The Crucifixion Poll

18 thoughts on “The Crucifixion Poll

  1. Bull, I think there’s more.

    I always found this picture of a statue in Brazil to be truly confronting when examining the crucifixion of Jesus. It highlights the evil, horror, loneliness and injustice of a despicable act.

    I remember it from my college days. Truly confronting.

    Bottom picture.

    The True Image Of The Crucifixion (explicit picture, but ya’ll should see))

  2. To be fair, I dont think the liberals or emergents have claimed that the crucifixion itself was cosmic child abuse.

    What they have said is that the theology of substitutionary atonement implies child abuse. Ie. that God would require that His Son be killed in order to satisfy His need for justice for the sins of mankind.

  3. I always thought the “cosmic child abuse” term originated with Brian Mclaren, but no…….

    Cosmic Child Abuse? Greg Koukl

    “Speaking of dads on this Father’s Day, I want to talk about the Heavenly Father for a moment and transition here into a theological issue dealing with fathers and sons; this would be the Father God, and His Son, Jesus Christ.

    We’ve talked a lot over the last few years about our concern over the emerging culture and the church that is emerging from that culture. I have actually isolated four particular concerns since, if you make a critique of a broad, diversified group it’s easy for people to say, “Well, that’s not what I believe.” Instead of doing that, we’ve isolated four different ideas that many people in the emerging culture who call themselves Christians are embracing.

    Those four areas are kind of watershed issues for me. One is the area of truth and knowledge. The second one is the authority of the Scriptures. The third one is the cross of Jesus Christ. And the fourth one is the Great Commission.

    I want to talk for a few minutes here about the third item, which is somewhat more theological than the kind of issues that I think many Christians talk about. Yeah, we talk about truth, and the authority of the Bible and inerrancy, and the Great Commission. But not much has been said about the cross in general, except that Jesus died for your sins. We don’t work hard to cash that out in most churches, and most Christians haven’t thought much about what that entails. I think if you did think more about it, it would benefit your spiritual life. You would be deepened and drawn closer to your Savior when you understand more of what’s involved on that transaction on the cross.

    Now I’ve written a Solid Ground piece that describes this called “The Christ of the Passion: What the Movie Couldn’t Show.” In this piece, I characterize a classic notion, and I would say a strongly Biblical notion—Pauline in particular—though Jesus made reference to this as well, the idea that Jesus died in our place. We deserved to die. He died for us. Such was God’s love that He “gave His only Son, that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.” And those who believe are rescued from the wrath of God, while those who don’t believe, the wrath of God continues to abide on them.

    Now this is classically also understood as the “stumbling block of the cross.” Why would the cross rescue anyone? Why do we need to believe in the weakness of the cross, the curse of the cross. “Cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree.” “Jesus took the curse for us.” This is weird to non-believers. Paul mentions that. He talks about the cross being a stumbling block, “to the Greeks foolishness.”

    However, the cross understood that way is also a stumbling block to a lot of believers nowadays. In fact, it is characterized by some as “divine child abuse” of a father on his son. The idea that Jesus would die for my sins, i.e., that the Father would punish Jesus for what I did instead of just forgiving me outright. It seems barbaric that He requires a blood sacrifice.

    Yet, it is a cornerstone of Christianity. A leader in the emergent church asked me, What does the cross get me? What does the substitutionary atonement get me, this view of the cross that Jesus died in my place” I said, “It gets me saved. It gets me rescued. It gets me forgiven. Jesus did something for me. He paid my debt.”

    This idea that God must get his “ounce of flesh,” as it were, is odious to non-believers and now, more and more, to believers of one stripe at least. God tells us to forgive, but He won’t do the same Himself without drawing blood. This concept has been played with by a number of different authors. One of them is Brian McLaren who quoted the term, coined by Steve Chalke of the UK, “cosmic child abuse” to describe this understanding of the cross. McLaren puts that on the lips of one of his most attractive characters in one of his books. From what I understand, recently in a podcast, he affirmed that this was his notion, that he thought that the notion that Jesus died for my sins, that God punished Jesus, was an example of cosmic child abuse.

