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Jesus embodies the Unconditional Love of God for us.


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Posted on Oct 18, 2012 10:23:20 AM PDT
Anne Rice says:
mr. critic, why are you bringing all this talk of the Devil here?
To what purpose?
Are you a dualist?
I know that many Christians are in fact dualists. Satan is as important to them, or
more important than God. And they do not entirely trust God to win the battle they
envision over Satan.

Is this where you are coming from?

Why in a thread centered on the love of God, and Jesus as God,
do you want to talk about the Devil?

I know Jesus talked of the Devil in the N.T.
but isn't it possible to separate Jesus from the post biblical Christian obsession with Satan
and the Christian empowerment of the concept of Satan?

Posted on Oct 18, 2012 10:24:29 AM PDT
Anne Rice says:
What if Jesus' talk of the Devil and with the Devil
in the N.T. is largely metaphorical?
Isn't that conceivable?

And can we not accept that the N.T. is a flawed collection of documents,
with obvious mistakes and contradictions?

Posted on Oct 18, 2012 10:34:01 AM PDT
Anne Rice says:
I've said before and will say again: I'm not the only believer who wants to focus on Christ as love,
rather than deal with questions of the devil, sin, hell, etc.

There are many books on Amazon about and by theologians questioning traditional atonement theory.
One such book is Options on Atonement in Christian Thought by Stephen Finlan.
Here I am quoting the review material posted on Amazon in regard to this book:

Review
"Finlan expertly untangles the various concepts of atonement in the Bible and teases out their different theological assumptions and implications. While demonstrating that atonement doctrines inevitably attribute violence and injustice to God, the author argues persuasively that none of the atonement thinking in Christianity derives from the historical Jesus. As Finlan charts the spiritual and psychological damage in which atonement thinking is implicated and the human violence it can incite, he offers a theological alternative based on the teachings of Jesus. Built on solid erudition and driven by a moral purpose, Options on Atonement invites Christians to move beyond violent images of God while keeping faith with their biblical tradition." -- Robert J. Miller Professor of Religious Studies Juanita College

"Finlan's Options on Atonement in Christian Thought is an amazing tour de force that challenges its reader to keep the pieces of the doctrinal puzzle together in the way that its author has done. Beginning with a carefully nuanced survey of biblical precedents, moving through the multiplicity of Paul's images, and passing in review the insights of competing theological opinions, the author puts all the elements before the mind's eye of the reader. Then, the expression of his own evocative theory puts the pieces together and leads the reader to stand back and contemplate with awe." -- Raymond F. Collins Warren-Blanding Professor of Religion Professor of New Testament The Catholic University of America

"Stephen Finlan argues for the rejection of blood sacrifice and all related themes, such as payment of debt and penal substitution, in the Christian doctrine of salvation. Options on Atonement is an important work which should stimulate reflection and stir up theological debate. It will be of particular interest to a growing number of theologians and ethicists who are concerned to articulate and practice a theology of peacemaking. -- James G. Williams, author of The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred and editor of The Girard Reader"

There is definitely a movement among Christians today to re-evaluate historical Atonement theory.

In other words, others also want to rescue Jesus from old theological ideas about blood atonement.

Posted on Oct 18, 2012 10:42:54 AM PDT
Anne Rice says:
Another significant book on the subject is:
The Nonviolent Atonement, Second Editiion
by J. Denny Weaver.

Here I quote material from Amazon's "Book Description."

