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107 Responses

  1. Em says:

    this may be presumptuous, but….
    so many say, “don’t all religions lead us to God?”
    from Luci Shaw’s poem, “Step on it:”
    Our blueprints are smudged
    We never order enough steel.
    Our foundations are shallow as mud.
    Our cables fray.
    Our superstructure is stuck together
    with rivets of the wrong size.

    We are our own botched bridges.
    We were schooled in Babel
    and our ambitious soaring
    sinks in the sea.
    How could we hope to carry Your heavy glory?
    We cannot even bear the weight of our own failure.

    But You did the unthinkable.
    You built
    one Bridge to us
    solid enough, long
    enough, strong enough
    to stand all tides for all time.
    the unlinkable.”
    a good ponder – IMNSHO
    God keep

  2. Pineapple Head says:

    Watched a true story movie tonight about a man who raised the status of cats in England through his artistic depictions of felines. It’s called “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain.” If you like artists or you like cats, this is a good one.

  3. Dan from Georgia says:

    What is wrong with people these days. All the Christians and conservatives in my office spend all their time talking about how bad vaccines and vaccinated people are, talking politics, laughing at anyone who doesn’t think and believe the way they do. What ever happened to Jesus? I don’t even think I can talk about Jesus to my Christian co-worker anymore. Batsh**t crazy people. Makes me not even want to identify as a Christian anymore.

  4. Dan from Georgia says:

    …grrr…guess I am not a morning person. Silly me for shortchanging my sleep when we turned clocks back. Still, they are my brothers and sisters in the Lord.

  5. Michael says:


    They are discussing their primary identity…which is political, not spiritual.
    It is our national tragedy.

  6. Em says:

    “national tragedy?”. AMEN He IS a jealous God! ! !
    The fear of our God is the beginning of wisdom…..

  7. Em says:

    FWIW – the late Adrian Rogers on Romans ,12 today
    ( Believers’ obligations)
    1- Lordship. vs 1 & 2
    2-me!bership in The Body vs 4-5
    3-stewardship vs 6 & 8
    4-fellowshop vs 9-14
    We are no longer our own, but bought with a price, a very dear price

  8. Em says:

    fellowshop? ? ?
    Fellowshio! ! !

  9. BrianD says:

    Jessica Johnson, the author of Biblical Porn, dissects The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast and calls out the host for glossing over the same issues inherent in his own church that played a part in the downfall of Mars Hill:

  10. Officerhoppy says:

    I have a question—what is the gospel? What did Jesus accomplish on our behalf thru His death and resurrection? A word used to describe His action on the cross in previous times was “saved”, or “redeemed”. But saved from what?

    May sound like a pretty simple question but I am genuinely interested in your answers. My guess is they will be different. I’ll share my thoughts later.

  11. Jean says:


    The word gospel (or good news) is used into two senses in the NT: On a broad level it can mean the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. On a narrower level it can mean the work of Christ that reconciles mankind to God.

    What makes the gospel good news for you and me is not merely that Jesus came, lived, died and was raised, but that he came, lived, died and was raised for us. Therefore, the epistles typically describe the gospel in terms of God’s saving works in Christ for us and our salvation.

    I often refer to three short summary statements to describe the gospel:

    “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised in advance through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures. This gospel is about his Son—who in the flesh was born a descendant of David, who in the spirit of holiness was declared to be God’s powerful Son by his resurrection from the dead—Jesus Christ, our Lord.”

    “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes—to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed by faith, for faith, just as it is written, ‘The righteous will live by faith.’ ”

    “You are also being saved by that gospel that was expressed in the words I preached to you, if you keep your hold on it—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.”

    In these statements you have the elements of the Gospel.

  12. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks Jean
    “You are also being saved by that gospel…”

    My question is “saved from what”?

  13. Michael says:

    I’m with N.T. Wright on the Gospel;

    “The gospel is the royal announcement that the crucified and risen Jesus, who died for our sins and rose again according to the Scriptures, has been enthroned as the true Lord of the world. When this gospel is preached, God calls people to salvation, out of sheer grace, leading them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Lord.”