    Let me quote from author Steve Chalke, “The fact is that the cross isn’t a form of cosmic child abuse—a vengeful Father, punishing his Son for an offence he has not even committed. Understandably, both people inside and outside of the Church have found this twisted version of events morally dubious and a huge barrier to faith. Deeper than that, however, is that such a concept stands in total contradiction to the statement: ‘God is love’. If the cross is a personal act of violence perpetrated by God towards humankind but borne by his Son, then it makes a mockery of Jesus’ own teaching to love your enemies and to refuse to repay evil with evil.” (Steve Chalke and Alan Mann, The Lost Message of Jesus, [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003], pp. 182-183)

    Let me try to answer the charge that this is not becoming of a God who is love, the charge that this is just another example of God repaying evil with evil, which He tells us not to do, that this is just cosmic child abuse.

    The first question is why won’t God do what He tells us to do. The answer is that He does. He tells us to forgive. What are the grounds upon which we are to forgive? It is God’s forgiveness of us. If we read in Ephesians 4, it says that just as you have been forgiven, you forgive others. Jesus prayed in the Lord’s prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive others.” So we are enjoined to forgive whatever people have committed against us. And the reason we are able to forgive is that God has extended forgiveness to us. Now there are grounds upon which God can extend forgiveness, and that is that His Son has paid the penalty. His Son has made it possible for God the Father to extend forgiveness to us, and therefore we should forgive others.

    Why is it we don’t take our own revenge? The answer is because it is not up to us to punish crimes against us – that is God’s province. You see God doesn’t say to not take your own revenge because it’s wrong for anybody to expect punishment for harm that’s done, and it’s wrong for any sovereign to extend punishment for harm that is done. No. He says that it isn’t our job to punish sin. It is His job to do that.

    You see, the rules for God are different from the rules for us, just like the rules for parents are different than the rules for kids. God has privileges we don’t because He is God, our Creator. He does appropriately as an act of justice. Chalke says we shouldn’t be returning evil for evil. It is not evil when God punishes crimes committed against Him, as all sin is. That isn’t a response with evil, that’s a response with good. It’s God’s job to judge. It’s our job to forgive. We forgive because we have been forgiven, and we’ve been forgiven because God has arranged for a method of forgiveness through His Son.

    God judges and punishes out of justice. And He tells us to be like Him, just, in that regard, especially since it’s not our job to punish.

    The second question has to do with the nature of the cross itself, and this is where I recommend that you go back to our website at and look up the piece that I wrote called “The Christ of the Passion: What the Movie Couldn’t Show.” There I go into detail on what the Bible teaches about what Jesus of Nazareth accomplished on the cross. My point there was that the biggest suffering on the cross was not at the hands of men, but at the hand of God during those three hours when darkness shrouded the cross, the greatest agony was when the Father poured out His wrath on His son.

    I want you to see that the Bible actually teaches that there was an exchange that took place on the cross, that the Father poured out His anger on the Son, as if guilty of our sins. The Scriptures speak of this in a number of places. II Corinthians 5:22 makes this very clear: “He made Him who knew no sin, to become sin on our behalf that we could become the righteousness of God in Him.” Paul talks about a certificate of debt, i.e. decrees against us. We owe God perfect obedience. We violate that. Now we stand in His debt and He must be paid. That’s just another way of saying justice is due. He took the certificate of debt that amounted to decrees against us of those crimes that describe the rebellion against the Father, and He took that and nailed that to Jesus’ cross.

    Jesus took the punishment for the world such that, as Paul says in Ephesians 2, “We were dead in our trespasses and sins, in which we formerly walked according to the course of this world.” That’s accomplished by what Jesus did. We were lost. Now we’re rescued because of what Jesus paid. Redemption is the rescue or the ransom of someone in slavery by the payment of a price. Peter says that the price was the blood of Jesus.

    The Bible says unequivocally that Jesus paid for our crimes. This is not only not cosmic child abuse, but it is not contrary to the concept of “God is love.” The cross is not just an example of Jesus’ love, because Jesus was the one who suffered, but an example of God’s love. If you understand how this is the case, you will see that the cross could never be an example of cosmic child abuse, but the greatest act of self-sacrifice and mercy that the world has ever known.

