Wendy Francisco is a great Christian thinker who is just so honest and ‘out there’. She says it how she sees it; she would have made a great Yorkshirewoman 😉
Here’s a piece by Wendy that I read on Facebook recently – well worth a read:
“I struggle with words… and when I land so hard on evangelicalism… I am really not being accurate at all. The problem isn’t evangelicalism. There doesn’t seem to be a word for what the problem is. You can’t really call it penal substitution theory, because then everybody just silently thinks of jokes. ;-D You can’t really call it Calvinism because the scope is larger than that word. Substitutionary atonement gets close but is still confusing because Jesus did sacrifice himself.
So this post is longer but I will try and nail down what may seem confusing for some of my friends. Disclaimer, I am no expert, but this is where my feet seem to be on the journey so far.
The problem that I don’t know the name for is a belief in a god who is angry and needs blood to be appeased, whose forgiveness isn’t free, and whose character is capricious, unpredictable, and a bit scary. In this scenario, heathen religions sacrificed animals (and humans!) and appeased their god. Jews did that too, with animals, though scripture says (the real) God never advised them to do so. He owns the cattle on 1000 hills and doesn’t need us to cook them for him. This ancient and viral thought pattern, leaks into Western Christendom — god is angry and needs to kill His son in order to be appeased. The main aspect of importance is the >>>character of this god!!<<< Evangelicalism is built on this god, but so are many religions. Catholics and Protestants have basically the same god. In a nutshell — we need to be saved from this god.
Viewpoint two, also with no overriding term that I know of that matches the scope of what it is. God is love, (!!) sends Jesus to straighten out the terrible and false reputation God has. Jesus says those who came before him are thieves and a robbers …meaning Jewish teachers…. including scripture writers, ahem. The cross from this vantage point is something initiated totally by man, foreknown by God, yes, but accomplished by our violence and paranoia. Jesus does not retaliate… and THAT is what separates man from God. He rose from the dead, so He certainly had the power to retaliate. So we say…”well, wait till he comes baaaack and then He’ll kill millions of nasty non-christians”. Nope. He’s the same yesterday, today, forever. He won’t kill non-Christians just like He didn’t kill Romans. That is because He is Jesus, not Zeus. EVERYTHING sits on the >> true character of God<<<, and NOT what we do or don’t do to appease Him. In a nutshell, we need to be saved from ourselves.
When we saw Jesus, we saw God perfectly represented, in life, in death, and in new life. This destroys the power of anyone to accuse you with religious law, and frighten you into submissison to a capricious and scary God. It very much saves you from hell…from those who sell hell to capture and devalue you through your perceived sin. You already murdered Jesus, and He did not retaliate. It’s finished. Scripture says, we should move on from constant references to defeating sin. It’s taken as far away as east is from west…. and from what I know about basic Christian history… east is very far away from west.
Anyway, I wanted to write this because I know some might think I am all over the map…but that second viewpoint goes back to our roots, is all through scripture, and some say it was the predominant theory of atonement for the first 500 years of Christendom. It is hardly “new age”. And like anything, when you learn about it, you begin to see it in scripture more and more until it solidly unseats that other pretty nasty view. Then, when you factor in the unthinkable eternal collateral damage of view number one, and compare it to the complete triumph of love, it isn’t too hard to figure out which one should be called Good News.”
Amen to that.