Problem: those pagans are acting like fundamentalist Christians

Gordy writes,

But it is more on how modern Paganism is BECOMING much like Fundamentalist Christianity.

And John Morehead of Salt Lake Theological Seminary chimes in:

I find Gordy’s candor refreshing, and a reminder that virtually all religions and spiritual pathways struggle with difficulties, and difficult people. Recognition of the challenges is the first step in correcting them. And at the risk of shameless self-promotion, perhaps books like Beyond the Burning Times can be read by members of both Christianity and Paganism and can serve as a starting place for our efforts at moving beyond our problematic fundamentalisms.

Isn’t that the problem of any religion?  Those fundamentalists!  Fundamentalisms are the problem.  And they are so alike each other in their intolerance.


  1. Should a Christian fundamentalist be critiqued for loving a portrayal of God so much that he or she hates other created narratives of God’s nature and work?

  2. Interesting question, Todd, and I’d love read your thoughts about it in light of the fact that the Eternal Word is both Creator and Incarnate Savior.

    You’ll acknowledge, I think, that Christian fundamentalism does carry a certain level of baggage: names like John R. Rice, the elder Bob Jones’, and Jerry Falwell come to mind.

    There are also issues of more substance, such as PSA (you may want to find a different label/abbreviation: “PSA” is used in the medical community to mean something completely unrelated), which, at best, makes God’s constitutive attribute, not love, but retributive justice. Scripture tells us otherwise. It also impinges upon God’s freedom (“God MUST punish sin.”) and therefore, also, Divine omnipotence.

  3. Greg, we began yesterday morning in John 12, thinking about Jesus’ annointing for his burial. Next week, it is the Lamb on Passover Sunday. (God is perfect wrath and perfect love in what I am observing as Jesus enters his final week on the earth).

    We sang as a congregation, “In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, fullness of God in helpless babe! This gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones He came to save. Till on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied; for every sin on Him was laid–here in the death of Christ I live.” (God is perfect wrath and perfect love.)

    We capstoned the morning service with holy communion. (God is perfect wrath and perfect love.)

    Yesterday evening, we read Genesis 22 and listened to a patriarchal father carrying fire and a knife. (God is perfect wrath and perfect love. We worship Jehovah Jireh.)

    This Wednesday, we are peering into the final chapter of Isaiah. (Here, God is perfect wrath and perfect love.)

  4. In I John we read: “God is love.” The fact that God is the eternal, archetypal, tri-personal community demonstrates the truth of this statement.

    Where do we find, “God is wrath.”?

    The Divine essence may be either “perfect love” or “perfect wrath.” It cannot be both. If it is wrath, then love will be a function of wrath. If it is love, then wrath will be a function of love (as will all the other Divine attributes, such as justice).

  5. Ok, let’s think of John’s writings . . .

    God is love

    God is light

    Is one definition suppose to be an archattribute over the other?

    Or this . . .

    Jesus is the Lamb

    Jesus is the Lion

  6. If we were to read that “God is wrath”, then wrath and love would indeed have to be reconciled on equal terms. However, as you know, “God is wrath” does not appear in Scripture.

    There is no evident contradiction, OTOH, between “love” and “light”. Further, these operate in different realms of being, so to speak. Wrath and love do not.

    “Lamb” and “Lion” are clearly metaphorical in a way the above terms are not (as with “body of Christ” and “bride of Christ” in reference to the Church), each modifying the other.

  7. I see no evident contradiction between God’s wrath and love.

    Of course, man’s wrath and love can be easily distorted by sinful selfishness. We are not to show anger or love that displays a wrong view of God, others, or ourselves. Yet contra to the JST, we are to be angry (though not in a sinful way). I am at war with the spiritual enemy(s) that would seek to destroy my family.

    Concerning the Holy One, God shows perfect wrath against that which does not glorify Him – holy, warring, consuming, destroying fire and pure all-seeing, unrelenting, intolerant jealousy.

    Praise the Triune Jehovah for all that He is. (Not Allah and his distorted wrath – don’t compare the wrath of the Christian God with the wrath of the Muslim Allah.)

  8. Well, at least Jarvis acknowledges the difference between expiation and propitiation, although he gives that difference extremely short-shrift. As for the rest of it, he, like other advocates of PSA, imposes a necessity upon God that is unacceptable. Further, he states that the only alternatives are penal substitution, moral influence, or “victim”; however, he does not explore the meaning of victimhood in this context. He also, as above, ignores the two other alternatives, expiation and Victor. I would argue that these latter two are inextricably linked and serve to hold everything together. Christ, like the goat sacrificed on the Day of Atonement, is the expiation of our sins which, through the fear of death, keep us bound to Satan, who Christ conquers in conquering death, thus breaking the power of all the enemies of humanity (sin, death, Satan, “the world”, “the flesh”), thereby reconciling us to God and freeing us, who are crucified with Christ in baptism, to live in the power of the Holy Spirit, which is given us.

    Did you read Bair’s article? She is moving in this same direction, interpreting the work of Christ, as in Hebrews, in light of the Old Testament background.

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