    ” Good news! God is becoming King and he is doing it through Jesus! And therefore, phew! God’s justice, God’s peace, God’s world is going to be renewed.”

  14. Xenia says:

    Michael, I think so too. I am reading a book by an Orthodox writer who is saying the same thing. “Gospel” was the term used to describe the triumphal entry of the king into a territory. In this case, it’s King Jesus entering triumphantly into the territory of Earth, which was under Satan’s dominion.

  15. Michael says:



    The Gospel is that triumphal announcement…really good news.
    Getting “saved” isn’t the Gospel, it’s the result of it…

  16. josh hamrick says:

    I think if I preach the Gospel correctly and effectively, many should accuse me of Antinomianism.

    If they don’t, the news isn’t quite good enough.

  17. Jean says:


    “My question is “saved from what”?”

    The paramount reason that God sent Jesus to die for our sins and rise for our justification is to save us from eternal separation from God. My tradition calls it hell.

  18. Michael says:

    God sent Jesus to redeem the entire creation…and He will…

  19. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks everyone!

    In answering my own question “saved from what” didn’t jesus “save” us from eternal separation from god, and rescue us from judgment? I say that because the sermons and books I read speak very ‘title about that. Mostly, it sounds like Jesus rescued us from evil and enables us to be the people he created us to be. So most the messages I hear are about how we can be good moral people. Have we lost the message of the gospel (or at least that aspect of it)? Or am I wrong on my theology? I hear so go messages about sin, wrath and judgment.

    Unless I am mistaken, I don’t think NT Wright believes in the wrath of god or penal substitution

  20. Em says:

    Good words, good ponders, officerhoppy….. IMNSHO

  21. Jean says:

    What Wright said in both the video at 12:17 pm and in the blog article at 12:35 pm are both explanations of the atonement that are (1) scriptural and (2) IMO within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy.

  22. Officerhoppy says:

    I’ve listened before to Wright’s conversation on penal substitution. I listened to it again. I still don’t understand where he stands on the issue.

    Seems he has a new interpretation on justification. At least different than the historically held position. But than again, he may not be rejecting it but focusing on and expanding upon it.

    I don’t think Jesus died purely so we could be forgiven, free from guilt to be good moral people. But, i dunno.

    I learn thru discussion so I’m talking about it here, and with others.

  23. Officerhoppy says:

    Maybe I should restate my question: what are essentials of the gospel message. And secondly, what is the definition of sin and it’s results? Or how do you understand Romans 3:23

  24. josh hamrick says:

    “I don’t think Jesus died purely so we could be forgiven, free from guilt to be good moral people.”

    Where do you see this being taught? I guess maybe the Osteen type guys, but I don’t ever listen to them. There are tons of great preachers out there preaching the true Gospel every week.

  25. Jean says:


    Let me respond by breaking down Romans 3:21-25a:

    “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—”

    The justice or approval of God has been manifested apart from the law. What is now manifested is the message of the gospel/good news. God’s approval of human beings will not be obtained under, or by obedience to, God’s divine law. As Paul has set forth previously “by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”

    “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”

    God’s verdict of approval is obtained by all who believe in Jesus Christ. This is pure gospel.

    “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

    All, both Jews and Gentiles, those with the law as well as those without the law, have missed the mark of fulfilling God’s will; there is no distinction before God. This is God’s righteous verdict when the law is applied to all human beings.

    and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”

    Thus, God provides a means of justifying (setting right before Him; obtaining His divine approval) mankind. It is God’s gift to mankind. This gift is the redemption of mankind that is available only in Christ. Redemption carries the idea of a ransom payment. Sin indebted mankind to God, a debt which mankind cannot free himself from and which debt alienates mankind from God. Through faith in Christ, a man lays hold of Christ His redeemer and obtains the gifts that Christ won for us! This is pure Gospel.

    “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

    God sent is Son. This was the way in which God so loved the world. Christ is the place of God’s mercy, the God-Man in whom atonement (reconciliation) is made between God and mankind. It is the blood of Christ shed for the world that satisfies God’s justice; the blood of Christ was shed for the forgiveness of the sins of the world – past, present and future. This is pure Gospel.