A provocative study that cuts to the very heart of Christian thought, The Nonviolent Atonement challenges the traditional, Anselmian understanding of atonement - along with the assumption that heavenly justice depends on Christ's passive, innocent submission to violent death at the hands of a cruel God. Instead J. Denny Weaver offers a thoroughly nonviolent paradigm for understanding atonement, grounded in the New Testament and sensitive to the concerns of pacifist, black, feminist, and womanist theology. While many scholars have engaged the subject of violence in atonement theology, Weaver's Nonviolent Atonement is the only book that offers a radically new theory rather than simply refurbishing existing theories. Key features of this revised and updated second edition include new material on Paul and Anselm, expanded discussion on the development of violence in theology, interaction with recent scholarship on atonement, and response to criticisms of Weaver's original work. Praise for the first edition: "The best current single volume on reconstructing the theology of atonement." - S. Mark Heim in Anglican Theological Review "Weaver provides an important contribution to atonement theories by seriously inserting the contemporary concerns of pacifist, feminist, womanist, and black theologians into the centuries-old christological conversation. . . . A provocative but faithful proposal benefiting any student of christology." - Religious Studies Review "A noteworthy contribution to the literature on the atonement. Weaver provides a useful critique of the history of atonement motifs; he does a fine job of placing Anselm's theology in its historical context; he creatively fuses a singular biblical vision from the earthly narrative of the Gospels and the cosmic perspective of the Apocalypse; and he attempts to relate discussions of the atonement to Christian social ethics." - Trinity Journal "This is a superb succinct survey and analysis of classical and contemporary theories of the atonement, ideal for students and general readers. . . . A clearly written, passionately expressed introduction to current debates on the atonement. . . . Excellent resource." - Reviews in Religion and Theology"

Again, I am hardly the only one who wants to focus on God and Jesus in terms of love.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 11:09:30 AM PDT
Anne Rice said: "I've said before and will say again: I'm not the only believer who wants to focus on Christ as love, rather than deal with questions of the devil, sin, hell, etc."

Jesus Christ came to earth to deal with the problem of sin. That was his only purpose. That was the reason he performed miracles, why He preached throughout Jerusalem, why He chose 12 disciples to give birth to the church, why He willingly died on a cross and rose again on the 3rd day.

I don't know how you can discuss Jesus Christ totally outside the context of sin and forgiveness when practically every word that came out of Jesus's mouth was on those topics. I'm starting to wonder if you have ever read the synoptic gospels or have you only read commentaries ABOUT the synoptic gospels? I don't mean to insult you or the Catholic Church in general, but there is a HUGE difference.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 11:21:38 AM PDT
Anne Rice says:
It's imperative that we discuss Jesus Christ outside of the context of sin and
forgivenness.
It's imperative that we seek to see Him in terms of love.
it's imperative that we seek to rescue him from the theology encrusted
over his story by later generations of theologians, including Augustine and Anselm,
Luther, Calvin and the like.
For twelve long years I studied the entire bible, the O.T. and the N.T.
in multiple translations.
I read the commentaries of Leon Morris, D.A. Carson, Craig S. Keener,
John P. Meir and numerous other books on the bible by scholars including
N.T. Wright, Raymond Brown, Dunn, Bauckham, Bernard Orchid, and scholars
too numerous to name.
I studied different translations, and read books of theology by Evangelical,
Anglican, and Catholic scholars, as well as books on Judaism.
I read the anti-Nicene Fathers.

I studied the history of the Jewish people from multiple sources.
I studied the history of the Roman Empire.
I read the works of Josephus, Philo of Alexandria, and Tacitus,
the works of Pliny, the works of later historians etc.

Your views reflect a strain of Protestant Christianity.
You appear deeply influenced by pessimistic Protestant thinking.
I do not find it compelling.

I am not persuaded that Luther, Calvin or other Protestant theologians got it
right about Jesus.
I respect the work of Abelard more than Anselm.
I respect Abelard more than Augustine.

There is much more than I can say but perhaps this will
provide some food for thought.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 11:36:00 AM PDT
Anne Rice says:
You said: "Jesus Christ came to earth to deal with the problem of sin. That was his only purpose. That was the reason he performed miracles, why He preached throughout Jerusalem, why He chose 12 disciples to give birth to the church, why He willingly died on a cross and rose again on the 3rd day."

I maintain that this is an outrageous and non biblical statement.

Posted on Oct 18, 2012 11:39:33 AM PDT
Anne Rice says:
I maintain that sin is no longer a useful word for talking about
human behavior. It is of no help to us at all in devising just and effective
laws in our country or anybody's country for that matter, or for working out a
penal system that protects society, deters crime and rehabilitates.

