The Cross

Defending a Scandal



Southern Baptists have passed a resolution defending the truth that Christ died for our sins, in our place, taking upon himself God's just judgment on sin.

Why the need?

Every generation must choose whether to affirm what the Scriptures have always taught. Ours is no exception. In the 1960s mainline liberal Protestantism turned its back on orthodoxy. Now progressive evangelicals are repeating their error. 

Red Letter Christians — following the spirit of the age and French Catholic philosopher Rene Girad — reject the notion of a God who requires the sacrifice of his Son for sin.

At a popular level, William Paul Young (The Shack) has said the idea that Christ died as a substitute sacrifice to save sinners and satisfy the just wrath of God the Father — is a “monstrous,” “evil,” and “a terrible doctrine.”

So well done Southern Baptists for affirming what the Scriptures have always taught.

Movements decline and decay when they drift and deny their core beliefs. They remain dynamic when they stay true to core beliefs and adapt their methods to reach a changing world.

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The blasphemy of Easter

God speaks and the universe is flung into existence. Moment by moment that same universe is upheld by his living word. Speech defines us as human beings made in the image of God, for relationship with the God who speaks.

God speaks as Creator and Lord. He speaks with authority and with clarity. To love him is to obey him with all our hearts. We cannot say we love him and not do what he says. 

Jesus the Word of God came as the perfect Son, surrendered to his Father’s will. His, “But I say unto you…,” did not overturn the written word, but fulfilled it. 

History is the story of God speaking and our response. Will we trust him and obey or place our word above God’s word? God calls heaven and earth together to witness what we will do. Whose word is supreme? Ours or God’s? We may be free to choose, but God determines the consequences. Life or death.

This is the great obscenity for modern-postmodern man. That God’s word should be supreme. That the fruit of disobedience is death. That we are not the captains of our destiny. That God’s Son willingly, joyfully, lovingly surrendered to his Father’s will and suffered and died in our place. 

The Cross is blasphemy to rebellious hearts —

Has God said? You won’t die if you eat of the fruit. A God of love won’t punish evil. This God of Golgotha is an abusive father who punishes his son for the sins of the world. The God of Love smiles at evil. He lets bygones be bygones. 

Not so. We were made in God’s image, to love and obey him, to tremble at his word. Yet we remake God in our image.

This is the blasphemy of Easter. That God should challenge our illusion of divinity by announcing his judgment on our sin. By declaring us lost and without hope. In need of a Saviour. By demanding (demanding!) that we turn and cast ourselves upon his mercy.

God loves sinners. He will never tolerate sin. It will be judged. It must be judged. It was judged at the Cross. That’s the only reason we are free and forgiven. We bring nothing to the table. Jesus is our only hope. The only hope of lost humanity.

And what a sure hope he is.