Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Holy Week stuff

There are some good resources to peruse as we consider the Passion of Christ and his atonement at this time of year...

1. Orthodox writer Frederica Mathewes-Green takes a hard stance against the popular penal substitutionary theory of the atonement in Christ's Death: A Rescue Mission, Not a Payment for Sins. Among the good quotes;

Every day, Christians pray "deliver us from evil," not knowing that the Greek original reads "the evil," that is, "the evil one." The New Testament Scriptures are full of references to the malice of the devil, but we generally overlook them. I think this is because our idea of salvation is that Christ died on the cross to pay His Father the debt for our sins. The whole drama takes place between Him and the Father, and there's no role for the evil one...

In Orthodoxy, there is less of an emphasis on discrete, external acts of sin, and more a sense of it being a pervading sickness. Christ didn't come to save us just from the penalty for our sins, from death and eternal misery. He came to save us from our sins, now, today--from the poison that flows in our veins, that alienates us from the Light, that marches us toward death. He saves us like the fireman carrying that child from a burning building. We are as helpless as that child; nothing we do saves us.

2. Stanley Hauerwas on The Last Words of Jesus and why it is wrong to say "Christ died for me." It is quite challenging.

3. What is the Christus Victor view of the atonement and how does it differ from the "traditional" veiw? An evaluation

4. Luckily Madison Avenue cannot ruin Good Friday.

5. From John Irving, in A Prayer for Owen Meany-

“I find that Holy Week is draining; no matter how many times I have lived through his crucifixion, my anxiety about his resurrection is undiminished-I am terrified that, this year, it won’t happen; that, that year, it didn’t. Anyone can be sentimental about Nativity; any fool can feel like a Christian
at Christmas. But Easter is the main event; if you don’t believe the resurrection you're not a believer."

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