Habakkuk and Redemption: An Alternative Paradigm

With
Tony Golsby-Smith
Series
Habakkuk - Hope in Dark Times
Published
Series
Habakkuk - Hope in Dark Times
5.24.2022

In Tony’s second talk on Habukkuk he opens up the topic of ‘penal substitution’ which is increasingly controversial today.  For many it is the bedrock of the gospel but for a growing number it is an uneasy doctrine that suggests a nasty picture of God. Where do we go with this?  And why on earth is Habakkuk in any way relevant to the issue?  In this talk Tony pursues a multi-perspectival approach to the topic.  He explains how it is based on a metaphor, and begins by diagnosing some of the metaphor’s strengths and weaknesses.  He then suggests a different metaphor – one that dominated the Old Testament far more than the ‘penal substitution’ model and one that is described in Habakkuk in richly poetic terms. This talk aims to begin a journey for us so like any good inquiry it opens up the topic rather than trying to package a neat answer. Whatever the case, we need to think this topic through far more deeply.

More from the series

Tony Golsby-Smith

Tony has been the original architect of Gospel Conversations—rather like the conductor of an orchestra—in which his role as the conductor is to attract musicians who are better than he is. In many ways, Gospel Conversations is a journey of exploration shared by Tony and his good friends.

Tony’s professional life explains a lot about the paths of inquiry that Gospel Conversations takes. He is trained originally in English Literature—and poetry in particular—before his first career as a secondary school teacher.  This made him comfortable with mystery and ambiguity as necessary roads to the knowledge of God. He has always been fascinated by the mystery of how human beings create and think, and this led him into a long and influential career in Strategy consulting where his firm, Second Road, helps organisations think together more effectively so they can design the future they desire. All of this gave him a high view of humanity, and the faculties by which we design our worlds—and it also gave him a front-row seat watching how humans collaborate to alter realities and shape worlds. His deep grasp of poetics gave him a Romantic theology—with a view of language that TS Eliot called a ‘raid on the inarticulate’ rather than as a scientific exercise towards precision and definition.

Behind this set of intellectual perspectives—which predispose him to exploring horizons of faith—lies his sense of being enveloped by the lifelong love of the God-man, Jesus of Nazareth, and a predilection for radical grace as the defining feature of God’s work with the cosmos—a legacy he first received from his wondrous mother, Patricia. She prayed every day that Tony would articulate to the world the love of Christ that she experienced but felt lost for words in expressing.

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