    I always ask people who struggle with the justice of the cros if they are a parent and if they love their children. Yes. Do you ever punish your children? Now there’s a pause because they know the answer to that is yes, but they also see where I’m going. They have just said to punish is inconsistent with love, and since God is love then God shouldn’t punish. He should just forgive.

    If you carry this objection to its logical conclusion, then Hell is out of the picture. There can’t be any Hell because that would be inconsistent with love. But God punishes throughout the Bible, from the beginning to the end. In fact, the end is one big, massive punishment. In the beginning, it’s one big punishment being tossed out of the Garden. I don’t know where people get the idea that punishment is inconsistent with love.

    Now here’s the question I have for you: Is it an act of love that Jesus died on the cross for man’s sin? The correct answer is yes—John 3:16. So this is an act of God, the Father’s love, that Jesus would paid for sins of mankind.

    Here’s the second question: Why is it an act of love for God the Father to punish His Son? How is it the Father’s love? I could see it being an act of love for Jesus if he chose to do it, but how is it an act of love by the Father that Jesus would lay down His life? How is it loving that the Father would punish a third party?

    If you did something bad to me, and I grabbed Joe Blow over there and said to you that I was going to forgive you because I’m going to punch this guy out, you would wonder how it’s an act of love for me to forgive you by punching him out? It might be his love if he said to punch him out on your behalf, but hardly an act of my love. Unless – in the case of God the Father, and the Son, Jesus, that the Son is also God. That is, it is not just another man that the Father is punishing for our sins, but God who became a man Himself and took upon Himself His own just punishment.

    This is why it’s so important to approach this challenge with an understanding of the Trinity, and understanding of the nature of God Jesus is God; He isn’t just an innocent third party. He is the Judge Himself suffering, the One who determines the punishment takes it, the One who passes judgment receives it. It is Jesus, the incarnate God. That is how it’s an example of the love of God.

    It is precisely because God is love that He has made a way for sinful men to be forgiven and His holy quality of justice to be upheld at the same time so that, as Paul writes, He can be both the just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    The idea that the cross is an example of cosmic child abuse just mistaken. This objection gets the cross wrong, Christology wrong, and theology proper wrong. Mr. Chalke and Mr. McLaren are deeply confused on this point, to the harm of the Christians that follow them.

  4. Thanks Margot. I think the one thing the author of that post missed is that God was personally present with Jesus on that cross – “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Cor 5:18-19. The Amplified says it better – verse 19 “It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).” In other words, God took His own wrath upon Himself.

  5. I think he was clear in his statement. Yes God the Father was with Him but did He, the Father, at one point, turn His Face, when the Son “became sin on our behalf”.

    “Why did Jesus cry out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”
    In Matthew 27:45-46, it says, “Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”  If Jesus is God, why would He say this?

    First of all, Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1 which begins with, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”.  Jesus quoted this Psalm in order to draw attention to it and the fact that He was fulfilling it there on the cross.   Consider verses 11-18 in Psalm 22:

    Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help.12 Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.  13 They open wide their mouth at me,  As a ravening and a roaring lion.  14 I am poured out like water,  And all my bones are out of joint;   My heart is like wax;  It is melted within me.  15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;  And Thou dost lay me in the dust of death.  16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; 18 They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.
    The term ‘dogs’ was used by the Jews to refer to Gentiles (cf. Matt. 15:21-28).  His heart has melted within Him (v. 14).   During the crucifixion process, the blood loss causes the heart to beat harder and harder and become extremely fatigued.  Dehydration occurs (v. 15).  Verses 16b-18 speak of piercing His hands and feet and dividing his clothing by casting lots.   This is exactly what happen as described in Matt. 27:35.

    Psalm 22 was written about 1000 years before Christ was born.  At that time, crucifixion had not yet been invented.  Actually, the Phoenicians developed it and Rome borrowed the agonizing means of execution from them.   So, when Rome ruled over Israel, it became the Roman means of capital punishment imposed upon the Jews whose biblical means of execution was stoning.  Nevertheless, Jesus is pointing to the scriptures to substantiate His messianic mission.