It is not a useful word for talking about human psychology or mental illness.
It is not useful in dealing with any important moral question we face today.

Sin and Guilt have had their day in the Christian system.
They have all but destroyed it.

But love endures. God endures. Jesus endures.

And moral responsibility is as vitally important today as it ever was.

Being decent, honorable, loving and respecting of others is as important as it ever was.

The love of God and Christ is bigger than organized religion and its theologians.

The Reformation must continue.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 11:48:31 AM PDT
Can the subject of Jesus Christ even be broached without the subject of sin? I submit it cannot:

Matthew 25:29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

John 3:3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Mark 2:5When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. 6But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 7Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? 8And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? 9Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? 10But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) 11I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 12And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 11:57:17 AM PDT
Anne Rice says:
The passage from Mark indicates Jesus saw himself as using metaphorical speech.
He makes that clear enough in his defense to the Scribes. The words don't matter.
What matters is that He is God.

I find many biblical passages suspect, possibly corrupt.
It is impossible to know which are historically accurate and which are not.

John 3.3. says nothing about sin.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 12:22:47 PM PDT
The paralyzed man was lowered through the roof and Jesus caused him to walk in front of a crowd. Jesus made blind men see whose neighbors knew them as blind and lame men walk whose neighbors knew them as lame. Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead after Mary, Martha, and all their friends had put him in a tomb long enough to smell. That last miracle is what caused the Jewish leaders to have Jesus arrested in the middle of the night.

Mark 2 clearly makes the case that all miracles were done so that Jesus could prove He was the Son of God and had the power to forgive if we only ask in Christ's name. THAT is the unconditional love of God for us.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 1:10:28 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
As I think I mentioned before, I believe there are many
corrupt and problematic passages in the N.T. I am not a fundamentalist
by any means.
I think Jesus is larger than "the Jesus" presented in the individual gospels.
The gospels are filled with many troubling passages as well as beautiful passages.
And Christian history indicates that almost all believers pick and choose which passages
they want to focus on in creating theologies of Jesus.

I am suggesting that Jesus can be embraced apart from Christian theologies that involve atonement, sin, blood, Hell etc.

I have no particular opinion about miracles whatsoever.

Posted on Oct 18, 2012 1:26:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 18, 2012 1:30:02 PM PDT
MLC says:
Jack Vix wrote: "But if we're all God's children then what makes Jesus so special?"

Jesus was both fully man (100 per cent human) AND fully God (100 per cent God) at the same time. That is why he and he alone can atone for sin. It's like this:

God requires a sacrifice to atone for the sin of humankind. Only a man can provide that sacrifice. At the same time, only a sin-free sacrifice can effect the atonement. This leaves us with a problem All human beings are born with sin natures. We cannot remove them ourselves. Therefore, no human being can atone for our sins. That means we are all lost to God forever -- unless a sin-free person comes along. That's Christ. And he's sin-free precisely because he is not just a man, but is also God.

As for us all being God's children, if you look at the Bible, the only time the word "children" is used of people with regard to God as father is when it's talking about those who follow him. In the broad sense of the word, everyone is his "child" because he created all life. However, our connection to him was lost at the Fall. To reconnect with him is to accept the gift of salvation from Jesus Christ. God adopts us into his family when we accept that gift. That's what makes us his children. If you reject Christ/God, you are not his child. You see it's all about relationship with the Lord. Our relationship is broken by sin, but reestablished when we accept Christ as our Saviour.

People can crab all they want about the existence of hell, but it's like this: Those who want nothing to do with God in this life will be given what they want in the next, that is, life without God. That's what hell is -- it's eternal separation from God. And people choose that of their own accord. Therefore, crabbing about God not taking them into heaven seems unfair to God as far as I'm concerned. He knows who wants to know him and he reveals himself to all the people who have a heart for him.

Look at it another way. God offers forgiveness in the person of Jesus Christ. If you reject forgiveness/Jesus, then you remain unforgiven. But again, it's the individual's choice.

