Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Chapter 5: Dying to Live

Chapter 5 is to do with the cross with Rob highlighting the reality that the work of the cross is described and explained with all sorts of different metaphors. Some people hold certain metaphors to be more important than other metaphors. Rob perspective however...

The point, then, isn’t to narrow it to one particular metaphor, image, explanation, or mechanism. To elevate one over others, to insist that there’s a ‘correct’ or ‘right’ one, is to miss the brilliant, creative work these first Christians were doing when they used these images and metaphors. They were reading their world, looking for ways to communicate this epic event in ways their listens could grasp.
The point then, as it is now, is Jesus. The divine in flesh
and blood. He is where the life is.

Jesus is the way to God.

Rob then discusses the resurrection as the beginning of the new, the old has gone and the new has come and also highlights the need for us to understand the Gospel as far wider and more cosmic in scope than simply a message about how to avoid hell or not sin.

I really enjoyed this chapter, probably the best in the book so far. The exact way, formula, transaction, in which the cross made a way forward for humanity was never set in any of the church creeds. Rather the church is left to explore all the different metaphors as a celebration that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is transforming and life change news with cosmic implications. I think this helps us to keep a broad perspective on the cross and what it means. This will rankle some people, especially those that pretty much only talk about the cross in terms of penal substitution atonement theory, but I find it refreshing. Overall a reasonably solid chapter.

Favourite paragraph...
When people say that Jesus came to die on the cross so that we can have a relationship with God, yes, that is true. But that explanation as the first explanation puts us at the centre. For the first Christians, the story was, first and foremost, bigger, grander. More massive. When Jesus is presented only as the answer that saves individuals from their sin and death, we run the risk of shrinking the Gospel down to something just for humans, when God has inaugurated a movement in Jesus’ resurrection to renew, restore, and reconcile everything ‘ on earth or in heaven’ (Col 1), just as God originally intended it. The powers of death and destruction have been defeated on the most epic scale imaginable. Individuals are then invited to see their story in the context of a far larger story, one that includes all of creation.

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