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Making Sense of God’s Love : Atonement and Redemption Paperback by Lorraine Cavanagh

October 23, 2016

msoglI found this book very dense.

Rather than rebutting penal substitutionary atonement, she seems to accept it as distortion.

And which creation myth has Satan as God’s chief agent?

Why does she think that individualism is ‘metaphorical?’  This is sloppy writing. And I’m not sure whether she disapproves of Buddhist mediation or holds it up as a lesson in prayer on p. 73

However, she is very astute when it comes to how mission statements, targets and managerialism stifle spiritual and church growth. Indeed, I heard her speak at more length on this at a conference recently.

She is also good, matured even, about the challenge of belonging to a church alongside people we don’t like and policies which oppress.


The problem of spiritual under-resourcing is made worse in a prevailing climate of church activism in which mission plans formed at management level, but seldom shaped in the silence of prayer, leave little time or mental space for the pastoral care and spiritual nurture of the people, or of their clergy. By activism I mean the kind of activities undertaken either because the diocese has agreed on a strategy for church growth, with goals and objectives linked to numbers and parish quotas, or because of an increasing sense that churches need to justify their existence in the face of secular doubt and cynicism. This puts a great deal of pressure on clergy, as well as on a few dedicated lay people. It is difficult for these churches to supply a sensitive and intelligent rationale for believing in God, or the confidence needed for people to entrust their lives to him, because they are too busy meeting other people’s agendas.’

Living the Christian faith from a place of compassion and vulner­ability involves risk. First, because it rules out infallibility, whether of the Bible or of the authority vested in any one person or powerful ruling body. Second, because it involves the willingness to change the way we think by becoming less passive and unquestioning. Christians need to love the Church into a new place with their minds and hearts. Learning to love the Church requires that we challenge its failures and at the same time have compassion for it in the hurt it causes itself.

The Church needs to actively engage with this need for holiness by promoting prayer. It ought to be a vital part of its work of mission and evangelism. But in order to do this, the Church will need to ensure that the spiritually gifted are selected for ordination (without, in the process, creating a spiritual elite) and given the preparation and training, and later the time, to walk alongside those who are struggling to know God better and to face the deep questions of faith. The same needs to be provided for gifted laity.

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From → Doctrine

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