Thursday, May 03, 2007

Can the cross obscure Jesus?

Can't see the go(o)d for the tree
Interesting 'anonymous' rant over at Hebel about how the gospel might sometimes be (mis?)represented. Can some descriptions of the cross fail to do justice to the importance of Jesus? Does this caricature sound familiar?

God made the world, but people sinned, it all went pear shaped and humans were in the red. So God sent his son, killed him to fudge the books for us, so if we repent (of something?) and believe (in grace not works), then we have direct access to the father (Jesus job is done, he now sits on the sidelines). Where is the Resurrection? Where is the Ascension? Where is Jesus? Is god a bad account keeper?
Love to hear what people think of the author's suggested alternative account.
Points for the location of this photo. I'll decide how many by how accurate the description is.


Martin Kemp said...

The graveyard at St John's Ashfield

anton said...

Hi Byron,

This blog thing is infectious, I'm sure I'll slow up a bit soon, but for now I'm going nutsko!

I left a comment over at Hebel ...

Yep, I'll second that it is all there in Calvin and actually Irenaeus too, you know, it is probably there in the Bible (sarcasm directed at no-one in particular it was just too hard to avoid). I've been wrestling with Colossians 1:20 this week and I'm going to exegete it fully one day soon, but for now check out my recent post entitled 'reconciliation'.

Since then I've been working on a detailed exegetical post about Colossians 1.15-23 which will probably open up a can of worms for some, but has me in agreement with the sentiments expressed. I'll post it tomorrow-ish.

ps by the way, your 'doctored' photo of Sydney harbour, city and bridge - if no-one has claimed the points - my bet is that you have added in a whole heap more sky.

Martin Kemp said...

As for the author's alternative ... it does sound a little too much about us (which sounds a strange criticism I know, esp when speaking about the atonement), but ... if the atonement is primarily an interaction within the godhead, and if it's meant to bring God glory, then there's got to be more of a recognition in a Godwards direction. I mean, the alternative presented does sound a little self-centred: "I get to be the real me". A more theological rendition of what you might get at Hillsong? Some alteration might be needed to iron this out. I tried to say over at the original blog, you don't want to emphasise the humanity of Jesus at the expense of his divinity. This seems to be what's happening in places (im thinking UK) where incarnational explinations of the atonement are becoming really popular. Please don't undo Chalcedon and the implications it brings for the atonement.

Martin Kemp said...

explanations, not explinations.

I could never spel.

Martin Kemp said...

Not that the said alternative departs from Chalcedon, but some incarnational accounts of the atonement do seem to depart from the definition, so we should walk with care.

That is all.

Bruce Yabsley said...

Byron thanks again for a useful link; I left my comment ad loc and I won't repeat it here.

I also raised an eyebrow at Martin's post on Hebel, which is now more clear after reading his comments here. And so:

I would characterise the "alternative account" as an attempt at a corrective. Probably it shares the strengths and weaknesses of such things.

So, if Hebel goes into publishing and I am still seeing this wording circulating in pamphlet form ten years from now, then I will join wholeheartedly in the ill-humour. But as a one-off, I'm all for it.

Anonymous said...

Love the subtitle to this post byron!

I was thinking about what a reversal might mean in an anti-philosophical sense- Can't see the tree for the good [or 'the god']?

psychodougie said...

yeah, that's this crossy thing osme crazy inscription that you see on the front of tables right up the front inside buildings with crosses on top, in some place near trees. how many points, byron?

like the jesus was a refugee campaign, it says some good things whilst unhelpfully inferring others.

gotta keep trying, i guess!

Philip Britton said...

Can the cross obscure Jesus?

I would dare say that those who suggest such don't get Jesus at all!!!

byron smith said...

Phil - a correct understanding of the cross will not obscure Jesus; it will throw light on him (and vice versa). However, the point that this piece makes is that some gospel presentations are presenting a caricature of the cross and hence a caricature of Jesus.

byron smith said...

Doug - I'll give you one point, but I'll give Marty ten. Well done.

Antman - I usually encourage people to make their guesses in the comments of the post where the points were offered, but since you guessed here, I'll answer here: I'm afraid that is not it.