Re: [asa] Saving Christianity WAS Appeasing TE?

From: George Murphy <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>
Date: Fri Dec 26 2008 - 08:23:21 EST

John -

The question you raise of the extent to which the Christian message should focus on the life of Jesus as well as on the cross--resurrection event, is one that's gotten a good deal of attention recently. You certainly have a point - what happened on Calvary was not simply the crucifixion of some someone about whom we know nothing further but of a man of Israel who proclaimed the nearness of the kingdom of God and the forgiveness, lived out of complete trust in & obedience to God as his Father and who showed unqualified love and care for those in need. He was killed because of that kind of life, and the eschatological significance of the resurrection means that that kind of life gives us a glimpse of God's purpose for creation. It's unfortunate (though understandable in view of the process of their formation) that the creeds jump immediately from "born of the Virgin Mary" to "crucified under Pontius Pilate," vital as both those confessions are. It would have been better to include some brief phrase summarizing Jesus' life like the one in Peter's sermon in Acts 10:38, "he went about doing good." (I'm not proposing a formal amendment of the ecumenical creeds.)

At the same time we have to be aware that some folks who want to give more emphasis to Jesus' life and teachings do so because they don't think that his death had any redemptive effect. (In addition of course the resurrection, in anything like the sense that Christians have believed, may be denied.) Jesus can't be allowed to be made simply a member of the Great Teachers Club. While Jesus' teachings and actions during his life should be examples and motivations for the lives of Christians, the reason that we are Christians stems from the faith that the one who taught and did those things was crucified and raised.

Shalom
George
http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Walley" <john_walley@yahoo.com>
To: <mrb22667@kansas.net>
Cc: <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Thursday, December 25, 2008 10:12 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Saving Christianity WAS Appeasing TE?

> Merv,
>
> I hope your son pulls through with his ankle.
>
> After some additional thought, I know you were echoing George's idea that all our understanding of God's revelation to us including His creation has to be focused on the cross and this goes for our apologetics as well. I agree and have come to see the wisdom of this and appreciate it now but I think we should refine it a bit more.
>
> Your earlier comment about what saves Christianity was the redeeming work of Christ on the cross and I agree it comes down to that, but that still seems a little too narrow to me. I am eternally grateful that Jesus died for me and all mankind but it wasn't only his death that mattered. His life should count too. He could have gone straight from being a carpenter to the cross but He didn't. He went around teaching and preaching for three years before he did so and it was for a reason and we need to keep that in mind.
>
> If we expanded the essence of Christianity to be both the life and death of Jesus Christ instead of just His death, then I think we would include the aspects of truth that concern me and also preserve the important aspects of His death that you highlighted. So I would venture to suggest that maybe this expanded focus should be the basis for our apologetics as well to include these truth matters.
>
> Thanks
>
> John

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Received on Fri Dec 26 08:24:21 2008

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