Nearly three hundred years ago, a young preacher by the name of Jonathan Edwards gave a sermon called "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," which has aruably become the most influential sermon in the history of the Evangelical church. In it, he says “The bow of God's wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood.”
Brian Zahnd is the founding pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri. When he was in his twenties, he was greatly affected by Edwards' vision of God as angry, violent and retributive. "What I did know was that I liked Jesus," Zahnd says, "But I was really scared of his Dad, the faceless white giant with obvious anger issues."
In his brand new book, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God: The Scandalous Truth of the Very Good News, Zahnd paints a very different, very biblical portrait of God: one that looks like Jesus. In it, he asks questions like: Is seeing God primarily as wrathful toward sinners true or biblical? Is fearing God a normal expected behavior? And where might the natural implications of this theological framework lead us?
I loved this book, and I loved my conversation with Brian.
Oh, and Here is the hilarious and poignant youtube video of "Fyodor Dostoyevsky" reviewing Brian's book.
Music on today's episode is by Masss (Silver Collar)