Siding with Jesus on the Cross

Making sense of the cross has been the church’s business since the day Jesus died. It’s way of making sense was to theorize or, to put the matter more delicately, to theologize — even if Zinsser taught me long ago that adding -ize to a word is a shortcut. Indeed, maybe so, but the church [Read More…]

For the Earliest Christians, the Cross was Central

Think about it, the two Big Ones in the church, baptism and eucharist, are participations and witnesses to the death of Jesus. Mike Bird is right, then, when he says “the first Christians preached, remembered, and ordered their lives around the story of the cross” (Evangelical Theology, 385). But how to understand that cross? How [Read More…]

Atonement Debates

When I was a seminary student the atonement battle, as we were taught it, was between CH Dodd, who turned propitiation (the wrath of God pacified) into expiation (the sin of humans removed), and LL Morris, whose dissertation was published and republished and republished as The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross. Morris was a strong defender [Read More…]

Earliest Atonement Theories

In the deepest and earliest Christian creed, what can be called the gospel creed, here’s how atonement is expressed: For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was [Read More…]

How did Jesus understand his death?

How Did Jesus Understand His Own Death? Brian Zahnd A question for Good Friday: How did Jesus understand his own death? What meaning did Jesus give to his crucifixion? Did Jesus have a “theology of the cross”? Jesus repeatedly predicted his own death by crucifixion to his inner-circle of disciples, but did Jesus ever speak [Read More…]

The (True?) Story of the Cross (RJS)

Holy Week culminating in Easter Sunday is the pivotal week and powerful week in the Christian calendar because it remembers and celebrates the central events in the Christian story- crucifixion and resurrection. The next two chapters of Tim Keller’s book €™ The Reason for God focus on these two events – crucifixion (Ch. 12) and [Read More…]

Good Friday: Mary Ponders

This guest post is by Shannon Claussen: Through the Eyes of Mary I move slowly, with weary anticipation, to see my son. My gaze drops down towards my sandals, the stitching is coming unraveled, and one thread in particular is barely hanging on, about to let go; it is a mirror of my emotional self. [Read More…]

Fuller Atonement Conference

Rich Mouw, President of Fuller Seminary and notable theologian, hosted four professors at a conference on the atonement — the issues continue to swirl around atonement. The four speakers were Daniel Kirk, Leanne Van Dyk, Vince Bacote and me. Besides being on Fuller’s marvelous seminary and seeing friends — like David Moore and Kurt Fredrickson [Read More…]

On Divine Child Abuse

About a decade ago it became avant garde theology to contend the classical Christian theory of atonement was nothing less than divine child abuse. That is, the image of a Father punishing a Son, or exacting retribution at the expense of his own Son, or punishing a Son for the good of others — each [Read More…]

“The Wrath of God Satisfied”

The title for this post comes from the line in the hymn that has this before it: “And on that Cross, where Jesus died.” We’ve got rhythm and we’ve got rhyme, but do we have NT theology? Back in the 1950s and 1960s C.H. Dodd and L.L. Morris locked horns on this one: Dodd said [Read More…]