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

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

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

Salvation from Perversion and Agonism

By not recognizing Paul’s description of the perverse there is a “Christianity” that remains perverse to its core. Salvation is freedom from both perversion and agonism and this alternative subjectivity is salvation. The move from one form of subject to the other as a description of salvation offers an alternative to atonement theories focused on the law.

Music: Bensound

Passing Through Atheism

Paul explains how we can learn from the atheists to reject a certain understanding of God and thus come to know God as He truly is.

Is there a God we need to refuse as we come to the God revealed in Christ? Is, in fact, our conception of God, inasmuch as it is not shaped by the person and work of Christ, likely to stand in the way of a relationship to who God really is? Let me state it, overstate it perhaps, this way: do we need to pass through a kind of atheism? To refuse the belief in a certain understanding of God that we might recognize the God of the Bible?

Music: Bensound

Romans 8 – The Hope of God

An exposition of Romans 8 as God’s hope (the hope that God has) that exposes the escapism inherent in our dualistic understanding of humanity. Suffering has meaning not because we hope to escape the physical world, but because God is seeking to restore that world. The groaning of this world is a suffering that will “bear much fruit.”

God himself is in the place of having planted a garden and is hoping, awaiting, for the fruit of the garden to come. And so, too, history for God is unfolding. It is a real world that is coming to bear fruit in the Kingdom of God. This is a strange notion for us because in a kind of scholastic or philosophical understanding that often gets fused with the New Testament, the idea that history is real and that things are unfolding even for God himself is out of court—it just doesn’t fit with an Aristotelian notion of an“Unmoved Mover.”

Music: Bensound

Romans 8, Life in the Trinity

Paul talks about life in the trinity from Romans 8.

You know, we often hear people say this that ‘Christ’s death defeats death,’ but can we say that we know exactly how—‘how does it do that?’ Well, once we understand that ‘death’ is the form of ‘life’ outside of Christ, that people’s lives are controlled by this absolute that is posited, and then Christ exposes that it’s not an absolute—that the enemy controlled it as some sort of door or mystery, that it is the fear of death as pictured in Hebrews—the punishing effects of sin and death are finished…the announcement in Romans 8 is that ‘living death’ is undone in Christ.

Music: Bensound