  26. Officerhoppy says:

    I appreciate your due diligence in parsing scripture. But it doesn’t too the root answer I am seeking. So let me try another approach. I’ll try to clarify by giving what I hear in many churches. The message and focus seems to have changed from Billy Graham’s message of salvation, rescue from judgment, hell an eternal life to a more moral gospel message. Sin seems to mean not being your best self. Jesus died to free us from evil so we can be our best self.

    I don’t hear a lot of messages that clarify the concept of total depravity. They seem to be more in line with Arminian theology inferring that white humanity is is most certainly depraved, there is at least a vestige of good within humanity to make a nice for Christ.

    I get the concept of transformation—and I believe that. But what is missing from the gospel in the messages I hear is the biblical concept of sin, judgment and wrath.

    If my observation is correct my guess is it’s because culture has changed in it’s needs. So my question is has the essentials of the gospel been changed to meet the needs of culture?

    Hope that clarifies

  27. Michael says:

    The Gospel is an announcement of good news.
    It’s about the arrival of the King and His kingdom and God’s great plan to rescue the creation.

    Without the announcement of those wondrous events, the “gospel” is just theological lectures on how to get to heaven according to my sect.

    I find it a dismal substitute for the real thing.

  28. Michael says:

    “So my question is has the essentials of the gospel been changed to meet the needs of culture?”

    I don’t know who you’ve been listening to, but I would suggest that many younger people doing theology have a much fuller view of the atonement and the mission of Jesus than past generations.

    This is a good and hopeful development.

  29. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks. Can you expound on your answer? What do you mean by fuller view? FYI I’m not arguing. Seeking to understand.

    Also, when fist century people heard the words “gospel” and, “sin”?

  30. Michael says:


    PSA is a narrow aspect of the work of Christ…historically there are at least 4 more theories of the atonement that have held prominent thought in the church.

    When first century people heard the word “Gospel” they already had a better understanding than most of us. It was an announcement that the king had been victorious and his rule was ensured. Getting to heaven or avoiding hell was secondary to understanding that the kingdom had come and the King had won the victory.
    Specifically, Israels king had command won the victory though death and resurrection and His kingdom was now among us.

    “Sin” was missing the mark…breaking the law…but the good news was that the law was fulfilled by the King…and had opened the door for all to be part of the kingdom.

  31. Jean says:


    “If my observation is correct my guess is it’s because culture has changed in it’s needs. So my question is has the essentials of the gospel been changed to meet the needs of culture?”

    The problem of human sin and its cure has not changed. Our culture over the past 50 years has changed. Our current culture does not like to be judged, but wants to be justified. Our culture is about as lawless as it has ever been during my adult lifetime. Our culture needs Christ as much as ever.

    Objective truth is out of fashion. A God with an objective divine law is rejected. A crucified Savior is an offense. The culture doesn’t want the Biblical God in a way that has gone more down hill for at least the last 50 years.

    Unfortunately, many churches have accommodated the culture to support seekers and church growth. Songs have become blood-less; churches have become cross-less; sermons have become sin- and repentance-less. Such churches want to entertain, affirm people’s feelings, and provide psychology and therapy so church goers can be happy and prosperous.

  32. Michael says:

    By the way, the primary atonement theory for the first centuries of the church was Christus Victor…PSA is a late comer to the party…

  33. josh hamrick says:

    I disagree with Hoppy’s basic premise, which is that more churches are now preaching moralism than the Gospel. While some are, it is not a new thing. Norman Vincent Peale? It probably goes back to ancient times. I don’t see this as a modern problem that anything to do with our changing culture, though the type of moralism preached may change with societal norms.

    It depends on where you look. There are many, many good men preaching the Gospel today.

  34. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks for the input guys. Still processing

  35. Xenia says:

    By the way, the primary atonement theory for the first centuries of the church was Christus Victor<<<<

    Yes, Christus Victor *is* historic Christianity.

  36. Officerhoppy says:

    Ok. So what was understood as the state of humanity—Did they understand they were lost, without hope and destined for judgment? Or something else? Was eternal life—heaven and hell in the picture at all? If not what?

