Christ Atones, So You Don’t Have To



I find it interesting that the most read post on my blog is the one where I compare Baptist and Catholic atonement theories. In no way did I do the subject justice with that little piece. In fact, the reason I write is to help ME sort out my feelings about a particular topic. If it helps others fine, but the intention in self-directed. I like to help spread information. What others do with it is their busines. The article was merely my own interpretation and my own slant on a pretty complicated doctrine. Yet, people seem to read it more than any other post.

What does this tell us? That people don’t really understand the Atonement and are looking for answers about it? I’m with them. I don’t particularly understand it either. Many others do a much better job of explaining it. Scot over at Jesus Creed begins a series on the atonement, defining the terms very nicely. The folks at have a veritable treasure trove of definitions and explanations from a Calvinist point of view. And don’t forget the Orthodox and Roman Catholic definitions, which are definately NOT the same. The KEY difference that I wanted to distinguish in my post about theories of Atonement is this: It’s either:

Christ + Nothing   (OR)    Christ + Your Effort


Atonement ( i.e. Your Justification)

Some would argue that Atonement and Justification aren’t even the same thing. Whatever! What all this proves is that studying the doctrine of Atonement could take awhile if you believe that you have to have others define it for you. It requires more effort than just a cursory reading of a blog to decide. My paltry attempt at understanding it in my earlier post should be taken with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of skepticism. But please, don’t merely accept other people’s versions either. Investigate and reason amongst yourselves. Doctrinal truth comes from the interplay of many voices reasoning together, trying to reach a common consensus (take that you foundationalists you 🙂 ) not from a hierarchy paid to study topics in order to dispense wisdom to others. Ekklesia is egalitarian not hierarchy.


8 thoughts on “Christ Atones, So You Don’t Have To

  1. “Doctrinal truth comes from the interplay of many voices reasoning together, trying to reach a common consensus…”

    Um, that’s heresy. The Holy Spirit of God leads us to Truth–not a bunch of people. (John16:13-15)

  2. Spoken like a true hierarchical fundamentalist! Thanks for proving my point, though.

    Since I’m a heretic, you should, as a “true” believer, quit reading right now and have nothing more to do with this blog! It’s too dangerous for you. Some of God’s wrath falling upon me may get on you. Besides, I’m beyond your help, now. Flee! Run away!

  3. @ Mystery

    I can do without the labels and the melodrama. The point is that Jesus is the perfect, sinless Son of God who shows us the way of salvation and who leads us into all truth by His Holy Spirit. Mankind is sinful and if we all grope around looking for truth in our consensus–well, that’s just the blind leading the blind. I’d rather trust Christ and what He says in His Word. The Gospel’s not complicated. I don’t need ANY religious, fundamental hierarchy to recoganize that.

  4. As far as I know we’re good friends. I mean no personal disrespect. (I like cats too by the way.) Enlighten ME then. Rather than post vague personal opinions and your impression of my uncertain religious background, I’d like to know how we are supposed to know God, the person of Jesus Christ, and the meaning of life without searching the Scriptures for our answers?

    Am I missing something, or is that your feeling on the matter? Maybe you could clarify something for me because we might not be too far from agreement. Without the authority of the Bible, aren’t we all screwed? It’s one thing to say that a particular denomination does a piss-poor job in instructing people in the Christian faith, but it’s quite another thing to say that the Bible itself is irrelevant to discovering Truth.

  5. You merit the fundie label because of your absolute foundational adherence to a collection of stories and letters written by men. I can write a book, tell you it’s inspired by God, have thousands take comfort from my words, but that doesn’t make it inspired. You can’t prove something with, “Because I said so.” The same with the bible.

    Why must your thinking be so black or white? “We are all screwed without the bible?” Tell that to millions who couldn’t read down through the centuries or to those who still can’t. Are they “lost” because they don’t or can’t read the bible? Are they less moral because the pages of a book didn’t exist when they did? Tell that to the billions who lived before the establishment of the written word. We know God through experience and each of us experience God in their own way through the gift of the Spirit. If I never picked up a bible again in my life, I would still know God.

    To me, your world is too narrow. If there is a God with a Holy Spirit dwelling within believers, then confining that to the pages of a book collected around 100-200 a.d. is absurd. My God is bigger and more merciful than yours. I’ve fought long and hard for this faith and I’m not wasting any more of my time on biblical semantics. Been there, done that. You don’t accept my premise (the bible isn’t infallible) and I don’t accept yours (the bible is infallible). Without that, we have nothing to discuss and this will only degenerate into mudslinging. I’m not up for that, so you’re wasting your time trying to convince me or bait me.

    Look, no hard feelings, but I’m not playing. 🙂

  6. Ha, that is good curious,
    “The Holy Spirit of God leads us to Truth–not a bunch of people.”

    What is so amazing is that we have 300 or so denominations all claiming that they are the only ones following the Holy Spirit, and virtually every person who does read the Bible comes to different conclusions about its meaning. Seems the Holy Spook leads people in a lot of different directions dosn’t he?

    Doubt is not a tool of Satan, it is what God placed in your brain to help you get out of fundamentalism.

  7. That is so true, Noogatiger. Man creates God in his own image, then gets mad when reasonable people have a problem with their creation. Either their God is too small or not a true God.

    I like that…”Doubt…is what God placed in your brain to help you get out of fundamentalism.” Priceless.

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