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August 01, 2011



<3 Love this!

Brian Zahnd

I've been practicing with my chairs. I'm going to try it out on our staff tomorrow morning in our chapel service.

I think it's brilliant. And I it's completely fair to the Protestant position.

One of the things I noticed with the Western judicial view of salvation in the illustration: You have, at one point, God pitted against Christ; of course, you also get the idea that Jesus is saving us from God. But with the Eastern restorative view of salvation, Christ is always identified with God, and God is always turning toward humanity. With the Eastern view, God and Christ are always in union, and God is immutable. With the Western view, God is placated (changed!) by Christ.

God is like Jesus.
God has always been like Jesus.
There has never been a time when God was not like Jesus.
We have not always known this;
But now we do.

Yet the Western judicial view of salvation fails on this score. The Western judicial view does indeed speak of God as "too holy to look upon sin." (How many times have I said something like that myself?!) But when do we ever see anything like that in Jesus?! When do we ever see Jesus turning away from sinners because he is too holy to look upon them?! Never! It was the Pharisees who were too "holy" to look upon sin.

Thank you for sharing this. It's very helpful.

(Let's start a chair revival!)


Brad Jersak

The message for me is in the chairs.

In the Orthodox view, God in his love is continually turning toward us. And the God chair is the same as the Jesus chair.

His account of the Protestant view, a fair representation of Evangelical preaching a la 'the four spiritual laws,' emphasizes God's turning away from man and turning away from Christ. You may never have preached the Gospel that way, but I and many of my fellows did.

My understanding is that the Orthodox can diverge on the last point in terms of the afterlife. The Orthodox believe that the River of Fire, which is God's Glory, is indeed a blessing to those who love God and a torment to those who hate God.

For some Orthodox, this is regarded as a permanent state. Other important Orthodox Fathers felt that the River of Fire of God's love would not simply torment, but purify... it would consume our wood, hay and stubble, refining us, and ultimately transforming us until eventually all might 'turn our chair around,' back towards God.

Some taught this as a blessed hope, others as a firm conviction. My observation is that as Evangelicals continue to read pre-Reformation and pre-Schism theology, the early Fathers' breadth of thought will be increasingly represented in the fresh conversation on divine judgment.

Brian Zahnd

I will be using this. For sure!

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