  37. Officerhoppy says:

    And was Billy Graham and his message of salvation wrong?

  38. Xenia says:

    And was Billy Graham and his message of salvation wrong?<<<

    Not wrong so much as limited. He could get people to the starting line.

  39. Jean says:

    If both substitutionary atonement and Christus Victor are both depicted in the Bible, then they must both be true and historic. I don’t know why anyone would want to pit these two perspectives (I personally hate the word “theory” when used in connection with Christ’s atoning death) against each other.

  40. Michael says:


    The state of man and the degree to which sin has affected them was hotly debated in the early church and still is.
    We understand that we are products of the fall, yet bear the image of God.
    I have rejected easy solutions to this and say amen to both truths.

    Heaven and hell were not the primary issues in the 1st century…the primary issue was when the people of God would be put in power in a new kingdom ruled by Messiah…

    Billy Graham was not wrong, just really narrow.

  41. josh hamrick says:

    I don’t see Christus Victor as incompatible to PSA. For historicity, the Ransom Theory was around , at least, by Augustine, I’m guessing he synthesized earlier views in his writings on the subject.

    That said, I do hold to PSA, but I like Wright’s pushback in the video posted here. I think its a good corrective.

  42. Em says:

    Billy Graham’s organisation always pointed those who “came forward” to a list of churches in their area and emphasized the necessity. of joining with other redeemed souls

  43. Jean says:

    Josh, I agree with you. For anyone who would like to see how Christus Victor and substitutionary atonement work in harmony with one another, check out Revelation Chapter 5.

  44. Xenia says:

    Billy Graham’s organisation always pointed those who “came forward” to a list of churches in their area<<<

    Many of these churches kept the people stuck at the starting line.

  45. Xenia says:

    But, I think it is the job of an evangelist to get people to the starting line.

  46. Officerhoppy says:

    Sounds like culture has changed the focus of the gospel and not the gospel. There is the salvivic message of the gospel as well as the transformative. Billy’s message dealt with the concerns of the culture of the 60’s and 70’s (as did CC and others) while the current culture is drawn to the message of change and not necessarily of salvation from hell or judgment. But both are contained in the gospel.

    I guess it’s the difference between Peter in Acts 2 and Paul in Acts 17. The message of Acts 2 wouldn’t work on Mars Hill

    Make sense?

  47. josh hamrick says:

    I like your Mars Hill / Pentecost comparison. Still not sure that is an accurate depiction of what is happening in today’s culture, or what was happening around Billy Graham.

  48. Michael says:

    What has happened is that the message of a King and kingdom has been reduced to saved or damned…which is not the primary point of the New Testament.

    The whole framework is off kilter…

    I appreciate more than he knows how Josh has studied church history and understands it while being faithful to his tradition…may his tribe increase…

  49. Officerhoppy says:

    Yeah…I’m still putting the pieces together!

  50. Michael says:

    I’m big on transformation…the whole creation is being redeemed…and that’s great news…

  51. Jean says:


    I don’t think there is as much difference between Peter at Pentecost and Paul in Acts 17 as you are inferring. The main difference is in the audience and their respective background knowledge of the Scriptures, but the themes of Christ the risen judge and repentance are right there in Acts 17:

    “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

    This like asking someone: When you die are you prepared to meet your judge? Let me tell you how you can know this judge and obtain a favorable judgment.

  52. josh hamrick says:

    I don’t think the King Jesus Gospel is a very full or accurate telling of the Gospel.

  53. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks Jean
    I think the audience and their preparedness to receive the entire message of the gospel is true.

  54. josh hamrick says:

    For instance – When Peter preached in Acts 2, AND when Paul preached in Acts 17, neither used the word King. They used Christ, Messiah, and Lord, but no emphasis on the King and His Kingdom. OF course, it is true that Jesus is King, and his reign is Good News for those who believe. Still, I think Scott Mcknight went to far in his claim that so many were not portraying the true gospel, because they didn’t mention King.

  55. Michael says:


    What do you think Messiah meant to a first century Jew?

