More things to think about...

For the guys in the Men's Bible Study at St John's...

Last night I posed a question before we left concerning the doctrine of substitutionary atonement.  The question was, roughly, how can we believe this doctrine that runs so contrary to the very nature of love and forgiveness?  How can we hold to a tradition that runs contrary to our most intimate experiences?  If we think about those people who love us most, do they ever demand payment for love and forgiveness?  Never.  So, to paraphrase Jesus, if we, being 'false' can grant good things like love and forgiveness without payment, how much more our Father?

To quote John Philip Newell in Christ of the Celts:
To speak of the cross as revelation of love rather than payment for sin is not to suggest that this is merely a show.  This is real blood.  This is real self-giving.  Jesus knew full well the cost of loving his nation and his religous tradition the way he did, enough to weep over the falseness of the city he loved and to cleanse the injustices of the temple at its core.  This is real suffering at the hands of a corrupt religious leadership and an inhumane empire that would not tolerate the challenging implications of the law of love.  But it is not a payment to God; it is a disclosure of God.  It is not a purchasing of love; it is the manifistation of love.

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