The Wrath of God

Part of my morning’s mental meanderings went something like this:

A friend posted a link on Facebook to a brief article in The Economist noting the theological hullabaloo raised over the Presbyterian decision to not include a hymn in their hymnbook because the members on the committee putting the hymnal together took offense at a line in the hymn that speaks about the wrath of God the Father and how it is extinguished by the Son of God on the cross.  The article is brief and vaguely slanted against more conservative positions theologically and liturgically, while remaining innocuous to be basically useless.
Curious, I followed the link embedded in the article to a blog entry that discussed the issue from a conservative theological position.  He links in turn to another, lengthier essay dealing with the topic of God’s wrath and why it is an important topic despite being ignored or even rejected these days by many Christians of both the academic and non-academic type.  
I’ll warn you that the essay is long – about 30 pages or so.  But it’s fantastic – an excellent treatment on the topic of the wrath of God and how we can understand the Biblical teachings on this consistently with the popular, if “squishy” theme of God as love preached far more often today.  It isn’t that God isn’t love, but rather that we can’t properly appreciate his love without an appreciation of his wrath, something that seems counter-intuitive in American culture today but which makes perfect sense if we stop and think about it for more than a few seconds.  
All of which is a good reminder that vapid articles that do nothing more than toss their hands into the air about those silly religious people and their conservative/liberal divisions are a waste of time.  I wonder why The Economist bothered to even talk about it at all?  Certainly their article offered nothing to the conversation.  Rather, they belittle the issue – an issue that has been a point of Christian theological debate and discussion for 1800 years or so.  
Instead they pawn it off as a puzzling manifestation of Christian divisiveness, as though our larger culture weren’t equally polarized along conservative and liberal lines.  Perhaps the article only intends to marginalize Christians, who are largely seen as the bulk of conservatism in America, by demonstrating that we don’t agree among ourselves, and therefore our larger cultural or political concerns should be treated less importantly?  Other interpretations?  

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