“If atonement ain’t penal, why the cross?”—the popular reception of this article has surprised me. With 3,982 views, it’s on the way to becoming the single most popular article within a single year I have ever published here on Eclectic Orthodoxy. I’m curious why it’s been so popular: perhaps because I published it during Western Holy Week; perhaps because it’s a topic I rarely address; clearly because it’s a topic that is on the mind of many of EO readers, as confirmed by the reception of my piece on George MacDonald: “Penal Substitutionary Atonement and the Living Christ” (1,761 hits). I suspect, though, I won’t be returning to the topic for a long time. Got other fish to fry.
But “If atonement ain’t penal, why the cross?” is not yet the all-time single-year favorite. That honor (for the time being) goes to “Apocatastasis: The Heresy That Never Was.” This article was first published in 2015, when it garnered 2,766 views. I revised it the following year, and the views jumped to 4,229. I have revised it a couple of times since, with republication in 2018. It enjoys a total view count of 13,622 views. The piece seems to enjoy periodic hit surges, which is not surprising given that it addresses a question that few bloggers (and theologians, for that matter) substantively address. Yet despite its enduring popularity, “Apocatastasis” is not the all-time all-time favorite. That honor goes to …
“What is Orthodox Hell?” This piece was originally published in 2013, when it received 3,284 views–a record at the time for the fledgling blog. Each year it receives a goodly number of views—people are constantly finding it through Google—bringing the grand total of views to 14,653. I revised and republished it earlier this year. Hell is popular!—hopefully only to read about, not to visit.
And now that I have mentioned the above articles. I fully expect more hits for the blog. It will be interesting to see which of the above (or perhaps none of them, as I still have many more articles to write this year) wins the most popular Fr Kimel article of 2019 award. Stay tuned for the annual report in early January 2020.