The question “What Did Jesus’ Death on the Cross Actually Do?” can elicit a range of answers depending on whether one is interested in models of atonement, personal and social transformation, or shaping a host of areas ranging from prayer, to piety, to liturgy.
I suspect, however, that most readers are interested in which of the models/modes of atonement is the fairest of them all. Is it penal substitition, healing, demonstrate divine love, moral influence, restorative justice, Christus Victor, or whatever.
The first thing we have to say is that the NT gives a large cohort of images to describe what the cross achieves and we should acknowledge all of them. In a nutshell, the cross achieved:
To a world that has inverted the order of things, chosen creation over the Creator, and whose understanding has become darkened (Rom. 1), the word of salvation the Cross is something only a fool could believe. What power is there in a man broken, bleeding, dying the death of a criminal, strung up between two bandits? What delicate wisdom in the heaving, labored, last cries of one more revolutionary, peasant preacher, expiring in the backwaters of the Near East?
This is not an April Fools day post. It’s a post appreciating the greatness of Martin Luther, with whom I’ve had my own struggles. I, of course, love his accomplishment in the Protestant Reformation, wish more would be made on the part of many in seeing how political that movement actually was, think his posing of law over against gospel is not only a false dichotomy but shatters the biblical narrative, and of course I know what he did to both Anabaptists and Jews. Yet… yet… yet… Luther must be seen for the Titan he was.
I don’t think that Jesus is hiding here and there in a few so-called “messianic prophecies”–and to find him we need to play an ancient version of Where’s Waldo with the Old Testament.
No doubt we see messianic hope expressed in the Old Testament–but that is not at all what we might think of as “predictions” of Jesus of Nazareth being a suffering, dying, and rising messiah.
I am hard at work on the apostle Paul these days, writing an extensive commentary on Colossians (NICNT), and part of that work means sorting out some of the discussion about Paul. Which means JDG Dunn, NT Wright, D Campbell, B Gaventa, M Gorman, and Stephen Westerholm — and others. Recently I posted how Douglas Campbell sees the “old” perspective, or the Lutheran Paul, or the Paul of what he calls Justification Theory (I repost that analysis at the end of this post) — which he thinks was actually the view not of Paul but those whom he calls “The Teachers.”
But Stephen Westerholm, considered by most of us to be a balanced and old/apocalyptic view of Paul, has mapped seven theses of the “Lutheran” Paul that I post for your consideration and conversation. This comes from Stephen Westerholm, Perspectives Old and New: The “Lutheran” Paul and His Critics, 88-97.
Is this your view of Paul? Where do you differ? Why?
Once upon a time there was a man named Human. The first thing to note is that the word ˀādām is a Hebrew word meaning human. It is used in a variety of ways in Genesis 1-5. It is used as the term for human referring to human beings as a species, it is used to refer to the male of the species, and it is used to refer to a particular male individual functioning as a name.