UPDATE November 2008– Steve Chalke has expressed his views more fully in a chapter in The Atonement Debate, and I have posted a response to this.
Following my discussion of the Steve Chalke controversy I have been examining this theory of the cross being “cosmic child abuse”. It is not unique to Chalke and more common than you might think. For example in The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey on page 256 stated that “… Calvary would go down in history as a form of cosmic child abuse” if it wasnt the case “in some mystic sense” that God himself also suffered on the cross. The fact that Jesus is God and God is one seems almost lost on Yancey. In actual fact, God was IN JESUS on the cross, so was punishing himself for our sins.
Eugene Rogers in Sexuality and the Christian Body: Their Way into the Triune God (Challenges in Contemporary Theology)
p266 “Facile references to the cross and the eucharist domesticate and prettify violence, too easily dispensing sublimation and forgiveness, overlooking the necessity of judgment and change of life, turning redemption to cosmic child abuse”
Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore in Let the Children Come : Reimagining Childhood from a Christian Perspective (Families and Faith Series)page 38 “Particularly appalling is the traditional view that God is responsible for Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice on the cross. This depiction of “divine” or “cosmic child abuse,” as some have named it, wrongly exalts suffering and paves the way for parental mistreatment. God condones and even requires suffering as essential to salvation”
The Solace of Leaving Early by HAVEN KIMMEL page 231 “… in the story of Jesus of Nazareth that rang of cosmic child abuse. It was a cult of death: in the end there was no symbol in human history more disconcerting….than Jeus on the cross.”
Yes the cross is disconcerting, disturbing, even a stumbling block. But it always has been and always will be. To rob it of its offence we are in danger of attempting to rob it of its power. But the simple cross of Jesus will not be robbed of its power. The preaching of the old old gospel will continue to bear fruit even in this “post modern” world.