of a ransom paid to the devil or the Father. You are either imagining this aspect or borrowing it from a late Protestant tradition (you have traditions too) not grounded in exegesis.

St. Gregory of Nazianzen insisted long ago that theories of payment to either the devil or to the Father were unacceptable -it is here we find the first historical entertainment of the notion of ransom to the Father, in a negative light. St. Gregory has never been soundly corrected, still less has he been exegetically corrected.

Sometimes I think this idea is lost on Orthodox, they are afraid of too much free grace, of God taking the initiative, perhaps, and too focused on monkish asceticism.  We don't climb to God, God comes down to us.
The idea of cheap grace is also lost on many thoughtful Protestants, e.g. Lutheran Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Now perhaps you are not advocating Cheap Grace when you speak of Free Grace (grace indeed is freely given by God's mercy as all Orthodox Christians would agree):

"Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, (it is) baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.  Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate" (Bonhoefffer, The Cost of Discipleship, pp. 43-4).

"Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has.  It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods.  It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake of one will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.  It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.  It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner...  Grace is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him;  it is grace because Jesus says:  "my yoke is easy and my burden light." (ibid, p. 45).

As far as asceticism (from Gk. askesis: discipline) is concerned, that is found in the New Testament well before we see it in "monkish ascetics." If you wish to explore that question, please start another thread so we can here focus on penal satisfaction theory.
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« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2013, 03:58:42 PM »

Bishop N. T. Wright does indeed "get it" to a degree that many others do not. I am a fan and avid reader or Wright. If Pelikan does not "rebuke Anselm" there is no shortage of Reformed Calvinists who set out to "rebuke Wright" (unsuccessfully IMO). The New Pauline Perspective is a welcome breath of not simply fresh air, but more classically correct air, as I have averred on my blog. http://katachriston.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/did-luther-get-it-wrong-most-major-contemporary-pauline-scholars-say-yes/  

  N.T. Wright's descriptions of the atonement aren't really all that much at odds with penal substitution.  What Wright is really being criticized for is his rejection of "double imputation" of Christ's active and passive obedience.  But then again, John Wesley also rejected that the active obedience of Christ being imputed to believers.   His point is not that penal substitution is per se wrong, merely over-emphasized and often uprooted from the historical Jesus.

  Wright's ecclessiology and soteriology does not logically lead to a conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy or Roman Catholicism.  If anything he is a fan of sacramental Anglicanism and Presbyterianism and would be uneasy with a non-biblicist catholicity.  

Quote
That is, of course, quite true. But where are your quotations and documentation from advocates of Penal Satisfaction Theory that the resurrection is ATONING in a manner such as without it THE CROSS ALONE WOULD NOT BE SATISFACTORY TO EXPIATE OUR SINS? (*shakes ice in glass, waiting...*).  

    For those who articulate the penal substitutionary model, the resurrection is about God's sign that the sacrifice of Jesus was accepted by the Father, that Christ "rose for our justification".  Without the resurrection you'ld just have a sad martyr story, and everyone who believes in penal satisfaction acknowledges that.

Quote
But this is a far cry from affirming, as the passages cited certainly do affirm, that the resurrection is absolutely integral to the atonement of sin in a manner that without it there would be no expiation of our sins whatsoever, and that, as documented previously, is precisely what St. Paul affirms. Least of all do we see an emphasis upon the necessity of what all the early fathers understood salvation to be, namely theosis/ union with Christ/ abiding in Christ. It is just a "consequence" of salvation as the cross alone, not an absolute necessity and integral to what salvation is by definition.  

  So your objection is to developement of novel doctrines, not to the truthfulness of the theory?   Why is Gregory Palamas allowed to develope his theology, but Luther and Calvin are not?  Why is Gregory Nanzianzus the final authority on what atonement theories are out of bounds?   Most Protestant scholars don't suggest that the penal substitution explanation is an absolute metaphysical account, merely that is a concise metaphor for something more mysterious and not fully rationalized (look at J.I. Packer's explanations for instance).  In general Protestantism de-emphasizes metaphysics and instead focuses on biblical language whenever possible.  And "theosis" is an alien, whereas the idea that Jesus dies bearing God's wrath is not foreign to the Bible.

  The Fathers emphasize "theosis" because they were influenced by Greek metaphysics.  But it's possible to be a Christian and not give a whit about metaphysics.  Ultimately faith in Jesus Christ is about ones heart, not about metaphysical speculations.  In this respect Orthodox theology fails when it chides Protestantism for being disinterested in "theosis".  Union with Christ happens through the Holy Spirit when God sets us aside for his own purposes, for the Kingdom of God.  It is not a purely ascetic struggle on behalf of the individual human person. A purely moralistic or ascetic understanding of holiness smacks of legalism and Lutheranism is quite right in this respect to focus principally on justification and forgiveness of sins.   "Theosis" is really God's work in man, nothing more needs to be said.

   You may have a large library of books on Protestantism, and maybe that's half your problem.  Being a Christian has never been primarily about getting our theology right or having all the answers at our fingertips.  It's about faith which is manifest in prayer and devotion to God, and to a heart given to good works, not about getting our theology right.    Again, I'm not impressed by your intellectual pursuit of Protestantism to exhaustion.  That doesn't prove that Orthodoxy is my only choice.

