I'm a big fan of P.T. Forsyth (1848-1921), a Scottish theologian writing at the turn of the 20th century. Although trained in liberal theology in Gottingen, he came to the conclusion that liberalism failed to adequately deal with the fallen state of human beings. This led to his own deep reflection and subsequent transformation. He renewed his belief in the atoning work of Christ and he developed a great interest in holiness and the atonement. His study resulted in several outstanding works on the Cross and the Atonement of our Savior. In particular are The Cruciality of the Cross and the classic, The Church and the Sacraments. If you can find a copy, these, along with his masterful Preaching and Modern Mind and The Person and Place of Jesus Christ, are well worth studious reading and reflection. Here are a few quotes for this Holy Week.
In writing about the early believers' worship of Jesus, Forsyth explains:
"What produced this [worship], so amazing, so blasphemous to the Jews? It was the cross, when it came home by the resurrection...It was then that Jesus became the matter and not merely the master of gospel preaching. It was then that He became Christ indeed, then when He became perfected! Perfected! He became the finished Savior only in the finished salvation. And, for those who worshiped Him first, all He was to them centered in the cross and radiated from there. It was the Christ who was made sin for them in the cross that became for them God reconciling the world to Himself. He was all to them in the cross, where He died for their sin, and took away the guilt of the world, according to their Scriptures...That was the starting point of the Gospel, that made it missionary, made the Church. It is the content of the Gospel. And it is always to there that the Church must come back, to take its bearings, and be given its course." ~ The Cruciality of the Cross, pg. 15
And, in writing about the church as a supernatural body of the risen Christ he posits: "Where does the super-natural and Church-building element in Christ lie? It lies not in His character and teaching but in His office and work--in His atoning Cross and Resurrection...there He is the Son of God with power. His spirituality is evangelical. It is moral power so radical and revolutionary that it is regenerative and nothing less. He is the Christ of the Holy Father, not as the Ideal of the pure, but as the Savior of the lost. What makes Christ Christ is what He did as His life's crowning work; not how He was born or grew up, not even what He said and did from day to day--except as such words and deeds take their consummation, and have their last meaning, in His condensed word and summary work of the Cross." ~ The Church and the Sacraments, pg. 33
2009 © Dr. Charles Revis, ABC Northwest
[This article is from Dr. Revis’ blog, www.missionnorthwest.blogspot.com]