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  • Christ and the cross

    What is your religions teaching of Christ and the cross? How did it come about, meaning from what historical background has it developed?

    Or if you only came to some understanding by scripture, what else influenced that understanding? ie. culturally accepted belief, religion or other (please explain)

  • #2
    Hmm, slow forum.

    I'll post what a fellow Orthodox blogger wrote, as he wrote it quite well in summing up how Orthodox view the crucifixion as part of Christ's office as our Priest, and he refers to Hebrews, a liturgical book of the NT. Orthodox see all of Christ (from Incarnation to Resurrection) as latreutic (worshipful).

    In line with the teachings of Christ as our great High Priest in the Epistle to the Hebrews, Christ's Immolation on the Cross was sacrificial (the office of a priest), latreutic (worshipful), and soterial (verse 2:3): Our Savior's human life itself constituted a victory over the world (2:8), death, (2:9, 14), and the devil (2:14).

    Jesus's Suffering on the Cross, was especially soterial (2:10), but would have no value as Immolation (ceremonial mactation) unless Anaphora or Oblation (offering) followed as the point of sacrificing. (The Book of Hebrews uses anaphérein "offer"--just as the Orthodox still do.) Christians view our Savior's Suffering (Passion) and Death as a propitiating or atoning Immolation. But the Crucifixion, perfect in Itself, was not all there was to Christ's humiliation. Of His Incarnation, Hebrew 2:17 says: ". . . it was needful for Him to become like [his] brothers in all [respects], in order that He might also become a compassionate and faithful high Priest with regard to things pertaining to God for the sake of atoning for the sins of the people." The following verse adds: "For in that He has suffered, He Himself having been tested [or tempted], He is able to give aid to those being tested [or tempted; cf. verse 15]." Subsequently, He entered His rest (4:10), a rest we are to strive to enter (4:11).

    It is hard for a Western Christian to think in this ancient Greek-language, Hebrew-dominated framework. Since Protestants do not typically define a priest as a sacrificer, Luther's "priesthood of all believers" becomes irrelevant to the message of the Book of Hebrews.
    Patristics relate this concept as well. St Isaac of Syria (bishop of Ninevah) a father who's writings I really love, said it this way in relation to our state of mortal humanity.

    "The Lord's Day is a mystery of the knowledge of the truth that is not received by flesh and blood, and it transcends speculations. In this age there is no eighth day, nor is there a true Sabbath. For he who said that `God rested on the seventh day,' signified the rest [of our nature] from the course of this life, since the grave is also of a bodily nature and belongs to this world. Six days are accomplished in the husbandry of life by means of keeping the commandments; the seventh is spent entirely in the grave; and the eighth is the departure from it." -- The Ascetical Homilies, I


    Worship, the end, not the means as salvation is.


    "Why do you increase your bonds? Take hold of your life before your light grows dark and you seek help and do not find it. This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits." St Isaac of Syria

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Teke View Post
      What is your religions teaching of Christ and the cross? How did it come about, meaning from what historical background has it developed?

      Or if you only came to some understanding by scripture, what else influenced that understanding? ie. culturally accepted belief, religion or other (please explain)
      Hi Teke,
      I have been in the church since I'm 5 years old, and learned about it in the church as a child, but all I really knew was Jesus was God's Son and died for our sins. I have always believed this, but didn't have a deeper understanding into it until I started reading the Bible and became a born-again Christian alittle over two years ago.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by angelus5370 View Post
        Hi Teke,
        I have been in the church since I'm 5 years old, and learned about it in the church as a child, but all I really knew was Jesus was God's Son and died for our sins. I have always believed this, but didn't have a deeper understanding into it until I started reading the Bible and became a born-again Christian alittle over two years ago.
        Hi Angelus,
        Thank you for the post. I believe what you've posted is how we all began. That little understanding is what helps us to begin to understand what true worship is thru the Son of God.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Teke View Post
          What is your religions teaching of Christ and the cross? How did it come about, meaning from what historical background has it developed?