When people say a loving God wouldn't send people to hell, they are refusing to understand that a sense of justice goes right along with love. I have stated this before on this site, but will state it again:

Let's say your sister and mother are raped and murdered. The rapist/murderer goes before the judge and the judge says, "I am a loving judge. Therefore, I will not punish you. You may go free."

That, in essence, is what the person who thinks God shouldn't let anybody go to hell, is saying, that God should not bring anybody to justice, but let them all get off scot-free. To me, God shows his love by NOT allowing evil and those who perpetrate it to go unpunished. I take no joy in people remaining separated from him forever and neither does he. But he has given us free will. And he WILL stand up for and vindicate the ones he loves when they are used and abused and violated by those who reject the Lord in this life. That includes those who abuse and violate Jesus Christ -- and that means all those who deny his existence, his divinity, his atonement, his gift of salvation.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 1:36:10 PM PDT
Anne Rice

Dubious stories do not increase in quality by increasing in number.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 1:54:01 PM PDT
Anne Rice says: "I am suggesting that Jesus can be embraced apart from Christian theologies that involve atonement, sin, blood, Hell etc."

That is PRECISELY how false doctrine and false teachers will fool millions. We don't have the luxury of promoting the scriptures we find beautiful and rejecting or discrediting scriptures we find troubling. There is an objective biblical truth that exists regardless of any one person's opinion, theology, doctrine, tradition, or philosophy. That objective truth can only be approached by studying the ENTIRE bible, not reading paperback books of modern men's opinions.

"I have no particular opinion about miracles whatsoever. "

Ultimately, like asking forgiveness of your sins in Christ's name, you either accept them or reject them. There will be no passive third choice.

Posted on Oct 18, 2012 1:56:37 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 18, 2012 1:57:55 PM PDT
MLC says:
Hi, Anne!

You seem to question the reliability of the Bible and feel it has many problematic areas. I have to ask who you are reading. It has been my experience that many doubters spend all their time reading material by other doubters, feeding their doubts rather than assuaging them. And many of those doubters are very poor scholars -- John Dominc Crossan, Elaine Pagels and Bart Ehrman to name just three.

I would suggest reading the following -- Craig Blomberg, Michael Licona, Norman Geisler, John Warwick Montgomery, Doug Groothuis, Richard Bauckham, F.F. Bruce, Walter Kaiser, Darrell Bock, Ravi Zacharias, Mary Jo Sharp, William Lane Craig, Craig Evans, Craig Keener -- and those are just a few of the quality scholars out there.

I have been responding to atheists for over a decade. I can honestly say that no one has ever come up with a so-called error or contradiction that doesn't have a logical, intelligent, valid explanation. Most of them stem from ignorance of the original languages, misunderstanding of the Law of Contradiction, failure to understand the cultural time period and the literary genres of the age in which the books were written and, most common, taking verses out of context and completely changing their meanings.

There are so many sites that address these so-called "problem" areas including these:

http://www.apologeticspress.org/
The Christian Think Tank
Tektonics.org

If you want a site for one-stop shopping that will lead you to literally dozens of excellent scholars and resources, then check out Apologetics315.

I also recommend Bible.org for all kinds of material -- again, by accredited scholars.

Other sites you might enjoy are:

Stand to Reason
Pleaseconvinceme.com
Reasonablefaith.org
Let My People Think

I hope those help clear up any misconceptions about Scripture.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 1:57:20 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
I don't believe any of this.
Your assertions here reflect morbid and rigid theologies developed long after Jesus lived, died, and rose,
and have been refuted and rejected by many.

Let's take one of your paragraphs: "God requires a sacrifice to atone for the sin of humankind. Only a man can provide that sacrifice. At the same time, only a sin-free sacrifice can effect the atonement. This leaves us with a problem All human beings are born with sin natures. We cannot remove them ourselves. Therefore, no human being can atone for our sins. That means we are all lost to God forever -- unless a sin-free person comes along. That's Christ. And he's sin-free precisely because he is not just a man, but is also God."

Says who? Anselm?

