God Can’t Be In The Presence of Sin? (And Other Crap About God We Mindlessly Repeat)

Growing up evangelical, you’ve probably heard this answer to the question, “Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?” “Well, Johnny or Susie, it’s because God can’t be in the presence of sin.” They will often go on to explain how sin is so intolerable to God, that he can’t be anywhere near it. [Read More…]

Some Problems I Have With Penal Substitution Theology of Atonement

If penal substitution is true, God is not unlike other ancient, blood-thirsty god. In church we often sing worship songs with themes and phrases that say, “there is none like you!” I believe those songs are beautiful, because it’s true– there is no God like our God. But if penal substitution is true, God isn’t [Read More…]

No, Jesus Wasn’t Born To Die (The Part of the Christmas Story We Screw Up)

For those of us who grew up in conservative or even moderate versions of Christianity, the Christmas story often begins with a pretty twisted premise: Jesus was born to die. It’s as if the entire purpose of his life was to die. We find this idea in Christmas songs, Christmas sermons, and all sorts of [Read More…]

The Cross Is… (Philosophical Reflections on Calvary)

This is post 2 of 3 on philosophical reflections on the cross by pastor and philosopher, Jeff Cook … How we see the cross matters. Benjamin L. Corey here wrote, “the character of God we think we see on the cross becomes our foundation of understanding who God is.” Is the cross required to keep [Read More…]

Old Testament Law: The Accuser Christ Defeated on the Cross

This month we’ve been talking all things atonement as we prepare for Holy Week to arrive. So far we’ve deconstructed the Penal Substitution theory of the atonement on various grounds, and I have offered the suggestion that perhaps the Devil is the missing link (the agent of causation) within many atonement theories. Finally, I have suggested [Read More…]

The One Word That Could Change Your View of the Atonement

We’ve spent the last few posts deconstructing aspects of the Penal Substitution theory of the atonement that so many of us grew up with (series archive, here). Today we turn away from the necessary deconstruction and begin reformulating a healthy view of the atonement. When I was doing my graduate work at Gordon-Conwell before going [Read More…]

If Jesus Had To Die Before We Could Be Forgiven, I Have A Few More Questions

Today we wrap up the deconstruction portion of my atonement series (you can find the rest, here) which thus far has looked at problems I see with the Penal Substitution theory of the atonement. In this final deconstruction post, I present the lingering questions Penal Substitution brings up in my mind. In our next post, I will [Read More…]

Blood Sacrifices? But God Didn’t Even Like Blood Sacrifices!

Continuing my series on theology of the atonement, we continue discussion of the issue of a blood sacrifice. The other day I noted that if God had demanded the blood sacrifice of a perfect, sinless human, he would not be all that different from Pagan deities who demanded blood to appease them. Many, of course, find [Read More…]

If God Needed A Blood Sacrifice For Sin, God Is Not Holy

I grew up on the Three Stooges. Saturday mornings on the farm my grandfather would take a rare break from work and often sit down to watch them with me, in what has become a fond memory of my grandfather. I’m sure by the time I hit puberty I had seen probably every stooges episode [Read More…]

3 Reasons To Question & Rethink Your Theology of the Cross (Atonement Series)

As we now turn a corner during the season of Lent, we begin to look towards the climactic end of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Each year as we approach this season, I find myself rethinking the cross. Not whether or not it happened, but rethinking the significance. As the years have gone by and [Read More…]