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Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Atonement

I unashamedly, humbly, and gratefully proclaim loud and clear that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, in my place, for my sins, taking the wrath of God that was righteously and justifiably due to me away. Thanks be to God, Glory in the Highest, for His immeasurable and undeserved grace He has bestowed upon His Children at the Cross. Jesus was my substitute, taking the righteous wrath of God away from me, becoming my sin at Calvary. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor 5:21, ESV)

This is a crucial, central piece of the Gospel; yet many who proclaim the Name with their lips deny this fact.

Tony Jones, of emergent-fame, flatly denies the Gospel here. Kevin DeYoung responds to Jones and after quoting just a few scriptures at what Jesus accomplished at Calvary, writes:
Praise God that he sent his Son not just to share in our weaknesses, but to bear our iniquities. Praise God that the Suffering Servant was not just wounded for our identification, but for our transgressions. Praise God that the Son of Man came not just be a restoration of our humanity, but a ransom for our sin. Praise God that our perfect Brother shared not just in our humanity, but shared in our humanity that he might become a high priest in the service of God, a high priest who offered himself once for all as our eternal redemption. Because without the shedding of blood Jesus could have still been human, but without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.
Adrian Warnock responds to the views of Giles Frasier and adds what I have been most concerned with:
To be honest this Easter I am not angry at Fraser, nor am I angry with Steve Chalke (see my posts on the Atonement Debate). At least these people are clear about what they believe and understand. No, the people I am angry with this year are the ones in the Evangelical hierarchy who want to brush these debates to one side in the name of "unity." There can be no real unity between those who believe that to declare Jesus was punished for us is "cosmic child abuse" and those who believe it is the most precious truth of the Bible. One side of this debate has to be wrong, and badly wrong. They cannot both be right; even N.T. Wright cannot perform such theological magic! The minute anyone tries to make this truth a debatable matter over which evangelicals can legitimately disagree is the moment they lose the right to call themselves evangelical at all in my opinion.
I wholeheartedly agree with this. You cannot have unity when one side is denying and preaching another Gospel. I'll let Paul speak to this:
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

10For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

(Galations 1:6-10, ESV)

Unity has its limits. Unity does not require wolves to be allowed in the pen of sheep. Unity does not require a denial of the Gospel and understanding posture. Unity requires shooting the wolves and rescuing those who gave gone astray. Unity requires unashamed proclamation of what is foolishness to the world.

Where is the Church of Christ in this discussion? How many deniers of penal substitution are in our midst? How many of us even know what that is? If ACU's reception of Brian McLaren recently is any indication, the lay of the land is not too promising.

Things much change...

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking about this all day today and was doing some reading of my own when something suddenly occurred to me...hopefully it makes some sense.

    God (Father, Son and Spirit) didn't send Jesus independently to earth to die by a 2/3 vote, and Jesus wasn't sent by the Father, as though there was some kind of pecking order within the Trinity; he came on his own accord.

    If Jesus is God, then God could not have sacrificed Jesus as though he was a separate entity outside of the Trinity. The way I understand things, Jesus wasn't given. He couldn't have been. Jesus gave himself...rather, God -- Father, Son and Spirit, who are one, gave himself.