Friday, January 20, 2006

Dead Swedish Theologian of the Day: P.P. Waldenstrom

Another long day of class and now it is the weekend. So we are just hanging out in the room. We just got done watching Ghostbusters. It is a pretty funny flick that I haven't seen for awhile. Today we talked about a hero of the Covenant Churches denomination, P.P. Waldenstrom. P.P. Waldenstrom revolutionized the way many people look at the Atonement. Here are the main points of Waldenstrom's view: (I edited this so it was more detailed) 1. That no change occurred is God's heart because of our fall; 2. That it was therefore no wrath in God's heart which through the fall came in the way of man's salvation; 3. That the change which occurred through the fall was a change in man only, in that he became sinful and fell from God and the life which is in him; 4. That as a result of this fall a reconciliation was necessary for man's salvation; but not a reconciliation which appeased God and presented him as merciful, but one which removed man's sin and presented him righteous again; 5. That this reconciliation has been achieved in Christ Jesus. So yeah..we get two days off from class. I should probably continue my reading. There is so much to read.

9 Comments:

At 6:16 AM, Anonymous Dylan said...

In his view (which I'm guessing you don't espouse?), what was the need to remove sin if there were no wrath against it? What exactly is sin in his view?

And if God's wrath was not against sin, is there anything against which God does have wrath--since Scripture clearly talks about God's wrath?

 
At 7:43 PM, Blogger joshua.michael said...

I would say that I don't really disagree with Waldenstrom. I think his theology of the atonement is a bit misunderstood.

As far as I understand it, sin needed to be removed to restore a right realtionship with God. I believe God's wrath was not so much against the sinner rather the sin.

The question here I believe is the initial motive of God. Was God motive to remove his own wrath against man or was his motive to save man to restore right relationship with God?

P.P's view is that when man sinned his heart did not change torward man.

Read text from PP's writings:

The Scriptures teach in definite words that it was an atoning sacrifice. But notice: it was not God who through this offering was to be appeased; it was man who through the same was to be made righteous--an action which was necessary if he were to be saved. For it was on man's side (in his sin) where the obstacle lay. It was man alone, and not God, who fell from goodness on the day of the Fall. It was man who became God's enemy and turned away from God, and not God who became man's enemy and turned away from man. No, when man went away as God's enemy, then God loved him so much that he in Christ went after him to remove, not God's wrath, but man's sin. When God, therefore, gave his only begotten Son, he did it not in order to find a person on whom he might satisfy his wrath so that he might be able to love the world, but in order to find a person through whom he might save man, the fallen child, whom he unchangeably loved, because he is love.

"Otherwise, Christ would not become our savior but God's savior. Thus our Lord Jesus is not in his suffering our substitute to take away the wrath of God, but God's vicar to take away our sin."

me again:

Now I guess I would still say that "Christ died for me." He took my place, however I believe the motive of the father was remove his own wrath but rather take away my own sin by the covering of his blood.

I am not disputing the fact that God has wrath against sin. I am more speaking of the motive of God.

I hope I make sense.

Here is a more detailed list of PP's view on the atonement.

1. That no change occurred is God's heart because of our fall;
2. That it was therefore no wrath in God's heart which through the fall came in the way of man's salvation;

3. That the change which occurred through the fall was a change in man only, in that he became sinful and fell from God and the life which is in him;

4. That as a result of this fall a reconciliation was necessary for man's salvation; but not a reconciliation which appeased God and presented him as merciful, but one which removed man's sin and presented him righteous again;

5. That this reconciliation has been achieved in Christ Jesus.


Interesting stuff.

 
At 12:20 PM, Blogger Gary Means said...

Thanks for this post on Waldenstrom's position on the atonement. Years ago, when I was just finding my way of out fundamentalism, a friend who was a professor emeritus at Seattle Pacific University loaned me his copy of Waldenstrom's book on the atonement. I remember being intrigued, but disturbed by it. Now I find it to be a rather attractive perspective.

If I remember correctly, much of his writing on the matter is freely available on the web these days. I'll have to go and grab a copy.

Peace and justice.

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger Sue Gillespie said...

Important to note that Waldenstrom was reacting against a statement in the Augsburg Confessions - that "God was reconciled" to humans at the cross. Thus the search to find out "where it was written" that God had to be reconciled to humanity. Answer: nowhere in the Bible! I struggled with understanding where Waldenstrom was coming from until I read that.

 
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