Quote
Sometimes I think this
"Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, (it is) baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.  Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate" (Bonhoefffer, The Cost of Discipleship, pp. 43-4).  
 
Grace is free, but it is never cheap, so your quote doesn't apply to what I was saying.  The free nature of grace is something that a Protestant cannot deny.  People do not earn their salvation through what they do, they are saved by what God has done for them.  If this offends you that God gives abundantly, wantonly, to the ungodly then you need to go back and read those parables of Jesus again and ask why you demand that grace be costly for the sinner?  Few people, even his own disciples, could accept Jesus radical message.  His message is offensive to all of us who bear a grudge against God for not being a cosmic moralist and upholding our own standards of morality and not judging and condemning the world on our terms.  That is really what is so shocking and radical about Jesus, why the Pharisees and Priests put him to death, and why people misunderstand him to this day.
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« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2013, 04:04:57 PM »

  So your objection is to developement of novel doctrines, not to the truthfulness of the theory?   Why is Gregory Palamas allowed to develope his theology, but Luther and Calvin are not? 

Because St. Gregory Palamas didn't come up with new and heretical teachings while the latter two did.
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« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2013, 01:53:11 AM »

   For those who articulate the penal substitutionary model, the resurrection is about God's sign that the sacrifice of Jesus was accepted by the Father
So it is a mere demonstration and not of any ontological salvific value.
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« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2013, 02:20:47 AM »

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But where are your quotations and documentation from advocates of Penal Satisfaction Theory that the resurrection is ATONING in a manner such as without it THE CROSS ALONE WOULD NOT BE SATISFACTORY TO EXPIATE OUR SINS? (*shakes ice in glass, waiting...*).
For those who articulate the penal substitutionary model, the resurrection is about God's sign that the sacrifice of Jesus was accepted by the Father, that Christ "rose for our justification".  Without the resurrection you'ld just have a sad martyr story, and everyone who believes in penal satisfaction acknowledges that.
Paul does not say "If Christ has not been raised... you would be without a sign that you are not in your sins." He says "If Christ has not been raised... you are still in your sins" (1 Cor 15:17).

Penal satisfaction claims the penalty of crucifixion was fully satisfactory to expiate sins. But the crucifixion alone was not satisfactory to expiate sins:

"If Christ has not been raised... you are still in your sins"[/b] (1 Cor 15:17).

“...because of the singular focus on penal satisfaction, Jesus’ resurrection is not really necessary according to this model" (Joel B. Green and Mark D. Baker, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross (Downers Grove: IVP, 2000), p. 148).

Saying the resurrection is necessary as a sign is a far cry from admitting the resurrection is ATONING in a manner such as without it the cross alone would not be satisfactory to expiate our sins.

So your objection is to developement of novel doctrines, not to the truthfulness of the theory?
That is not an objection I have stated.

Truthfulness? My objection is that the theory is false because it is partial: it takes a part (the cross) for a larger whole (atonement). If "penalty satisfaction" were true there would be no *ATONING* role for the resurrection such that without the resurrection there would be no expiation of sin (the cross/"penalty" alone would *satisfy* everything). But a crucified savior, biblically, is not of itself satisfactory. Christus Victor is more comprehensive than the cross (you will recall that N. T. Wright does stress that Christus Victor is by far the predominant atonement metaphor in the Bible). A savior who through death conquers death, delivers captivity captive, is (and must be) resurrected for our justification, who ascends to the right hand of the Father to intercede for those who abide in Him, and returns for His Church is the full story; penal satisfaction is not only partial -not tell the larger or whole story- it is most "unsatisfactory" in what it affirms: that the cross alone is *satisfactory* regarding the atonement and the expiation of sin, but it isn't.

"If Christ has not been raised... you are still in your sins"[/b] (1 Cor 15:17).

There is one problem I do see with the novelty aspect. In the Reformed tradition refusal to affirm a theory which is still fairly new historically speaking is often deemed virtually if not actually "heretical" -despite a great deal of disagreement not only against it but concerning its definition, implications, etc. within Protestantism itself.

Why is Gregory Nanzianzus the final authority on what atonement theories are out of bounds?
That is not an objection I have stated; it actually misses the point of the earlier post. Let's try one more time.

You said "I personally find the piety of the Cross, in Jesus paying a debt that I could not owe to the Father to be beautiful."

I asked (and you still have not answered) Where pray tell does scripture say Jesus paid something to the Father? It indeed speaks of a ransom from death, but not of a ransom paid to the devil or the Father. You are either imagining this aspect or borrowing it from a late Protestant tradition (you have traditions too) not grounded in exegesis.

That is when I brought up St. Gregory, not as a final authority, but as saying payment to the Father was unacceptable as the first historical mention of payment to the Father. The main point made is that he has not been exegetically corrected -that is impossible, because the Bible never says payment was made to the Father.

In general Protestantism de-emphasizes metaphysics and instead focuses on biblical language whenever possible.
Oh, like "payment to the father"???  Did I also miss the word satisfaction, satisfaction immediately following the word penal in the Bible? I am not defending a "use only Bible words" paradigm, but neither do, I think, proponents of satisfaction theory or those who speak of the ransom payment being given to the Father.