God never says he requires the sacrifice of a man or a sinless man to atone for sin anywhere in the Hebrew bible. Before you make this kind of absolute statement, you ought to be able to cite some reference for this from within Scripture itself. There is none.

And the Christian bible --- and these atonement claims --- are supposed to be dependent on the O.T. and the N.T. ---- But again, nothing in the O.T. supports such a statement.

God never says anything about "sin free" sacrifices anywhere.
And certainly he says nothing about a man sacrificing himself.

This is something made up by Christian theologians. Patently dishonest, and patently
seeking to rationalize the fact that Christ was crucified.

And why do you assert that without this sinless jesus sacrifice we would be lost to God forever? That certainly isn't based on the O.T. That's perfectly outrageous. God is with his people all through the O.T. His people are never lost to Him and He is never lost to them.
Read the O.T. line by line before you make statements like this.
God Himself spoke to his people from Sinai, and later from the Tent of Meeting. He didn't say anything about wanting a sinless human sacrifice for sin.
He himself leads the Israelites with a pillar of fire.

Again these are all late Christian theological assertions and they have nothing to do with the the Jewish bible and very little if anything to do with the N.T.

Why anybody buys this sort of thing I cannot imagine.
I urge people: do not listen to this. Do not accept this kind of thing without reading the bible cover to cover. None of this makes sense.

It does not take a genius to think this through, and reject it out of hand. It takes only some one with an open mind who is willing to question all the layers of dusty theology that men have laid down over the Christian story.

That you present this as something "revealed" is offensive really.

I know you mean well, but please think about the ease with which you've made these outrageous statements about God which cannot be backed up by Scripture.

Let me remind you that in the time of Christ and for centuries before he came Jews recited the Schema every day: it goes like this.

Hear O Israel, the Lord Our God Is One.
You must love Him with your whole heart, and your whole mind, and your whole soul,
and love your neighbor as yourself for the love of God.

Now that is a vigorous and beautiful statement of Jewish spirituality and love for God.
There is nothing there, absolutely nothing, to support or forecast
the grim, diseased thinking of later Christian atonement theory.

Forgive me if my language is shocking, but people really should consider rescuing
Jesus from these preposterous claims.

The Jews....or human beings in general ....were never "lost to God forever."
The idea is ridiculous.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 2:00:25 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
I'm sorry. I don't agree with your statements.
Anyone who has spent time in this Forum knows that people here
cannot come to any agreement on any "objective truth" from Scripture.
The Christian world has never involved any consensus on "objective truth" based on
Scripture.

Everyone picks and chooses.

And indeed Jesus is more important than the quarrel over this or that passage in
Scripture, or the discussion over what this or that passage means.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 2:07:02 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
Thank you for your advice. I have read many of the believer scholars you mention
and particularly admire Craig S. Keener.
I do not care for most of the skeptics, and do not think they are good scholars.

I do not accept the Christian Belief system or Atonement Theory.

But I do believe faith in God and Jesus are entirely possible.
God and Jesus are not the property of any one theological tradition or sect.
I rejected the Christian Belief system in the name of Jesus.

I notice you did not include N.T. Wright in your list. I found his books particularly moving
and beautiful.
I thought Richard Bauckham's book on the Four Gospels refuting "the community" theories was excellent.
I have read too many other scholars to mention here.

My reviews of many Christian scholarly works are scattered on Amazon.

Keener remains for me the finest scholar on the strength of his majesterial commentaries
on Matthew and John. Keener is always and forever my first recommendation in biblical scholarship due to his humility, his clarity and his extensive knowledge of Jewish and Roman and Greek literature.
I have to catch up with his more recent books.

Again, I do not believe the Christian Belief System or Atonement theory.

I think Jesus is bigger than the traditional theologies, and look to those scholars who are rejecting them for the development of newer and more valid visions of the Incarnation.

Jesus will most certainly survive the crisis now in Christianity and Christology.
But this will inevitably involve a new understanding of the Incarnation.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 2:07:15 PM PDT
Every believer who enters heaven will then find out the "objective" truth. None of us will have it all accurate. Some will be more accurate than others. Just because it's impossible to have the complete truth doesn't mean we shouldn't earnestly seek it.

