A Jesus I Can Follow #4. Teacher of Subversive Wisdom

What does it take to live successfully? What does a life well lived look like? These questions have occupied human beings throughout history. Some centuries before Christ there was an international movement dedicated to these questions. We meet some members of this...

A Jesus I Can Follow #2. Echo of a New World

If you’re prone to bad dreams or have a penchant for horror movies, then you’ll relate to the Old Testament book of Daniel. It’s full of terrifying dreams, but rather than waking up at the climactic moment of terror, the dreams continue until they...

A Jesus I Can Follow

The last decade or so I have really enjoyed reading the works of “Jesus scholars”. They are part of a movement often described as “the quest for the historical Jesus.” The quest starts with the assumption that the Jesus pictured by the biblical...

Why We Need to Move Away from Substitutionary Atonement

The last couple of months I’ve visited a few churches and been struck by how central the idea that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins is in their worship. It’s there in the songs they sing, in the prayers they pray, in the words of the worship leader, and...

The Problem of Violence in the Bible

The Bible is a violent book that describes a violent God. In Genesis 6 God sends a flood that wipes out life on the earth he created. Only the select few on the Ark are saved. Fast forward to the liberation of the Israelites from slavery and God kills all the...

Jesus and Suffering

“Life is difficult.” So begins Scott Peck’s best selling book, The Road Less Travelled. This has certainly been driven home to me the last couple of years. At some stage most of us experience significant pain. A broken relationship. A debilitating illness. A period of...

A Non-Violent Atonement

In an earlier post I challenged the notion that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins. Since then, people who read the post have asked me what is an alternate understanding of how God puts us right with himself and how do Jesus death and resurrection figure into...

Why did Jesus die?

In a recent post I suggested that the notion that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins is not a particularly convincing notion. This throws many Christians, who, like me, have been raised to think this is the gospel. A little background might help. On my...

Why Do We Call it Good Friday?

It has always struck me as strange that we refer to the day of Jesus’ death as Good Friday.  Shouldn’t it be “Bad Friday” or “Evil Friday”, or some similar term? Was this not a day when evil was at its worst, unleashing its hatred and fury on One who had done nothing...

Jesus Paid the Penalty for My Sin. Is that Really Good News?

For most of my life I have understood the good news to be that on the cross Jesus paid the penalty for my sins. Like the rest of humanity, I was a sinner and deserved to be punished with eternal torment in hell. But to save me Jesus, who was not a sinner and didn’t...

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