On August 1, 2013 there appeared an article on Charismanews.com detailing that the PCUSA had rejected the song In Christ Alone from their new hymnal. (http://www.charismanews.com/us/40470-in-christ-alone-pulled-from-new-presbyterian-hymnal) The Presbyterian Committee Chair Mary Louise Bringle wrote this was not the direction they wanted the new education program for the PCUSA to be directed.
Since then there has been several articles posted in response to this move by PCUSA. One such response was made by Dr. Albert Mohler of SBTS. (http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/08/12/the-wrath-of-god-was-satisfied-substitutionary-atonement-and-the-conservative-resurgence-in-the-southern-baptist-convention/) Other responses included the Baptist Press (http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=40889) and also by Bob Smietana of CharismaNews.com (http://www.charismanews.com/us/40668-who-s-right-about-god-s-wrath-baptists-or-presbyterians)
In response to the article entitled, “Who’s Right about God’s Wrath?”, I posted a response that speaks to the area of research for my doctoral studies:
I see this as a much bigger problem. There is and has been for quite some time a movement to elevate the attribute of God that we call love to such a level that it has become a core essence defining everything God is and does. Commonly found among left wing Christian sites and sites of non-believers is the phrase, “A loving God would not do that.” This phrase has been used by many to shoot down many of the traditional beliefs of the Bible. Ron Bell has proposed that Hell doesn’t exist because a “Loving God” would not send anyone to a place of eternal torment.
God has many attributes and must be viewed from a level playing field. Remember this God has all the attributes he will ever need and the maturity of those attributes are complete with no need for any enhancements. So how do we reconcile a loving God with God’s wrath?
If God has a complete list of attributes along with complete and total maturity of all attributes then is there a source of this completeness? I believe there is. Another word for completeness is holiness. God is holy for he is absolutely complete. He has no wrong either in action or thought and always does the right thing. I believe the source of God’s attributes is His holiness.
The idea of God’s love can be described as the sum of his mercy and grace. Using anthropomorphic terms we called that love. God’s perfect grace and mercy originates, I believe, in God’s holiness. Yet, at the same time we must realize God’s holiness demands that He judges sin for God hates sin.
To say God is wrathful is not a-orthodox but rather is in line with God’s holiness being the source of all God is and all he does.Yes God loves us through His perfect grace and mercy. While at the same time His holiness demands He judge sin. It is because of this requirement to judge sin that God sent his only Son to be sin for us who knew no sin.
There are many questions that will have to be answered over the next four years. Let me first prefix that by this statement, “We do not serve a loving God rather we serve a God who loves us.” As time goes on I will unpack this statement and answer some very pressing questions. Some of these questions are;
1. What does it mean when we say God loves us?
2.Can we say that God has a core essence?
3. Can we say man has a core essence?
4. Can or should God’s many attributes be viewed on a level playing field or are some more important?
5. What does it mean to say God is holy?