Wrapping up the past few episodes, which focus on the cross, Steve points to some of the criticism and inability to listen that he’s encountered throughout the past few weeks.
When we remember Jesus’ words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” we usually immediately think of the fact the Jesus was punished on the cross for our sins. Images of the "father turning his face away" or God’s wrath being satisfied in one of the most painful forms of execution are all too common. But, in this week’s episode of Chalke Talk, Steve encourages everyone to avoid these kinds of conclusions.
Have you ever wondered how Christians can claim to follow Jesus, who brought with him an ardent message of anti-violence, and still believe that the God who sent him is wrathful and vengeful?
The doctrine of Penal Substitution, which influences many popular worship songs and evangelistic ‘packages’ risks reducing the life, ministry and teachings of Jesus to a ‘long weekend.’
According to a high profile Christian leader, the wonder of Jesus’ life, the truth of his teachings and even the liberation of his resurrection risk being dismissed as peripheral to the crucifixion.
In response to the UK’s governments announcement concerning the banning of gay “conversion therapy,” Steve takes some time to reflect on this barbaric and troubling practice.
“What we believe about the Cross really matters,” says Steve in this week’s Chalke Talk. “If the church believes that God’s first response to humanity is one of anger at sin, and then views itself as God’s mouthpiece; our underlying lack of respect and love for those who don’t share our faith will leak out – however much we try to disguise it.”
This week Steve deals with one of the biggest contradictions in modern day theology: “If, as the songs and sermons teach us, God demanded a blood sacrifice and that he was unwilling or unable to extend forgiveness to us without it, then God himself is unwilling to follow the teachings of Jesus – which all becomes a case of ‘do as I say, not as God does.’”
Last week Steve argued that the God's holiness means he's different, but not necessarily separated from us. This week Steve continues thinking along these lines as to whether God suffers or not. As Steve asks, "could it be that God who loves more than any other being in the universe also suffers the most?"
Last week Steve looked at the story of the Israelites exodus from captivity in Egypt, and the series of mysteries and confusing messages Moses was subjected to – from a burning bush, to striking a rock for water. Wrapped up in that is a huge implication for how we understand our relationship with God; it’s not about waiting for some divine revelation but instead choosing to actively follow. That’s where God meets us – in our willingness to engage.
Last week, Steve explored the yearning inside of everyone to worship. Whether that becomes God or something more material we choose to worship; worship is, in and of itself, a choice. Continuing with the theme of “choosing God” Steve looks at probably one of the most well-known stories from the Bible: Moses and the Burning Bush.