Quote of the Moment

“We didn’t feel the nature of the atonement was one of those things you could agree to disagree over.”

– Pod Bhogal
Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF)

What Pod is really saying is this: people couldn’t possibly view the atonement in any other way than the way HE and his group sees it.

It is sad that we have so much effort in the church to squelch theological conversation.

UPDATE: See comments (7/17/2008)

9 responses to “Quote of the Moment

  1. What Pod is really saying is NOT that there can’t be theological conversation. He’s saying that for the purposes of a particular partnership & conference it is firmly in the closed hand. It’s foundational for it. There are loads of areas that are in the open hand and very much up for conversation.

  2. Let’s read the quote one more time…

    “We didn’t feel the nature of the atonement was one of those things you could agree to disagree over.”

    Maybe I missed some context, but I stand by what I’m saying. Yes, we can disagree over how different views of the cross.

  3. I’ve heard so many people say, “I just believe the Bible,” usually in response to something I just said about what I believe and, in a round-about way, letting me know that what I beleive is not biblically sound or even correct. But what they’re saying they do is an impossibility, before they can believe or live out the text of the Bible, someone, somewhere has to make some decisions about some things.

    Take the command to “love your neighbor.” Before you can believe it or live it out you have to know at least 3 things that I can see. 1) What is love? 2) How do you show love? and 3) Who is my neighbor? Is my neighbor the people living next to me on Heather Drive? Or is every person on the planet my neightbbor? Or every person I come into contact with? And how do I show that I love the people on my street? That’d be a lot different than showing love to every single person I com into contact with. Some people may say to show love is to smile as you pass a sad sinner on the street. Others may say it’s meeting needs of hurting broken people, but if that’s the case, how could anyone afford to meet the needs of everyone they come into contact with? And if you can’t help everyone, how do you decide who gets the help? See where I’m headed with this?

    So many people are so dogmatic about what they believe the Bible says about this, or what the Bible says about that… but the problem is just that… it’s what THEY BELIEVE, and since God’s ways are so far above ours and his thoughts are so far above ours, I’d be careful what I went around saying I knew for sure about his book.

    I’ll throw this in for free… I believe when you reduce the Bible to talking points, and debate topics and use it to prove your personal belief system or point of view… you’ve perverted it and you’ve completely missed the point of the text altogether.

  4. believe when you reduce the Bible to talking points, and debate topics and use it to prove your personal belief system or point of view…

    …cos like the writing of the nicene creed, the 39 articles of the church of england were real tragedies for the church… we all draw lines and we need to, the only question is where we draw them.

  5. Drawing lines isn’t a problem for me. I don’t mind that at all. The problem comes when lines are drawn before any serious theological discussion has taken place. The issues about how to interpret the atonement (that led up to the comment I quoted) were not clear black and white issues. It is an area that needs more conversation.

    I find that very few Christians can articulate what the atonement was all about, except to say that “Jesus died for my sins.” That is good, and needs to be said, but if you start sharing that with a non-believer, then you may want to be able to share a little more understanding. The different theological models for understanding the atonement are helpful in this regard, so I am disappointed that an opportunity to discuss those models was overlooked.

    I think I’ll post something on the different “models” that are out there, just for my own review and hopefully the benefit of others.

  6. the thing is that this is a decision reached after many years of discussion… the issue has sort of been rumbling on for 90 years in the UK, and about five in this specific context… so please don’t worry that this is some rash-out-of-no-where statement. we’re not the first generation to face this one.

  7. I’m aware that we aren’t the first generation to ponder the atonement, and I’m glad to hear that the man’s comments came out of a context of years of discussion.

    It’s still weird to me that he didn’t think people could “agree to disagree” about their atonement theology. I wasn’t aware that cross theology was off-limits for disagreeing.

    Thanks for jumping in. Based on your website(s) I see that it is a hot topic (if “hot” means “discussed regularly and fervently” then I suppose that cross theology should always be a hot topic).

  8. Dude – I only just saw this. Let me be clear. I’m all up for theological debate and would encourage it. We need lots of conversation and deeply held convictions if the church is to grow and move forward. I’m 100% committed to conversatio and dialogue.

    OK – my point…

    I’m a charasmatic Christian and as such believ the gifts are for today and should be encouraged within the context of the local church and under responsible leadership. However, I work with folks and have been involved ion events with people who are not charasmatic and disagree with me on the issue. Fine. we choose to agree to disagree as we see that issue as secondary to the core truths of the gospel.

    Penal substituion is SO central to the gospel that UCCF/ Keswick couldn’t simply agreee to disagree and continue to work with Spring Harvest. The issue of disagreement was too big and core.

    Continue to have discussion – yes. By all means. But, put on a conference together. Probabaly not. It’s worth pointing out here that it was actually SH that booted us out. We didn’t leave. Not that I want to dredge all that up again.

    Dude – you gotta take things in context if you’re going to quote people. You put words in my mouth that were not mine by reading things in…I’m just calling it for what it is…

  9. Pod – Thanks for commenting. As I look back on the post, I see why you are bringing up the need for context. I certainly should have provided more of that.

    The part I most regret is after the quote, I said, “What Pod is really saying is this…” without knowing what you were really saying.

    My apologies.

    I believe the church is in great need of good conversation about the atonement, but my communication vehicle was a poor choice, indeed.

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