Boy, "In Christ Alone" just will not stay out of the churchy news. A few weeks ago it was standing in for all hymnody ever in the face of the chorus-singing horde; now it's standing in for confessional evangelicals' valiant defense against the liberal horde. Coming soon: "In Christ Alone" as a symbol of resistance to common-cup communion, or missional-everything fervor, or preaching from your iPad. But about that liberal horde.
Some questions won't go away. The creed says Jesus was crucified "for us," but what do those two little words mean?
An annotated list of top titles on atonement.
Looking back to history to find yet another approach to atonement will not solve the problem, but a reconsideration of the physical or mystical theory of how Christ saves us might contribute to more fruitful and civil conversation.
At one end of Matthew, Jesus goes free. At the other, cruel, ritualized slaughter befalls him.
Imagine someone who, because he is not driven by fear of death, is able to undergo an absolutely typical lynching at human hands and to do so deliberately—showing that death, rather than being definitive and powerful, is no more than a frightening mirage. Christ calls the bluff of the lynching, enabling humans to be less driven by fear and a desire for revenge.
Why does Jesus's death matter?