The Patience of Atticus Finch
A Sermon on Colossians 3
Examining Paul’s exhortation to “cloth yourselves with… patience,” Plantinga develops an account of Christian patience as “part of the uniform for the family of Christ.” Whereas Paul describes life outside of union with Christ as characterized by a pervasive anger and vengeance, Paul calls Christians to “put off” that way of life. The patience that fits those who have been raised with Christ has a long fuse, isn’t necessarily naive or stoic, is compatible with righteous anger, and is willing to recognize that justice takes time. Drawing from Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird,” Dr. Plantinga affirms “the patience of Atticus Finch:” a man who united a righteous anger against injustice with a patience that governed that anger and enabled him to fulfill the task set before him.
Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. (Princeton Theological Seminary) is Senior Research Fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and president emeritus of Calvin Theological Seminary. Cornelius Plantinga Jr. (aka Neal Plantinga) teaches a course annually in Calvin College (he was Dean of the Chapel from 1996 to 2001) and in Calvin Theological Seminary (he was a professor there from 1979 to 1996 and President from 2001 to 2011). Dr. Plantinga has written many books and articles, including most famously his work on sin, Not the Way it’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin (Eerdmans, 1995).