Symbols, Actions, and Idolatry
| | | | |

Symbols, Actions, and Idolatry

I encountered a question recently that I’d like to explore a bit. The question comes in three parts, or perhaps with three perspectives. When God commanded the Israelites to look to the bronze serpent to be healed, was God commanding idolatry? Why would God give this command? Was this a good command? It’s easy to…

| |

Substitutionary Atonement: One of Many Perspectives

I have often annoyed people by saying both that I believe in substitutionary atonement, though I prefer not to use “penal substitutionary atonement,” and also do not believe it is the sole reason for, view of, or metaphor to describe what God did in the atonement. So it’s nice to link to Roger Olson, who…

On John Wesley and Total Depravity
|

On John Wesley and Total Depravity

I’ve drawn some questions and produced some amusement (from Calivinist friends) by using the term “total depravity.” Listeners were surprised to hear a Wesleyan use that particular term. “Sinners,” “sinful,” and similar terms, OK, but total depravity? I have previously heard people remark that total depravity isn’t Wesleyan, so as United Methodists we don’t believe that….

Thinking about a Crucified God
| |

Thinking about a Crucified God

My company, Energion Publications, recently released a book What’s God Really Like?. It’s endorsed by Brian Zahnd; In What’s God Really Like?, S. J. Hill invites us to become fascinated by God and, in that fascination, to move beyond the fear-based themes that have so often distorted our image of God. With a focus on Jesus and Scripture,…

Bloody Sacrifices and Salvation
| | | | |

Bloody Sacrifices and Salvation

One of the problems with understanding biblical talk about salvation is that we do not live with a sacrificial system. For many Christians, the whole idea of sacrifices is that someone sinned and a bloody sacrifice was required for atonement. Christians believe that because of one bloody sacrifice, that of Jesus on the cross, no…

Perspectives on Paul: Some Comparisons between Galatians and Romans
| | |

Perspectives on Paul: Some Comparisons between Galatians and Romans

This will continue the discussion, dealing more with definitions. In the area of soteriology (the study of salvation) we frequently make the same statements in terms of words and structure, yet mean something quite different by it. “Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins” means quite different things, depending on who…

Perspectives on Paul: Introducing Salvation
| | | |

Perspectives on Paul: Introducing Salvation

We’re going to start our look at Paul’s soteriology by reading Galatians 2:15-3:18 and looking at Bruce Epperly’s fourth lesson in Galatians: A Participatory Study Guide, “The Dynamics of Grace.” Here’s a quote: Three key words are present in Galatians – grace, justification, and faith. Put simply, grace is God’s love embodied in the life, death,…

Sunday School: Thinking about Sacrifices
| | | | |

Sunday School: Thinking about Sacrifices

I’m preparing to teach tomorrow, and the main text is Hebrews 4:14-5:10. The quarterly is kind enough to stop just before the author tells his readers/hearers that the topic is difficult and they’re not very bright! Nonetheless, the idea of priesthood brings up the idea of “sacrifice” and “sacrifices,” and these are two concepts that I…

| |

Penal Substitution is ONE of the Ways to Talk about the Atonement

I think The Truth Is … Out There on the Wesley Bros. Blog did a good job of expressing this. To my liberal brothers and sisters: Yes, I do believe in penal substitution. To my conservative brothers and sisters: No, I don’t believe in it as the one and only way to believe in or…