Sacrificial System (and Atonement)

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darinhouston
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Sacrificial System (and Atonement)

Post by darinhouston » Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:44 pm

I ran across this quote from NT Wright the other day - thought it would provoke some good discussion:
NT Wright wrote:The more I’ve puzzled away about the meaning of sacrifice in the first century and so forth, and the more I’ve read from both Christian and Jewish writers on this subject, the more it really does seem (to my surprise) - but, now, it looks as though the more no, in the Old Testament itself, in Leviticus and Numbers and so on, the sacrifices are not killed as a vicarious punishment for the sins of the person who is identifying with them — that’s not how sacrifices worked in the Levitical system, and is not how they were understood by the Rabbis and so on. The only animal that has sins confessed over its head is the scapegoat on the day of atonement. And the scapegoat is precisely the one animal that is not then given in sacrifice but is driven off into the wilderness because, of course, if it has got the sins of the people upon it, it can no longer be a pure animal, and the sacrifices had to be pure.

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Seballius
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Re: Sacrificial System (and Atonement)

Post by Seballius » Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:49 pm

I have read/listened to people like Greg Boyd who go as far to say that God never wanted blood sacrifice.

I tried to read his shorter book on the subject, but I got frustrated with it.


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darinhouston
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Re: Sacrificial System (and Atonement)

Post by darinhouston » Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:39 pm

I get frustrated with Boyd also. I so want to agree with him and sometimes do, but often I just don't understand him or the promise of what he's trying to prove never quite "lands" for me (no matter how many thousands of pages he uses to do it).

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Re: Sacrificial System (and Atonement)

Post by Seeker » Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:57 pm

darinhouston wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:44 pm
I ran across this quote from NT Wright the other day - thought it would provoke some good discussion:
NT Wright wrote:The more I’ve puzzled away about the meaning of sacrifice in the first century and so forth, and the more I’ve read from both Christian and Jewish writers on this subject, the more it really does seem (to my surprise) - but, now, it looks as though the more no, in the Old Testament itself, in Leviticus and Numbers and so on, the sacrifices are not killed as a vicarious punishment for the sins of the person who is identifying with them — that’s not how sacrifices worked in the Levitical system, and is not how they were understood by the Rabbis and so on. The only animal that has sins confessed over its head is the scapegoat on the day of atonement. And the scapegoat is precisely the one animal that is not then given in sacrifice but is driven off into the wilderness because, of course, if it has got the sins of the people upon it, it can no longer be a pure animal, and the sacrifices had to be pure.
NT Wright appears to be questioning ideas of the substitutionary atonement of Christ then. Is that correct?

I’ve wondered before, if Jesus took on the sins of the world and the wrath of God via the cross, then where does God’s forgiveness fit in?

That said, certain passages do seem to claim substitutionary atonement.

A bit of digression: I’ve been reading George MacDonald (the man CS Lewis called his master) and have come to believe that no author I’ve read has ever understood the character and heart of God as fully. Much of his “unspoken sermons” book is as edifying as anything I’ve read.

Back to the point, he also appears to not subscribe to substitutionary atonement. MacDonald’s interpretations draw deeply from his beliefs about the character of God. And I think he right to do so. I very much look forward to reading the New Testament again, now in light of the ideas I’ve apprehended (so far) from unspoken sermons.

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