  56. josh hamrick says:

    If I were forced to give a twitter version of “What is the Gospel”? I would start with 1 Cor. 15. That Jesus Died for our sins, was buried, and rose on the third day.

  57. josh hamrick says:

    We cross-posted. I’m interested in the Mcknight video about 1 Cor. 15, because Paul is pretty explicit there in what the Gospel was that he preached.
    Ahh, but he skips immediately to another passage without really commenting on that one.

    Again, is Jesus King? Yes. But you are going to have to explain the implications of that if you want it to be received as Good News.

    I agree with Mcknight’s emphasis that we should focus more on Jesus. Good correction. I do not agree with Mcknight’s dismissal of so many, to the point that they preach a different Gospel, because they use the word King.

  58. Michael says:


    I think the King and His kingdom is what the NT is all about …it’s a vital foundation piece.

    None of these musings stand on their own…but we should be informed by all of them.

  59. josh hamrick says:

    Wright’s video is much better.

    He explains why “Jesus is King” would have been good news in 1st century Roman Empire. Does “Jesus is King” have application for us today? Sure, but a bridge will have to be built between that world and this.
    His handling of 1 Cor 15 is fantastic, and not dismissive of the passage at all like McKnight.

    It seems that both men want the focus to be on more of the Person and Story of Jesus, and on that I agree. I think Mcknight’s approach to that has been combative, judgmental, and poor. Wright’s has been much better, as least as evidenced in the video above.

    And to make it clear, I like Scot Mcknight. I think he went too far with His King Jesus Gospel.

  60. Michael says:


    I agree, but I’m a bit of a Wright fan boy…because he explains these concepts so well…

  61. josh hamrick says:

    “I think the King and His kingdom is what the NT is all about”

    Yes! And that was immediately understood to a first century Jew living in the Roman Empire. And that was Great News!

    To a 21st century American, “You have a King” is not good news. That’s going to have to be explained and demonstrated, and it may not even include the word “King” initially.

  62. josh hamrick says:

    Wright REALLY irritated me with the marketing of one of his books 10 years ago or so. So much, that I completely wrote him off. In the past couple of years, I’ve slowly opened up to listening to what he has to say, and he is very good, especially at speaking to an issue. I’ve come to believe that the marketing of that one book ( I don’t even remember the book) was more on the publisher than on him, because he is very gracious and thoughtful in everything else I’ve seen.

  63. Jean says:

    McKnight never really explains why the resurrection of Jesus is so important, and he barely mentions the reasons for Christ’s death. IMO the more one downplays the depravity of mankind and the enslaving nature of sin, the more one diminishes the good news of Good Friday and Easter.

    The humiliation of Jesus from His incarnation through his scourging, mocking, crown of thorns and crucifixion was a bad as it was, because mankind, sin and evil in the world are as bad as we and it are. Jesus became sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus became a curse for us to redeem us from the curse of God’s law.

    Yes, the Gospel is about Christ – I no know one who teaches otherwise. But the essence of the Gospel is about a victory over sin, death and the devil by Jesus for us. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” This side of the eschaton, the kingdom is primarily about our redemption from the devil’s kingdom and the forgiveness of our sins.

  64. josh hamrick says:

    That’s a good word Jean.

  65. Michael says:


    I would disagree on a number of counts…but you knew that… 🙂

  66. Jean says:

    Thank you Josh. I too have noticed an improvement in Wright’s stuff recently. I think any author or speaker, Wright or anyone else, if he/she feels is being repeatedly misunderstood, probably bears some responsibility for that. I think Wright used to be more opaque or even somewhat hostile to PSA; in the things Michael has more recently posted, Wright appears to be more comfortable affirming that it is there in Scripture. I don’t think there is any way to read Isaiah 53 and Romans 8 without acknowledging PSA.

  67. Jean says:

    Thanks Michael. Yeah, I figured you might.

  68. Em says:

    Jean @ 12:43 paragraph three

  69. Duane Arnold says:

    “I don’t think there is any way to read Isaiah 53 and Romans 8 without acknowledging PSA.”

