Evangelism–and some atonement theory

One of our public interactive displays

One of our public interactive displays from last year when the Science Center Plaza was under construction.

This is part 2 in a six-part  series on HRCF’s emphases and distinctives. Part 1 is here.

Our understanding of Jesus’ work is ontological in its foundations, not merely juridical. We stress that Jesus came to cleanse evil out from human nature in his own person, and share with us his new, God-soaked humanity by his Spirit, so that we might also be cleansed.

We use public interactive displays on many different topics that invite people to reflect on whether human nature needs healing, whether God is good enough to do that, whether there is any other solution to the problem of evil, and whether anyone compares with Jesus in healing and transforming human nature.  This has led  to many long, thoughtful, and wonderful conversations over the past few years.

The atonement theology we emphasize is called ‘Physical Redemption’ or ‘Recapitulation’ (in the earliest, classical patristic writings and the Eastern Orthodox tradition (in C.S. Lewis and in the Reformed stream of Karl Barth and T.F. Torrance Catholics like J.R.R. Tolkien, Hans Urs von Balthazar, Thomas Weinandy, and Elenore Stump).

In HRCF, you will frequently hear said:

•      Jesus shared our diseased human nature so we could share his healed human nature.

•      God is solving the root problem of evil in the world at the deepest level—in each one of us—by calling everyone to Jesus.

•      God wants to undo and remedy all human evil (not just some) at its source in each person.

•      God’s wrath is aimed at the corruption in our nature—at human sin—not at not our personhood.

•      God will not be ‘satisfied’ until all the corruption in us has been burned away.

•     Hell is where the transforming love of God has become torment for those who refuse to be transformed.

•     God unequivocally loves every single person, not just some.

•     God loves you, and will always love you.

•     Hence, we invite everyone to receive Jesus’ new humanity, by his Spirit.

Biblical basis: In the person of Jesus, the Eternal Son of God took human nature to himself to cleanse it of the corruption of sin (‘flesh’, Jn.1:14) that dwells in each one of us (Rom.7:14 – 25). Within his own person, and throughout his life, Jesus realigned that human nature with the love of the Father, by the Spirit (Lk.2:52; Mt.3:13 – 4:11; Lk.4:1 – 13; Rom.3:21 – 26). Simultaneously, he poured out the wrath of God upon that corruption, ultimately defeating it on the cross (Rom.6:6; 8:3). In his resurrection, Jesus was raised to be a fresh, cleansed, healed, God-drenched, God-soaked human being (Jn.20; Rom.5:12 – 21; 1 Cor.15:45; Eph.1:15 – 2:10; Col.1:15 – 20). By his ascension and Pentecost, he shares the Spirit of his new humanity with anyone who believes in him (Jn.20:22; Rom.8:5 – 11). He actively and unreservedly wants every person to be saved from sin (1 Jn.2:2; 2 Pet.2:1; 1 Tim.2:3 – 4, 4:10; Ti.2:11; 2 Pet.3:9; Ezk.18:23, 32 – 33), for their healing and transformation which he will complete when he returns to renew the physical world. Hence, we say that the work of Christ is the person of Christ.


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