How is Christ a sacrificial lamb?

Now that we are re-thinking the sacrificial system and how it pertains to Jesus’s sacrifice, many questions arise. Here a Presbyterian asks a key question over on PTM’s website, and Brad Jersak provides a clear and really helpful response…

https://www.ptm.org/q-r-how-is-christ-a-sacrificial-lamb-brad-jersak

George MacDonald on “Justice”

One thing must surely be plain–that the punishment of the wrongdoer makes no atonement for the wrong done.

This unspoken sermon of George MacDonald is an excellent example of how much truth we miss (and even deny) when we interpret God’s justice in accordance with our own weak and fundamentally flawed human understanding of the concept.

The following are a few quotes, but you really need to read the whole sermon (link at the bottom) to benefit from the arguments presented.

“There is no opposition, no strife whatever, between mercy and justice. Those who say justice means the punishing of sin, and mercy the not punishing of sin, and attribute both to God, would make a schism in the very idea of God”. Continue reading “George MacDonald on “Justice””

If “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” had been written today

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is a traditional old English Carol, reputed to date back to the 15th/16th century. It is one of the oldest carols we still sing today.

One cannot help but wonder whether, had it been written more recently, the lyrics might run more like this…

God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay

Remember Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas day

To save us from the Father’s wrath whom we had disobeyed

O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy.

The correct lyrics are, of course… “To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray”. In other words – Christus victor!

What a wonderful source of encouragement and connection to ‘the faith as handed down by the apostles’ the old carols can be.

Isaiah 53 in the New Testament (the Apostles’ teaching)

Isaiah 53 is consistently used as a proof text for the penal substitution theory of the atonement. Whilst there is no doubt that this chapter contains prophetic echoes of Jesus’ sacrifice, we should not simply assume that we can apply the entire text literally to the events of Golgotha. The litmus test for how to understand Isaiah 53 must come from the New Testament and the Apostles.

Let’s examine all the specific verses from Isaiah 53 which are either utilised or directly quoted in the New Testament. Continue reading “Isaiah 53 in the New Testament (the Apostles’ teaching)”

Sin? missing what mark?

Brad Jersak is one of those rare guys who has grasped fully that God the Father is not some imposing judgemental figurehead we construct, but that he is, as testified by scripture, exactly like Jesus.

In this recent post, Brad takes a look at “sin” – universally understood as “missing the mark”. But what does that mean? What is this “mark” that we keep missing? …

https://www.ptm.org/sin-missing-what-mark-brad-jersak

The Gospel Narrative: Never Alone

In John’s gospel Jesus categorically states that he would not be left alone by the Father.

There is one oft overlooked problem with claiming that the Father abandoned Jesus, and that is that the Gospel narratives do not bear it out. Let’s examine them.

  1. Was Jesus abandoned by his Father?

John’s Gospel provides us with two very specific statements from Jesus about his coming death – and the shock is that Jesus categorically states says that he would not be left alone by the Father. Continue reading “The Gospel Narrative: Never Alone”

The Monster God debate (& review by Rob Grayson)

Although we watched the “Monster God or Monster Man” debate between Dr Michael Brown and Brian Zahnd some time ago, we only recently stumbled across this interesting review of it (which contains a link to the debate). The debate is a great starting point to get a handle on the issues… and then Rob Grayson’s review provides helpful reflection.

http://www.faithmeetsworld.com/my-thoughts-on-the-monster-god-debate/

The Church in Pergamum, and Your Name (sermon)

If you like being astounded by God and being built up by a dose of pure Gospel, then set aside 54 mins and watch (or listen) to this.  Peter has profound insights and understanding that I have never seen the likes of before, and I doubt I ever will again. Bathe, soak, drown… and be renewed:

http://www.thesanctuarydenver.org/sermons/pergamum-and-your-name/

NT Wright – The Royal Revolution

This presentation from the January Series, Calvin College 2017 is well worth a listen.  Tom Wright explores what the Kingdom of God is about, and shows what is woefully missing from our Western “theories” of the atonement.

For a clear understanding of the issues as stake in this debate, the whole talk is definitely worth the investment (Tom actually starts 5 mins in). Tom is clear and persuasive.

If you don’t have time and just want a pertinent “highlight” start at 40 mins in (stopping at around 44 mins, or 49 mins):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOq2hQLqNPs

(N.B. I would challenge/disagree with his phrasing in a sentence or two, but it’s relatively minor. I still thought the talk was excellent)