Jesus is of supreme importance. We know Him by His Words. Scripture can only be clarified by other scripture. It's a difficult and tedious process. But it's well worth the effort.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 2:14:17 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
Jesus is much much much more important than Atonement theory.

It's time for more "reformation," for another deep critical and stringent study of
Scripture.

Protestants regard the ideas of the original Reformers as "infallible" just as Catholics
regard their pope as infallible.

Time to think about it all anew.

Christ is for all, and looms above all this.
He cannot be contained and disciplined and controlled by theologians.

Posted on Oct 18, 2012 2:29:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 18, 2012 2:33:32 PM PDT
MLC says:
Anne Rice wrote: "Again these are all late Christian theological assertions and they have nothing to do with the the Jewish bible and very little if anything to do with the N.T."

I'm sorry, Anne, but the ideas I have presented here represent what the Bible says and what orthodox Christianity has taught right from the start, beginning with Jesus and those who wrote their accounts of his life and those who wrote the many letters that are found in the New Testament.

Again, I have to say, I'm sorry, Anne, but what you believe has nothing to do with what the Bible actually says or what Christianity is all about -- what it has always been about. You have been sucked in by the Bart Ehrmans and John Dominic Crossans of the world. I am just finishing a Master's in theology and have been studying apologetics for years. I also have a degree in history and understand the historical process.

The idea that the Christianity we have today wasn't touted until several centuries later is a complete myth. I know this because I have studied it. In fact, he Areopagus Journal just did an entire issue about this which I just read last week in which it totally debunked the idea. I suggest that you get your hands on it. You can order it here:

http://www.arcapologetics.org/areopagus%20back%20issues.htm

It's only $8. Please, please, please buy it, read it and see why what you're saying simply isn't true.

Again, I have to ask -- what commentaries are you using to help you understand what you are reading in the Bible? Let's take just one of your statements, for example. You say the Old Testament says nothing about the sacrifice being sin-free. Yes, it does. It calls for "unblemished" sacrifices. But the animals sacrifices only covered people's sins. They did not remove them. That's why Christ came.

Mr. critic is right. If you throw out hell, the atonement, etc., you are throwing out the Bible, orthodox Christianity and the very person of Jesus Christ. You claim that other people have created their own ideas about Jesus, about the atonement, etc. Yes, they have and you have bought into them. You are trying to make God and Jesus be who you want them to be. You are interpreting the Bible to say what you want it to say. You're practising eisegesis instead of exegesis.

This is why I encourage people to read REAL scholars and seek guidance from the Holy Spirit as well as study the work of people who are born-again and Spirit-filled. Let's take a look at just one of your statements:

"And why do you assert that without this sinless jesus sacrifice we would be lost to God forever? That certainly isn't based on the O.T. That's perfectly outrageous. God is with his people all through the O.T. His people are never lost to Him and He is never lost to them."

Because it's what the Bible says. In fact, it's what Jesus himself says here: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). Your fight isn't with me. It's with Jesus himself. Nobody is saved except through Christ.

But here's the thing you're missing, Anne. Jesus' atonement is retroactive. It includes all those saints of the Old Testament who believed in the the one true God and the promise of the Messisah. But again, if you studied the Bible and read good scholars, you would know that.

I have obviously hit a nerve with you. I'm sorry you're so upset. But I have been studying this for years and I know what I'm talking about. What you are saying is a pack of lies, fed by the devil, not by the Holy Spirit.

You keep saying that there are other people out there who don't accept orthodox Christianity. Yes, there are. But that doesn't make them right. Nor does it justify your refusal to accept orthodox Christianity. It strikes me you have made up your mind and you are totally unwilling to accept anything that doesn't line up with the beliefs you hold. That's your privilege.

God bless you, mr. critic, for your patience in your responses, and for your correct understanding and use of Scripture here.

Posted on Oct 18, 2012 2:41:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 18, 2012 2:41:59 PM PDT
MLC says:
Anne Rice wrote: "Protestants regard the ideas of the original Reformers as "infallible" just as Catholics regard their pope as infallible."

