Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Need for Godly Sorrow

Somewhere for each individual who would be saved, there must be a place of repentance, of sorrow for sin, of deep grief and mourning, because of a profound sense of having sinned against a compassionate, patient and merciful God. One of the greatest needs of this nation is a tidal wave of conviction for sin, a godly sorrowing and turning away from wickedness. Somewhere between the present state of those who are in rebellion and sin against God, and a state of salvation, there must be a time and a place for godly sorrow, acceptance of Christ as an only Savior, and a blessed consciousness that sins are forgiven.

-Henry Clay Morrison - Founder of Asbury Theological Seminary (1857-1942)


Edward said...

Hi Matt,

while I am not sure that this is the fullness of Orthodox teaching and not some "Originist" overreaction to Western theology (which, if overreaction, will be overcome in time), I think you might find the following essay very intriguing:

Whether or not it ends up being known as biblical or according to tradition and the liturgy, this is the sentiment of many contemporary American Orthodox as regards what has happened that fixed a great gulf between Eastern and Western understandings of God and of atonement. Given our previous discussions, I would rate this one as a "must read" whenever you get a chance to take a break from your studies.

Matt Perkins said...

Thanks Ed. I'll check it out.

Edward said...

Okay, on a little reflection, I'm sure there's heresy in them thar hills, it's just a particularly difficult to address kind. As David Bibeau suggests, "just because a heresy has been around for 1800 years does not make it the Orthodox tradition." Still, I would recommend you read it, as there are many stretching ideas there and (as my priest has put it), "well,it's half-right..."

Matt Perkins said...

Okay, Ed I read the first half and I have to say I disagree. In that first half I saw two things: 1. an outright rejection of what Paul seems clearly to state - that we are saved from the wrath of God, and more problematically,2. nothing about the role of Christ. The author quotes from the Philokalia: "And if through prayer and acts of compassion we gain release from our sins, this does not mean that we have won God over and made Him to change, but that through our actions and our turning to the Divinity, we have cured our wickedness and so once more have enjoyment of God’s goodness." Through our actions we've cured ourself? So what was the point of the Incarnation, the Passion and the Resurrection? I find the theology presented here seriously lacking but I guess I'm just a Westerner who has been fooled into believing in an "evil god" as the author of that piece seems to believe.

Ed said...

Uh Matt, did you read what I said above? He's definitely a heretic, and he certainly does not represent the Orthodox consensus. I have to admit, I was almost fooled by the man and two of his followers, but I couldn't ultimately square his teaching with the Bible. God does actively punish sin in the hereafter, it is not enough to say that we did/do it all to ourselves. To say this represents an extreme minority position among the Fathers, and must of necessity reject the teachings of the Liturgy and of the Bible. There is just no way around it.

"Grant us... a good defense before the dread Judgment Seat of Christ." - Litany at Sunday Worship

"Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered! ... As smoke vanishes, so let them vanish." - The Paschal Hymn

"Vengeance is mine, I will repay." - I think you know where... ;-)

Matt Perkins said...

hey Ed,
Sorry for not reading your post better. Those are some great quotes by the way. I especially like the one from the Litany at Sunday Worship. Keep challenging me brother. Don't let me get away with saying anything too stupid. God bless you.