    A further comment

    2 Cor. 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  It is possible that at some moment on the cross, when Jesus became sin on our behalf, that God the Father, in a sense, turned His back upon the Son.  It says in Hab. 1:13 that God is too pure to look upon evil.  Therefore, it is possible that when Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24), that the Father, spiritually, turned away.  At that time, the Son may have cried out.

    One thing is for sure.  We have no capacity to appreciate the utterly horrific experience of having the sins of the world put upon the Lord Jesus as He hung, in excruciating pain, from that cross.  The physical pain was immense.   The spiritual one must have
    been even greater.

    That shows us clearly how much God loves us.”

  6. Umm … can’t Use the reference in Habbakkuk to say God cannot look upon Sin.

    The Prophet is trying to say to God that it is not right to let the Babylonians take the Jews into captivity, “thine eyes are too pure to behold iniquity” …

    So he is trying to twist God’s arm by saying that “God, you won’t let this evil thing happen”

    So what actually happened? They went into captivity.

    God does look at sin happening. He sees everything. He sees every theft, every gossiping tongue, every lie, every broken promise, every illicit relationship.

    He sees everything. It all offends him. It is all sin. We have no hope … until we turn around (repent) and acknowledge our sin and weakness before him and we get that all forgiven through the blood of Jesus.

    Every act of pardon is written in His blood. While the Son died on the Cross, Father and Spirit were with the Son.

    The very incarnation was a decision of the trinity. God the Son chose to be born as a human being. He chose his parents. He chose his material circumstances. He chose to die a sacrificial death in order to reconcile Man to Himself.

    He will return to rule and fulfill the rest of the messianic prophecies. Then he will judge us all. Jesus himself will sit in Judgement on us.

    Satan will accuse humanity. One by one. Jesus will say of some “I never knew you”. Of others he will say “yes … this person is guilty as charged. But I have already paid the penalty… so this person is free to go.”

    No one will be declared innocent.


  7. @Margot

    “@ Roundhouse – is this what you mean?”

    I guess so. It’s kind of sad how religion has labelled everything though isn’t it, like Arminian, Pellagian etc ? It almost feels that by labelling a belief or a doctrine it somehow makes it look like it’s belittling or denigrating that belief. That’s how I see it anyway.

    “During the crucifixion process, the blood loss causes the heart to beat harder and harder and become extremely fatigued. Dehydration occurs (v. 15).”

    True I guess, but why do we fell the need to explain or justify every verse to make it more real? It could have just been a figure of speech. Not that it makes any difference in this passage. But just saying.


    “can’t Use the reference in Habbakkuk to say God cannot look upon Sin.”

    Great stuff. We need to be careful that we don’t take passages where someone is ascribing something to God as necessarily being the truth. Look at Job. Up until chapter 40, Job and his friends were ascribing attributes to God that weren’t a part of His true nature. So much rubbish has been preached from Job because of this lack of understanding.

  8. @ Roundhouse – Jesus the Son, not God the Father, is “the lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8).

    Are you suggesting the Father has nail-scarred hands and feet?

    Just because “that’s how I see it anyway” is another way of saying “this is what it means to me” rather than what it actually says.

    Yours/my, application “dies” when you/I die, so what does it mean then?

    “This Book is the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding; its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable…….”

  9. Habakkuk 1:13 ” Your eyes are too pure to approve evil and you cannot look on wickedness with favor” is in my NASB Study Bible so that verse is different to the one in my original post above.

    Having said that, did God the Father look away at that point when Christ took all our sin upon Himself?

    I don’t know. Looking away doesn’t mean being separate/apart from their triunity. Even we can be with someone and look away at the same time. All speculation.

    “During the crucifixion process, the blood loss causes the heart to beat harder and harder and become extremely fatigued. Dehydration occurs (v. 15).”

    Christ gave up His own life anyway, He yielded His spirit, it wasn’t taken – his death occurred very quickly, much to the surprise of Pilate (Mark 15:44)….

  10. @Margot

    “Are you suggesting the Father has nail-scarred hands and feet?”