And "theosis" is an alien,
Horsefeathers. "He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature [γένησθε θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως]..." (2 Pet 1:4).

Ultimately faith in Jesus Christ is about ones heart, not about metaphysical speculations.  In this respect Orthodox theology fails when it chides Protestantism for being disinterested in "theosis".
Theosis is not metaphysical speculation; it is God's gift and purpose:

"Christianity is more than a theory about the universe, more than teachings written down on paper; it is a path along which we journey -in the deepest and richest sense, the way of life. There is only one means of discovering the true nature of Christianity. We must step out upon this path, commit ourselves to this way of life, and then w shall begin to see it for ourselves. So long as we remain outside we cannot properly understand... The final end of the spiritual Way is that we humans should also become part of this Trinitarian coinherence or perichoresis, being wholly taken up into the circle of love that exists within God. So Christ prayed to his Father on the night before his Crucifixion: 'May they all be one: as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, so may they also be one in us' (John 17:21)" -Bishop Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way, pp. 7-8, 28.

"For the atonement made necessary by our sins is not an end but a means, the means to the only real goal ...union with God. What does it matter being saved from death, from hell, if it is not to lose oneself in God?" Lossky, Orthodox Theology (Crestwood NY: St Vladimir's, 1978), p. 111.

Though disagreeing in part I will agree with part: the heart is where conversion to God takes place (Joel 2:12; cf. Colin Brown, DNTT 2.181). To enter the true heart of Christianity requires more than intellect alone. Believing (in John usually in the Greek present/continual action tense -not a Grand Moment of belief) involves trusting Christ with our entire life, not just our head. One must be intuitively open to God's Spirit to arrive at the heart within which is to characterize the new covenant according to Jeremiah 31.

Union with Christ happens through the Holy Spirit when God sets us aside for his own purposes, for the Kingdom of God.  It is not a purely ascetic struggle on behalf of the individual human person.
It is true that ascetic struggle is not itself union with Christ.

A purely moralistic or ascetic understanding of holiness smacks of legalism and Lutheranism is quite right in this respect to focus principally on justification and forgiveness of sins.   "Theosis" is really God's work in man, nothing more needs to be said.
Christ learned obedience through suffering (Heb 5:8).

I agree that Christianity should eschew legalism -as I am convinced that Orthodoxy absolutely does; however you say Christianity needs no no askesis (discipline/training). St. Paul says "discipline/train yourselves" 1 Tim 4:7.

Without struggle Christianity is Gnostic (salvation as knowledge).

"...if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons." -Heb 12:8

Christianity teaches a praxis of death to self, self-denial, and self control. Because 40% of the NT is exhortation material to EXCLUDE asceticism/askesis/discipline is itself a notion most alien to the Bible and alien to a legitimate Christian faith. Neither did Luther suggested such (not here meaning to accuse you of implying that he did) though it is true that Martin Luther insisted our works are not the ground for our confidence before God.

"Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved." —St. John Chrysostom

"By the grace of God I am a Christian, by my deeds a great sinner." -Way of the Pilgrim

"'For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do according to good will.' (Phil. 2:13) What could well be clearer than the assertion that both our good will and the completion of our work are fully wrought in us by the Lord? And again 'For it is granted to you for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for Him.' (Phil. 1:29) Here also he declares that the beginning of our conversion and faith, and the endurance of suffering is a gift to us from the Lord." - St. John Cassian, The Conferences, 3: The Conference of Paphnutius, 15 http://www.ccel.org/osis/xml/cassian-conferences.xml

"The thief who received the kingdom of heaven, though not as the reward of virtue, is a true witness to the fact that salvation is ours through the grace and mercy of God. All of our holy fathers knew this and all with one accord teach that perfection in holiness can be achieved only through humility." -St. John Cassian, in Philokalia Volume 1, p. 83 On the Eight Vices/Pride

According to Orthodox Christians, man would be utterly doomed without the free and primary action of divine grace. God is fully sufficient in Himself. Man needs God, or else He is lost. I fully affirm that as a non-Calvinist.

That does not mean discipline has no place, even a central place, in our Christian life. Only by askesis do we show rather than simply know the fruit of our faith. Only by askesis do we touch rather than simply feel o simply think. Only by askesis is our religion any different from that of a gnostic whose salvation is in his knowing, or a scribe with his scriptural knowledge of doctrine. In askesis we do not merit the gift of salvation, we work it out. In Christian askesis Christ is in us working, as the Father is working, without whom we can do nothing.

Christianity without askesis is Christianity without discipline, which is Christianity without the Spirit's fruit, for the fruit of the Spirit is "...self discipline..." Do not miss the paradox here: Spirit and self. Lose either side and you fall from a fully incarnational Christology-in-you toward a sort of practical Docetism or humanism. Neither mistake this for heretical Pelagian or Semi-Pelagian thought where man acts or agrees apart from God -this is fruit.

As the late great Evangelical theologian Donald Bloesch observed "The will to love is something given [by God] but the act of love requires effort on our part, sometimes supreme effort" (Donald Bloesch, Theological Notebook I, p. 116).

Discipline seems painful at the time (Heb 12:11) -unless one's "Christianity" is painless/undisciplined.

