The Mediocrity of the New Covenant?

The Mediocrity of the New Covenant?

According to Reformed Theology, even the “good works” which Christians are called to do are “tainted by sin”. And on top of that, Reformed theology says these “good works” are only pleasing to God in so far as they are “covered by the blood and righteousness of Christ”. But if you stop and think about what this is saying, no Christian should be comfortable with such teaching. Why would God give us a new heart and give us the...

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The Kingdom of God, Forensically Considered

The Kingdom of God, Forensically Considered

**This is a guest post by Jonathan Prejean** Owing largely to Reformation-era polemics, the application of legal descriptions in the context of historical Christian orthodoxy appears to have been badly misunderstood. The charge is that the Eastern Fathers were pretty much oblivious to legal metaphors, the Western Fathers were cognizant but confused owing to translation errors (specifically the use of iustificare, to make righteous), and only the...

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A Once-For-All Perpetual Offering?

A Once-For-All Perpetual Offering?

I had initially begun this as a comment to someone who brought up the once-for-all nature of Christ’s sacrifice in the comments in the previous thread, but then I decided to turn it into a full-on post. Since the book of Hebrews was alluded to (and indeed must be when we’re discussing the idea of sacrifice), here are a few passages I’d like to consider: Now the main point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high...

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The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs

I admit I am at a bit of a loss regarding where to go with this series on the atonement. The whole reason we initially delved into the Old Testament and its Levitical sacrifices was to lay some groundwork for turning to the Epistle to the Hebrews, since that is the New Testament’s locus classicus  when it comes to the idea of priestly sacrifice. But as I look over the epistle and consider its relevant texts, I can’t seem to find a...

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Old Covenant Atonement: Transfer of Guilt or Offering of Sacrifice?

Old Covenant Atonement: Transfer of Guilt or Offering of Sacrifice?

  Having established the rationale for why the New Testament writers understood Jesus’ death to be a sacrifice rather than a mere martyrdom (i.e., because of the cross’s connection with the sacrifice of the Eucharist), we can now prepare to venture into the epistle to the Hebrews by considering the Old Testament, and particularly Levitical, backdrop for atonement and the sacrifices that accomplished it. My basic thesis here is...

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On Love and Law

On Love and Law

My general thesis in our ongoing consideration of the atonement is that the cross was intended to make possible a covenantal context for grace, in which sin could be forgiven and man could be saved. My approach will be to take this basic paradigm and sort of test-drive it through the biblical data and thereby determine its explanatory value for the texts that deal with issues like salvation in general and the forgiveness of sins in...

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