Thanks to my blogging conspirator Kevin for the heads-up. He points me to a blog by Tony Jones. According to Tony’s bio on the beliefnet website, Tony is “a leader in the emergent church movement and a renowned expert on postmodern theology and the American church landscape.” At Tony’s own website, he refers to himself as “an author, theologian, social commentator, blogger, and sought-after speaker on the topics of church, theology, spirituality, postmodernism, and politics.”
I’ll try to keep it simple so keep up!
Over Easter weekend, you know, the holiday in which Christian worldwide celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, Tony posted two blogs. One of them was entitled “Why Jesus Died“, and the other was “Why Jesus Rose“. In the latter, Tony writes,
“…there’s really no reason for the resurrection. It’s little more than Jesus, “Ta-Da! See, I told you that I was divine!” (Which, by the way, Jesus attests only ambiguously, and primarily in the Gospel of John. Take a deep breath, people. I’m not questioning Jesus’ divinty; I’m just saying that Jesus himself wasn’t particularly adamant about it.) There must be more to Jesus’ resurrection than another proof of his divinity.”
Re-read the statement…there’s no reason for it other than to prove His divinity, so there must be a reason for it. What?
In Tony’s most recent blog post, “The Irony of the Young, Restless Reformers” he mentions that in his aforementioned blogs, that while he “affirmed a traditional and orthodox understanding of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”, he is against penal substitutionary atonement, which he refers to as “PSA.” What is “PSA”? It’s the old, and apparently incorrect old chestnut that that Jesus, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished (penalised) in the place of sinners (substitution), so that God can forgive sins. Historically, criticism of PSA has come in several ways, from the anti-trinitarian Socinus who denied the deity of Jesus (which, tony does not), to the differing ideas of justice between the Hebrews (Old Testament) and the Roman (New Testament-Paul especially) to the post-modern idea that Christ on the cross is “cosmic child abuse.”
Tony’s understanding is that the real purpose of the cross and resurrection is that so God can really understand humanity. The only REAL way to do so would be to experience death.
Tony affirms “a traditional and orthodox understanding of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Does he want a cookie? Are we supposed to applaud? He is, after all, a Christian. (Well, he claims to be). Should we expect less?
In the latest blog post, “The Irony…” he posted a quote from the Edict of Worms from 1521 that blasted Martin Luther for straying from orthodoxy. In his next breath, Jones has the audacity to write, “Now, before you read some of these blog snippets, hear me well: I am not comparing myself to Martin Luther.”
Good, because you’re not Martin Luther. And the church of today is not the Roman Catholic Church of 1521. Penal Substitutionary Atonement is not even in the same ball park as ANY of Lutherr’s 95 Theses. It’s not even the same sport.
Speaking of irony, Tony…how’s this?
James 2:19- “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.”
I’m just saying.