Discipline is Christian; self-discipline is fruit.

You may have a large library of books on Protestantism, and maybe that's half your problem.
Last post you suggested Orthodox not knowing about Protestantism was a problem.
Learning of my Protestant seminary education and library you now suggest that is a problem.
Actually there is nothing that problematic about having a library except when it comes time to move or dust.

Being a Christian has never been primarily about getting our theology right or having all the answers at our fingertips.  It's about faith which is manifest in prayer and devotion to God, and to a heart given to good works, not about getting our theology right. Again, I'm not impressed by your intellectual pursuit of Protestantism to exhaustion.  That doesn't prove that Orthodoxy is my only choice.
I agree with all of this; I also do not think Orthodoxy is for you at this stage of your life (though I do view it as embodying the fullness of the Christian faith and having much that Protestantism lacks. Not saying this to be polemical -just one former Protestant's opinion).

The free nature of grace is something that a Protestant cannot deny.  People do not earn their salvation through what they do,
That is entirely true. Salvation is not a thing to be earned; it is a Person, Jesus Christ. Salvation is Immanuel/God with us; it is Christ in us, transfiguring us from glory to glory; it is theosis.

they are saved by what God has done for them.
That is part of it, yes, but we are also being saved by what God is doing in us now. In thinking about justification some have tended to take a part for the whole. Salvation is not summed up in a penalty transaction: the Bible also speaks of salvation through sanctification and salvation to come; we are also being "saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth" (2 Thess 2:13).

go back and read those parables of Jesus again and ask why you demand that grace be costly for the sinner?
It would be a mistake to emphasize one side of a two-sided truth to the exclusion of one side. Grace is both freely given and costly, as Bonhoeffer so brilliantly illustrated above.

"...whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple." (Lk 14:26-33).

"...the secret of orthodoxy in the fathers was their capacity 'to observe both' aspects of a truth that was dialectical. For it was a basic methodological principle that 'to say now one thing and now another, both being true, is natural to any man who would theologize aright.' Heresy, then, consisted not so much in the outright denial of an orthodox dogma as in the adherence to one pole of a dialectical dogma at the expense of the other pole belonging to the same dogma; 'you will see that almost every wicked heresy originated from such ambiguities of theology.' The correctness of a heretic's actual teaching was not assurance of his orthodoxy, for it might have been achieved at the cost of another aspect of the truth from which it was inseparable." Jaraslov Pelikan, The Christian Tradition, vol. 2, p. 264.

That is why an Orthodox Christian has no problem speaking just as strongly about costly grace and grace that human virtue certainly cannot earn. That is also what is wrong with the suggestion that the cross/a penalty is satisfactory as the whole of the atonement. This is not because the cross is not crucial, neither is it because penalty or wrath are necessarily unacceptable as metaphors, but because it the cross is a part of a larger whole. Without the resurrection there would be no expiation of our sins, so the cross alone is UNsatisfactory to explain atonement. What is worse is systematic extrapolations from that theory which present other "truths" on the basis that the cross penalty is the whole truth about the atonement proper.

Few people, even his own disciples, could accept Jesus radical message.  His message is offensive to all of us who bear a grudge against God for not being a cosmic moralist and upholding our own standards of morality and not judging and condemning the world on our terms.  That is really what is so shocking and radical about Jesus, why the Pharisees and Priests put him to death, and why people misunderstand him to this day.
Yes, sadly many people misunderstand the message of Christ; they are not ready to embrace Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

"Theology does not answer a non-believer's questions. It is not meant to do so. The intention of theology is to lead those with an open spirit into a meeting with God. The mind cannot grasp the message of doctrine, but a mind and heart in communion with God can. One is changed in Christianity by who he knows, not what he knows." -Bajis, Common Ground p. 10
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« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2013, 07:44:24 AM »

   For those who articulate the penal substitutionary model, the resurrection is about God's sign that the sacrifice of Jesus was accepted by the Father
So it is a mere demonstration and not of any ontological salvific value.

  Could you explain how the resurrection is salvific in your Orthodox understanding?

  It seems to me the issue is perhaps some want to see the resurrection in itself as salvific, apart from the Crucifixion.  This is not the Western understanding- Jesus didn't come into the world to merely preach or demonstrate bodily immortality- that was nothing new in Judaism.  On the other hand, in the words of N.T. Wright, the resurrection points to the end of the exile for God's people and the Messianic age.  But in order to end the exile the Servant has to suffer at the hands of his people for their sins, and in doing so he is their salvation.
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« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2013, 07:47:42 AM »

  It seems to me the issue is perhaps some want to see the resurrection in itself as salvific, apart from the Crucifixion. 

You shouldn't see the Resurrection apart from the Crucifixion.

Anyway:

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    Trampling down death by death,
    And upon those in the tombs
    Bestowing life!
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« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2013, 08:59:01 AM »

"If Christ has not been raised... you are still in your sins"[/b] (1 Cor 15:17).  

  This is correct, I agree with it... but if Christ is not raised, he was not the Messiah.  That is the real issue.

Quote
There is one problem I do see with the novelty aspect. In the Reformed tradition refusal to affirm a theory which is still fairly new historically speaking is often deemed virtually if not actually "heretical" -despite a great deal of disagreement not only against it but concerning its definition, implications, etc. within Protestantism itself.  

