Thursday, April 13, 2006

Addicted to Easter

UPI Column

Have a joyful weekend, wherever you are.


1 comment:

Jim said...

You are correct that in this parable of the wicked tenants there is no indication that the Son's death atones for anyone's sins. Further, in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) very little is said about Jesus dying in the place of sinners.

However, there are a few such references in the Synoptics contrary to the claim of the theologian you read who argues "that Christianity's doctrine of a substitutionary death for our atonement is not found in Jesus's teachings themselves."

The Gospel of Mark, which most biblical scholars believe was the first Gospel written, records Jesus saying, "For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (10:45). That statement sounds very much like substitutionary atonement.

Additionally, all three synoptic Gospels give an account of Jesus's words at the Last Supper. They all pretty much record Jesus saying the same thing when he passes the cup of wine. Matthew records Jesus saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (28:27b-28; cf. Mark 14:24 and Luke 22:20).

Of course one can play the doubters game of the Jesus Seminar folks and insist that these words were added by the church since Jesus was not the Son of God, but rather a sage, coincidently much in the image of the Jesus Seminar people.

But I, along with the Christian Church and its many fine scholars such as Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright, find Christ, the Son of God, who laid down his life for the sins of the world, in the New Testament.

May you and those readers who agree with your theology rethink the words that the angel spoke to Joseph in his dream: "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus [Joshua in Hebrew, meaning 'savior'], for he will save his people from their sins." That savior came to "give his life a ransom for many."

Christmas Season 2007