I'm a Protestant and I don't. And I don't know any Protestants in my circle who do. I think this is, at best, a gross generalization.

Anne Rice wrote: "Jesus is much much much more important than Atonement theory."

What? An ethical leader? A moralist? A story-teller? What?

Here's what Jesus said of himself: "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45).

That's why he came -- to atone for our sins so that we wouldn't have to spend eternity separated from him. He himself states that.

Why did he do it? For one reason. Out of love.

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." (1 John 3:16).

It's all about love. It's all about being in a loving relationship with Jesus. It's all about accepting his gift of salvation.

To deny it and to suggest people don't need Jesus to open the door to God is to insult the Lord and mock him.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 2:57:32 PM PDT
Anne Rice says:
I urge you to read through the earlier posts in this thread.
I'm no fan of Crossan, by the way. Never have been.

I explained to you what commentaries I most value.
I explained that Craig Keener was my top choice and recommendation.
And that I value the books of N.T. Wright.
I do not agree with anyone's brand of Atonement theory.
Not Anselm's, not Luther's or Calvin's.

It is time now for a complete revision of these theories.
We no longer need to be embarrassed by the crucifixion,
and we no longer need to be making cases for Christian Supercessionism.
And there is absolutely no need anymore to constantly insult and disparage Jews, and
Jesus' own Jewish roots and family.

It's time to really engage the Incarnation.

Your credentials are impressive but so are those of all kinds of biblical scholars
and Scriptural theologians, who disagree with each other on many things. Again,
reference the books I listed and discussed above.

You've made outrageous assertions here. Of course you have a long paper trail,
but the Old Testament isn't part of that paper trail, is it? And that's your central problem, just as it has been for Christians for generations.
You've bought into a religion founded on falsehoods, contradictions and absurdities,
a system that tried to make sense of Christ's death by making up things about Him and
about God the Father.

I understand why you feel qualified to state your particular brand of atonement theory as if it were fact. But you're wrong.

Read the O.T. from cover to cover. There is simply no justification anywhere in the O.T. for the outrageous statements of Paul, or Augustine, or Anselm --- when it comes to sin or atonement theory.

What in the world do you think was going on in the mind of God
when He gave the Law from Sinai, or the Tent of Meeting? ARe
we to presume he was playing with his people, lying to them?

What do you think was his intention in engaging with Abraham over "how many just men"
might prevent the destruction of the cities of the plain? Was he joking with some one he regarded as "forever lost?"

What in the world was God thinking when he spoke to Cain?
What was he thinking when the angel wrestled with Jacob?

What is this "lost forever" stuff all about?

Look, I'm familiar with the theories you've discussed. Very familiar. More familiar perhaps than you can imagine. I earnestly studied them for years seeking to find some way to accept them. Have heard them in one form or another since I was a little child.

They aren't true.
They don't make sense.
God the Father is God ---- not a bumbling idiot who rushed away from his creation because of the mistake of two newly made humans misled by a talking snake. God does not "need" anything or anyone, let alone His own son to be crucified to "reconcile" Him with his people.
The idea is insulting and blasphemous.

What you're saying seriously makes no sense. And it made no sense when Anselm said it.

Take a hard look it.

The O.T. simply does not support the contentions of the N.T. or the later outrageous atonement theories piled on the embarrassment of Christ's crucifixion.

Jesus will go on drawing people to Him.
He will do this even though Christianity is in decline and in bad repute
all over the world. He will do this even though the vast majority of people are
turning away from conventional churches and dusty conventional theologies.

We have to ask ourselves why that is.

And please don't presume anymore that you know whom I have read or not read
and who has influenced me.
Don't irritate me, please, with the mention of Dominic Crossan. Can't abide the man!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 3:01:09 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Nov 5, 2012 5:32:13 PM PST]
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Discussion in:  Christianity forum
Participants:  49
Total posts:  1285
Initial post:  Oct 17, 2012
Latest post:  Jan 20, 2013

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