Our camp agrees with the Atonement School that in order for mankind to be saved, Christ must die by execution and not by natural means. We also agree that the means of execution must be crucifixion, not any other means. That is where the agreement ends.
Drawing heavily upon the writings of Athanasius (AD 296-373), this lecture shows that the necessity of Christ’s execution by crucifixion has nothing to do with God’s supposedly wanting to exact from Christ the most punishing death possible. Rather, it is necessary for Christ to die by execution because his mission is to overturn “natural death.” His dying by natural means would have been completely inappropriate symbolically and actually. As for the manner of his execution, it is necessary that Christ be executed by crucifixion for three reasons:
- It proves his divinity, because he is able to rise victorious over the worst death his adversaries could impose upon him.
- Christ enters death high in the air, which Eph 2:2 identifies as Satan’s domain. Thereby, Christ shatters Satan’s control over the air, blazing a heavenward trail for mankind.
- The cross fittingly symbolizes Christ’s healing mission, mirroring the brass serpent that Moses raised up in Num 21:4-9 to heal the Hebrews of their snakebites.
Because Eastern Orthodox Christians often approach patristic sources with simpleminded credulity, we also take a moment in this lecture to expose the sometimes overly Alexandrine Christology of Athanasius. The purpose of this side trip is to show that one must use discernment even when examining revered Church Fathers.
Run time: 27:55; Posted: 5/17/13
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This lecture introduces the competing soteriologies of atonement and redemption. Whereas “atonement” denotes the idea that Christ’s work on the cross is reparation for a wrong or an injury done to God, “redemption” denotes the idea that Christ’s work on the cross rescues mankind from a state of sinfulness. This stipulative definition of redemption forms the core of what will be called the restored-icon model throughout the rest of this series.
The listener will also be cautioned to approach theological authorities with discernment rather than veneration. Veneration of the physician Galen (circa AD 131-201) retarded the study of medicine until Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) proved by experimentation that Galen’s medical writings were wrong. This lecture applies this lesson to theology.
Run time: 13:14; Posted: 4/18/13