  In the Anglican tradition there are a small minority with that viewpoint, and there is nothing in Anglicanism comparable to a magisterium to define what is and is not a "heretical" doctrine of atonement, although satisfaction certainly is one description used in the liturgy to describe Christ's work on the cross.   Nevertheless I think it's unusual among conservative Episcopalian Evangelicals to see Christ's work as reducible to penal satisfaction in the sense you are talking about.  In parts of the UK and Sydney, there are alot more conservative types rallying behind penal substitution but even then, it is hardly an official viewpoint, or one that you will see much mentioned in the CoE's Common Worship.  Indeed, the "Christus Victor" theme is very common in Anglicanism, but there is always an emphasis on Christ's death as atoning for our sins, its just not explicitly penal.

  The other aspects of Christ's life.. .his baptism, his fasting in the desert, his ascension and so on, are all part of his obedience to the Father's will, without which the imputation of Christ's active obedience, could not take place.  Don't miss that.  In some sense all those things also happened for our salvation, even in the Reformed understanding.  

Quote
 I asked (and you still have not answered) Where pray tell does scripture say Jesus paid something to the Father? It indeed speaks of a ransom from death, but not of a ransom paid to the devil or the Father. You are either imagining this aspect or borrowing it from a late Protestant tradition (you have traditions too) not grounded in exegesis.  

  "You have traditions too".  Anglicanism never denies the place of tradition.  You are not talking to somebody that is an Anabaptist here.  I'm quite aware of the epistemological issues.  I'm just not persuaded that Eastern Orthodoxy has a superior epistemology.

  Anselm's Satisfaction is a metaphor, once people start talking like there was real money being handed over to God, they start missing the point and it is a point that even medieval Schoolmen were aware of.  The Orthodox also get away with their own interpolations in their liturgies and tradition, especially the frequent paraphrases of the words of Scriptures, sometimes later theology is inserted, often this theology is heavily influenced by Greek Stoicism or Neo-Platonism.  Again, this is alot of the pot calling the kettle black.

[/quote]
And "theosis" is an alien,
Horsefeathers. "He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature [γένησθε θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως]..." (2 Pet 1:4).  [/quote]

  Orthodox take one verse and run with it, borrowing alot of Greek metaphysics in the process, including more neo-platonic influenced spirituality (the whole concept of "union with God", of "deification" as Orthodoxy articulates it is heavily influenced by Neo-Platonic ideals of the individual mind becoming absorbed back into the Monad).  Which is OK, although its debatable just how faithful this is to the Biblical worldview (I doubt that St. Peter considered "the contemplation of God apart from created things" to be an ideal of Christian life- I think he was alot more down to earth than that!).  But somehow Protestants aren't allowed to do something similar by taking a few verses and interpreting it through medieval western law.

Quote
I agree that Christianity should eschew legalism -as I am convinced that Orthodoxy absolutely does; however you say Christianity needs no no askesis (discipline/training). St. Paul says "discipline/train yourselves" 1 Tim 4:7.  

   Asceticism is not something that justifies a person before God.   Justification by faith alone makes legalism impossible, when it is properly understood.   The Protestant tradition definitely has a place for asceticism, starting with Martin Luther.  He just saw the ordinary life of a householder to be ascetical enough, a true religious vocation in itself, something the medieval west denigrated in favor of perverse views about the created order, especially about sexuality (which they always saw tainting family life- its ridiculous for a celibate hierarchy now days to pretend to be a "defender of the traditional family").   People put lots of money into indulgences and endowments for votive masses for the dead, when they could have been actually going out and doing the things Christ actually commanded- feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger.  They did this because of the sinister power of religion to control people and lead them into ignorance, and this is precisely what Martin Luther was unmasking, that God does not need our works, even our religious works, for us to find mercy with him.

  I am not convinced that Orthodoxy can always easily articulate a reason for legalism being bad.  The stress is on human participation for salvation and the power of the priest and church hierarchy.  Though Orthodoxy is not as hard into sacerdotalism as Rome, it still has the same issues that Martin Luther criticized centuries ago.  I don't hear a strong enough articulation of the above point, that God does not need our works for us to find mercy with him.

Quote
Without struggle Christianity is Gnostic (salvation as knowledge).  

 I  disagree.  Many gnostics were fierce ascetics "I kill the body because the body kills me", sort of thing.  A biblical worldview must also include acknowledging what is good in the world, not merely running away from sin.

Quote
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved." —St. John Chrysostom  

  There is alot of support in the Fathers for the stress on justification as Luther understood it.  Many Protestants aren't at all troubled by what they have to say.
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« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2013, 09:11:57 AM »

  Orthodox take one verse and run with it, borrowing alot of Greek metaphysics in the process, including more neo-platonic influenced spirituality (the whole concept of "union with God", of "deification" as Orthodoxy articulates it is heavily influenced by Neo-Platonic ideals of the individual mind becoming absorbed back into the Monad).

Nice try, but St. Irenaeus of Lyons, who articulated the doctrine of theosis as we know it, lived before the creation of the Neo-Platonic school. The creator of the Neo-Platonic school, Ammonius Saccas, was a Christian.


