The Atonement: Historic and Superhistoric

“When we speak of the centrality of the Atonement, I have said, we mean much more, worlds more, than its place in a religious system.  We are speaking of that which is the centre, not of thought, but of actual life, conscience, history and destiny.  We speak of what is the life-power of the moral world and its historic crisis, the ground of the Church’s existence, and the sole meaning of Christ himself.  Christ is to us just what His cross is.  All that Christ was in heaven or on earth was put into what he did there.  And all that man’s moral soul needs doing for it eternally was done centrally there.

Neither cross nor Christ is simply a historic fact by which we order our mental calendar; they make the sun in our heaven, the force in our world.  They make our vital centre, not as mere facts, but as sacraments; not for their occurrence, but for their significance; not because we reckon from them, but because we live from them….

The one thing we need is to understand the Atonement, with a life’s understanding, with a vital conscience…..

You do not understand Christ till you understand His cross…..”

The crucifixion, of course, is a historic fact, like Jesus, but the cross, the Atonement, like the Christ, is superhistoric.”

P. T. Forsyth, The Cruciality of the Cross, pg. 25-26 & 55

Happy 172nd Birthday PTF

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