    There are many more ways to read both…

  70. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    I would think that cumulatively PSA can be inferred from the entirety of Leviticus but that might just be me

  71. Officerhoppy says:

    From Grudem
    Yet more difficult than these three previous aspects of Jesus’ pain was the pain of bearing the wrath of God upon himself. As Jesus bore the guilt of our sins alone, God the Father, the mighty Creator, the Lord of the universe, poured out on Jesus the fury of his wrath: Jesus became the object of the intense hatred of sin and vengeance against sin which God had patiently stored up since the beginning of the world. Romans 3:25 tells us that God put forward Christ as a propitiation, a word that means “a sacrifice that bears God’s wrath to the end and in so doing changes God’s wrath toward us into favor.” Paul tells us that “This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:25–26). God had not simply forgiven sin and forgotten about the punishment in generations past. He had forgiven sins and stored up his righteous anger against those sins. But at the cross the fury of all that stored-up wrath against sin was unleashed against God’s Son. Many theologians outside the evangelical world have strongly objected to the idea that Jesus bore the wrath of God against sin.11 Their basic assumption is that since God is a God of love, it would be inconsistent with his character to show wrath against the human beings he has created and for whom he is a loving Father. Sadly, some prominent evangelicals have advocated that position as well.12 But evangelical scholars have convincingly argued that the idea of the wrath of God is solidly rooted in both the Old and New Testaments. Australian New Testament scholar Leon Morris writes, “The whole of the argument of the opening part of Romans is that all men, Gentiles and Jews alike, are sinners, and that they come under the wrath and the condemnation of God.”13 In addition to Romans 3:25, three other crucial passages in the New Testament also refer to Jesus’ death as a “propitiation”: Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; and 4:10. The Greek terms used in these passages (the verb hilaskomai, “to make propitiation,” and the noun hilasmos, “a sacrifice of propitiation”) have the sense of “a sacrifice that turns away the wrath of God—and thereby makes God propitious (or favorable) toward us.”14 This is the consistent meaning of these words outside the Bible where they were well understood in reference to pagan Greek religions. These verses simply mean that Jesus bore the wrath of God against sin. Other verses indicating that Christ bore the wrath of God against our sin include 2 Corinthians 5:21, which says that “for our sake” God “made him [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” This means that God thought of Christ as “sin” and treated him as “sin,” which, because of God’s justice, would call forth God’s wrath upon Christ. This was for our benefit, for just as God counted our sin as belonging to Christ, so he counted Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us (“so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”). Similarly, Galatians 3:13 says that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us”—once again implying that he bore the wrath of God by becoming a “curse” for us. Hebrews 9:28 says that Christ was “offered once to bear the sins of many.” And 1 Peter 2:24 says that “he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,” again implying that Christ endured the penalty against sin for us. The idea of bearing the wrath of God is also represented in the imagery of drinking the cup of God’s wrath, thus taking God’s wrath into oneself. The image is used in the Old Testament to speak of Jerusalem when it has suffered God’s judgment: “O Jerusalem, you have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath” (cf. Ps. 75:8; Isa. 51:22; Jer. 25:15). At the end of the New Testament, the predictions of the coming wrath of God against mankind in the book of Revelation include the judgment on “Babylon the great,” whom God will make to “drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath” (Rev. 16:19; see also 14:10). Jesus understands this Old Testament imagery well when he prays in the garden of Gethsemane, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39; cf. John 18:11). Also in the Old Testament, the remarkably detailed and incredibly accurate predictions of the sufferings of Christ that are found in Isaiah 53 contain several explicit affirmations (in italics below) that Christ bore the punishment from God that was due to us for our sins: Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. (Isa. 53:4–12) It is important to insist on the fact that Christ bore the wrath of God in our place because it is the heart of the doctrine of the atonement. It means that there is an eternal, unchangeable requirement in the holiness and justice of God that sin be paid for.

  72. Jean says:


    Grudem captures many of the relevant passages and has some good things to say. But his conclusion is at a minimum skewed. Compare his conclusion:

    “It is important to insist on the fact that Christ bore the wrath of God in our place because it is the heart of the doctrine of the atonement. It means that there is an eternal, unchangeable requirement in the holiness and justice of God that sin be paid for.”

