righteousness and the objective ground of forgiveness.? Maclaren: ?Christianity without a dying Christ is a dying Christianity.?
(f) This theory contradicts the whole tenor of the New Testament, in making the life, and not the death, of Christ the most significant and important feature of his work. The constant allusions to the death of Christ as the source of our salvation, as well as the symbolism of the ordinances, cannot be explained upon a theory which regards Christ as a mere example and considers his sufferings as incidents, rather than essentials, of his work.
Dr. H. B. Hackett frequently called attention to the fact that the gospels recorded only three years of Jesus? life and the prominence given in the record to the closing scenes of that life are evidences that the great work of our Lord was not his life, but rather his death. Christ?s death, and not his life, is the central truth of Christianity. The cross is par excellence the Christian symbol. In both the ordinances (in Baptism as well as in the Lords Supper) it is the death of Christ that is primarily set forth. Neither Christ?s example, nor his teaching, reveals God as his death does. It is the death of Christ that links together all Christian doctrines. The mark of Christ?s blood is upon them all, as the scarlet thread running through every cord and rope of the British navy gives sign that it is the property of the crown.
Did Jesus? death have no other relation to our salvation than Paul?s death had? Paul was a martyr but his death is not even recorded. Gould, Bib. Theol. N. T., 92 ? ?Paul does not dwell in any way upon the life or work of our Lord, except as they are involved in his death and resurrection.? What did Jesus? words; ?It is finished? ( <431930>John 19:30) mean? What was finished on the Socinian theory? The Socinian salvation had not yet begun. Why did not Jesus make the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord?s Supper to be memorials of his birth rather than of his death? Why was not the veil of the temple rent at his baptism or at the Sermon on the Mount? It was because only his death opened the way to God. In talking with Nicodemus, Jesus brushed aside the complimentary: ?We know that thou art a teacher come from God? ( <430302>John 3:2). Recognizing Jesus as teacher is not enough. There must be a renewal by the Spirit of God so that one recognizes also the lifting up of the Son of man as atoning Savior ( <430314>John 3:14, 15). And to Peter, Jesus said, ?If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me? ( <431308>John 13:8). One cannot have part with Christ as Teacher, while one rejects him as Redeemer from sin. On the Socinian doctrine of the Atonement, see Crawford, Atonement, 279-296; Shedd, History of Doctrine, 2:376-386; Doctrines of the Early Socinians, in
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