This one from conference magician, Jim McNeely.
The time for the most wondrous conference – the Mockingbird NYC spring conference – has rolled around again, and the powers-that-be have condescended to let me come and do a breakout session! I’m going to talk about a book I’ve been writing for 3 years now called “The Word of the Cross.” I’m very excited about this material!
The Cross is our Solution?
The Corinthian church was a mess. There were divisions and theological quarrels and pride about obscure knowledge. Gross sexual sins were being tolerated. Church members were suing one another. There was idolatry, overeating…
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In the first chapter of Fleming Rutledge’s impressive book, The Crucifixion, she explains that modern Christianity shares the same widespread rival as early Christianity: gnosticism. She doesn’t mince words bringing the dusty historical term back down to the ground: “All the various forms of gnosticism are grounded in the belief that privileged spiritual knowledge is the way of salvation.” With one swoop of the vested arm, Rutledge knocks down the pawns of self-help, educated elitism, not to mention a massive percentage of the modern-day Christian church—in short, “religion”. To cherry-pick some of her key remarks on this subject:
Defining this philosophy is no…
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Here are a few quick quotes from Fleming Rutledge’s introduction to her much-talked-about recent release, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ. (Rutledge was featured on an episode of The Mockingcast–“The Gospel is for Sinners”–a few months back…don’t miss it!)
There have been many famous deaths in world history; we might think of John F. Kennedy, or Marie Antoinette, or Cleopatra, but we do not refer to “the assassination,” “the guillotining,” or “the poisoning.” Such references would be incomprehensible. The use of the term “the crucifixion” for the execution of Jesus shows that it still retains a privileged status. When we speak of “the crucifixion,” even in this secular age, many people will know what is meant. There is something in the strange death of the man identified as Son of God that continues to command special attention. This death, this execution, above and beyond all others, continues to have universal reverberations. Of no other death in human history can this be said. The cross of Jesus stands alone in this regard; it is sui generis…
There has been ceaseless flow of print and talk about the unreliability of the New Testament witness concerning Jesus…Few outside academia would know that the incongruities so frequently cited today as proof of the Bible’s unreliability were noted many centuries ago by such as Origen and Calvin. It seems more than a little disingenuous for skeptical scholars of today to act as though they were the originators of newly minted insights made possible only by their supposed discoveries and intellectual fearlessness. It cannot be emphasized too strongly that those writers who seek to reduce and diminish the figure of Jesus are creating a Jesus to suit their own preferences just as surely as Thomas Jefferson did when he took scissors and paste to the Gospels.
The key to Jesus is now, as it has always been, his crucifixion and resurrection. Nothing whatever is known from first-century extrabiblical sources about Jesus as a historical figure…Any modern reconstruction of the historical Jesus,” therefore, is certain to be a product of the cultural environment that produced it, whereas the Jesus proclaimed as Lord in the New Testament comes closer than any other figure known to human history to being universal, transcending time and historical location, belonging to all cultures and all people everywhere and forever. That is a big claim, but Christians need not be ashamed to stand by it. This proclamation of Jesus as Lord…arose not out of Jesus’ ministry, which after all can be compared to the ministry of other holy men, but out of the unique apostolic kerygma (proclamation) of the crucified and risen One.
From Fleming Rutledge’s masterful new work, The Crucifixion, this comes from her chapter “The Godlessness of the Cross” (ht LM):
Yet at the most fundamental level—and this can’t be emphasized too strongly—the cross is in no way “religious.” The cross is by a very long way the most irreligious object ever to find its way into the heart of faith. J. Christiaan Beker refers to it as “the most nonreligious and horrendous feature of the Gospel.
The crucifixion marks out the essential distinction between Christianity and “religion.” Religion as defined in these pages is either an organized system of belief or, alternatively, a loose collection of ideas and practices, projected out of humanity’s needs and wishes. The cross is “irreligious” because no human being individually or human beings collectively would have projected their hopes, wishes, longings, and needs onto a crucified man.
This morning, we are honored to bring you original commentary on the meaning of Good Friday by the inestimable Paul Walker, written as part of a special broadcast of Joseph Haydn’s “The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour On the Cross” on WTJU-Charlottesville, 91.1 FM. For those unfamiliar with the piece, it was commissioned by the Canon of Cadiz in 1786 for the Good Friday service at the Church of Santa Cueva in Cadiz, Spain, and the performance below was recorded in the very same place.
Good Friday is the day of all days for Christians. Yes, there is Christmas and…
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