Posts Tagged ‘Penal Substitution’

The Western Church needs to realise that amongst young people a major epistemological shift is taking place. The emergent church seeks to respond to this new development in a number of ways. The following mp3s from the ACTS 29 network, which is essentially a reformed church planting group, offer the following on their website. The talks are by Darrin Patrick who is lead pastor of ‘the Journey’

The History and Streams of the Emergent Church

Popular Terms of the Emergent Church

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I found the first session quite helpful. The last session seesk to critique some major players in the emergent movement. However it’s lack of detail leaves one a little dissapointing.  If anyone has any links to toher mp3’s on the emergent church then please pass them onto me and I will include them in the body of this post.

I look fwd to some comments from fellow trinity bloggers Lee Barnes and Jon Taylor. Are there any other Trinity bloggers out there?


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A few months ago as part of my research I looked at the interpretation of Mark 10:45. The full document is available here in PDF format mark-10-45-swales. The study seeks to interact with the classic work by Morna Hooker Jesus and the Servant,  Scott McKnight Jesus and his Death and it of interest to those who are interested with the Steve Chalke, NT Wright, Pierced for our Transgressions  ‘Penal Substitution’ debate.  It also looks at the idea of Jesus being understood as the suffering servant of Is 53.

Here is the introduction:


Mark 10:45: How Did Jesus understand his death?


γαρ ο υιος του ανθρωπου ουκ ηλθεν διακονηθηναι

αλλα διακονησαι και δουναι την ψυχην αυτου

λυτρον αντι πολλων1

The church, in understanding the crucifixion of Jesus soteriologically, has frequently made a link between the suffering of the servant in Deutero-Isaiah (DI) and the passion of Jesus—Jesus, like the servant of DI, vicariously suffers the punishment that is due for others. This point, however, is contentious within scholarship, as for some scholars the servant-Jesus motif is the theological development of the later Christian church, whereas for others the servant-Jesus motif can be traced back to Jesus himself.2


This debate takes places at both macro and micro levels. By macro I mean those who seek to offer full face portraits of the historical Jesus such as Wright3, Dunn4, Meier5 and Crossan, whereas by micro I refer to those who, through monographs and scholarly articles, offer detailed exegesis of particular gospel passages6. At a micro level Mark 10:45 is possibly the most debated verse within the gospels. For some this offers a full blown theory of the atonement coming from the lips of Jesus, whereas others debate its authenticity, whilst still others although not disputing its authenticity do not see substitutionary/servant theology within it. For any involved in historical Jesus research, whether it be at a macro or micro level, it is a fruitful endeavor to engage with Hooker’s challenging thesis Jesus and the Servant (1959),7 This book advocates the view that we do not find any correlation, within the gospels, between the death/suffering of Jesus and the suffering of the servant.


In this paper I intend to summarize and critique Hooker’s position whilst keeping a close eye on issues relating to ‘Historical Jesus’ methodology and Jesus’ self understanding regarding his death. I will limit my micro exploration of Jesus and the Servant to issues pertaining to Mark 10:45, and seek to draw out conclusions that show the interplay between macro and micro.


Following the flow of Jesus and the Servant we shall look at8:


The Servant Passages: Their meaning and Background9

Jewish Interpretations of the Servant10

Mark 10:45 and the Servant 11

1 Mk 10:45

2 For popular and influential popular writings see the recently published Pierced for Our Transgressions 52-67 and the classic work by John Stott Cross of Christ 133-163 ‘It seems to be definite beyond doubt, then, that Jesus applied Isaiah 53 to himself and that he understood his death in the light of it as a sin bearing death’ 147. Numerous monographs and journals attacks and defend the authenticity of Mark 10:45. Rainer Riesner presents a scholarly and novel approach to its authenticity Back To the Historical Jesus Through Paul and His School (Ransom Logion—Mark 10.45; Matthew 20.28) in Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 2003; 1; 171

3 N.T. Wright Jesus and the Victory of God: ‘I propose then, that we can credibly reconstruct a mindset in which a first-century Jew could come to believe that YHWH would act through the suffering of a particular individual in whom Israel’s sufferings were focused; hat this suffering would carry redemptive significance; and that this individual would be himself. And I propose that we can plausible suggest that this was the mindset of Jesus himself.” 593

4 James D.G. Dunn Jesus Remembered pp 809-818“The upshot [after looking at Luke 22:37, Mark 10:45, 14:24] is that a convincing case cannot be made that Jesus saw himself as the suffering servant.”

5 J.P Meier A Marginal Jew The final, as yet unpublished, volume will look Jesus death and self understanding.

6 Such as McKnight, Hooker and a host of others.

7 Also C.K Barrett ‘The Background of Mark 10:45’ ‘[It] appears that the connection between Mark 10:45 and Isa 53 is much less definite and more tenuous that is often supposed.’

8 For the purpose of this study we will not be looking at Hooker’s survey of scholarship (Ch 1), linguistic parallels outside of Mark 10:45, or at the development of the servant concept within the early church.(Chapters 5-7)

9 Jesus and the Servant Ch. 2

10 ibid. Chapter 3

11 ibid. Chapter 4

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