A god without wrath is a god without grace

by Peter Benyola
A billboard for Grace Church Orlando near Interstate 4 and State Road 434 in Longwood, Florida.
A billboard for Grace Church Orlando greets thousands of motorists each day near Interstate 4 and State Road 434 in Longwood, Florida.


“If God’s angry about one thing, He’s angry about that sign,” said R.C. Sproul from the rostrum at St. Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida.

In Europe in the 1960s, there festered debate concerning a Latin phrase that had found its way into the confessions of historic Reformation theology: placata ira dei. Even if you don’t speak Latin, can you already sort of tell what it means? Placata resembles our English word placate, which means to mitigate someone’s anger; ira is the derivative of our words ire and irate, meaning intense anger; and dei is like our word deity, which is who God is. So, placata ira dei literally means to “placate the wrath of God.”

The controversy had to do with the way the church understands Christ’s atonement. Historically, Christian orthodoxy always has taught that one aspect of the atonement was Christ’s sacrifice designed to satisfy the demands of God’s justice and to propitiate His wrath — to assuage His anger, or to set it aside. The New Testament speaks of salvation, in terms of what Christ has done for His people as Savior, is that He has saved us from the wrath of God.

In light of the central motif of the wrath of God that we find in Scripture, and how often the Bible speaks of Christ’s accomplishment on the cross as a satisfaction of the wrath of God, it may seem unreasonable for any Christians to object to this phrase “to placate the wrath of God.” But what was behind the controversy was a growing trend in modern theology, with its seeds planted in liberal theology of the 19th century, to deny ascribing any “wrath” to God for any reason.



One thought on “If ‘GOD IS NOT ANGRY,’ why is the billboard in all caps?

  1. iJimmy wrote this letter to Grace Orlando tonight before reading your post, which I enjoyed. Thanks be to God for given me wisdom, discernment and a heart for exhortation since coming to Christ 13 years ago.

    Just wondering if it’s your billboard that is there at the entrance to I4 from the Longwood exit?
    > finally getting around to commenting on that.
    > it sounds like you’re wanting to extend your arms out in love to the community and I don’t have a problem with that I don’t have a problem with your billboard either everybody has the right to free speech right? And in fact I’m an evangelical Christian. But if you’re a man of God shepherding his flock, it is important to represent God for who he is.
    > I’m just wondering where you get the notion that God is not angry.? Do you think he is not angry and it does not grieve his heart to see a nation deny him or turn away from him or murder unborn babies or partake in homosexuality and gay marriage? All of these abominations to the Lord are just a few.of the many things that would make him angry.
    > now I would agree that God is first and foremost in his character a loving God. but I would not go as far as saying he is not angry. that statement gives me the impression of someone that wants to smooth over our sin nature and the crimes we are committing against one another and the Lord to make people  “feel good”. God is capable now of being angry just as he was throughout history as told in His Word. We know of his anger and his wrath but in every and all circumstances he also restores His people to Himself. 
    > Why would you say that God Is Not Angry? I’d like to hear your take on this. 
    > Sincerely, 
    > R Pippin

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