He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

1 John chapter 2, verse 2 from the New Living Translation

Who woulda ever thunk it? But in some circles of the United Methodist Church there is no such thing as the intentional death of Jesus for our sins. That’s right–some of our seminaries are instruction preachers and teachers that Jesus did not become incarnate so that He could suffer and die. Sound to unreal to believe? Well, just look at this recent Facebook post from our (alleged) Clergy Page:

I realize that this individual does not represent the whole of the UMC. But his comment reflects the malady and malise that is happening in my beloved Tribe. Humor me as I dissect his comment. He said: “His purpose was what he was doing as a healer, wisdom teacher, social prophet, and movement initiator.” Sounds like a social gospel to me–but without the most important part of THE Gospel. Yes, we should be out there, working for The Kingdom, speaking out against the evil in this world. But. . . a social gospel without the atonement is a perpetuation of the lie Satan told Eve and Adam–“You can be gods!”

He also wrote: “His death was the consequence of what he was doing, but not his purpose.” Geez, Louise! How dense can one person be? But don’t forget–this is what he was taught in a UM seminary. He’s not the first to say this–and his cemetery, I mean, seminary of choice taught him to believe this way. Other UM seminaries/cemeteries are teaching the same malarkey. Now, back to his opening line: “In the judgment of the majority of mainline scholars, atonement theology does not go back to Jesus himself. We do not think that Jesus thought that the purpose of his life, his vocation, was his death.” When he wrote that, I wonder if this was how Jesus looked?

So, atonement theology does not go back to Jesus himself. My personal response to this claptrap is in the words of Gomer Pyle from his days in Mayberry: “Shame, shame, shame!” I suppose, then, that Matthew exaggerated, even lied, when he quoted Jesus:

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Matthew chapter 20, verse 28 from the New Living Translation

Is it any wonder that the United Methodist Church is crumbling like California in a 9.0 earthquake? Lord, help us! Dear Lord, save us!