Easter message: Christ did not die for sin


Easter message: Christ did not die for sin
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones., Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 11:25pm BST 31/03/2007

The Church’s traditional teaching of Christ’s crucifixion is “repulsive” and “insane”, a controversial cleric will claim on the BBC this week.

The Very Rev Jeffrey John, who had to withdraw before taking up an appointment as bishop of Reading in 2003 after it emerged he was in a long-term homosexual relationship, is set to ignite a row over one of the most fundamental tenets of Christian belief.

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The Rev Rod Thomas, of the evangelical group Reform, accused Mr John of “attacking the fundamental nature of the Gospel”. Reform, which represents about 600 clergy, opposed Mr John’s nomination as bishop in 2003.

Mr Thomas said denying the “wrathful” nature of God was an attempt to play down the importance of sin and allow a more liberal approach to sexuality.

Mark 7:6
But he answering, said to them: Well did Isaias prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

1 Corinthians 15:3
For I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received: how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures:

2 1 Peter 3:18
Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit,

Romans 5:9
Christ died for us; much more therefore, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from wrath through him.

2 Corinthians 5:15
And Christ died for all; that they also who live, may not now live to themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again.

1 Thessalonians 5:10
Who died for us; that, whether we watch or sleep, we may live together with him.

1 John 3:5
And you know that he appeared to take away our sins, and in him there is no sin.

Romans 4:25
Who was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification.

Galatians 1:4
Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present wicked world, according to the will of God and our Father:

1 John 2:2
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

1 John 4:10
In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because he hath first loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.


Sad sad sad, :crying:

So basically Christ’s death really means no more than the death of any person - or at least of any martyr. And certainly means little or no more than the deaths of the two thieves crucified alongside him, who similarly suffered horrifically… :nope:

Why, pray tell, would Christ, the very God who created all things, who knows intimately every sparrow that falls, every twitch of every nerve in our bodies, every beat of our hearts, need to ‘experience’ our suffering???

This man is going to need a lot of prayer :signofcross:


The Very Rev Jeffrey John is denying one of the basic tenets of Christianity. Let us pray that he does not lead anyone astray and that he be converted.


I couldn’t quite figure it out from the article, but does this guy actually call himself a Christian? What does he think Christ died for, the fun of it? :rolleyes: Maybe he doesn’t believe Christ died at all. :confused:


When you have a world in which people don’t know the reality of judgement and hell, this stuff will happen.




:crying: This is so sad!

Its horrible that some people say things like this. It leads people away from God and the truth. I’ve honestly never heard anyone who says they are Christain claim this. Its just so sad.


That is just craziness. What is the world coming too?


From the article…

Clergy who preach this Easter that Christ was sent to earth to die in atonement for the sins of mankind are “making God sound like a psychopath”, he will say.

To live in a state of contradiction seems pretty psychopathic to me. If you are a Christian, the most basic of beliefs is that Christ died to redeem us from our sins.


Is this guy Catholic or a member of the Church of England? The article didn’t make it clear. My guess is the latter but I wanted to be sure.



He is CoE.


He’s a member of the Church of England, btw.

I don’t tend to take the Telegraph as seriously as you guys seem to ;).
We don’t know the context of the conversation or whether there were other comments made. My hunch is that it was part of a wider point challenging the rather simplistic views of Christ’s passion which are held by many Christians today.

But even if this was a faithful reporting of his words I think it is a valid criticism. Fairly recently, the Revd Steve Chalke (a Baptist Minister in the UK) challenged this same penal substitution theory, saying that it made God out to be some kind of “cosmic child abuser”. He said this to challenge what appears to be the ONLY theory of Christ’s death that Evangelical churches in the UK hold. Now, as Catholics, we would say that there are a number of ways we can understand Jesus’ death - the example above being only one - since the Paschal Mystery is just that: a mystery.

This article is about the penal substitution theory, specifically - I think we need to remember this. The Telegraph have given it the soundbite treatment and turned it into something it is not.

Peace :slight_smile:


". He offers an alternative interpretation, suggesting that Christ was crucified so he could “share in the worst of grief and suffering that life can throw at us”.


Some years ago a CoE priest or bishop (I forget which now) denied the Resurrection. So I am not too surprised at this.


April fools?


Has anyone actually read this article? - from some of the posts above I’d suggest not. :slight_smile:

A quick Google will throw light on this theory - one from Theopedia I’ve included below (I don’t think it’s a catholic site but it makes the point just as well) - this is a view that has it’s critics as well as it’s supporters. Very Rev Jeffrey John is voicing a valid and important criticism, imo.

Penal Substitution Theory

This discussion should really be on the theory’s merits, or lack of.


I’m assuming that this thread has either dropped off the bottom of the page or that some folks have simply not thought it worth their while to revisit!

People may be asking why I am making a fuss about this…

…the fact is that this site is about giving a measured and thoughtful response to those who ask us about the faith we hold as Catholics - instead there have been a number of posts which have not done justice to the Very Revd Jeffery John’s comments (IMO), irrispective of what one might think of him as a person - for me, they have also not done justice to CAF, giving the impression that this site is all about rhetoric and sectarianism. Is this the level at which we approach such important issues?

Do people still stand by the comments they initially made? Why (why not)?

Peace :slight_smile:


I’ll take the silence as some sort of an apology to the Very Revd Jeffery John. In light of the original article, I think it’s the least we owe him.

Peace to all :slight_smile:


Church of England… They reference the Bishop of Durham and I googled it and found it was the Church of England.

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