What is going on in Australia and TGC?

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by earl40, Apr 15, 2017.

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  1. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    http://theaquilareport.com/10-reasons-father-didnt-turn-face-away-cross/

    I am not really asking, but am simply pointing out what is published throughout the world under the guise of Reformed teaching.

    EDIT in that I am now simply asking if this article is good or simply incomplete.


    Psalm 22:1 is a key verse for the rejection theory. ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?’ (Ps 22:1). What does it mean? Two things. First, context is clear. Look at the parallel verse: ‘why are you so far from helping me?’ This is the issue: ‘no help’. The sufferer is asking why God doesn’t save him from his oppressors. I.e. ‘Why do you let my oppressors torment me?’ The Father gives the Son over to suffering. Psalm 22:1 is the equivalent of Isaiah’s statement, ‘It pleased the Lord to bruise Him’. In fact, the Psalm later says it: ‘You have brought me to the dust of death’ (v. 15).



    Christ took the penalty for our sin upon Himself. Our penalty was eternal separation from God. Therefore, the Son must have suffered separation from God—mustn’t He? What would that mean? Is this the severing of the Triune union between the Father and Son? Is this relational, being ‘cut off from…sweet fellowship with his heavenly Father’, such that Christ was ‘abandoned by his heavenly Father’ (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 574)? What does Townend mean, saying there was ‘searing loss’ when ‘The Father turns His face away’? The Father’s anger was upon the Son, who had ‘become sin for us’, so the Father had no choice but to reject and banish the Son from His presence.

    Here are 10 reasons why I don’t believe it.

    1. The Father was never more pleased with the Son than at the Cross.
    The Cross was Jesus’ ultimate act of obedience: obedience—even to the point of the Cross (Phil 2:8). If ever the Father could say, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’, it was at the Cross. The OT sacrifices were a ‘sweet smelling aroma’; how much more was Christ’s sacrifice a delight to God? ‘Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma’ (Eph 5:2).

    1. The Cross was the Father’s plan.
    Jesus was ‘delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God’ (Acts 2:23). ‘It was the will of the Lord to crush Him’ (Isa 53:9, ESV). And the Lord takes pleasure in His will. In fact, the word for ‘will’ in Isaiah 53 is chaphets, pleasure, delight. ‘Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him’ (NKJV). Which takes us back to point one.

    1. The Triune union cannot be severed.
    That really should be an obvious point. Father, Son and Spirit each fully and together possess the divine being or substance. They cannot turn on each other. The problem here is that some misunderstand the Trinity. The Trinity is three guys who get along really well with each other. But they’re independent enough to turn on each other, as well. This social model has made deep inroads in evangelicalism’s Trinitarian thinking, but it’s not the Bible’s God. That’s playing with tritheism.

    1. If the Father turned away from the Son, the Son turned away from Himself.
    The Father fully possesses the divine attribute of justice. The Son fully possesses the divine attribute of justice. If justice demands the Father turn away from the Son, then precisely the same justice demands that the Son turn away from the Son. Moltmann was wrong: this would not be Father against Son, God against God. This would be Son against Himself, separating Himself from Himself (or the Son’s divine nature rejecting the human nature). Of course, the perfect Son was repulsed to be treated as a criminal—it was a heavy burden to bear—but this is another matter.

    The rejection theory is well meant, but it doesn’t make sense. Moltmann wanted a God who felt pain, but it only humanises Him, which leaves us all in a desperate muddle.

    1. Was Jesus banished from God’s presence all through His earthly life?
    Jesus wasn’t just ‘made sin’ at the Cross, but all through His earthly life. He was ‘born under the [curse of the] law’ (Gal 4:4). Did the Father ‘turn His face away’ from Jesus through all His earthly life?

    1. Psalm 22:1 doesn’t say the Father rejected the Son.
    Psalm 22:1 is a key verse for the rejection theory. ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?’ (Ps 22:1). What does it mean? Two things. First, context is clear. Look at the parallel verse: ‘why are you so far from helping me?’ This is the issue: ‘no help’. The sufferer is asking why God doesn’t save him from his oppressors. I.e. ‘Why do you let my oppressors torment me?’ The Father gives the Son over to suffering. Psalm 22:1 is the equivalent of Isaiah’s statement, ‘It pleased the Lord to bruise Him’. In fact, the Psalm later says it: ‘You have brought me to the dust of death’ (v. 15).