    With Paul in Galatians Chapter 2:

    “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

    Grudem presents an atonement structured entirely in the law, i.e., transgressions have been perpetrated and must be punished before the prisoner is set free. Where is the grace in Grudem’s conclusion?

    Paul notes that Jesus “gave himself for me.” God provides the sacrifice; this is grace. It is not lawful or just for an innocent man to suffer and die for the wicked. But God sent his Son, and no one took the life of the Son, but He willingly laid down His life down for the sheep. Therefore, God’s justice is broader than the law; it must include love and grace.

    Moreover, in Jesus atoning death, He defeated the powers of sin, death and the devil, so that in Him Christians also conquer those enemies. Christ’s atonement is eschatological in that He, the God-Man, is the first fruits of the resurrection from death.

    His death is penal, not because God hated Jesus, but Jesus willingly bore the punishment due us by taking our sins upon Himself. We has both our High Priest who offered the sacrifice, but also the spotless victim who bore the sins of mankind. In Romans 8, what God condemned was not His son, but sin. Thus, love and grace are also parts of the justice that are manifested in the atonement.

  73. Michael says:

    Grudem is a soteriological heretic and political hack.

    Read Athanasius…”On the Incarnation”…

  74. Michael says:

    “First, there is no denying that penal substitution sometimes has been, and still sometimes is, asserted in ways which merit the favourite adjective of its critics — ‘crude’. As one would expect of that which for more than four centuries has been the mainspring of evangelical piety — ‘popular piety’, as Roman Catholics would call it — ways of presenting it have grown up which are devotionally evocative without always being theologically rigorous. Moreover, the more theological expositions of it since Socinus have tended to be one-track-minded; constricted in interest by the preoccupations of controversy, and absorbed in the task of proclaiming the one vital truth about the cross which others disregarded or denied, ‘upholders of the penal theory have sometimes so stressed the thought that Christ bore our penalty that they have found room for nothing else. Rarely have they in theory denied the value of other theories, but sometimes they have in practice ignored them.

    Also, as we have seen, much of the more formative and influential discussing of penal substitution was done in the seventeenth century, at a time when Protestant exegesis of Scripture was coloured by an uncriticized and indeed unrecognized natural theology of law, and this has left its mark on many later statements. All this, being so, it might be hard to find an account of penal substitution which could safely be taken as standard or as fully representative, and it will certainly be more straight-forward if I venture an analysis of my own.”

    Agree with him or not…this is Packer at his best…worth reading for any who engage this matter…

  75. Jean says:

    The Packer article, including the footnotes, are a worthy contribution to this discussion. Thank you, Michael, for linking it at 11:15 am.

  76. Duane Arnold says:


    “Agree with him or not…this is Packer at his best…worth reading for any who engage this matter…”

    It is also worth reading Is. 53 in the Hebrew and Romans 8 in the Greek, which I did this morning… just sayin’…

  77. Em says:

    Dr. Duane, who here reads Hebrew and Greek? ? ? just askin…

  78. josh hamrick says:

    As I’ve told you guys, I’ve been teaching hermeneutics at my church this fall. I already know In January I’m starting a biblical / theological study on death.

    I’m seriously considering doing the Apostolic Fathers next fall. Probably be a first in the history of Baptist churches 🙂

  79. josh hamrick says:

    Em – Me 🙂

  80. Duane Arnold says:


    Josh the wunderkind! 😁 (…and others)

  81. josh hamrick says:

    wunderkind –
    a person who achieves great success when relatively young

    I’m 46?!?!

  82. Duane Arnold says:


    I taught the Apostolic Fathers as a Calvary Chapel pastor and people really enjoyed it. Of course, I soon after was no longer a Calvary Chapel pastor! 😂

  83. Duane Arnold says:


    At my age I can only say you have the joy of youth at a mere 46!

  84. josh hamrick says:

    I’ve gotta stay Baptist. I’ve invested too much into this. 🙂 But I would like to see us embrace, or at elast learn from, the history of Christianity. I mean, you can’t even rightly reject it if you have no clue what it is.

