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From the Bookshelf

Rasputin and Romans 6

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).

In this post:

Romans (TNTC)

F. F. Bruce

The Rasputin File

Edvard Radzinsky


About David Stark

Associate Professor


5 thoughts on “Rasputin and Romans 6

  1. Wow, that is fairly insane. It seems especially odd since Paul foresees this question and answers it.

    Posted by Brian LePort | April 6, 2011, 2:51 pm
    • 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. 😦

      Posted by David Stark | April 6, 2011, 3:07 pm
  2. @David: No worries, I do think juxtaposing his views with Rom. 6 is appropriate though.

    Posted by Brian LePort | April 6, 2011, 5:56 pm
  3. Of course, having seen this post, I should probably clarify that I don’t think Bruce was saying that, nor is Radzinsky discussing how, Rasputin read Rom 6 this way, just that he held this position. Not being a Rasputin scholar myself ;), he may well have held this position for other reasons and then simply and conveniently ignored Rom 6. Sorry for any lack of clarity on this count in my original post above.

    Posted by David Stark | April 6, 2011, 3:18 pm


  1. Pingback: Elsewhere (04.06.11) | Near Emmaus - April 6, 2011

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This site and its content are licensed by J. David Stark under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. The views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person(s) or institution(s).
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