The company, Speakeasy, is having me review another one of their books:
Unfortunately, mine isn't a favorable review. I'm finding a common theme in that many of the spiritual books I am getting are written in a very eager style. I suppose they're supposed to come off as passionate, but to me, they just seem annoying and a bit unprofessional. This book's author is so eager to share his version of the good news - which does not seem all that good to me! - that half of the book seems to just be about how happy he is and not on the facts. I just want to shake his editor!
The book is touted as a very progressive book, which makes me feel like an oddball, because the book still isn't progressive enough for me. I'm finding most of these books aren't, in fact. The book is progressive in that Williams posits that God is not, in fact, angry with us, is not sending us to Hell, and that every little negative thing that happens to us is not a punishment from God. So far, so good. But then comes Williams' reasoning-it's because God was satisfied by Jesus dying on the cross. This view is not so progressive and I have heard versions of this theology all of my life, but I just do not buy it. I don't buy that God needed to torture his own flesh-and-blood in order to not need to send us to hell anymore. The way Williams describes it, God almost seems to take pleasure in torturing his son, because it saves all of his human children. Killing Jesus seems to satiate his anger and bloodlust. I have heard versions of the message before, and it has always seems to me that it makes God chose between loving his people and loving his Son. Unlike most people, that God chooses to value the people He created over "his only begotten Son" does not comfort me, but repulses me. I don't think we should make God choose. To do so, is not very loving of us and to believe that God was satisfied by the torture of one individual just does not make sense to me-not in a logical way and not in a loving way.
I choose to believe instead that Jesus is my Savior, not because his death satisfied God, but because Jesus showed us a way to live that is in integrity to God, ourselves, our neighbors, and our world. It is the way of loving kindness, forgiveness and peace. It is Jesus' way that saves us-not from going to Hell, but from living in a hell of our own making. He teaches us how to bring Godde's kin-dom to Earth and how to know serenity and peace in the midst of great pain.
I do not recommend this book if you are as progressive as I am-I got very frustrated with it, as you can see, and only read a few chapters. But if you are a conservative Christian, then this book might be the right stepping stone to a more progressive, more loving mindset.
Hi K.C. I loved this review! Mike Williams the Gospel Revolution were instrumental in helpoing me break free from Christian insanity, but the whole time, I still found it troubling that the only reason God would be ok with everyone now was because of a blood sacrifice. The worst part about this message is how it makes everyone unrighteous before the cross, with those people only receiving righteousness post-mortem! It doesn't say much about God when we argue that he was a vengeful, wrathful, and generally unpleasant character who was ready to snuff everyone out until one day after having his son beaten and crucified, he suddenly became Mr. Nice Guy.
I agree with you that this blood-sacrifice theology needs to go! There's a group called the New Covenant Group headed by Dr. Michael W. Jones and his wife Rhonda Jones. They've also come to reject blood-sacrifice theology. What I especially love about them is that they welcome both atheists and theists to the table for discussion. They've had atheist heavyweights like PZ Myers and David Silverman on the show. They also have resident atheist Greg Brahe who has his own show on the network, as well as a show by the agnostic theist Bob Greaves. Bob usually appears on Greg's show. I'm going to post a link to one of their shows with Steve Essary (heavily influenced by Mike Williams) and atheist Enzo Colella. Notice how Essary is moving forward when they ask him some tough questions about salvation and blood sacrifice. Major respect to him for that. Dr. Jones has a bunch of new videos challenging penal substitution, so check out the whole Youtube channel!
I'm also going to e-mail your blogpost to Mike Williams. I've already sent him some videos of Dr. Jones, so hopefully one day he'll get it. He once said during a recorded session that he stopped considering the possibility that God was never angry. Hopefully, he'll finally start reconsidering it again.
I agree with you and Danny...