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Posts Tagged ‘doctrinal error’


There is a disturbing trend that I have noticed the last few years. I almost fell into myself while reading a book recently.

Karl Barth

The author favorably quoted from Karl Barth. I had to catch myself. Karl Barth had some very unbiblical notions, but as one of the most prominent theologians of the 20th century he had to have a few good ideas.

The theological Pharisee will not permit anyone to quote from those deemed unworthy. We are expected to treat these men like pariahs or we will be treated like them after a good internet lashing.

I’ve seen people like Jonathan Edwards attacked for having slaves. He never wrote about it and defended it (like some others). Yes, he was part of the cultural sins of his day in this respect. But should that invalidate everything he wrote? No.

Others, dead and alive, have defended slavery which is crazy in my book. I’ve never gotten into the “southern Presbyterians” though I am technically in a southern Presbyterian denomination. I prefer the Princeton theologians, overall. But I don’t cringe when someone quotes Dabney. I see what is said and evaluate it.

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Britain’s Radio 4 recently had an interview with Jeffrey John, a church leader there.  His comments concerning the atonement are similar to Stephen Chalke’s (and echoed by Brian McLaren here in the States).  Here’s what he said:

“The explanation I was given went something like this. God was very angry with us for our sins, and because he is a just God, our sin had to be punished. But instead of punishing us, he sent his Son, Jesus, as a substitute to suffer and die in our place . . . In other words, Jesus took the rap, and we got forgiven, provided we said we believed in him. Well, I don’t know about you, but even at the age of ten I thought this explanation was pretty repulsive, as well as nonsensical. What sort of God was this, getting so angry with the world and the people he created, and then, to calm himself down, demanding the blood of his own Son? And anyway, why should God forgive us through punishing somebody else? It was worse than illogical, it was insane. It made God sound like a psychopath. If any human being behaved like this we’d say they were a monster. Well, I haven’t changed my mind since. That explanation of the cross just doesn’t work, though sadly it’s one that’s still all too often preached. It just doesn’t make sense to talk about a nice Jesus down here, placating the wrath of a nasty, angry Father God in heaven . . . the wrath of God is no more than a human projection . . . The cross, then, is not about Jesus reconciling an angry God to us; it’s almost the opposite. It’s about a totally loving God, incarnate in Christ, reconciling us to him. On the cross Jesus dies for our sins; the price of our sin is paid; but it is not paid to God, but by God . . . (more…)

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