Reclaiming Divine Wrath: A History of A Christian Doctrine and Its Interpretation

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Peter Lang, Sep 2, 2011 - Religion - 316 pages
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Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, there was prolific misuse and abuse of the concept of divine wrath in church pulpits. In pursuit of a faithful understanding of what he calls a «lost doctrine,» the author of this study investigates the substantial history of how «the wrath of God» has been interpreted in Christian theology and preaching. Starting with the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures and moving historically through Christianity's most important theologians and societal changes, several models of divine wrath are identified. The author argues for the reclamation of a theological paradigm of divine wrath that approaches God's love and God's wrath as intrinsically enjoined in a dynamic tension. Without such a commitment to this paradigm, this important biblical aspect of God is in danger of suffering two possible outcomes. Firstly, it may suffer rejection, through conscious avoidance of the narrow misinterpretations of divine wrath that dominate contemporary theology and preaching. Secondly,  irresponsible applications of divine wrath may occur when we neglect to engage and understand the wrath of God as inseparable from God's justice and love in Christian theology and proclamation.


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Introduction 1
The Old Testament the InterTestamental Period and the New Testament 9
From Early Christian Apologists to the Medieval Theologians 47
The Era of the Reformations 105
From Wesley to Ritschl 151
Theological Proponents and Opponents to the Wrath of God 181
An Apologetics for Contemporary Christian Theology and Preaching 253
Bibliography 271
Index 297

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About the author (2011)

Stephen Butler Murray is Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and College Chaplain and Assistant Professor of Religion at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. He is co-editor of Crossing By Faith: Sermons on the Journey from Youth to Adulthood.

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