A Bible for Geeks and Pilgrims
Oct 10: World's Biggest Sing

The Lost Message of Christ 1.1


Is God a Child Abuser?
I am off to a theological debate tonight with about 1000 people, assuming all the tickets get sold (700 are already gone). Not that i chose this - i have a 5:30 meeting with Church Missionary Society in London and they are all going out to the debate after the meeting, so i said i would tag along.
Steve Chalke will be defending his book "The Lost Message of Jesus". I dont think it will be a heresy trial or defence. Probably more of a good excuse to reexamine what we believe, in its starkness. Everyone loves Steve C. and we think he is sound, so i cant see it getting ugly . . . . unless we start off by singing some REALLY CHEESY CHORUSES FROM 1987, and then it might get ugly.

Regardless of how it turns out, i have to ask myself the question . . .
"How long has it been since a theological conversation needed a large auditorium and had to limit numbers to 1000 tickets at £3 each?"

Faithworks has a book review.
Faithful Reader has a book excerpt and so does Brutally Honest.
- Christdot says "Hence my comment, in The Lost Message of Jesus, about the tragedy of reducing God to a ‘cosmic child abuser’. Though the sheer bluntness of my imagery might shock some, in truth, it is only because it is a stark ‘unmasking’ of the violent, pre-Christian thinking behind such a theology"
- Blogger Stephen Dancer says: "Steve Chalke makes some good points and he makes some howlers.
- MyBrainHurts has a theological chart that really will make your brain hurt.
- Anabaptists are coming out tonight, and Stuart Murray Williams is participating in the debate (He was at our conversation yesterday)
- Ecclesia says : "The Evangelical Alliance has arranged the event to look at issues raised by Steve Chalke's new book, 'The Lost Message of Jesus', which has provoked outcry from several Evangelical quarters. . . .

In the book, Steve Chalke calls into question the idea that God orchestrated Jesus' death on the cross, causing the newspaper 'Evangelical's Now' to question whether Steve Chalke could be considered an 'Evangelical' any longer.

The concept of ‘penal substitution' - the idea of a wrathful God who can only have his anger at iniquitous sinners appeased through bringing about the violent death of his Son - forms the basis of much Evangelical thinking, although it was not a view held by the early church.

Penal substitution first emerged in ‘draft’ form with Anselm in the 11th Century. It was substantially shaped by John Calvin’s legal mind in the Reformation and was finalised by the Princetown scholar Charles Hodge in the 19th Century.

Earlier approaches focus on Christ’s death and resurrection as his victory over all the forces of evil and sin, including the earthly and spiritual powers that oppress.

Steve Chalke said; "In my view, the real problem with penal substitution (a theory rooted in violence and retributive notions of justice) is its incompatibility, at least as currently taught and understood, with any authentically Christian understanding of the character of God or genuinely Christocentric worldview – given, for instance, Jesus own non-violent, ‘do not return evil for evil’, approach to life. "
From Ecclesia website