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The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Chapter 7

Categories Theology

The subject of penal substitution has been a hot topic for a number of years, both in print and in the blogosphere. A quick Google search will show there is a number of different opinions about atonement, and they are usually vehemently expressed.

And atonement is no longer only discussed in "heady" academic works but popular novels as well (see innumerable blogposts and websites on William Young's, "The Shack".) Further still, this atonement debate goes on while Time Magazine names the "New Calvinism" among the "10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now." 

In The God I Don't Understand Christopher Wright says (beginning with a quote from "Man of Sorrows, What a Name" by Philip Bliss:

 "Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned he stood

Seled my pardon with his blood, Hallelujah! What a Saviour!"

That is why I said that, of all the things that lead me to speak of the God I don't understand, the cross is top of the list. My overflowing thankfulness for my experience of God's love proved at Calvary far outweighs my pain and struggle with the baffling horrors we thought about in part 1, and it helps me to cope with them within the security of knowing that God is love all the way down." (p. 141)

What do you think about this? Do you find Wright's approach to the issue a viable one? Some feel he's "too soft" - do you agree?

In light of yesterday's commemoration of St. Patrick I thought it fitting to end with this prayer:

Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me;

Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger;

Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

- attributed to St. Patrick

- Andrew L. Rogers, Promotions Manager, Church, Academic, and Reference Resources

Every Wednesday, Zondervan editorial and marketing staff discuss chapters from The God I Don't Understand. Please make plans to join us in the conversation. If you would like to use The God I Don't Understand in a book discussion or small group, there is a free Study Guide available, as well as videos of the author discussing each chapter at

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