          Or if you only came to some understanding by scripture, what else influenced that understanding? ie. culturally accepted belief, religion or other (please explain)
          Hi Teke: To me this is really two questions. The first is regarding the cross. I have learned that the cross is actually an ancient pagan symbol that has over time been adopted by christianity. If you look up cross in an encyclopedia, you are likely to find many different types of crosses, quite a number of which predate Christ. The word translated in the scriptures as cross is the Greek "starous" and simply means upright stake or pole. There is nothing in the original writings to suggest that it had a cross beam thereby creating a cross. For this reason, among other reasons, in my religion we do not use crosses.

          When it comes to Jesus sacrifice and the reasons for it. The scriptures are quite clear. Adam and Eve's sin plunged mankind into a sinful state. This brought imperfection and death to all mankind. (Romans 5:12) What Adam lost was perfect human life, free of sickness and death. To balance God's perfect scales of Justice (Lev.24:17-20; Duet.19:21), it would take a perfect human, free of sin, to make payment or ransom those being held hostage to sin and death. Since all his offspring were imperfect, none could pay the price of what Adam lost.(Psalms 49:7) Therefore the only way for mankind to be redemed was for God to supply another perfect human who was willing to pay the price.

          If this person was more than that of a perfect human the price would tip the scales, placing them off balance. For this reason Jesus, who was God's firstborn creation, and only begotten, was willing to become lower than angels (Heb.2:9) Being placed in the womb of Mary, protected by God's holy spirit so that none of her imperfection could blemish the baby, (Luke 1:35) Jesus was therefore a perfect human free of sin. (Heb.4:15)

          Through his sacrifice we have an approach to God. He is our High Priest, Redeemer and mediator, who's sacrifice bought back what Adam lost for those who exercise faith in it. (John 3:16)

          For this reason the statement "Death , where is your victory? Death where is your sting?" (1Cor.15:55 or as Hosea 13:14 puts it "I will ransom them from the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction."

          Due to Christ's willingness to sacrifice himself, and God's willingness to have his Son do this, we have the same prospect first handed to Adam and Eve, to live on a paradise earth. This will be under Christ rule, with everlasting life in view. (Isaiah 65:17-25)

          For some, who live through Armegeddon, this means never dying at all. For those who do die prior, it means being brought back to life in the resurrection. (John 11:25, 26) "Jesus said to her:I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies , will come to life: and everyone that is living and execises faith in me will never die at all. Do you believe this?"

          As to your question of what influence this belief, I would have to say scripture alone. Although secular influences can at times substanciate what is in the scriptures. For example the origins of the cross. It is not necessary to have secular back up.

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          • #6
            Hi Juju, thanks for the reply.

            Originally posted by jujubea View Post
            Hi Teke: To me this is really two questions. The first is regarding the cross. I have learned that the cross is actually an ancient pagan symbol that has over time been adopted by christianity. If you look up cross in an encyclopedia, you are likely to find many different types of crosses, quite a number of which predate Christ. The word translated in the scriptures as cross is the Greek "starous" and simply means upright stake or pole. There is nothing in the original writings to suggest that it had a cross beam thereby creating a cross. For this reason, among other reasons, in my religion we do not use crosses.
            This is not surprising since most anything can be traced to pagan usage, since once all humanity was pagan in their thinking.

            I've read of many understandings of this, including the one you mention, that being that it was a pole, which I've also heard stated as a tree (dead tree) which is where both poles and crosses of wood come from.

            But the cross symbolizes other to Christians than pagan concepts. It's intersection is a representation of two joined as one. In Eastern Orthodoxy we use a three bar cross, because the third bar recalls the two who were crucified with Christ to His right and left (though their are accounts that there were five altogether crucified that day). The third bar is slanted as one of the two was forgiven by Christ at His crucifixion and the other was not. So it serves as a reminder.
            When it comes to Jesus sacrifice and the reasons for it. The scriptures are quite clear. Adam and Eve's sin plunged mankind into a sinful state. This brought imperfection and death to all mankind. (Romans 5:12) What Adam lost was perfect human life, free of sickness and death. To balance God's perfect scales of Justice (Lev.24:17-20; Duet.19:21), it would take a perfect human, free of sin, to make payment or ransom those being held hostage to sin and death. Since all his offspring were imperfect, none could pay the price of what Adam lost.(Psalms 49:7) Therefore the only way for mankind to be redemed was for God to supply another perfect human who was willing to pay the price.

