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Making Sense of God's Love: Atonement and Redemption [Paperback]

Lorraine Cavanagh
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 Jun 2011
How can we be restored to God's love? Is there a way back? Many people are put off Christianity by the idea of God punishing his Son for our sins. They find it hard to believe in a loving God who appears to be so angry and vindictive. Many also feel that the things Christians teach, publicly or privately, do not work for them in real life. This book therefore addresses some of the difficult questions that these people are asking. It is also for those who may be wanting to return to their faith, and for those who would like to explore it in greater depth. It aims to create an open theological landscape, which will take account of the many different ways in which we are saved and restored. This volume will help everyone to find a new understanding of what it really means to live as people who have been forgiven and brought home, through the atoning and redemptive work of Jesus Christ, into an honest and deep relationship with God.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing (16 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0281064032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0281064038
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 678,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lorraine Cavanagh is a theologian and an Anglican priest. Before her ordination she was an established painter with successful solo exhibitions in London. She then completed a doctorate at Cambridge University. Since her ordination in 2003 she has been Anglican Chaplain to Cardiff University and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. She was also part-time tutor in Christian Spirituality at St. Michael's College, Llandaff. She lives and works in South Wales.

Product Description

About the Author

Lorraine Cavanagh is an Anglican priest in the Church in Wales and education officer for the Awareness Foundation.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's all in the title 6 July 2011
Many people love the worship song `In Christ alone', which is being used increasingly in British churches. But there are two lines within it that cause many Christians theological difficulties:
"And on the cross as Jesus died / the wrath of God was satisfied."

They are lines which express a view of the atonement, that of penal substitution, with which many devout believers struggle: what kind of Father God would demand the suffering and death of his own Son in order to attain eternal salvation for humans who, at best, were mostly indifferent to him?

The atonement is something of a fault line between certain Christian traditions, and those who advocate a penal substitutionary understanding are not likely to be enamoured with Dr Cavanagh's book.

But for those who appreciate a more open approach `Making Sense of God's Love' should prove a very useful resource. I particularly appreciated her understanding of God's `wrath' as his anger at the effects and consequences of our sin.

The historic Church has never attempted a definitive theology of the atonement, and perhaps never will. For those who strive for a deeper understanding of the mystery of Christ's death, this readable little volume could provide an invaluable contribution.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Panning for Gold 20 Feb 2012
Making sense of God's love is no mean feat either in the context of a God who allows his Son to be executed or in a 21st century world with so much pain and suffering, but Lorraine Cavanagh's book offers much for those who continue to search and to those who are willing to engage.

Meticulously laid out and with a progressive argument to support the notion that the cross - far from being the place where wrath is satiated - is nothing less than the place where God's love is shown in it's most beautiful light, the book takes us through the difficulties of alienation and at-one-ment: the problem of sin: God's wrath and redemptive love and Christ's resurrection.

Mixing sometimes weighty theology with insight and considered wisdom, not to mention some nifty linkage to 21st century issues (eg greed, environment, materialism), Cavanagh details how, despite our persistent (and inevitable) failings, God continues to draws us into love and relationship by identifying the cross and crucifixion as the place where God's judgement - not in the shape of wrath but mercy - is supremely borne out. What's more, this scene so often regarded as one of separation and hatred, suffering and brutality, becomes something quite different: a place where Isaiah's words "my ways are not your ways" are emblazoned across the skies. God's relationship with human kind is shown to be more intimate in this place than ever before and the way is paved to the continuous ongoing renewal of life and love that come from the resurrection of Christ and the experience of walking with a God of love, hope, intimacy and forgiveness - a God who wants nothing more than for us to live fulfilled lives as the people we were made to be.

Although rather academic and heavy going at times, this was an uplifting and enjoyable book packed with insightful golden nuggets and plenty of "food" for the ongoing journey.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars God is Love 6 Feb 2012
I was reading the Bible the other day and I returned to one of my favourite passages of the Bible. 1 Corinthians 13. I know that that passage has almost become cliched in our times and this is sad. Also, as a young Christian this passage meant very little to me and seemed merely sentimental. That was until I read about the lives of the early Christians and the Anabaptists who literally "loved unto death". Now I see love in a whole new light. Also, I find the God described in the below passage to be far more in line with the Orthodox view of God than the Protestant one I learned about. A vengeful God and anger filled God. And although I was aware of the passage "God is love", somehow me and my Protestant friends seemed to get around it or explain it so that it actually meant something else. I think it's called Scripture twisting... where you take a passage with a clear meaning and then twist it so that your explanation is at total odds with what is actually being said. Of course without Holy Tradition to stand on it's each man for himself in the weird world that is Evangelical Protestantism. So you can make Scripture say whatever you want and ultimately it doesn't really matter, since "It's all about Jesus" anyway.

But back to the passage in view. I'm sure others have done this before, but I am not aware of any. I had a falling out with a friend recently, and I was upset by it. I was feeling a mixture of anger and resentment, with the thoughts that I didn't want this to destroy our friendship and how should I respond. I was driving at the time so I popped on my Mp3 player and listened to it while driving. It really spoke to me again. That night I opened up my Bible, and read from it again. I read it aloud to my wife and she suggested I replace the word love with "God".
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