Holy Week is nearing and again preachers and pew-sitters will be pondering the great Paschal mystery.
One thing on which the historic creeds of the Church keep silent is the Cross. The creeds name Jesus’ mother, single out Pontius Pilate for blame and cite forgiveness as one of the effects of Easter.
The creeds do not ever attempt to say exactly what happens on the Cross, what transpires between Christ and God or between God and us. The creeds do not supply or single out a ‘why’ to the Cross.
Much like the New Testament itself, the Church has spoken of the atonement (how Christ makes us at-one with God) in a variety of metaphors.
Today, however, contemporary Western Christianity has tended to privilege one understanding of the atonement to the exclusion of all the others: Jesus suffered the wrath of God meant for you.
There are other, better I think, ways of speaking and thinking about the Cross.
So in shameless self-promotion-
I encourage all of you who will be preaching or reflecting on the Cross these next weeks to download my eBook: Preaching a Better Atonement.
In it, I try to unpack the various ways the Church has understood the work of Christ on the Cross and for each perspective I offer a few sermonic illustrations.
One fellow pastor in Virginia had this review, which is the most romantic thing anyone has ever said to me:
“Better than anything Adam Hamilton or max lucado puts out.”
A review on Amazon scores it thus:
“It’s like a snarky, Italian Jon Stewart writing theology.
Fantastic introduction to atonement theories – i.e. what does the cross mean?
Incredible accessible, funny, poignant, but also theologically sound…
Perfect balance between serious theological study and lay understanding.”
Click here to buy it and I will send the proceeds on to the Guatemala Toilet Project.