I suppose this claim will automatically get me branded as promoting a “crossless gospel,” but my contention is that there is no such thing as a “crossless gospel”. It does not, nor can it exist. It’s a logical impossibility.
The only way for there to be a “crossless gospel” is to uncrucify Christ.
Since this is impossible, you cannot have a “crossless gospel.” It’s a ridiculous derisive term invented by what I call “Doctrinal Purity Turn-Or-Burn” cults. These are sects of Christianity where the key to being “saved,” whatever that means, is a strict adherence to any number of key doctrines.
One sect says that you must know and believe that Jesus died for your sins, and another says you must know and believe that Jesus died for your sins AND that you can never lose your salvation. These are just two variants of the seemingly limitless number of varieties of doctrinal purity turn-or-burn possibilities.
You may or may not need to agree to trinitarian interpretation of the nature of God. You may or may not need to agree to being a worthless pile of shit that god wants to torture for ever and ever. You may or may not be required to agree that Elvis is dead.
Whatever. The point is that if you don’t have a perfect and pure doctrine by the standards of that particular sect, then you are an unsaved hellbound devil. Therefore, it’s what you know that makes it so god will pretend to like you when you die.
And if you don’t know the correct things, whatever that means, then god is going to torture you for ever and ever with never ending unrelenting pain, because he loves you so much that if he can’t have you, nobody can. And if you don’t reciprocate his love, he won’t love you. As it is written, “he loves us because we first loved him.”
(1 John 4:19) “We love him, because he first loved us.”
I get the feeling like someone really smart predicted we would get it wrong.
The doctrinal purity turn-or-burnists invented the nonsensical pejorative for the reason that all terms of derision are invented, which is to shame, humiliate, or scare people away from an alternative. The doctrinal purity turn-or-burnists need you to ascribe to their pure doctrine of pure doctrinal-purity doctrine.
And if you disagree, then you are a secret infiltrating agent of god’s more intelligent, more effective, more powerful foe, “satan.” Who is allegedly more prodigious than god at:
- performing miracles,
- healing people,
- founding churches,
- writing bibles,
- indwelling the spirit,
- inspiring behavior,
- gifting people with musical talent,
- writing songs,
- using the scientific method,
- establishing educational institutions,
- selecting political candidates,
- winning souls.
and most importantly
(But don’t suggest that they are creating a competing god).
Satan is Christianity’s most high god. But few will agree that they have made him a god at all, when they have quite clearly made him the superior god above all other gods by any objective standard.
The crossless gospel, as characterized by the doctrinal purity turn-or-burnist, is to promote the idea that one does not need to know all the specifics of how Jesus died on a cross, was buried and rose again. What’s at issue is even so far as denying that a person is “saved” whatever that means, if said individual does not ascribe to a specific theory of atonement.
Most likely, one must ascribe to the Penal Substitution atonement theory, in which Jesus paid a legal penalty on your behalf, so that you don’t have to, because god is an intolerant legalist who like to abuse people. As disgusting as I find this atonement theory, if one was consistent, one would have to agree that something paid by a substitute is nevertheless paid, and would still have to deny the need to accept certain conditions.
If someone pays a fine for me, it’s paid, whether I agree to it or not, and whether I consent to it or not. It’s a done deal. It’s over.
Christ died on the cross to show us what sort of person God is. He allowed us to murder Him for attempting to destroy our false image of an imaginary pissed off cosmic tyrant who wants to kill everyone and destroy everything because he was too stupid to make it right the first go round.
My Bible says that when God made everything He declared that it was “very good.” But religion wants you to believe that what was “very good” was so fragile that mankind turned it all to shit with a bite of fruit. (The tree was religion and the fruit of religion was being made ashamed and afraid of god).
The incarnation of Jesus was the revelation of the nature and character of our loving Creator.
we are saved FROM the idea of this ludicrous cosmic war between two malevolent beings and their minions and realize that God looks like Jesus and His throne is a Cross. He is crowned with our sins.
His Judgment is forgiveness. His justice is mercy, and His mercy endures forever and doesn’t die when you do. Everything is made BY Him FOR Him, and He is thrilled with what He has created and has declared it to be VERY GOOD.
The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. It is already here. It is Emmanuel, God with us and within us. God who is all things, in all things, through all things, so that He is always everywhere at all times, and there is no such thing as a place where He is not, or a thing which is not made of Him. BY HIM ALL THINGS CONSIST.