But somehow Protestants aren't allowed to do something similar by taking a few verses and interpreting it through medieval western law.

Aristotle is baaaad and the schoolmen are even worse.
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« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2013, 11:09:39 AM »

I am thinking: what a great thread--a keeper!
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« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2013, 11:13:46 AM »

  Orthodox take one verse and run with it, borrowing alot of Greek metaphysics in the process, including more neo-platonic influenced spirituality (the whole concept of "union with God", of "deification" as Orthodoxy articulates it is heavily influenced by Neo-Platonic ideals of the individual mind becoming absorbed back into the Monad).

Nice try, but St. Irenaeus of Lyons, who articulated the doctrine of theosis as we know it, lived before the creation of the Neo-Platonic school. The creator of the Neo-Platonic school, Ammonius Saccas, was a Christian.

You should know better than this.
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« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2013, 11:16:13 AM »

  Orthodox take one verse and run with it, borrowing alot of Greek metaphysics in the process, including more neo-platonic influenced spirituality (the whole concept of "union with God", of "deification" as Orthodoxy articulates it is heavily influenced by Neo-Platonic ideals of the individual mind becoming absorbed back into the Monad).

Nice try, but St. Irenaeus of Lyons, who articulated the doctrine of theosis as we know it, lived before the creation of the Neo-Platonic school. The creator of the Neo-Platonic school, Ammonius Saccas, was a Christian.

You should know better than this.

I do, but perhaps he doesn't.
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« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2013, 02:54:06 PM »

  Orthodox take one verse and run with it, borrowing alot of Greek metaphysics in the process, including more neo-platonic influenced spirituality (the whole concept of "union with God", of "deification" as Orthodoxy articulates it is heavily influenced by Neo-Platonic ideals of the individual mind becoming absorbed back into the Monad).

Nice try, but St. Irenaeus of Lyons, who articulated the doctrine of theosis as we know it, lived before the creation of the Neo-Platonic school. The creator of the Neo-Platonic school, Ammonius Saccas, was a Christian.

You should know better than this.

I do, but perhaps he doesn't.

No, I meant what you wrote. Neo-platonism is a relatively recent catchall term for a lot of things (it will soon have the semantic value of gnostic), I know I, I've probably used the term the most on this forum only second to GiC.

Your placing Neo-Platonism beginning at some particular point in history belies a dictionary use of the term and a mere one-upping of the criticism you were attempting to brush off.

What the appropriate question would be, is to ask for supporting evidence of how Platonic and Aristotelian thought informed the Christian understanding of theosis.

Given, that such an absence exists within the OT. Becoming one with God is not the emphasis of the OT, then one must ask, where did such a notion arise and if there are elements of such a notion in the OT and pre-Christian Judaic spirituality, when did it happen?

Well, I am not going to waste my time figuring this out, but I would be willing to bet that the engagement with Hellenism and proto-Neo-Platonic notions of metaphysics certainly played more than a small role.

Perhaps Daedelus knows and can offer specific evidences. I can only say it seems rather obvious.

Not that any of this makes theosis as such "wrong" or unChristian, but I think it would be rather short sighted not locate much of the pre-Judaic and thus early Christian theology within the light of Hellenism which is to say within the light of that which would later be explicitly articulated as "Neo-Platonic" thought.

Then again to merely equate early Christian theology with Neo-Platonism would also be equally short-sighted. The ghost of Abraham continues to haunt all of his Children.

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« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2013, 02:59:35 PM »

"Becoming like God as far as possible" and thus becoming "righteous and holy and wise (Theaetetus 176b)" was one of the main goals in life according to Plato.

It can hardly be called a neoplatonist invention since theosis thus antedates the Neoplatonist school by centuries. Then again, Numenius the Neopythagorean hit the mark when he called Plato "Moses speaking Attic Greek."
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« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2013, 03:43:25 PM »

"Becoming like God as far as possible" and thus becoming "righteous and holy and wise (Theaetetus 176b)" was one of the main goals in life according to Plato.

It can hardly be called a neoplatonist invention since theosis thus antedates the Neoplatonist school by centuries. Then again, Numenius the Neopythagorean hit the mark when he called Plato "Moses speaking Attic Greek."

You are again missing the point or at least making mine for me. See above. What you call Neo-Platonism is a much argued and disputed term with more than a few "scholars" thinking that no such thing exists and that the develop from Plato through Aristotle to Plotinus is simply "orthodox" Platonism and that no reconciliation as such was needed between Aristotle and Plato.

And no Numenius didn't hit the mark. He is incredibly wrong. The only reason anyone cares to quibble about Neo-Platonism outside dumb academic reasons isn't because of the synthesis of Platonic and Aristotelian thought (which truly no synthesis is needed as they are fruit of the same tree) but rather attempting to reconcile the ontological with the theological. Which is a problem for Plato and which is rendered nearly impossible once you add Judaic thought.

That is the problem for Neo-Platonism. One never fully answered and thus kept alive.

If you think Moses and Plato were speaking one and the same, then I must question the both your reasoning and reading skills.

Again (this has been mentioned elsewhere), the Church's grand problem isn't reconciling Judaism with Platonism, but rather attempting to reconcile thousands of years of apologetics which have remained almost dumb to change in the ontological research of the last century along with the arguable adoption of a functional nominalism by most folks.

