The pain of boots on other feet

In an update to Christianity Magazine reviews Pierced For Our Transgressions Adrian writes

I am beginning to get that those with more traditional understandings are not entirely welcome within the UK Evangelical movement.  I had hoped that this was just a false impression.  Since writing this article, I came across a piece from Carl Trueman that alleges that some UK ministers feel that they are being leant on quite strongly on the issue of the atonement.  It is important for me to stress that this article is not meant as a criticism of the entire UK Evangelical scene,  but is rather my own personal reflections on a sense I am getting that UK Evangelicalism is heading in a direction I am increasingly uncomfortable with.

I find it rather ironic that during Adrian’s series on atonement he has been leaning very hard on anyone who does not completely accept his own view on penal substitution (which is over on one extreme of those who accept PSA) and now when some seem to have the boot on the other foot he is complaining that he does not feel welcome. I feel like shouting welcome to the club that you have been busy putting everyone else in over the past months.

However, I will be restrained.

I do not believe in a Christianity, or an Evangelical Christianity which does not welcome Adrian and those like him who believe so strongly in PSA. Mind you I also do not believe in a Christianity which demands that all believe in PSA nor an Evangelical Christianity which demands the same understanding and acceptance of PSA that Adrian has.

I do believe that in his series Adrian has demonstrated clearly that the form of PSA he believes in is rather extreme (the focus on God’s wrath, on God killing Jesus, on the absolute centrality of PSA to the gospel as examples). However, none of those mean he should be excluded from being part of the ecumenical community.

We do need to recognise though that it is always a difficult challenge to include in a community those who continually attempt to exclude others.

Personally I feel that a great deal of vague accusations fly in this debate and as a result attempts are made to nail down in concrete things that should not (and  never have been before) so absolute fixed and rigid.

Many of us have been on the receiving end of what we consider abuses on PSA. That should not lead us to assume that all supporters of PSA are going to abuse us or the theory. Equally denying that anyone has ever abused PSA is unhelpful, we are sinful human beings and we do sometimes get things wrong.

Essentially what we need around here is a good example of undeserved love that we can come together around, fortunately we do all know of one such example. May we come together under the Lordship of Jesus.

2 thoughts on “The pain of boots on other feet

  1. PamBG

    I feel like shouting welcome to the club that you have been busy putting everyone else in over the past months.
    And all God’s people say, ‘Amen!’
    Thank you for putting into words the feelings I had this morning when I read Adrian’s blog.
    I do not understand how we could assist Adrian in ‘feeling welcome.’ If you stand inside someone’s house and shout: ‘You are anathama!’ for months, no matter how gracious your host is, at some point they are going to ask you to either respect their views or leave their presence.

    Reply
  2. sally

    you say
    “Essentially what we need around here is a good example of undeserved love that we can come together around, fortunately we do all know of one such example. May we come together under the Lordship of Jesus.”
    I say
    AMEN!

    Reply

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