Monday, March 24, 2014

"The Very Centre and Kernel of All Scripture"

By The Venerable Dr. Christopher A. Brown
Special to Virtueonline
March 22, 2014

"When I see Christ on the cross," she said. "I just get angry."

She seemed angry - and filled with a passionate intensity. The image of Christ on the cross did not inspire her reverence. Instead, it stirred a sense of outrage at the atrocity inflicted on an innocent man. For her, to turn the cross into a symbol of redemption only obscured the violence and inhumanity of an instrument of torture and death.

The class agreed. It was a graduate seminar on the Atonement, the traditional doctrine that Christ's death atones for sin and sets us right with God. The consensus of the class - including the professor - was that this notion was out of date and sub-Christian. I agreed that we are too sanguine about depictions of Christ's suffering. The image his crucifixion is too easily trivialized, unless we remind ourselves that it was a terrible act of injustice and institutionalized cruelty. My disagreement with my fellow students was that the atrocity of crucifixion does not negate the redemptive role of the cross.

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