Both the Orthodox and the RCs find themselves mired in debates with interlocutors long dead, each emphasizing one "lung" of ancient thought (the Orthodox emphasizing Plato, the RCs Aristotle) to borrow a metaphor much beloved and used elsewhere.

You are a bright guy. If you think I am wrong, formulate a dumb experiment and see if most folks believe in an ontology at all similar to Plato's. Let me know where they believe the essence of an essence is. Or any essence.

Again, I've long suspected most folks are nominalists, even if our language obscures such philosophical leanings due to the weight of metaphysics long gone.
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« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2013, 04:13:37 PM »

And no Numenius didn't hit the mark. He is incredibly wrong.

He might not have been entirely wrong, there are some similarities.

Again (this has been mentioned elsewhere), the Church's grand problem isn't reconciling Judaism with Platonism, but rather attempting to reconcile thousands of years of apologetics which have remained almost dumb to change in the ontological research of the last century along with the arguable adoption of a functional nominalism by most folks.

Very well. What do you suggest?

Both the Orthodox and the RCs find themselves mired in debates with interlocutors long dead, each emphasizing one "lung" of ancient thought (the Orthodox emphasizing Plato, the RCs Aristotle) to borrow a metaphor much beloved and used elsewhere.

TBH, the Orthodox don't make much use of Plato, at least not directly. Aristotle and the Thomists is a different story altogether.

You are a bright guy. If you think I am wrong, formulate a dumb experiment and see if most folks believe in an ontology at all similar to Plato's. Let me know where they believe the essence of an essence is. Or any essence.

I'm quite aware that almost everyone is a nominalist. Whether that's a good thing is another question.
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« Reply #35 on: May 08, 2013, 07:09:18 PM »

 It seems to me the issue is perhaps some want to see the resurrection in itself as salvific, apart from the Crucifixion.  
No one is talking about anything apart from the Crucifixion.

This is not the Western understanding- Jesus didn't come into the world to merely preach or demonstrate bodily immortality
And yet that is exactly the understanding of the Resurrection we are condemning; a mere demonstration.


The Resurrection is where we are really lifted out of the grave and given new life. Christ's Incarnation is for the accomplishing of the restoration of our humanity. Christ's Crucifixion accomplishes the defeat of sin and curse. Christ's descent into Sheol accomplishes the defeat of the dominion of Death. Christ's Resurrection accomplishes our Resurrection. Christ's Ascension accomplishes our sitting at the right hand of God in Christ, etc.

These acts are not demonstrations so that we can learn some sort of spiritual lesson. They actually accomplish those things for us.
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« Reply #36 on: May 08, 2013, 10:25:09 PM »

The Resurrection is where we are really lifted out of the grave and given new life  

  How does Christ's resurrection give us new life? How is Christ's resurrection, in your mind, related to you and me as individuals?

  This is the question that penal satisfaction is dealing with- "how does the Cross change my relationship to God? "

 
Quote
Christ's Incarnation is for the accomplishing of the restoration of our humanity. Christ's Crucifixion accomplishes the defeat of sin and curse. Christ's descent into Sheol accomplishes the defeat of the dominion of Death. Christ's Resurrection accomplishes our Resurrection. Christ's Ascension accomplishes our sitting at the right hand of God in Christ, etc.  

  If death is "defeated", why then do we still die?  It seems to me you are saying Christ's "victory" and "restoration" are symbolic or mystical.   You can see why many Protestants are uncomfortable with merely having a "Christus Victor" theme as the only explanation.  Penal satisfaction is much more concrete as an explanation.

  I think Orthodoxy is vulnerable to Luther's critique of the Theology of Glory.  Luther considered the only real way to know God's love and mercy was in  the Cross.  Human beings always want God to be bigger, better, unstoppable- just like their earthly kings, God becomes an idol.  When Orthodoxy emphasizes the resurrection as the means for our salvation, I would submit this is Luther's Theology of Glory, and it leads to spiritual problems potentially.
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« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2013, 10:31:50 PM »

The Resurrection is where we are really lifted out of the grave and given new life  

  How does Christ's resurrection give us new life? How is Christ's resurrection, in your mind, related to you and me as individuals?

  This is the question that penal satisfaction is dealing with- "how does the Cross change my relationship to God? "

 
Quote
Christ's Incarnation is for the accomplishing of the restoration of our humanity. Christ's Crucifixion accomplishes the defeat of sin and curse. Christ's descent into Sheol accomplishes the defeat of the dominion of Death. Christ's Resurrection accomplishes our Resurrection. Christ's Ascension accomplishes our sitting at the right hand of God in Christ, etc.  

  If death is "defeated", why then do we still die?  It seems to me you are saying Christ's "victory" and "restoration" are symbolic or mystical.   You can see why many Protestants are uncomfortable with merely having a "Christus Victor" theme as the only explanation.  Penal satisfaction is much more concrete as an explanation.


You are teetering on a false dichotomy. Probably because of the reluctance of EOs to acknowledge plainly that penal satisfaction language clearly marks a way of looking at the Crucifixion in the NT (even if the penal language is in the minority).

Your problem and those who are of some Crucifixion-centric Christianity is very troubling.

