Thoughts on Thursday: Gospel-Centered Scandal

The Prodigal Son by RembrandtToday’s thought & quote comes from Miroslov Volf. I’ve recently begun reading his book Exclusion & Embrace and am being challenged greatly by many of the things he writes.

This thought has to do with the scandal of the cross, against the backdrop of the world as we know and often experience it – less than perfect!

After reading the quote, tell me: What do you think?

Is self-donation a viable expression of the Gospel? If so, how should we identify with the concept of self-donation, when in this life we will experience more exploitation, than reciprocity?

“A genuinely Christian reflection on social issues must be rooted in the self-giving love of the divine Trinity as manifested on the cross of Christ; all the central themes of such reflection will have to be thought through from the perspective of the self-giving love of God…

Exclusion & Embrace by Miroslav Volf“Would not a world of reciprocal self-donation…be a ‘world that which none better can be conceived’ because it would be a world of perfect love? The response is good, provided the condition of reciprocity is fulfilled. But one of the reasons we can conceive of a much better world than the one we inhabit is that the condition of reciprocity is so rarely fulfilled. Self-giving is not met with self-giving, but with exploitation & brutality…

“The ultimate scandal of the cross is the all too frequent failure of self-donation to bear positive fruit: you give yourself for the other – and violence does not stop but destroys you; you sacrifice your life – and stabilize the power of the perpetrator. Though self-donation often issues in the joy of reciprocity, it must reckon with the pain of failure and violence. When violence strikes, the very act of self-donation becomes a cry before the dark face of God. This dark face confronting the act of self-donation is a scandal.”

– Miroslav Volf, Exclusion & Embrace, 25-26.


2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Thursday: Gospel-Centered Scandal

  1. I was given this book as a resource for a Sunday School class I’m teaching on Biblical Justice and Mercy right now. I was warned that this book will knock you on your…hind quarters. So I haven’t opened it yet.

    I’m wondering if the warning is this: As you give of yourself, do not expect giving in return, because it rarely happens. From what I know of Volf’s personal story, he’s able to give such a warning.


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