Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Atonement & Punishment...

Recently my wife asked what I'd thought about the "huge debate" mentioned in this article. Honestly, I didn't know it was a huge debate until I read the article, but maybe that's because I'm a horrible debater, and avoid those areas. I did, however, want to put my two cents out there to be made fun of...just to see if I'm a heretic or something. I'd love your comments.

The issue here is substitutionary atonement. Did Jesus Christ bear the punishment of all the worlds' sins, appeasing an angry God and offering atonement to those of us who otherwise deserved the punishment of death? The writers of the article are warning readers of "The Shack" that he does not believe in this, and that he is pushing some sort of new "agenda" on Christianity to proclaim something less than True Christianity.

My answer: I dunno.

I don't know, and wouldn't claim to know all the aspects of how theologically salvation works. We have scriptures that talk about it in symbolic and antiquated phrases. We also have the straightforward words of the Bible as well. Here is what I believe:

Through Adam (& Eve), sin entered the world. Humanity's identity was wounded. Because we were God's image in the created world, all of creation became wounded. God desires to restore all of creation, and needs to restore humanity in order to do it....and wants to out of His Love for us/His creation. He became human, and lived/died/was resurrected. He suffered immensely out of a desire to restore/Love humanity/creation. Somehow in the midst of all of that, He offers us a new identity - HIS identity. A new life IN HIM.

I'm not a big fan of the images an "angry God, in need of appeasement" brings to mind. I'd rather view it as sin being a choice we were making, and the results of sin (eternally not being restored) would be "justice" more than "punishment". I'm thankful for the grace and mercy of a loving God that offers us a restoration we don't deserve, that somehow was bought with a large price of suffering.

At the same time, there are scriptures that talk about God's wrath/anger, and punishment for those who disobey. So, like I said....I dunno.

3 comments:

Theodore A. Jones said...

The doctrine of substitutionary atonement has a subtle error. The error is the assumption that a direct benefit has been obtained by the crucifixion of Jesus. The truth that this doctrine suppresses is found in Gen.9:5 NIV. God circumvents substitutionary atonement's proposal by the preexisting standard of requiring an accounting relative to the fact of any male human's life lost/taken by bloodshed in any circumstance. However it is only by the fact of Jesus' crucifixion which caused him to loose his life by bloodshed that the requirement to give an account directly to God regarding one man's life lost by bloodshed has been made into a unilateral requirement for each man too. Therefore it should be easy to understand that the word Repent as a command can only be correctly obeyed by confessing directly to God that you are sorry Jesus was crucified. Man can only live by every word that has proceeded from the mouth of God. The doctrine of substitutionary atonement, the lie that it is, does not teach you the Way the command Repent must be obeyed in order to save yourself from eternal death.

So what is your judgment? Am I the heretic or is this comment one you love? Before you judge let me remind you that it is only a few that ever find the small narrow gate into the kingdom of God Jesus has perfected by his crucifixion. On the other hand the proponents of substitutionary atonement are in the millions. Which is much much more than a few.

pastorwick said...

I think any doctrine that requires someone to understand words like "circumvent", "substitutionary", and the like in order to enter any narrow gate....might be a bit off.

I think what happens through Jesus Christ is less of a theological pattern or equation that God was following, and more about sacrifice, love and Grace. :)

I think we tend to complicate things more than we ought. :)

Thanks for commenting!!!

Theodore A. Jones said...

"It is not those who hear the law that are righteous in God's sight, but it those who obey the law who will be declared righteous." Rom. 2:13 NIV. Maybe it is best for you to find out which law he is referencing. For the truth about the crucifixion of Jesus is foolish to those who do not accept that truth.