    No, I’m not. Jesus was the one who died on the cross. However, the case can be made that because Jesus and God are one, God Himself hung on the cross. And that scripture I offered in 2 Corinthians seems to support that.

  11. Salvation from what?

    Eternal torment?

    Is the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth about more than getting me to heaven?


    Were You There When They Crucified the Lord?

    The obvious answer to this question is, of course, no – none of us were there literally or historically when the Roman Empire crucified Jesus. That was one easy question.

    Jon Sobrino, Jesuit priest and liberation theologian from San Salvador, implores us to take a closer, more critical look at what this question implies in our lives as people of faith. I am reading “The Principal of Mercy Taking the Crucified People from the Cross”* and Sobrino’s reflection on liberation theology again reminds me of my humanity and more particularly why I volunteer with the Christian Peacemaker Teams as a person of Christian faith.

    Sobrino leads us to the foot of the cross. Not to the cross of the historical Jesus rather to the cross of the crucified peoples of our world. This might seems surprising – to use the image of crucifixion and cross in our modern age. Yet, when I was working in Chiapas, Mexico a revelation of God’s love was offered to me through the lives, struggle and hope of the Mayan people of Acteal, Tenejapa, Xoyep and other communities. These people are indeed the crucified Christ – being crucified by unjust systems, global greed and racism to name a few. The ‘North’, where I come from, is the power center – the Empire- backing many of the unjust systems that brought the Mayan people to their suffering of their constant crucifixion.

    One day, while in San Cristobal de las Casas, a friend showed me a hand painted ceramic cross. This cross was painted in brilliant colors, with a landscape of the mountains of southern Mexico. Most surprising and revealing was that in the place of Jesus was a Mayan woman with her arms outstretched on the cross bars of the cross and her body hanging there on the cross. The woman was painted in great detail with the traditional clothes of woman from Tenejapa. The second cross was of a Mayan man in the same crucified position. He was panted in great detail with the traditional outfit of Amantanango.

    There it was in full color: The revelation that the suffering peoples of the world are being crucified and that to live as a Christian is to bring them down from the cross of their suffering, poverty and death. Sobrino emphasizes that this is the work of theology, the Church, the wider church (groups like CPT) and the individual Christian. To take down the suffering people of the world from the cross is to take love-action, or mercy-action, or justice-action – bringing alive the will of God in action in human community and sharing in revealing the Reign of God on earth.

    As we reflect on Jesus hanging on the cross, his suffering and final death, let us not stay in history but reflect on what is our part in taking the suffering people of the world down from their cross of suffering, poverty, and death. You might have special interest in a certain part of the world or have worked or been in ministry with some of the crucified people of the world – how do you understand your involvement in their lives and struggle? How do you understand the mystery of their and your salvation as part of God’s will and reign? Is it a personal salvation of getting to heaven for eternity or could it be a corporal salvation of transforming this world into the Reign of God on earth- a reign of love, mercy, compassion and justice?

    Prayer: Merciful and compassionate God, help us to not get lost in the suffering of Jesus without considering the suffering people of today’s world. God guide us in exploring our lives and in understanding our motivations for works of justice. Are they lead by your love, compassion and mercy-your vision of human community within your kingdom? Convict us and strengthen us for the work of Christ and his church to work for the transformation of unjust systems that crucify millions of people across the world to systems rooted in your love and justice, and in your mercy and compassion. Amen.

  12. It is Salvation FROM Eternal and everlasting punishment.

    But it is also Salvation FOR everlasting and abundant life in the presence of GOD.

    While your little article is interesting, Bones, it kinda misses the point. All the suffering in the world right now must not be forgotten or brushed under the carpet. But none of that has anything to do with the death and resurrection of Jesus the Son of God and the only mediator between the Father and human beings.

    He is our High Priest. He is our Saviour. He has also become our Brother.

    And He is GOD.


  13. In a spiritual reality, nothing can be lost and therefore, nothing can be taken, but while we perceive this physical reality, the idea of losing when you give or gaining when you take, are inbred into the worlds thinking.`

    Very latest posting coming from our personal webpage

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