The Priority of Christ, Part Two

One of my deepest concern for Christians today, expressed in my post yesterday, is not widely shared by many in the North American church, whether Catholic or Protestant, mainline or evangelical. In fact, I have discovered only a few single-minded souls (e.g. friends such as Leonard Sweet, Joseph Girzone, David Bryant come to mind here) who are currently speaking prophetically … Read More

The Priority of Christ, Part One

In 1956 a group of British theologians chose to honor the twentieth century’s greatest theologian, Karl Barth, with a collection of Essays in Christology. They chose this theme because Barth was a champion for high Christology but also because but because the editors and contributors believed the very heart of Christian theology was Christology, the doctrine of Christ. I believe we … Read More

The Light That Shines Upon Us

The Gospel of Luke reveals to us an angelic prophecy regarding the birth of John the Baptist that was given to Zechariah. I never read this text (Luke 1:5-25) without imagining what it would have been like to go about one’s priestly service in the days of Herod only to have “an angel (later said to be Gabriel in verse … Read More

The Scapegoat Who Finally Removes All Our Sin – Part Two

The four Gospels describe in specific detail how Jesus died during the Passover Feast, not Yom Kippur. So how do we explain this (seeming) problem? I submit that the date on the Jewish calendar was Passover when he died but the events that transpired look exactly like the Old Testament Day of Atonement. Let me explain. Jesus is arrested and … Read More

How the Enlightenment Took the Church Away from Jesus & Him Crucified

The ancient church did not debate ideas about “appeasing the wrath of God through Christ’s death.” The Christ they worshiped, as we’ve seen, was the victor over the powers. They expressed this in their worship. This can also be discovered in their hymns, in baptism, in their preaching, at the eucharist, and in the recorded prayers of the earliest Christians. … Read More

Ancient-Future Faith: What Has It to Do with the Atonement?

The Holy Spirit seems to be working new convictions –based on ancient ideas about God, Christ and the Holy Spirit – into the younger evangelical generation. My generation was attracted to the details of mastering a theological system and often thought in either/or terms about what was true and false. I was trained by evangelicals who were drawn to the … Read More

How Shall We Understand the Atonement?

It must be stated, before we even consider several of the ways Christians have traditionally understood the atonement (the meaning of Christ’s death) and its relationship to our sin(s), that all Christians believe this great central truth – Christ’s death reconciles us to God. Whatever else you read, or think you hear me saying in the next few days, please … Read More

The Atonement Debate: “Why Did Christ Die?” Part 3

The centrality of Christ’s death on the cross has influenced everything we believe as Christians. Make no mistake about this simple fact. Even our language is influenced, giving us words like “crucial,” which literally means “pertaining to the cross.” When we say something is crucial we are making the point that this is central to our belief, argument or practice. … Read More