Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity, Ch 5, Jesus the Heart of Reality (Part 2)

Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity, Ch 5, Jesus the Heart of Reality (Part 2)

The second part of the chapter involves the theology of the Cross; which I thought needed a post by itself.
Borg doesn't deny Jesus execution. He believes that the reason for it was primarily because Jesus of 'his Politics- a passion for God's justice'. Where Borg differs radically from Evangelical scholars is the how the 'post-Easter' early Christians interpreted his death. One of the most well known is the 'atonement' theology'; 'Jesus died for your Sins'.  Borg finds Atonment theory problematic
...atonement theology doe not go back to Jesus himself. We do not think that Jesus thought that the purpose of his life , his vocation, was his death. His purpose was what he was doing as a healer, wisdom teacher, social prophet and movement initiator. His death was the consequence of what he was doing, but not his purpose.
....Jesus kept up what he doing even though he knew it could have fatal consequences.

Borg summaries five differnt interpretations of the Cross which scholars have had through the ages.

  1.  A 'Regection-and-Vindication understanding of Good Friday and Easter'. Authorities regected Jesus but God Vindicated Jesus. This understanding stays the closest to the political message.
  2. The 'Defeat of Powers' , again this is close to the political message of Jesus. Not only is it against the Romans and aristocratic rulers (I presume aristocratic rulers he means the Jewish ones of the time) Borg refers to Walter Wink as the 'dominion system which is built into human institutions. 
  3. The Cross as 'the way'. To die to old ways and raised in a new ways of been.
  4. A revelation of Gods love for us.
  5. Lastly the sacrificial system where Jesus died for our sins. Borg writes that
..."Jesus died for our sins"  was originally a subversive metaphor not a literal description of either God's  was purpose or Jesus vocation. It was metaphorical proclamation of radical...

It is interesting to reflect that at certain times I have had an understanding of the first four mention. Yet the last, the sacrificial system I've previously looked at as literal. Borg's understanding has been a revelation to me.  I like his understanding 'Jesus is a metaphor for God', and in many ways looking at Scripture through this grid.

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