God’s Word tells us that Christ "'himself bore our sins' in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; 'by his wounds you have been healed'" (1 Peter 2:24, NIV). This idea is found throughout the Bible in such places like Isaiah 53:5, 1 Corinthians 15:3, Colossians 2:14, Hebrews 9:28 and Romans 4:25.
So what do we find being taught by an ELCA seminary president?
“(T)he cross is not about punishment for sin either. Not for Jesus’ sin, certainly, but also not for ours.” So says David Lose, President of Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. David Lose, who previously was a professor at the ELCA’s Luther Seminary goes on to say:
“That is, of course, a tradition interpretation of the cross: that because God is just, God has to punish sin, and because God is loving, God beats up on Jesus instead of us. But I have a hunch that this understanding of the cross says more about our inadequate understanding of justice than it says about God. In contrast to this theory, I’d suggest that the cross is not about punishment but is instead about identification, solidarity, and love.” (read here)
This is against the witness of Scripture.
And please take note who seminary president David Lose is addressing as he writes. He begins his blog with “Dear Working Preacher,”
“Dear Partner, what might we say to people this Sunday?”
“That’s what we can tell our people, Dear Partner, and this, at last, is all promise. Thanks for sounding that message.”
President Lose is instructing pastors into this teaching and telling them to preach accordingly, indoctrinating the people in their congregations. That is scary. He is teaching something against God’s Word, to ELCA pastors who will take that false-teaching to the pulpit. Is there any wonder why so many Bible-believing Christians are calling on ELCA members to leave the denomination?
A couple of people challenged Lose in the comments section of this article saying,
“’The cross is not about punishment.’ Really? Then what of ‘sacrifice,’ ‘scapegoat,’ ‘passover lamb,’ and ‘without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness’?”
“…biblical writers’ clear use of the model of the sacrifice of lambs (John 1:29; Hebrews 9, etc.). Paul employs often the substitution concept, to stand in our place under the law, to take the punishment we deserve (Galatians 4:4, Romans 3:21-26), and of course the familiar “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Christ came to take our place, to take unto himself our guilt, sin, and death, to give his li(f)e as a ransom (Mark 10).”
Because of those comments, Lose wrote another article where he says,
“I found our exchange in the comments last week kind of fascinating. You probably don’t read the comments, so I’ll recap briefly. The exchange centered on how we understand the cross and was prompted by a statement I made that ‘the cross is not about punishment for sin.’ Several folks questioned that, referencing Anselm’s substitutionary theory of atonement and the attendant Scriptural passages associated with it…Anselm’s view – echoed later by Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and Reformed theologians in North America – is one of the primary ways the Church, particularly in the West, has understood the cross and, indeed, is perhaps the dominant view today.
And yet all that notwithstanding, I have to say I find it utterly unconvincing and, indeed, rather off-putting and out of character with the God I know in Jesus.” (read here)
The most popular and beloved liberal ELCA pastor, Nadia Bolz-Weber has a similar belief saying, “And just to be clear: The cross is not about God as divine child abuser sadly sending his little boy off to be killed because we were bad and well, somebody had to pay." (read here)
ELCA leaders continually walk in opposition to God’s Word.
Find out more about substitutionary atonement and why it is Biblically correct here.