Monday, May 14, 2007

Evangelicals and Eschatology, Act Three

Jeremy J Wynne (PhD Aberdeen) was up in the 'graveyard slot' (post-lunch sopporiphic haze....actually, for me, after a very rare pizza - the only pizza place here is my own kitchen - in Pizza Express with Dr Bird and Patrick from the US...Mmmm that Fiorentina was belissima...) doing 'Charles G. Finney, the Rhetoric of Wrath, and the Challenge of a Robust Doctrine of God'. Anyway, JJ Wynne was an excellent speaker presentationally. However, and I blame the haze and my ignorance about Finney for this, I struggled to stay with his argument at points. I think the Chairman did too, since his attempt to summarise Mr Wynne's proposition at the end was apparently inaccurate! So, my attempted very brief summary is below (notes a bit sparse due to Fiorentina in stomach)...

The wrath of God can be a fluid notion. Finney was not theologically trained, but trained as a lawyer. His emphasis was on the wrath of God as a means to convert people and increase their sense of urgency. Finney drew the substance and methodology for his consideration of the wrath of God, and for his view of God generally, from moral philosophy. Hence, Finney projected the 'attributes of love' from human beings onto God. His ideas of wrath were the same - death was to him the end of God's patience with the sinner (he cast death as finally 'dragging away the sinners soul' into hell). This approach is not unknown in some evangelical circles. However, our conception of God's wrath should be 'reconfigured' around our doctrine of God. Preachers ought not merely to threaten wrath on sinners. A more rounded concept of wrath would include the concept of wrath being visited on sin at conversion.

I realise this is not a particularly brilliant summary - if someone has more on Jeremy's paper, please let me know...

Again, there was a concurrent paper but I was struggling to be in one place, let alone two. The paper? Oh yes, it was Ralph Korner (Edmonton, Canada): 'Understanding the Structure of the Book of Revelation: Don't Be Left Behind'.