george hancockstefanThe importance of role models in our lives is of utmost importance.  In almost every area of the human life, people talk about the importance of role models.  In physical, as much as in the spiritual life, people seek others to imitate.

In the Gospel of Luke, where Jesus is teaching us about prayer, he concludes with these words, “Which of you fathers if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead.  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion.  If you then, though you are evil know how to give good gifts to your children how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:11-13)” For many theologians, this passage has served to show that in comparison with God, we are evil.  In fact, because of our sin, our evil nature has been a constant theme on the pages of the Scripture.  God is good and we are evil.  It is God’s desire to see our evil nature transformed by the Holy Spirit to become like God’s good nature.

Thus, in the last few years, I was shocked by some new theologians who think that if God the Father allowed the sacrifice of His beloved Son on the cross on Good Friday, then God is an evil God.  The reasoning behind this conclusion is twofold: 1) The argument is that no parent would allow this type of suffering to our children.  If we as human being would not allow this suffering for our children, then if God allowed this suffering to His Son, He must not be a good God. 2) This whole premise is substantiated by the premise that violence or retribution in any form is evil.  What is more violent than the death of the Son of God on the cross?  In C.S Song’s trilogy, The Cross in the Lotus World we read, “A God who revenges the wrongs we have done, a God of retribution…we are not dealing with God in God’s own self, but the God of our own creation and imagination.”  Therefore, this violent God must not be a good God.

I have argued in other places that some theologians do not do theology at all.  After all, theology is the study of God. In the classical Christian theology, the study of God was as God revealed oneself on the pages of the Holy Scriptures.  It is on the pages of the Holy Scriptures that we read, “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Where we start determines where we go.  If we start with the love of God we will see that in spite of the awful, brutal, and unimaginable pain of the cross, we see the love of God for each one of us.  God was not unaware of the pain that His Son would suffer in this world, on this cruel cross. If we start with ourselves, if we start with how good we are, if we become the standard, then we will find that God does not measure up to us.

As I read some of this new theology, I thought it to be just as deceptive as the one that asked the Lord Jesus Christ to bypass the cross.  He tells Jesus in the wilderness that he can gain glory by worshipping him, he speaks through Peter to avoid the cross, and he speaks through the crowd when they shout,” If you are the Son of God, come down and we will worship you.”  The plan of God led Jesus to cross.  It seems that the new theology is avoiding the cross and if there is a cross, they think that God has become violent and therefore neither is He good, nor can He love us.

The prophet writes, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)” With this prophet I declare, “We all, like sheep have gone astray, each of us have turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. [Italics mine] (Isaiah 53:6)”