Christ crucified

Why does Jesus’s death matter?

Why is the death of Christ significant? Some of the church is sure it knows the answer, while much of the rest of the church is deeply uncomfortable with the question. The publicized comment by a feminist theologian at the “Re-imagining” conference a few years ago is only one example of the discomfort: “I don’t think we need a theory of atonement at all. I don’t think we need folks hanging on crosses and blood dripping and weird stuff . . .”

That statement sparked a lot of reflex outrage, which seemed to confirm that a very sore point had been touched—as if to say, “This is a painful topic, and we don’t appreciate your bringing it up.” Much of the positive response to the “re-imagining” statement bore the mark of relief and recognition: “So I’m not the only one who never got it or bought it.”


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