Angles on the Atonement

I have chosen, in prayer (of course) during Lent and approaching Easter Sunday, to preach through different angles on the atonement, or what academia calls, models or theories. We mustn’t be confused by how the idea of “theories” is being used here. It is not a way to shoe-horn in a text into an abscure or concocted formula, but rather, a working method or structure for how to legitimately view a biblical text.

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Why Trinity?

“Most orthodox Christians claim to be “biblical” in doctrine yet also “Trinitarian”. Many share the view expressed by Whitely and by Kelly that the Pauline texts embody “traces of a Trinitarian ground-plan”. It is certainly the case that Paul unambiguously expresses the Christian belief in one God (1 Cor. 8:6), and that in many passages, both associations and distinctions are drawn between God as Father, Christ as Lord, and the Holy Spirit (Rom. 1:14; Rom 8:11, 14-16; Col. 1:15).

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Jesus: The Firstborn Over All Creation

Colossians 1.15:23  is Hymn to Christ that predates Paul’s usage of it here.

This “hymn” was the first Bible passage to truly capture my imagination.

And by “imagination” I mean my mind, my heart and my very being.

In these words I learned my first Greek word.

I bought a Gk-Heb dictionary soon after my conversion in the early 1990’s.

I’ll be honest, it felt good buying it; But using it was like teaching a toddler metaphysics in Medieval Latin.

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The Dragon

My daughter has a story book about a boy who wakes up one day and sees a little baby dragon in his room. It’s all rather harmless and when he tells his mother about it, she tells him to stop making stuff up and get dressed and come down for breakfast, using her repeated phrase, and the title of the book, “There’s no such thing as a dragon!”

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Let My People Go

The battle for inner courage and then for action was on display in the life of Moses. Given his instructions from I AM at the Burning Bush in Exodus 3, he set out to return to the Egyptian royal court and make his one simple, four word request: “Let my people go!”

This is the tension of human history between those who love, crave and have power over other people, and the masses who simply long to be free and live free without interference. This spirit of Pharoah the tyrant is rising again like a foul smell or a painful memory we all thought had gone away. But oh no, he is arbitrarily doubling down as Pharoah increased the work load and reduced the means by which to make it harder: More bricks, less straw. Or, work harder for less; face the lash of the whip more often; increase the sense of hopelessness and defeat and you’ve shown what a big man you are. This time last year they said we would be free. And we are still not free. Next Easter for freedom, or next year in Jerusalem, as faithful Jews pray. The worst part of three weeks to flatten the curve is always the first TWO years!

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