February Adult Class for the 9:30 Sunday Faith Formation Hour
From Christmas to Easter, we naturally turn out attention to Jesus the Christ. But who was he, and what does he mean for us today?
This answer may sound familiar: “The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God who became man through the virgin birth, yet without ceasing to be God; He died voluntarily on the cross to make an atoning payment for the sins of His people; He then rose bodily, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father, the center of praise and worship.” (Taken from a statement of beliefs from a nearby evangelical church.)
These kinds of statements are fairly traditional and have some biblical grounding, and they contain an obscure mystery of faith; but they hardly make sense to many today, for good reason. (God only forgives because Jesus paid him? Humanity is forgiven because we killed Jesus?)
Among other problems, the “atoning payment” approach to who Jesus was focuses too much on sin, not enough on empowering for good; it has nothing to say about his life up to Calvary; and it fails to fit Jesus in to the larger story of Israel.
Christianity needs to do better at understanding its Founder if it wants to appeal to thoughtful people today. We’ll try to do better in this February series.
Feb 10: Who is Jesus? Looking at what we’ve learned and what’s in our hymns
Feb 17: Jesus in the context of the story of Israel (“It’s Not Easy Living with God”)
Feb 24: From A People to an Individual to a People Again (passages in Romans, Hebrews)
March 3: What Jesus Adds to Our Life with God
This class is led by Pastor Bill; it draws on some of his work for his second book. He has a doctorate in Theology from the University of Chicago and was a professor of religion for eight years.