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Saved From Sacrifice: A Theology Of The Cross


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This past weekend I heard Bishop Spong speak at Chapman University. Regrettably, I didn't get to ask him this question, "What do you think of Mark Heim's theology of the cross? Has anyone read Heim's book and attempted to integrate it with Bishop Spong's critique of traditional sacrificial atonement?

 

Spong claimed this weekend that original sin (selfishness) should be seen for what it really is--a key survival instinct. Heim argues that sacrificial scapegoating has been the "survival tactic" for preserving unity in ancient communities. Jesus died, according to Heim, not because God required a sacrificial scapegoat, but to put an end to the sacrificial system altogether. In other words, Jesus didn't play into the sacrificial system, he tried to destroy it along with its misconception of God.

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Spong claimed this weekend that original sin (selfishness) should be seen for what it really is--a key survival instinct. Heim argues that sacrificial scapegoating has been the "survival tactic" for preserving unity in ancient communities. Jesus died, according to Heim, not because God required a sacrificial scapegoat, but to put an end to the sacrificial system altogether. In other words, Jesus didn't play into the sacrificial system, he tried to destroy it along with its misconception of God.

From a recent Spong interview at "Evolutionary Christianity", my understanding of his reinterpretation of the 1st Genesis story is that we need to come to grips with our nature of wanting to survive as an individual and knowing that survival includes others. How do we grow into a complete mature person that can reconcile those feelings and have those needs met.

 

My guess is he would have a problem with Heim's idea that Jesus died for a supernatural purpose, if that is what he is saying. I can see some sort of idea that the Jesus story leads us to leave behind our misconceptions of God, but I would need to hear more about Heim to know if that is what he is saying.

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