    Secondly, it’s a rhetorical question. The sufferer knows full well why God does this. What’s the point of asking it, then? To express his distress. This is real suffering. He really doesn’t want to go through it. He would rather God saved Him instantly out of it. ‘If it is possible, let this cup pass from me. But not my will…’ (Matt 26:39).

    Perhaps it also means, ‘It feels like you have abandoned me’ (Calvin), or ‘It’s really hard in my present circumstances to feel your closeness’ (which is a very real human reaction, isn’t it, as the extent of physical pain clouds over our spiritual senses). See Lucas Sharley, ‘Calvin and Turretin’s views of the Trinity in the dereliction’, RTR 75, no. 1, 2016.

    1. Psalm 22 affirms that the Father sustained the Son on the Cross.
    Reading the whole of Psalm 22, it strongly affirms that God sustained the sufferer. I’m particularly drawn to the participles of v. 9. ‘You are the one bringing me up, from the time of my birth, and you are the one making me trust from the time I was breastfeed onwards’. The verbs are not just about the time of being born. These are ongoing realities. See also Isa 50:7, of Jesus at crucifixion, ‘The Lord God helps me’.

    The Psalm heads to the great turning point in v. 21: ‘You have answered Me’. No hint of relational abandonment in that. Put v. 24 in large letters: ‘He has not hidden His face from Him’.

    1. Rejection would have been unjust.
    Jesus became sin for us, but He was still the perfect Son of God. ‘Truly, this was a righteous man’ (Matt 23:47). The implications of this need to be honoured. To personalise this, if you were a judge, and your own innocent son valiantly stepped forward at a trial to take a criminal’s punishment upon himself, would you be angry with him and reject him?

    1. The value of the Cross doesn’t need bolstering with a ‘rejection by God’ theory.
    Christ paid our debt. Our debt was eternal death, so where is there eternal death at the Cross? It’s not enough that Christ merely physically died, is it? We are due physical and spiritual death. Therefore, we need to bolster the cost of the Cross. We need to find spiritual death at the Cross.

    The ‘rejection by God’ theory looks like the answer. However, division within the Triune God is not the same as our everlasting spiritual death. The Cross simply wasn’t everlasting; it was only a few hours.

    Also, this misunderstands the atonement. The atonement doesn’t need to be a tit for tat arrangement—an exact exchange, as it were. An equivalent payment, yes; an exact payment, no. ‘The payment is not precisely what is demanded in the obligation, but an equivalent’ (Turretin).

    There is inestimable value in the death of God’s Son. It was God’s Son who died. The value is in the Person: God’s righteous, precious Son. And the nature of His death: a freely given sacrifice, with perfect love for us and obedience to God. That’s what makes it ‘sweet smelling’ (Eph 5:2). We’re so used to people dying, that we miss the uniqueness of Christ’s death. It was the purest life that was willingly offered.

    How could we forget this, that we would need to seek the value of the Cross elsewhere? That’s enough ‘value’ to pay the sins of all God’s elect people; and for the sins of the whole world, and a thousand worlds besides, many would add. When I remember who it was who died on the Cross—not just the method of execution, and not some theory of Trinitarian disruption—that’s when I fall silent. It was the incarnate Son of God.

    1. It’s not in Scripture.
    There is no clear statement in Scripture that the Father turned His face away. If the Father-Son relationship was separated at the Cross, that would be huge. It would be the core meaning of the Cross. You would expect it to be everywhere in Scripture. But of course it’s not.

    Does ‘The Father turn His face away’? ‘The Father gives His Son to die’, yes. ‘He prays, “Please take this cup from me”,’ yes. ‘He bears the full weight of my sin’, yes. But ‘He has not hidden His face from Him’ (Ps 22:24). Townend’s song is beautiful, and the metaphor admits to other meanings. I can sing it with a bit of double think: ‘The Father appears to turn His face away, by giving His Son over to execution, but actually sustains Him through His suffering’. As Jesus bore the full weight of sin, He was sustained by His God; and the Father was never more pleased with the Son.

    Dr. Jared HoodLecturer in OT, WCF and Reformation History at the Presbyterian Theological College, Melbourne and Editor of Reformed Theological Review, Australia’s leading evangelical journal. This articleappeared on his blog and is used with permission.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
  2. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    What are you trying to point out here?

