Thursday, April 13, 2017

Defending Good Friday; The Necessity of Christ’s Sacrifice

             Incoherent and self contradictory arguments yield faulty dogmas. You can argue for just about anything as long as you do not endeavor to ensure that your argument does not contradict itself and that it is coherent. Then you take pride in the argument rooted in asinine incoherency and self contradicting assertions.

            Upon close observation, you will detect stark incoherency and self-contradictory assertions in the arguments of the detractors of Historic Christianity. Being in the season of remembering our Lord’s atoning sacrifice on the cross, it is imperative to consider the arguments against the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross. Let’s consider the Unitarians as a case in point, for they do not believe that Christ died to save you and me of our sins.

Who Are The Unitarians?

            They are liberals with a thought process deeply rooted in the relativistic paradigm, “The Unitarians are a community of people who take their religion, or their spirituality, liberally. That is to say, we hold that all people have the right to believe what their own life-experience tells them is true; what the prompting of their own conscience tells them is right.”1 

            Unitarians regard themselves as Christians only from a diluted perspective of living according to the life and teachings of Jesus. Their definition of the term “Christian” is excessively weak and preposterous because they do not consider Christ as God, “Unitarians believe that Jesus was a man, unequivocally human.”2

            They reckon the Bible as not inspired, inerrant and infallible. Unitarians claim that the Bible should be validated by the light of reason and conscience, “Anything in the Bible that Unitarians accept as true is accepted because it rings true in our own humble reflection upon it. We do not accept it just because it is in the Bible.”3

            Some Unitarians believe that God exists as one person, whereas other Unitarians have a diverse belief about God, “Some believe in a God; some don’t believe in a God. Some believe in a sacred force at work in the world, and call it “love,” “mystery,” “source of all” or “spirit of life.””4

            Christ's death on the cross makes sense only in the event of HIS resurrection. Unitarians believe in, or should we say, “not believe in” Christ’s resurrection from different perspectives.5 These perspectives deny Christ’s bodily resurrection and are predicated on a rigorous denial of attributing any salvific component into Christ’s sacrifice.  The Unitarians believe that Christ’s resurrection was a powerful myth. Alternatively, they consider that the spirit of Jesus triumphed over death and that the church is the physical resurrection, the risen body, of Christ (thereby denying the bodily resurrection of the Lord).

Necessity For Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice

            Before we begin to briefly unpack the Unitarian view laden with invalid arguments, let us succinctly consider Christ’s sacrifice from the Historic Christian perspective.

            Atonement is the work Christ did in his life and death to earn our salvation. The Bible teaches that God’s love and HIS justice compelled Christ’s incarnation on earth and dying for our sins:

            John 3:16, NASB: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

            Romans 3:24-26, NASB: “…in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus…” (Paul states that God had been forgiving sins in the Old Testament but no penalty had been paid. So people could wonder whether God was indeed just and ask how he could forgive sins without a penalty. So God sent Christ to pay the penalty for our sins.)

            On the road to Emmaus, Christ explained that HIS suffering was necessary, “And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:25-27, NASB).

            The book of Hebrews also explains the necessity of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Since it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away our sins (Hebrews 10:4), a better sacrifice is required (Hebrews 9:23). Only the blood of Christ (his death), would be able to really take away sins (Hebrews 9:25-26). Hence, we reasonably conclude that Christ’s atoning sacrifice was necessary for God to save us.

Christ Died In Our Place

            Consider a few passages from the Bible that speaks of Christ’s death as substitutionary (HE died in our place):

            John 1: 29, NASB: “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

            2 Corinthians 5: 21, NASB: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

            Galatians 3: 13, NASB: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us…

            Hebrews 9: 28, NASB: “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”

            1 Peter 2: 24, NASB: “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”

            These passages teach us that Christ bore our sins, for they were laid on HIM. Because Christ has come to be sin, we have ceased to be sin or sinners.

Questioning Unitarianism

            The fundamental belief of the Unitarians is that all people have the right to believe what they think is right. So if a Unitarian speaks against Historic Christianity, he / she is fundamentally contradicting his / her core belief. In other words, if the Unitarians believe that all people have the right to believe what they think is right, should they not allow Christians to believe in Christ’s atoning sacrifice and bodily resurrection? Should they not consider that the Historic Christian worldview is valid? So if you and I subscribe to Historic Christianity, the Unitarian, by virtue of his own belief, has no right to debunk or condemn our belief as wrong or invalid.  

            In fact, strictly speaking, the Unitarian worldview does not allow for rejection or condemnation of any other contradicting worldview based on the opinion that the contradicting worldview is wrong or incorrect. However, if the Unitarian condemns another worldview, then, by virtue of his condemnation, he rejects his own worldview.

            If your Unitarian friend considers himself to be a Christian, he professes to follow Christ. But the Unitarian does not consider Christ as God. So, in essence, the Unitarian follows another human being (who could have been mightily wrong in his deeds. Oh well, according to the Unitarian belief, in the relativistic paradigm, there cannot be wrongs, there can only be rights. But that’s for another day!).

            So a Unitarian could follow both Christ and Muhammad although both taught mutually contradictory teachings. (For instance, Christ claimed to be God, whereas Muhammad did not consider Christ as God.) The Unitarians are blissfully ignorant or remain in blatant denial of the fact that their worldview allows them to follow those who can only be partially right in their thoughts, words and deeds, thus allowing them to believe in incoherent and contradictory teachings.

            (If a Unitarian can follow another human being, what prevents him from following Hitler or Pol Pot or Stalin, who obviously thought that their massacres were justified?) 

            The Unitarian need not be totally committed to follow the person that he claims to follow, for his worldview allows him to follow ‘A’ and ‘B,’ and if both ‘A’ and ‘B’ teach mutually contradictory teachings, then the Unitarian can only follow ‘A’ or ‘B’ partially. Therefore, the Unitarian proclamation that he follows Christ can only be partial at its very best. Partial commitment is not an absolute commitment that Christ demands of HIS disciples.   

Conclusion

            Disregard the Unitarian or any other worldview that disbelieves in Christ or HIS atoning sacrifice. Let us humbly and worshipfully reminisce and be thankful for Christ’s atoning sacrifice for you and me. Charles Wesley wrote the most meaningful words for this season in his hymn “And Can It Be That I Should Gain”:

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Endnotes:

1https://www.unitarian.org.uk/pages/frequently-asked-questions-faq

2Ibid.

3Ibid.

4http://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/higher-power

5https://www.unitarian.org.uk/pages/frequently-asked-questions-faq

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