How is it that Christians can believe that God is entirely loving and yet at the same time affirm that he sends people to Hell? Anyone who has reflected seriously on theology has had to wrestle with this question. Some have concluded that the two ideas are contradictory and that both points can't be affirmed, but is there a better way forward? In our third episode we're talking with Joshua Ryan Butler, a pastor in Portland, Oregon, and author of the book, "The Skeletons In God's Closet." Together we talk about common ways we misunderstand the doctrine, why this issue is so challenging, and how, when rightly understood, Hell might actually be a sign of God's mercy rather than his cruelty.
"Man's maker was made man... that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on its journey; that Truth might be accused of false witnesses, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might grow weak; that the Healer might be wounded; that Life might die."
-St Augustine of Hippo
There are a few things about Jesus that everyone regardless of their convictions seems to know. He was seen as a miracle worker, a public teacher, was condemned to crucifixion and Christians say he rose again. At first glance, those facts seem to be disjointed fragments that bear no relation to one another. The conviction of the Christian church has been that these are not odds and ends that are unrelated to one another, but many facets of the same unified person and work.
So how do the miracles of Jesus, his teaching on the kingdom of God, and his death and resurrection work together? What about his ascension? In this second episode, we finish our conversation with Dr. Greg Lanier and Dr. Stephen Wellum on Christology
The incarnation is the key that unlocks the sense of all of God’s revelations. It is the key that unlocks the sense of all of God’s works, and brings light to the true meaning of the universe…the incarnation forms thus the great and central fact of the World.”
-John Williamson Nevin
The great question in any age is, "What do you make of Jesus?" The minute any of us begins to offer an answer we have begun the process of engaging in Christology. Of course there are all sorts of answers to that question: he was a great moral teacher, a religious zealot, an enlightened example. Christians have historically answered this question by saying that he is both Lord and Christ.
These first two episodes we're spending with Dr. Greg Lanier, a New Testament Scholar, and Dr. Stephen Wellum, a Theologian. Together we'll be working through the life of Christ and seeing what it means for him to be, "The great and central fact of the world."