THERE IS ONE GOD and one God alone, and He has no rival. No competitors. No. Not even one.
A crossless gospel would require that the incarnation of God as Jesus Christ never happened, and that is impossible. Imposing arbitrary requirements and conditions to which you must adhere for the life, death, and resurrection of the manifestation of the Living God to be effective detracts wholly from the majesty of what has been done.
All of creation has been made new. You agreeing to it accomplishes zero. You don’t cause it to happen by believing it, nor does it fail to happen because you do not believe in it.
According to Christian doctrine, what Adam did had a universal impact on every single person ever to be born afterwards. You don’t have to believe it. You don’t have to agree to it. You don’t have to even believe Adam was real. It affects you whether you like it or not. Too bad, you don’t get a choice. (So much for the almighty most high god “Freewill”).
However, for what the Last Adam did to be effective, you have to believe the right things, whatever those are, agree to the terms, accept the conditions, and maybe even do some things, like feel sorry for being such a disgusting disappointment, and take the right variety of bath.
First Adam, kills everyone. Last Adam, saves a person here and there from time to time. This is called “Limited Atonement.” Granted, it’s not Calvinist limited atonement, where Jesus died for Ted, but not Fred. He died to save Larry, Moe, and Curly, but not Shemp, Joe, or Curly Joe.
However, it’s effectively the same thing. If Shemp does not agree to the correct terms and conditions, whatever that happens to be, the saving work of Christ fails to be effective for him. If Curly Joe doesn’t believe the correct doctrines the correct way, then he is damned to an eternity of being deep fried in his own body fat.
(1 Corinthians 15:22) “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
It’s almost like someone really smart predicted we would get it wrong.
(Romans 5:18) “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
What you believe is of no consequence as to whether or not the man Christ Jesus died on a cross, or if He was buried, or if He rose again on the third day. It is no more of a factor than believing the sun rises in the east is able to cause the sun to rise in the east. Neither can not believing cause the sun not to rise in the east. What does happen by knowing this and believing it is that you are then able to witness it and experience it.
If you know about the sun rise, you can witness it’s beauty and experience it’s glory. You can write poetry or songs about it. You can make pictures of it. You can bring others along to show them how awesome it is.
If you know about the Son rise, you can witness it’s beauty and experience it’s glory. You can write poetry or songs about it. You can make pictures of it. You can bring others along to show them how awesome it is.
The sun did not rise in the east at dawn because I believed it, nor did the Son rise on Easter at dawn because I believed it. But I can witness it, and behold it’s majesty because I believe it.
If you are in the United States of America, you do not need to know about slavery, or the Civil War, or Abraham Lincoln, or the Emancipation Proclamation to be free. You are born free because of what has already happened. You do not need to agree that the Union won the war, or that the Emancipation Proclamation passed.
You could be fully ignorant of any and all facts regarding the American Civil War. Perhaps you even disagree with the standard interpretation of events. Regardless, you cannot UNDO what is already done.
Institutional slavery in the USA is abolished. You can’t un-abolish it. You can’t re-enslave people as slaves. It matters not what you do or do not know or agree to regarding this period in history. What’s done is done. It’s in the past.
How can you believe that the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the United States, and that to this day, all are born free, yet you think that what Christ did is only effective to those who agree and know the right amount of the right things, whatever that means?
The liberation of the world in Christ Jesus is a perfect tense done deal. It happened in the past and it’s impact is eternally effective. It can not be undone. You cannot uncrucify Christ any more than you can rip the fruit out of Eve’s or Adam’s mouth. You cannot uncrucify Christ any more than you can un-Emancipate the slaves.
We ARE Born Free. It is finished. It cannot be reversed, whether you agree to it or not, whether you like it or not, and whether you believe it or not.
You and I do not contribute to what God Himself has already accomplished. You can not uncrucify Christ.
Unless you move the goal posts back inside the stadium and see being “saved” as receiving the inheritance here and now in this world, and learning that as He is so are we IN THIS WORLD, your beliefs are irrelevant.
Now, if you actually want to BE and LIVE it, then you must BELIEVE it. Christ doesn’t wait for you to agree to whatever arbitrary doctrinal purity you think you need to agree to in order to go hang Himself upon a cross.
It’s finished. It’s done and over with. It’s perfect tense, past accomplishment and perpetually static.