What is the Crucifixion without the Resurrection?

It means nothing.

Not.
One.
Thing.

I think I also read that in the NT.
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« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2013, 11:31:30 PM »

The Resurrection is where we are really lifted out of the grave and given new life  

  How does Christ's resurrection give us new life? How is Christ's resurrection, in your mind, related to you and me as individuals?

  This is the question that penal satisfaction is dealing with- "how does the Cross change my relationship to God? "

Resurrection gives us new life in the end, a pledge of which we receive in Holy Baptism. This is why the resurrection completes everything. And it starts now, by the partaking of Christ's glorified, resurrected Flesh; the "leaven of immortality" as St. Irenaeus put it. That is salvation, and it is more relevant to you and me as individuals than absolutely anything else could ever be. Being able to take Christ's literal Body & Blood into our own, thus uniting ourselves with Him, changes everything about our relationship with God.
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« Reply #39 on: May 09, 2013, 12:09:38 AM »

Perhaps Daedelus knows and can offer specific evidences. I can only say it seems rather obvious.   
 
   Philo of Alexandria. I  haven't read every bit of him but he seems to be suggesting that Judaism can be interpreted allegorically into being compatible with Neoplatonism.   I'm sure there were many Jews that rejected his interpretation, I know there were later Jews that firmly rejected Kaballah, another attempt at Greek syncretism.

Quote
  Not that any of this makes theosis as such "wrong" or unChristian, but I think it would be rather short sighted not locate much of the pre-Judaic and thus early Christian theology within the light of Hellenism which is to say within the light of that which would later be explicitly articulated as "Neo-Platonic" thought.

  Right... I don't think the Eastern Orthodox metaphysics is un-Christian.  Merely that it has little biblical support and the spirituality is only vaguely hinted at in the Bible.  More common themes are glossed over by some Eastern Orthodox in the attempt to emphasize mystical union and the pure contemplation of God.
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« Reply #40 on: May 09, 2013, 12:25:09 AM »

penal satisfaction language clearly marks a way of looking at the Crucifixion in the NT (even if the penal language is in the minority).
I think I know what you're referring to, but I think it would be misleading to call that "penal satisfaction" in a Christian world where penal satisfaction/substitution typically refers to something else.
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« Reply #41 on: May 09, 2013, 12:33:17 AM »

 How does Christ's resurrection give us new life? How is Christ's resurrection, in your mind, related to you and me as individuals?
What happens to Christ happens to Christians and in a sense to humanity as a whole.

 If death is "defeated", why then do we still die?

" “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live"... "everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die."

We still experience dying, but there are no *dead*. Dying is passing into life and not passing into death.

 It seems to me you are saying Christ's "victory" and "restoration" are symbolic or mystical.  
'Not one dead remains in a tomb' means not one dead remains in a tomb. No "spiritual" meaning necessary.

Penal satisfaction is much more concrete as an explanation.
Not really. It is incredibly abstract, actually, involving metaphysical speculation about "eternal council" "natural justice" "divine consistency" etc.

Luther considered the only real way to know God's love and mercy was in  the Cross.  Human beings always want God to be bigger, better, unstoppable- just like their earthly kings, God becomes an idol.  When Orthodoxy emphasizes the resurrection as the means for our salvation
Dude, we literally crucify an icon of Christ and bury his body in a tomb during Holy Week.

You should go to our services before talking about us ignoring the Cross.

And I don't think Luther himself or most traditional Lutherans would have appreciated the Resurrection as a "sign" with the meaning as presented in this thread.
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« Reply #42 on: May 09, 2013, 05:46:02 AM »

Kaballah, another attempt at Greek syncretism.

Kabbalah may have its affinities with Gnosticism (according to Gershom Scholem, whose theories have been amended by contemporary scholars such as Moshe Idel), but it is quite Jewish (the first Kabbalists lived in medieval Spain and Provence). Just as the OT is Jewish, although it came to be written only after the Babylonian exile, in dialogue with that and other Ancient Near Eastern cultures.

Purism vs. syncretism is not a very productive way to look at culture or spirituality.
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Cyrillic
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« Reply #43 on: May 09, 2013, 06:27:20 AM »

"And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins." - 1 Corinthians 15:17
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Daedelus1138
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« Reply #44 on: May 09, 2013, 08:02:41 AM »

And I don't think Luther himself or most traditional Lutherans would have appreciated the Resurrection as a "sign" with the meaning as presented in this thread.

 The idea that Jesus resurrection was a sign that his sacrifice had been accepted is not how Luther described the resurrection, to my knowledge (but I've seen individuals such as N.T. Wright use that explanation).  I don't think an Eastern Orthodox would find what Luther said about the resurrection all that different from what has been said here, except Luther was influenced by medieval nominalism which downplayed the whole concept of "nature" and universals in general.

  The understanding that Jesus Christ suffered the wrath of God in place of sinners is part of the general mindset of all the early Reformers, though, even if it is not the exclusive explanation that they used.  This understanding, or similar themes, were also common in Roman Catholicism at the time- the wrath of God against sinners was exhausted at the Cross so it makes possible a change of relationship for those that believe.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 08:05:14 AM by Daedelus1138 » Logged
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