Who killed Jesus?

Reading the New Testament I am struck by just how many times it records the hostility of the Jewish leaders towards Jesus. There was already enmity between the Pharisees and John the Baptist (Jn 1:24-25),with the questioning of John’s right to preach repentance. They were so intent on protecting their own authority, that the Jewish leaders were thus also riled from the moment Jesus’ ministry began, at first just hostile (Mk 2:6-7, Mk 3:2, Jn 2:18) and then, very early on, bringing the knives out (Jn 5:18, Luke 4:28-29).

The Gospel record of this murderous intent of the chief priests, elders and teachers of the law is extensive:

Continue reading “Who killed Jesus?”

Aristotelian influence on Calvinism

An article exploring the inherent problems in fusing an Aristotelian doctrine of God with the teaching of the Bible about the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For those who are interested in exploring how Calvinism moved away from Calvin’s warm-hearted God this is a fascinating article. In it James B Torrance illustrates how using Aristotelian distinctions plus confusion over the nature of covenants, and wrongfully applying these to God lead to contra-Biblical conclusions e.g. that justice is the essential attribute of God, but the love of God is arbitrary.

https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/eq/1983-2_083.pdf

“The doctrine of the Incarnation is not that an impassible God came in Jesus Christ. It is that God came as man in Christ and ‘suffered under Pontius Pilate’.  Continue reading “Aristotelian influence on Calvinism”

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”