    46 is fun. I’m a grown up.

  85. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks for the interaction. FYI I never thought of God hating Jesus when he poured out his wrath. I think that would make me a modalist. No, I saw the entire godhead as involved in the redemption of creation.

    As thru one man came death to all so thru one man comes life

  86. Officerhoppy says:

    So the question for me is it either or? Either he set us free from evil to be “human” as Wright says or he suffered the wrath of god as payment for our sins, or is it both?

    Seems to me the doctrine of justification and regeneration indicate it’s both.

    Thanks for the discussion. Although I find it a stretch to call Grudem a hack! 🙂

  87. Em says:

    On the cross Jesus is recorded as crying out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?’ I have been taught (FWIW) that was the point at which Jesus bore our sin.
    Has it been established how long our Lord hung there naked and humiliated?

  88. Michael says:

    Grudem teaches the eternal submission of the Son…I call that heresy.

  89. Officerhoppy says:

    I’ve always heard it was 6 hours he hung on the cross. I’ve also heard the same thing about the point where Jesus bore our sin. But I don’t know for sure.

  90. Michael says:

    I have said before that there are at least five theories on the atonement and all of them have merit, though none should stand separate from the other.

    An emphasis on the wrath of God obscures the primary reason Christ was sent…”for God so loved the world”.

    Unfortunately no one has addressed the fact that the death and resurrection of Christ was also the fulfillment of the covenant with Israel…and that’s what a great deal of the book of Romans is really about.

  91. Em says:

    Thank you, officerhoppy. 6 hours? All the more reason to worship our Redeemer!

  92. Em says:

    Michael @10:33
    Paragraph two – point taken! God so loved the world that He gave us His Son! I can’t imagine a greater love..
    Now I’m done
    God keep! ! !

  93. josh hamrick says:

    I think Grudem and some of his buds accidentally flirted with heresy with the ESS mess. I do not think it fair to call Grudem a heretic. In error. Wrong. Those are both strong enough. Grudem really made a significant contribution to the modern study of Theology. There is no getting around that.

    Unfortunately, Grudem is a political hack. And with that, he flushed most of his Theological contribution down the toilet.

  94. Michael says:


    I’m pretty ecumenical and open to different views…but Christological heresies have to be loudly noted.

    I don’t think he’s actually done much other than ride the Reformed wave to popularity.

    That wave has now crashed…not a fan.

    I could be wrong…

  95. josh hamrick says:

    I agree on Christological heresies, but that’s why I say they accidentally flirted with Heresy. They were reaching for a point about complimentarianism, and ended up screwing up the Trinity. That said, it is an error, and a serious one.

    As far as his contribution, had it not been for his political tomfoolery, his Systematic Theology would have been the standard entry level textbook for most seminaries in America for the next 50 years. It is just a very good, surprisingly fair, introduction into what is going on in Theology. Its strength is its synthesis of so many streams of thought.

  96. Em says:

    Said I was done, but reading here gave me a new question…..
    Can one deny the Tribune nature of God and still be Redeemed? I think the answer is “no.”

  97. Michael says:

    I have a dozen or so systematics …don’t use them much, but they look good on the shelf…

    Packer used Erickson for his classes…

  98. Michael says:


    I don’t think of theological errors as necessarily being damning…Christological errors can lead to one worshipping a different Jesus which is highly problematic.

  99. Jean says:

    It seems like The Gospel According to John could have been written to answer Christological questions.

  100. Jean says:

    It is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity that our God is the same God that created heaven and earth and who speaks, and is spoken of, in the Old Testament. Therefore, Christianity is inherently monotheistic. Jesus himself affirmed monotheism.

    Therefore, anyone and anything that compromises Christian monotheism and by extension the Trinity should be rejected.

  101. josh hamrick says:

    Em, I have known Oneness Pentecostals who deny the Trinity. I totally believe they are saved. Wrong, in serious error, but they love and serve the Lord Jesus. I pray they come to a better understanding over time.

  102. Em says:

    Good prayer, Josh and necessary, too, I think

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