The popular Patheos blogger wants to restore the cross as primarily a symbol of God’s overwhelming love for us and to rescue Christians from the shame and guilt from seeing our situation as “sinners in the hands of an angry God,” which was an invention of the medieval church and became enshrined as orthodox Christianity.
Many Christians believe that God the Father demanded his only Son die a cruel, gruesome death to appease His wrath, since humanity is so irredeemably sinful and therefore repugnant to God. Tony Jones, popular progressive Christian blogger, author, and scholar, argues that this understanding is actually a medieval invention and not what the Bible really teaches. He looks beyond medieval convictions and liberates how we see Jesus’s death on the cross from this restrictive paradigm. Christians today must transcend the shame and guilt that have shaped conceptions of the human soul and made us fearful of God, and replace them with love, grace, and joyfulness, which better expresses what the cross is really about.
How we understand the cross reflects directly what kind of God we worship. By letting go of the wrathful God who cannot stand to be in our presence unless he pretends to see Jesus in our place, we discover the biblical God who reaches out to love and embrace us while “we were yet sinners.” Jones offers a positive, loving, inclusive interpretation of the faith that is both challenging and inspiring. Did God Kill Jesus? is essential reading for modern Christians.