            If this person was more than that of a perfect human the price would tip the scales, placing them off balance. For this reason Jesus, who was God's firstborn creation, and only begotten, was willing to become lower than angels (Heb.2:9) Being placed in the womb of Mary, protected by God's holy spirit so that none of her imperfection could blemish the baby, (Luke 1:35) Jesus was therefore a perfect human free of sin. (Heb.4:15)
            Eastern Christianity has no such beliefs associated with juridical justice. They view Jesus wholly, and in His humanity as the perfect picture of worship we are to learn from.

            That man could bring death to mankind is foreign in eastern thought also. They see Adam more in a light of not completing the perfect worship which mankind was to attain to, to be in communion with God.
            As to your question of what influence this belief, I would have to say scripture alone. Although secular influences can at times substanciate what is in the scriptures. For example the origins of the cross. It is not necessary to have secular back up.
            It's more likely that European history has influenced American understanding, as it has always had some influence in American thought. Since most Americans are of European descent.

            Things like "blood libel", "martyred innocent" and "ritual crucifixion" (propagated by an Anglican monk) intertwined in European history to what has developed today in popular Christian churches of America. Rather than eastern thought of worship in relating Jesus Christ.

            So while the western churches followed the guilt associated with "original sin" teachings of Latin Rome and Augustine, the eastern churches still follow the concept of worship and communion with God and have no "original sin" teachings.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Teke View Post
              Eastern Christianity has no such beliefs associated with juridical justice. They view Jesus wholly, and in His humanity as the perfect picture of worship we are to learn from.

              That man could bring death to mankind is foreign in eastern thought also. They see Adam more in a light of not completing the perfect worship which mankind was to attain to, to be in communion with God.
              So, at what point do scriptures actually enter the picture?

              Originally posted by Teke View Post
              It's more likely that European history has influenced American understanding, as it has always had some influence in American thought. Since most Americans are of European descent.

              Things like "blood libel", "martyred innocent" and "ritual crucifixion" (propagated by an Anglican monk) intertwined in European history to what has developed today in popular Christian churches of America. Rather than eastern thought of worship in relating Jesus Christ.

              So while the western churches followed the guilt associated with "original sin" teachings of Latin Rome and Augustine, the eastern churches still follow the concept of worship and communion with God and have no "original sin" teachings.
              As far as I am concerned, Scripture is what comes first. Do the Scriptures give an account of an original sin? Yes they do.(Gen.3:1-15) Do they say Death was something introduced to mankind by Adam? Yes they do. (Romans 5:12) And so forth. Simply because a monk or a bishop, happened to clue into a scriptural teaching and share it with others, does not make it their teaching.

              When you use terms like "blood libel", "martyred innocent" and "ritual crucifixion", I have no idea what your talking about.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Teke View Post
                What is your religions teaching of Christ and the cross? How did it come about, meaning from what historical background has it developed?

                Or if you only came to some understanding by scripture, what else influenced that understanding? ie. culturally accepted belief, religion or other (please explain)
                1) I am non-denominational, so what I believe and have been taught concerning Christ & the cross are strictly bible based. As far a historical background, I don't quite understand the question?

                2) I can't think of any other influence regarding my belief in Christ & the cross, besides the bible.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jujubea View Post
                  So, at what point do scriptures actually enter the picture?
                  Scripture is the picture. The question is how do you see the picture. In the very beginning of scripture, what do you see. Scripture states Adam was a type of Christ (Romans 5:14), how does that effect your understanding of Genesis?
                  As far as I am concerned, Scripture is what comes first.
                  No, God comes first.

                  Do the Scriptures give an account of an original sin? Yes they do.(Gen.3:1-15) Do they say Death was something introduced to mankind by Adam? Yes they do. (Romans 5:12) And so forth. Simply because a monk or a bishop, happened to clue into a scriptural teaching and share it with others, does not make it their teaching.
                  Genesis gives an account of Adam knowingly (Adam was not deceived, 1 Tim. 2:14) giving up his life because his wife Eve was deceived. Adam confessed this to God. There was no guilt passed on as death was. But Adam was not Christ, and so he could not pick back up his life, but had faith in God to do so for him (1 Cor. 15:45). God in His great wisdom, knew that death would also bring Life (Rom. 5:17). And yet death caused mankind to put himself in bondage to sin (Hebrews 2:15).

