atonement: moral influence

Ah, the 1100’s were heady times. Just a smidge after Anselm, French theologian Peter Abelard expounded his theory that at the cross, Jesus demonstrated the most profound love for us imaginable in order to move us through love, to love. Abelard was quite the logician and had a reputation for being a wee bit arrogant...
...and also for being a player,
......for which he was castrated, but that's another story for another time. If a man with his 'nads cut off has a little attitude, who are we to judge? (of course, if it's your attitude that lets you hit the high notes, maybe it's time to slow your roll...)

Anyhow, Abelard reasoned that Jesus did not satisfy any penalty or divine sense of Justice, Jesus just showed us how to love, and the effect is so profound as to move us to love as well. And this makes sense: we all recognize that the ability to love is rooted somewhat in our own experience and memory of being loved. In general, this theory seems awfully "liberal" to people in the US because the focus is not on paying for our sin, it is on fixing it and improving upon it. In short, the problem Jesus fixed was one of motivation and emotion, not metaphysics.

This theory is fun because though it is despised by modern evangelicals as being liberal, it is totally the primary way they preach and exhort: “Jesus loves you, shouldn’t you do the same!?!” C'mon guys, (and it is always guys...) - fess up. You've been pulling the guilt/obligation card out so often church goers can feel it coming 10 minutes before you spit it out mid-grimace. Anyways, Abelard, suffering the wrath of evangelicals, will forever live in liberal shame but lest we get too judgmental about ‘ole Pete, remember that he convinced Pope Innocent III to accept his version of Limbo. For the 1000 years prior, unbaptized children went straight to Hell upon dying but Abelard convinced the pope they went to Limbo instead, where they experienced neither pleasure nor pain. The 1100's -good times indeed.

saved from: ourselves
scripture: 2 Corinthians 5: 14-15
For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
next up: recapitulation


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