Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Authors of 'Pierced for our Transgressions' respond to Wright

N. T. Wright does not like Pierced for our Transgressions, as he explains HERE. Some have already responded to him HERE, HERE and HERE. While we are grateful for constructive criticism, Wright is mistaken at several important points. We offer a brief response.

First, N. T. Wright takes exception to our criticism of Steve Chalke and Alan Mann’s The Lost Message of Jesus, a book which he continues to endorse. He tries to argue that the now-notorious reference to ‘cosmic child abuse – a vengeful Father, punishing his Son for an offence he has not even committed’ (Lost Message, p. 182) was never intended as a description of penal substitution itself (which Wright assures us that Chalke believes), but was rather an attack on a caricature of the doctrine.

We would be pleased if that were the case, but this reading of Chalke is simply impossible. Read more

1 comment:

Daniel Roe said...

Q
I think the Bishop struck the right note
A
Keeping the mean between the two extremes, the fundamentalists’ stiffness in refusing and the liberals’ easiness in admitting any variation
Q
Something like that
A
Actually, I didn’t really understand the bishop – it was too long and there were too many highFaluten theological buzzwords – actually it wasn’t about theology really, it’s about what people find acceptable – I mean images of cosmic child abuse
Q
Exactly – trying to express traditional theology in terms that won’t put people off – I mean if you are trying to share your faith, um, telling someone that God is love, I don’t suppose concepts of wrath and punishment are acceptable
A
OK, it is unacceptable to pour the kettle over your kids, but it is acceptable to allow them to play unsupervised in the kitchen – I mean c’mon, if God didn’t actually punish his son, he didn’t exactly lift a finger to help
Q
What about Matthew 26:53? Jesus could have asked for over a dozen legions of angels.
A
A loving father would have sent them anyway
Q
Didn’t he have to die to deal with our sin?
A
How? Why?
Q
I suppose he died to show us how much we meant to him
A
Yeah, right – the kids get home from school and find a suicide note from mummenDad – they died because the kids meant so much to them
Q
This is getting silly
A
Sillier and yet sillier – I mean, what are your views on capital punishment?
Q
Cruel and barbaric
A
Even for murder?
Q
Yes
A
So imagine some poor bunny in the middle ages stealing a loaf of bread for his starving family – I mean the local fatCats take him to court and hang him – that’s even more barbaric
Q
Definitely
A
So if some guy gets killed for eating a forbidden apple
Q
Well, he didn’t die immediately
A
No, even worse, from a position of immortality, he was effectively on death row for the rest of his natural – and what’s more, all his descendants die – and not always in the best of circumstances – and whose idea was it? And some people don’t even get to rest in peace – they end up in Hell – or perhaps your sharing of your faith doesn’t mention a God who sends the wicked to Hell
Q
I don’t think it works like that: God doesn’t actually send anyone to Hell; people go there because they want to – I mean God doesn’t force people
A
You mean he stands by and lets them go – like if your kids were playing with an electric fire you wouldn’t do anything – it’s their choice
Q
Look, this is getting a tad unpleasant – I mean we are getting into uncharted waters here
A
You mean we’re digging ourselves into a hole
Q
So, let’s stop digging
A
And perhaps review how we got into this ‘ere ‘ole – the issue is not a matter of theology, but of what is acceptable – to your denomination or the people you meet. It affects the way you present things – and some things you simply don’t present.
Q
Some people do, in due course change their theology
A
As we’ve seen – but I think the problem is simply a matter of perspective: (a) do we try to fit the Bible into what the world finds acceptable or possible, or (b) does our worldview conform to the Bible – is the Bible sovereign everywhere? If (a), then of course we’re going to keep digging deeper and deeper – or (like most people) stop thinking and present a bland message and a boring Bible
Q
And if (b)
A
I don’t think anyone’s actually tried it