An article exploring the inherent problems in fusing an Aristotelian doctrine of God with the teaching of the Bible about the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For those who are interested in exploring how Calvinism moved away from Calvin’s warm-hearted God this is a fascinating article. In it James B Torrance illustrates how using Aristotelian distinctions plus confusion over the nature of covenants, and wrongfully applying these to God lead to contra-Biblical conclusions e.g. that justice is the essential attribute of God, but the love of God is arbitrary.
“The doctrine of the Incarnation is not that an impassible God came in Jesus Christ. It is that God came as man in Christ and ‘suffered under Pontius Pilate’. Continue reading “Aristotelian influence on Calvinism”
One thing must surely be plain–that the punishment of the wrongdoer makes no atonement for the wrong done.
This unspoken sermon of George MacDonald is an excellent example of how much truth we miss (and even deny) when we interpret God’s justice in accordance with our own weak and fundamentally flawed human understanding of the concept.
The following are a few quotes, but you really need to read the whole sermon (link at the bottom) to benefit from the arguments presented.
“There is no opposition, no strife whatever, between mercy and justice. Those who say justice means the punishing of sin, and mercy the not punishing of sin, and attribute both to God, would make a schism in the very idea of God”. Continue reading “George MacDonald on “Justice””
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is a traditional old English Carol, reputed to date back to the 15th/16th century. It is one of the oldest carols we still sing today.
One cannot help but wonder whether, had it been written more recently, the lyrics might run more like this…
God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas day
To save us from the Father’s wrath whom we had disobeyed
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy.
The correct lyrics are, of course… “To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray”. In other words – Christus victor!
What a wonderful source of encouragement and connection to ‘the faith as handed down by the apostles’ the old carols can be.
We recently came across this article by Derek Vreeland. It is a thoughtful piece and makes a helpful contribution to the debate. You’ll need to read it through to the end, though, or you’ll entirely miss the point he’s making:
In this excellent article, Nick demonstrates why we need to understand Jesus’ cry of abandonment as a prayer, and that the entire Psalm was clearly in mind. He also addresses some of the issues with trying to use the ‘cry’ from the Gospel narrative as the basis for forming doctrine.
Doctor Foster went to Gloucester, In a shower of rain; He stepped in a puddle, Right up to his middle, And never went there again. (Nursery Rhyme, c.1844)
Suppose a man was walking down a street one day in torrential rain. The road has become like a river. As he crosses the road, the ground opens up beneath him; a sink hole had developed under the swollen waters. Plunging down through the water to chest height he lands on a craggy, uneven surface. His leg is broken in several places.
Continue reading “Doctor Foster, Gloucester, and Psalm 22”
Some time ago there was a rallying call to focus more on “our holiness”. David Searight responded with a masterful, counter-cultural, truly biblical challenge to the prevailing voices. It is so good it deserves a wider hearing and so here it is – David’s refreshing, soul-lifting understanding on what it is to be holy….
(David Searight is a former Mentor with Cor Deo)
Where there is love, there is sacrifice.
Just two highlights from a fascinating article on Jewish sacrifice:
“…some people thought of sacrifices as a kind of bribe: if we make a generous enough gift to God then He may overlook our crimes and misdemeanours”… “This is an idea radically incompatible with Judaism.”
“In other faiths the driving motive behind sacrifice was fear: fear of the anger and power of the gods. In Judaism it was love.
We see this in the Hebrew word for sacrifice itself: the noun korban, and the verb lehakriv, which mean, “to come, or bring close”. The name of God invariably used in connection with the sacrifices is Hashem, God in his aspect of love and compassion, never Elokim, God as justice and distance. ”
Many people will argue vociferously that we have free will. “Our decisions are not coerced, we are free to choose what we want” they say. I agree. But let us not confuse the terminology. Continue reading “Freedom of the Will?”
I have heard a thousand times that Jesus died “in my place”. Yet wherever I look in Scripture it states He died “for me”, that is, on my behalf. The words “substitute” and “substitution” do not appear anywhere in the entire salvific narrative of Scripture.
In World War II many thousands of soldiers died for their country. We would say of them that they died “for us” – that is for our sakes – so that we could live in a better world. What they did not do was to die “in our place”; we were never in the firing line. They died their own death, at a particular moment in history, in order that we might be free. “For us” and “in our place” are not synonymous. Continue reading “In our place… or on our behalf?”