A History of a Christian Doctrine and Its Interpretation
Chapter Five Divine Wrath in the Twentieth Century: Theological Proponents and Opponents to the Wrath of God 181
Chapter Five Divine Wrath in the Twentieth Century: Theological Proponents and Opponents to the Wrath of God The theologians of the early twentieth century of fered a decisive reaction against the nineteenth-century liberal theology in which they had been trained. In the midst of the First and Second World Wars, they found that liberal theology did not provide answers to the questions and situations that the world at large could not avoid and needed to confront. To speak of God in muted, mythologized rhetoric did not of fer an account of a God to whom people could look when they needed an assurance that the world could be righted despite its current chaos. Instead, the theologians of the twentieth century of fered visions of a God who was not indif ferent in the face of political violence, human suf fering, and social injustice. In conver- sation with the culture of their times, these theologians at first revivified the concept of divine wrath. However, the second half of the twentieth century produced a new generation of theologians for whom, in the face of the civil rights, anti-war, and feminist movements, the wrath of God bespoke an aspect of God that was better left to the history of the tradition. Theologians sought new sym- bols of and relationships with the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, and in particular with God the Father. In this chapter, I examine first three important theologians who of fered an important reawakening of divine...
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