    My understanding has been that this is one of those places where it helps to make a distinction and say that Christ bore the wrath of God according to his human nature. At first glance, it seems that might help clarify some of the issues this article brings up. But what are your concerns, exactly?
     
  3. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Junior

    Jesus experienced while upon the Cross as our Sin Bearer the same treatment as all sinners would, as being seperated from the presence of God, correct? In His deity was never asunder from God, as that would mean that he ceased being God, but in His humanity experienced Hell upon the Cross?
     
  4. KGP

    KGP Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm tracking with you Jack. There are truths in that song that are sung in respect to the fathers dealings with Christ according to the human nature; the lyrics are not invalid simply because there is no referent to the divine aspect of things in the song. Gotta hold both pictures together.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    I agree that it appears to be speaking of the divine nature of Our Lord, though I saw no distinction made at all to "rejection theory" and how Psalm 22:1 shows how The Father did reject Jesus as He rejects the reprobate.
     
  6. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    "We need to find spiritual death at the Cross." ?

    Other than having The Father forsaking Jesus is there any other sense this could be true?
     
  7. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    So are you disagreeing with the article? I haven't done much reading on the issue, and I don't have time to locate any other writings, but I think you'll find a range of opinions among perfectly good scholars on the issue of what it meant for Christ to bear the wrath of God and the extent to which he experienced separation from God. I know I've read sensible opinions saying several different things. Perhaps this is not really so alarming or unusual.
     
  8. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    Not sure I disagree if the author is simply discussing the divinity of Our Lord. Though I have reservations in how it appears he wants to find "spiritual death" in the atonement, and I wonder if he is speaking in any sense the divinity of Jesus paid the debt.
     
  9. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    You could ask him. There's a contact link on his faculty bio at the college where he teaches. Asking usually beats complaining.
     
  10. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    True. :)
     
  11. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I thought Dr Hood explained it quite well considering the difficulty of the subject. He also brought some needed perspective with regard to the obedience of the Son throughout His life and the delight of the Father in Him. This is just what one observes in historic reformed writings on this point.
     
  12. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    Below is what I perceived, from the beginning of the article, which goes directly into the idea of the divine nature of Our Lord without qualification of why he does not believe that The Father forsook Jesus during His passion. Is there any sense that The Father did indeed forsake The Son (according to the human nature) and that the "rejection theory" is not true and that Grudem was wrong?


    Psalm 22:1 is a key verse for the rejection theory. ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?’ (Ps 22:1). What does it mean? Two things. First, context is clear. Look at the parallel verse: ‘why are you so far from helping me?’ This is the issue: ‘no help’. The sufferer is asking why God doesn’t save him from his oppressors. I.e. ‘Why do you let my oppressors torment me?’ The Father gives the Son over to suffering. Psalm 22:1 is the equivalent of Isaiah’s statement, ‘It pleased the Lord to bruise Him’. In fact, the Psalm later says it: ‘You have brought me to the dust of death’ (v. 15).



    Christ took the penalty for our sin upon Himself. Our penalty was eternal separation from God. Therefore, the Son must have suffered separation from God—mustn’t He? What would that mean? Is this the severing of the Triune union between the Father and Son? Is this relational, being ‘cut off from…sweet fellowship with his heavenly Father’, such that Christ was ‘abandoned by his heavenly Father’ (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 574)? What does Townend mean, saying there was ‘searing loss’ when ‘The Father turns His face away’? The Father’s anger was upon the Son, who had ‘become sin for us’, so the Father had no choice but to reject and banish the Son from His presence.

    Here are 10 reasons why I don’t believe it.
     
  13. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Judicially, yes; but not merely according to the human nature. It was the God-man who stood in our place, though the suffering was proper to the human nature. He did not take actual sin upon Him. He was only reckoned by law to have the judicial status of a sinner deserving what justice demanded. Consequently the punishment is limited to this judicial status. Christ was not punished as one who had the pollution of sin in Himself. Then He would have suffered torment in hell for ever. He only came in the "likeness" of sinful flesh, and it is in that judicial likeness that He condemned sin in the flesh.

    Another point that is made in this regard is that God punished Christ as an offended Judge, not as an offended Father.

    A further point is that God was upholding His elect in the judicial process, which means that Christ's own divine nature was sustaining Him and enabling Him to endure what He bore for His people.
     
  14. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    So properly speaking Jesus was "judicially" forsaken according to Psalm 22, and is OK to believe such a "theory". Does Grudem believe differently as the article insinuates?
     
