Why did Jesus have to die?

Here's an interesting article on the atonement from Time Magazine that was written in the wake of Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ. The takeaway point is that Christians have always disagreed among themselves about the exact nature of the atonement, the 'divine calculus' (as the article puts it) behind Jesus' death. And when ordinary Christians affirm that Jesus 'died for our sins', they often have very different ideas implicit in that one affirmation. This is not to say that different atonement models cannot be synthesized, but it does cast doubt on the idea that there is one core understanding of the atonement that is essential to true Christian piety.


Ken Pulliam said…

Thanks for the link to this article. I had never seen it before. I tend to agree with
Chicago Theological Seminary's Theodore Jennings Jr.: "The New Testament is just all over the map" on the question of why Christ died, he says. Its writers "are all persuaded that something really drastic, fundamental and dramatic has happened, and they're pulling together all kinds of ways to understand that."

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