Jesus Saves Us from the Toxins Within – My Kidney Story

[This post is part of a series of illustrations for, and analogies of, Jesus’ saving work in the medical substitutionary atonement paradigm.  This series is especially designed for teachers and preachers.]   In January of 2007, I was recovering from surgery.  I had donated one of my kidneys to my wife’s brother.  My brother-in-law was at…

Jesus, Harry Potter, and Medical Substitutionary Atonement

I really enjoy Harry Potter for its portrayal of friendship and for its clever literary allusions and historical references, like 1945 being the year Dumbledore, a Brit, defeated Grindelwald, a German, over blood purity issues – Rowling is paralleling Grindelwald with Adolf Hitler.  But the even deeper connection is between Voldemort and Harry.  Now for…

Jesus Heals Human Evil By Being Both Surgeon and Patient

[This is part of a blog series of illustrations and analogies for medical substitutionary atonement.] This photo is Dr. Evan O’Neill Kane (April 6, 1861 – April 1, 1932) operating on himself at the age of 60.  He is removing his own appendix.  He did this on February 15, 1921.  The reports I’ve read do not…

Atonement in Scripture: A Neuroscientific Reason for Why Retributive Justice is from the Fall, and Penal Substitution is Immature

Neuroscientist Daniel Reisel studied the brains of psychopathic murderers.  He gauged their responses to pictures of people’s emotional expressions.  Using MRI’s to image their brains, Reisel found a deficit in the amygdala, a region of the brain we believe to be the ‘location’ of empathy.  But Reisel and other neuroscientists also have hope.  They also…

Atonement in Scripture: Why Trump and Cruz Are the Direct, Logical Result of American Evangelical Theology

[This is part of a series on Rene Girard’s scapegoat theory and its link to retributive justice.  It is primarily about atonement theology, with politics as an illustration.] Thirst for Retribution ‘How could this happen?’ bemoan some conservative evangelicals.  Titles abound, such as:  The Inexplicable Evangelical Support for Donald Trump.[1]  But the reality is far…

Atonement in Scripture: Why Evangelicals Scapegoat Gays, Muslims, Etc.

Two days after the Tuesday, September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Jerry Falwell discussed the attacks with fellow evangelical Pat Robertson, host of The 700 Club television program.  Falwell said: ‘The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked.  And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we…

Atonement in Scripture: Donald Trump’s Scapegoating and the Scapegoating of the Black Community

U.S. History and Scapegoating by Conservatives and Liberals Let’s look at how Rene Girard’s definition of ‘scapegoating’ (as in, blaming one instead of the community) takes place in American public life.  Scapegoating is politically effective.  It is continually reinvigorated by American political campaigns.  On December 21, 2015, The Washington Post observed: ‘The same rhetoric that…

Atonement in Scripture: The Tabernacle and the Priests

In my past blog posts about atonement in Scripture, I’ve explored the role of circumcision as a controlling concept.  Circumcision affects how we interpret the Passover as the cleansing of the first generation of Israelites out of Egypt, and the bronze serpent as the cleansing of the second generation from the sins of the first….