  15. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    If you confine it to the judicial process you will not accept the "realist" terms in which Dr. Grudem presents the matter. "Closeness to the Father" is a real, actual, personal aspect of the eternal delight which the Son enjoys in an inseparable union with the Father. Dr. Grudem claims Jesus was deprived of this.
     
  16. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Graduate

    Is Pastor Sproul doing the same as Dr. Grudem here?

    http://www.ligonier.org/blog/forsaken-Jesus-became-curse/

    "If there ever was an obscenity that violates contemporary community standards, it was Jesus on the cross. After he became the scapegoat and the Father had imputed to him every sin of every one of his people, the most intense, dense concentration of evil ever experienced on this planet was exhibited. Jesus was the ultimate obscenity.

    So what happened? God is too holy to look at sin. He could not bear to look at that concentrated monumental condensation of evil, so he averted his eyes from his Son. The light of his countenance was turned off. All blessedness was removed from his Son, whom he loved, and in its place was the full measure of the divine curse.

    Jesus Was Forsaken

    At midday he turned the lights out on the hill outside of Jerusalem so that when his face moved away, when the light of his countenance shut down, even the sun couldn’t shine on Calvary. Bearing the full measure of the curse, Christ screamed, “Eli, Eli lema sabachthani,” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46).

    Jesus took that occasion to identify with the psalmist in Psalm 22 in order to call attention to those looking upon the spectacle that what they were witnessing was really a fulfillment of prophecy. I don’t think Jesus was in a Bible-quoting mood at the time. His cry was not, as Albert Schweitzer opined, the cry of a disillusioned prophet who had believed that God was going to rescue him at the eleventh hour and then felt forsaken. He didn’t just feel forsaken; he was forsaken. For Jesus to become the curse, he had to be completely forsaken by the Father.

    I’ve been thinking about these things for fifty years, and I can’t begin to penetrate all it meant for Jesus to be forsaken by God. But there is none of that to be found in the pseudo-gospels of our day. Every time I hear a preacher tell his people that God loves them unconditionally, I want to ask that the man be defrocked for such a violation of the Word of God. What pagan does not hear in that statement that he has no need of repentance, so he can continue in sin without fear, knowing that it’s all taken care of? There is a profound sense in which God does love people even in their corruption, but they are still under his anathema.

    The Gospel—Our Only Hope

    Just because a man is ordained is no guarantee that he is in the kingdom of God. The odds are astronomical that many are still under the curse of God. There are ordained men who have not yet fled to the cross, who are still counting on the nebulous idea of the unconditional love of God to get them through, or even worse, still thinking that they can get into the kingdom of God through their good works. They don’t understand that unless they perfectly obey the law of God, which they have not done for five minutes since they were born, they are under the curse of God. That is the reality we must make clear to our people—either they will bear the curse of God themselves or they will flee to the One who took it for them.

    Thomas Aquinas once was asked whether he thought that Jesus enjoyed the beatific vision throughout his whole life. Thomas said, “I don’t know, but I’m sure that our Lord was able to see things that our sin keeps us from seeing.” Remember that the promise of the vision of God in the Beatitudes is the promise made to the pure of heart. The reason why we can’t see God with our eyes is not that we have a problem with our optic nerve. What prevents us from seeing God is our heart, our impurity. But Jesus had no impurity. So obviously he had some experience of the beauty of the Father until that moment that our sin was placed upon him, and the One who was pure was pure no more, and God cursed him.

    It was as if there was a cry from heaven, as if Jesus heard the words “God damn you,” because that’s what it meant to be cursed and under the anathema of the Father. I don’t understand that, but I know that it’s true. I know that every person who has not been covered by the righteousness of Christ draws every breath under the curse of God. If you believe that, you will stop adding to the gospel and start preaching it with clarity and boldness, because, dear friends, it is the only hope we have, and it is hope enough."
     
  17. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    "The light of his countenance was turned off. All blessedness was removed from his Son, whom he loved, and in its place was the full measure of the divine curse." "For Jesus to become the curse, he had to be completely forsaken by the Father."

    This is basically the same sentiment. There is some mitigation in this instance in that Dr. Sproul says, "I don’t understand that, but I know that it’s true." I never quite know what to do with someone's teaching who says he does not understand the thing he is trying to explain to others.
     
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