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Monday, December 12, 2011

Sydney Anglicans (Episcopalians) and Which Christ?

But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

'Which of the two do you want me to release to you?' asked the governor. 'Barabbas,' they answered.

'What shall I do then, with Jesus who is called Christ?' Pilate asked.

They all answered 'Crucify him!'

'Why, what crime has has he committed?' asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, 'Crucify him!'
(Matt. 27:20-23)

It takes only a moment's thought to realize that many in the crowd calling for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ were people who had called out "Hosanna to the Son of David" at the triumphal entry of Jesus of Nazareth to Jerusalem not long before. At the very least, a sizable proportion would have looked on at the clamour surrounding the triumphal entry and wondered with elevated spirit "Could this be the Christ?".

Clearly, their heart had turned for there is no record of a voice speaking for the Christ, bar Pilate, when the later crowd howled for his crucifixion.

How could such numbers with great joy and expectation one day, later call for the crucifixion of the Son of David or, at the least, how could they not speak on his behalf before his accusers if there had not been some turning of heart away from him following his arrest?

To put it simply, their expectation of the long awaited Christ did not fit a man who, to their mind, weakly submitted to capture and to the authorities, who obviously couldn't be a warrior Christ (or king). Barabbas had more qualification for what they sought of the Christ than did Jesus of Nazareth.

Though they knew enough of the Word of God to expect the Christ, their evaluation of his nature was too worldly. Their evaluation was so much shaped by the nature of their earlier warrior king David and the nature of past great leaders of nations around them that they could not countenance a weak, (by worldly standards) suffering Christ.

Their narrow, worldly view caused them to overlook those important parts of the Word of God which describe a much different Christ whose strength and victory was exemplified in suffering. Their resultant actions prompted Simon Peter to later declare "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." (Acts 2:36)

The error of past Israel should be a lesson to today's evangelicals, including those who claim to be evangelicals of the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney, to not formulate a nature of Christ based on worldly views. Accepting so much of the nature of Christ contained in the Word of God but leaving out the rest opens the door to grave error.

To ascribe to Christ a nature which willfully uses an horrific and frustration-riddled process of Creation, such as Theistic Evolution proposes, is to impose on Christ a nature which is so counter to his nature attested by the Word of God that it falls firmly in the ground of heresy.

The horrors of suffering and death, along with the futility of a troubled Creation are the product of man's sin (Rom. 8:19-22) not the product of the nature of Christ the Creator.

Yet, this false view of the nature of Christ was promoted by former Principal of Moore Theological College, Rev Peter Jensen, several years ago in the Moore College PTC Notes and is tacitly endorsed in the later (2002) Doctrine 2 Notes jointly edited by the same Peter Jensen and John Woodhouse, present Principal.

Just as the the chief priests and elders in Jerusalem, some 2,000 years ago, persuaded a crowd of seeming believers in Christ to formulate an alternative and false view of the Christ - with serious consequences - so today, leaders in the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney and other evangelical circles, are persuading believers and potential believers to formulate a false view of the nature of Christ, bringing with it dangerous consequences.

Sam Drucker

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