Review: What happened at the cross?

We never hear such thing as people having an “idea that God killed Jesus”, but with trinitarians such ideas are possible, the same as they think God gave Himself on the cross for the sins of the people.

Naturally when a church creates all sorts of false teachings, starting with making Jesus in their god, they continually have to create new false teachings, like Jesus having a mother than God would have to have a mother a.o..

It is curious to see how different protestant groups handle with the atonement and do not see that Jesus did not do his own will (what he would have done if he is God) but did the will of God, and as such gave himself as a ransom for all.

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To remember

Jesus is the most fully realized revelation of God that we’ve got, and what we can see of God in the life of Jesus is the perfect example of self-limitation and humility. (p238)

  • many Christians naively believe that the Payment Model (or penal substitution theory) = commonest view in Western world =  only one => ‘atonement wars’
  • Tony Jones, associated with the ‘emergent’ stream of Christianity, his book sets out all the major (plus a few minor) theories of the atonement and tries to reach a balanced assessment of each one.
  • God’s with us, expressed in the cross, => ours with him. = what the atonement is really all about.
  • Trinitarians must believe God is by nature self-limiting, choosing to use his sovereign freedom to unite himself to humanity in the person of Jesus, and especially in the sufferings of Calvary.
  • Some believe that the frequent emphasis on a bloodthirsty God, marked by punishment and sending folk to hell, is one reason for the decline of Christianity in some of its historic bastions.
  • rivalries developed, leading to violence. Sacrifice developed as a safety-valve: violence was perpetrated on an innocent victim, making everyone feel better, at least for a while. Meanwhile, the person sacrificed was perceived as almost divine, because their death had had such a powerful violence-quenching effect on the society
  • Nowhere does the OT law explicitly condemn child sacrifice (the closest it comes is Lev 18:21), though the practice was common among Israel’s neighbours.
    But Israel did not practise it (Jephthah’s killing of his daughter is a rare exception).
    Animal sacrifice, by contrast, soon became an integral part of Israel’s worship, and it was the blood that made it valid
    (Lev 17:10-16). Two kinds of blood sacrifices were seen as appeasing God: the guilt offering and the sin offering (the kind offered at Yom Kippur). These continued through the desert years, and continued when the Israelites were settled in the land, becoming more elaborate, in spite of the prophets’ condemnation (e.g. Hos 6:6). Their practice continued into the time of Jesus.
  • So God took something that humans were already doing — being violent and shedding blood — and made it sacred. He
    went along with them where they were at, but did not see it as the ideal, and he took human sacrifice out of the picture.
    The sacrificial system controls violence, giving it boundaries.
  • occasional verse talks of God’s anger at particular sins or human behavior that God considers an abomination, > overarching message of scripture is clear = God created us, God loves us, + God wants the best for us. => Bible = rife with stories of God going out of his way to set people on the right path — despite our failures, despite our sins.
  • A lot of us have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the regnant interpretation of Jesus’ death as primarily the propitiation of a wrathful God. 1. we don’t experience God as uber-wrathful toward us. 2. it simply doesn’t make sense that God would game the whole system so that he has to kill his own son just to vitiate this wrath. It just doesn’t smell right. (p26)
  • Calvin + others upped the ante from Anselm => not just that Jesus made our payment for us, = he pays a penalty on our behalf — a penalty that we cannot pay. In theological jargon, this is how it goes from substitution to penal substitution, the “penal” connoting the penalty. This change happened during the Reformation, and it remains popular today. (p113)

  • supposed to learn about love from God => idea God predestined us to sin = results in our eternal damnation + requires God’s Son to die on the cross, teaches very little about love. (p132)

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Additional reading

  1. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  2. Atonement And Fellowship 7/8
  3. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  4. Omniscient God opposite a not knowing Jesus
  5. Redemption #2 Biblical solution
  6. Redemption #4 The Passover Lamb

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Further related

  1. 15/01/2018: Atonement 10
  2. Facets Of Redemption
  3. Mimesis and atonement
  4. A better way to view the atonement of Christ: Christus Victor
  5. Athanasius as Interpreter of the Trinity: Why the Nicene Creed and Penal Substitution Are Incompatible, Part 2 | New Humanity Institute
  6. Thinking Outloud: Atonement
  7. Triune Atonement in Westminster
  8. How to Understand the Once for All Sacrifice of Jesus Christ
  9. What the crucifiers didn’t understand
  10. Penal Substitutionary Atonement Exemplified In Film
  11. Irenaeus and the Problem of (Greater) New Testament Wrath
  12. Penal Substitutionary Atonement – a myopic narrative.
  13. Review: Tom Wright on the Crucifixion

Dave's Deliberations

This book’s title may mislead you. It is really an examination of the main theories of the atonement; the idea that God killed Jesus on the cross is just one aspect of the Payment Model of the atonement. The book is:

Did God Kill Jesus?: Searching for love in history’s most famous execution by Tony Jones (HarperOne, 2015).   

dgkjlargeThe ‘atonement wars’ are raging right now, in spite of the fact that many Christians naively believe that the Payment Model (or penal substitution theory) that they have been taught—and which remains the commonest view in the Western world—is the only one there is. Jones’s book sets out all the major (plus a few minor) theories of the atonement and tries to reach a balanced assessment of each one.

The major ones he designates the Payment, Victory, Magnet, Divinity and Mirror models. He assesses each against the answers it offers to…

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