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Friday, March 11, 2016

Was Christ Punished for Our Sin?

Was Christ Punished for Our Sin?
That's what the classic doctrine called "penal substitutionary atonement" teaches. We sinned. This incurred the righteous wrath of God. The only way to placate that wrath is to make the sinner pay the just punishment for sin. God in Christ took that punishment on himself as our substitute.

Despite its biblical basis (see Isaiah 53, especially "the punishment that brought us peace was on him"), the doctrine has run into hard times. That is due in part to how it's been perverted sometimes, so that God punishes his Son for the sins of the world—making the Father into a child abuser. In fact, in the biblical picture, God takes the punishment upon himself through the Son. Still, the idea of punishment does not sit well in the modern mind. Christ dying in our stead so we can live eternally, yes. Christ suffering the experiential (versus judicial) consequences of sin in our stead, yes. Christ defeating the powers of darkness on the cross, yes. But crucifixion as punishment—that seems primitive.

This may suggest that the different theories of atonement are not right or wrong, but in God's providence, reflect different aspects of the multifaceted diamond called grace.
That Thing Candidates Do
Debate is one of the most misleading words in America today. That word is used to describe what candidates do when they share a stage in front of TV cameras. The word actually means "a formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward." Not a raucous gathering where grown men hurl insults at one another. This is one reason this author suggests banning political debates, at least for the primaries.
What Nothing Sounds Like
This TED video, featuring comedian Will Stephen, purports to be about nothing. It's actually a satire on oral communication today, especially at venues like TED. Back in the day, Marshall McLuhan famously said, "The medium is the message." And while that is not always or completely true, it's truer than we like to believe. If a speaker uses these common rhetorical devices, we're more likely to be sympathetic. We're more likely to like him and call his talk memorable—even when we can't quite remember the content of his talk.
Worth noting...
- My latest attempt to put the election in evangelical perspective.

- Andy Stanley explains why he called some parents selfish if they don't attend a megachurch.

- Leith Anderson and Ed Stetzer introduce a new way to define evangelical, which hopefully will lead to less confusion about how the media use the term (which is wrong over half the time, in my anecdotal experience).
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor, Christianity Today

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