In his Tyndale series Romans commentary, F. F. Bruce offers the following colorful, if also sad, illustration as he discusses Rom 6:
A notable historical instance [of a tendency to read Paul as advocating antinomianism] may be seen in the Russian monk Rasputin, the evil genius of the Romanov family in its last years of power. Rasputin taught and exemplified the doctrine of salvation through repeated experiences of sin and repentance; he held that, as those who sin most require most forgiveness, a sinner who continues to sin with abandon enjoys, each time he repents, more of God’s forgiving grace than any ordinary sinner (134).
A reported discussion between Rasputin and one Vera Zhukovskaya expresses a similar example of Rasputin’s saddening and disturbingly illogical “evil genius” on this topic (Radzinsky, 240).
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Wow, that is fairly insane. It seems especially odd since Paul foresees this question and answers it.
Indeed, in fact, when I saw those few sentences in Bruce’s commentary, I thought they must have been simply a legendary development from Rasputin’s otherwise diabolically painted career. But, then to find substantially the same sentiment in a monograph about Rasputin suggests that he actually did hold such an “insane” position. Of course, sadly, neither is his example the only one of similar insanity in the history of interpretation. 🙁
@David: No worries, I do think juxtaposing his views with Rom. 6 is appropriate though.
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