Understanding the Atonement

The New Testament describes the defeat of sin and death and the devil. Historic explanations have missed this focus by picturing atonement as removing an obstacle located in a singular person (God, humans, the devil) when all three are involved in the construct which the cross addresses. Continue reading “Understanding the Atonement”

Destruction of Democracy

The scapegoating of Christ pronounced by Caiaphas is the height of political genius and definitive of majority rule. It is this evil that Christ came to defeat. Paul uses Rene Girard to explain scapegoating, the way it consumes all in its wake and how it is exposed by Christ.

The New Testament puts on display the logic and workings of human politics and shows us the logic at the center of human political strategy.

Music: Bensound

The Problem of the One and the Many Solved Through Christ

How are we made right? In that we are found faithful inasmuch as we are found to be in Christ. He is the one who is faithful to the covenant. So we do ethics not as a separate part of our Christianity, as if “We got saved now and maybe we can be good on top of that.” The point is that Jesus’ goodness, his faithfulness, his walking in the way he did constitutes a faithfulness to the covenant. And our participation in his faithfulness is a participation in walking the way he walked. Our ethic is not an additive to salvation. Our ethic is our salvation. Too strong? Salvation is something you practice.

Music: Bensound

Karl Barth and Analogia Entis with Jonathan Totty

Paul and Jonathan Totty have a conversation about Karl Barth and his engagement with Eric Przywara on perhaps the most important theological conversation of the 20th century, analogia entis, the analogy of being.
Music: Bensound

Christus Victor

Christ came to defeat sin death and the devil. This is inclusive of an overcoming of blinded minds so that we can now apprehend the working of sin in and through the principalities and powers.

In other words this perverse kind of Christianity is just one more ideology that is used to justify the self. At the heart of the problem is the very doctrine of the cross of Christ. Anselm’s doctrine of divine satisfaction that is an exchange between the Father and Son tends to leave out the human reality—that is an exchange within the Trinity does not picture what is happening in the New Testament. Calvin’s picture of penal substitution takes it a step further so that the God of the Bible is often portrayed like a kind of pagan deity demanding violent sacrifice. So we lose an understanding in this of the real-world difference that Christ makes in the reality of our own lives—that there are two kingdoms/logics/ways of thinking. So there is a kind of moral failure and intellectual failure in what often passes for Christianity today. What I’d like to talk about today is the meaning of the death of Christ as it is portrayed in the Bible. What we will see is that the way it is often talked about tends to mystify something that is not actually mystical.

Music: Bensound

A Nearly Unbreakable Relationship

Carlyle King, a man with autism, and Mario Puentes, the parent of a child with autism, share a friendship that they call “a nearly unbreakable relationship.”  In this podcast, they discuss how their friendship has overcome the loneliness of autism and brought hope to both of their families. At Forging Ploughshares, we think the practice of healthy presence and acceptance they describe is a wonderful model of the way the peaceable kingdom works to bring different people together and an example of the practice of friendship with the other.

Music: Bensound

The Story of Theology: II

Paul continues to tell the story of theology.

Because we have to ask ourselves “What is the role of Christ, the role of salvation, what does it mean to read the New Testament?” That’s really what I’m aiming at, “Why read the Bible?”  I’m afraid that the reason that we read the Bible and the way that we do salvation is very much that we’re just going to have Jesus fill the gap, that he’s going to be one more product, or that he’s going to hold out fullness in some way. Is that the role of Christ, or is it to reveal the deception of this entire construct, and undo it?

Music: Bensound

Get Comfortable in Exile: The Now and Not Yet of Being God’s People

Many people quote Jeremiah 29:11 (“For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you…”), but few read vss. 1-10, in which we find God’s people stuck in a difficult place, a pagan nation. The Gospel is not merely a promise of future escape, nor is it merely a system of “making the world better.” It is, instead, a kingdom which we live in the now as we look forward to God’s “not yet.”

Music: Bensound