                  When you use terms like "blood libel", "martyred innocent" and "ritual crucifixion", I have no idea what your talking about.
                  It's part of European history (I'm not going to present that whole history here) that came to define the crucifixion in popular American Christianity in terms of 'penal substitution', a juridical concept. Juridical language is not what the original language conveys. The Greek means 'righteous', as in being made righteous before God. Right worship equals communion with God, which is freedom (John 8:36).

                  Since you are a JW, I have no idea what the crucifixion means to you. Especially if you do not see Christ's divinity. As an understanding of Him begins with the Incarnation.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sold Out View Post
                    1) I am non-denominational, so what I believe and have been taught concerning Christ & the cross are strictly bible based. As far a historical background, I don't quite understand the question?

                    2) I can't think of any other influence regarding my belief in Christ & the cross, besides the bible.
                    What is your historical background for believing the bible? Religion, and or your culture would have effected that. Didn't they give you a bible.

                    Most Christians of course believe in Christ and the cross, but what is the understanding behind that belief. Or is that the whole or center of your belief. There is much more to Jesus than the cross.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Teke View Post
                      What is your historical background for believing the bible? Religion, and or your culture would have effected that. Didn't they give you a bible.

                      Most Christians of course believe in Christ and the cross, but what is the understanding behind that belief. Or is that the whole or center of your belief. There is much more to Jesus than the cross.
                      Well, I guess there hasn't ever been a time that I didn't believe the bible was God's word. I was saved at 6, and even though I didn't grow up in a Christian home, I always had this undescribable reverance for the bible. I didn't even own one until I graduated high school! It's kinda weird, actually, now that I think about it!

                      From a historical standpoint, it is really impossible to separate history from the bible, since even secular historians have no reliable source of written history before 2100bc. The accounts in Genesis are no less reliable than what archaeologist can dig up.

                      Is that what you were asking?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sold Out View Post
                        Well, I guess there hasn't ever been a time that I didn't believe the bible was God's word. I was saved at 6, and even though I didn't grow up in a Christian home, I always had this undescribable reverance for the bible. I didn't even own one until I graduated high school! It's kinda weird, actually, now that I think about it!

                        From a historical standpoint, it is really impossible to separate history from the bible, since even secular historians have no reliable source of written history before 2100bc. The accounts in Genesis are no less reliable than what archaeologist can dig up.

                        Is that what you were asking?
                        I'm not questioning the historical validity of the bible. I'm asking how you came to your understanding of the bible. This threads subject is focusing on what the crucifixion means. Even tho that is a piece meal of the whole subject of Jesus Christ.

                        Do you believe the bible was given for a specific purpose, or just so people could read it and come up with some ideas. IOW should we all be united in what scripture teaches, or are we all just our own popes of scripture.

                        Should one investigate the earliest writings pertaining to scripture and what they taught versus what we have come up with on our own. Shouldn't what we believe be what Jesus and His Apostles taught. If you believe so, then how would you go about proving this to yourself.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Teke View Post
                          I'm not questioning the historical validity of the bible. I'm asking how you came to your understanding of the bible. This threads subject is focusing on what the crucifixion means. Even tho that is a piece meal of the whole subject of Jesus Christ.

                          Do you believe the bible was given for a specific purpose, or just so people could read it and come up with some ideas. IOW should we all be united in what scripture teaches, or are we all just our own popes of scripture.

                          Should one investigate the earliest writings pertaining to scripture and what they taught versus what we have come up with on our own. Shouldn't what we believe be what Jesus and His Apostles taught. If you believe so, then how would you go about proving this to yourself.
                          I understand now....preconceived notions or ideas.

                          I am a student of the bible and history. I believe the bible is God's revelation of Himself to mankind and the central theme is what is necessary to bring us back into a relationship with Him - Jesus Christ. My understanding of the bible is a result of intense bible studies with my pastor and personal devotions.

                          While it's true we can all form our own ideas from scripture, the Holy Spirit is our true guide and independent study of the scriptures should be sufficient for someone to have a correct grasp of biblical concepts and fundamental doctrine.

                          Popes of scripture....that's funny. I'll have to remember that one.

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