Preaching Connection: Atonement

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Reading for Preaching

Mere Christianity, in The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics

Lewis states the Christian doctrine of Christ’s atonement as this: “Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and has given us a fresh start.  Theories as to how it did this are another matter.”  But you don’t need to believe this theory or that one for the atonement to give you a fresh...
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Additional content related to Atonement

Genesis 9:8-17

Covenants For preachers interested in holding a cohesive theme through Lent, this year’s Old Testament lectionary readings provide an opportunity to reflect deeply on the nature of God’s relationship with God’s people through covenant.  This Sunday, it is his covenant not to destroy the earth, next Sunday, his choosing and making a great nation through…

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Exodus 12:1-14

Comments, Questions and Observations: Of all the strange details of this strange meal, isn’t it a bit odd that God tells the people of Israel, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall fall upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” As though the…

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1 Timothy 2:1-7

Paul packs this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson with “all’s.” In fact, he uses a form of the Greek word panta no less than five times in its seven verses. But while the apostle loads this text with “all,” nearly every use of the word carries with it both some mystery and the seed of controversy. So…

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Hebrews 9:11-14

As I noted in a 2018 commentary on this week’s Epistolary Lesson, this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson is “bloody.” In fact, it’s so bloody that citizens of the already figuratively blood-soaked 21st century may be uncomfortable with it. But perhaps humanity needed such a radical solution because its problem was so deeply-ingrained. Few pieces of baggage…

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Romans 5:1-8

Is there any phrase in the English lexicon that’s stranger than “to die for”? After all, when we claim something is “to die for,” we’re not describing something that’s as tragic as death itself. I’ve never heard anyone say, for instance, that racial injustice or a global pandemic was “to die for” – even though…

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2 Corinthians 5:16-21

“From now on,” Paul insists to the Corinthians in this Sunday’s RCL Epistolary Lesson, “we regard no one from a worldly point of view (16)”.  Yet whenever I hear him say that, I want to ask, “Really?!  Do we really no longer view people from a worldly point of view? After all, how quick aren’t…

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Hebrews 10:11-14, (15-18), 19-25

Hebrews 10 may please both those who proclaim and those hear the Lectionary texts from Hebrews who feel like saying, “Enough of all that talk about Jesus and blood already.  Just tell us what to do.”  After all, after almost endlessly teaching us about Jesus and his work, this week’s text finally teaches us what…

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Hebrews 9:24-28 [10:11-18]

Digging Into the Text: I imagine that by this time, you preachers out there might be getting a little burned out with Hebrews and its priests and sacrifices and temples, and worried the congregation may feel the same way. Some commentators think that Hebrews is not so much an epistle in the usual sense, but…

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Romans 8:1-11

When a passage is as landmark a one as Romans 8, it is no surprise to see it pop up in the Revised Common Lectionary more than once.  About half of this Ordinary Time lection was covered during Lent not long ago.  In that sermon reflection I focused on what it means to live “in…

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Romans 5:1-8

By now many of us have heard about the recent flap regarding the well-known contemporary hymn “In Christ Alone.”  Seems a certain hymnal committee wanted to formalize what a number of congregations had already done informally on their own and that is swap out language about how on the cross “the wrath of God was…

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Psalm 119:33-40

Psalm 119 asserts again and again (almost ad infinitum) that the Law of God is the source of joy and delight, because it gives life and light.  But that’s not how the Law feels to most of us most of the time.  And, as we saw last week, that’s not how Paul talks about the…

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Hosea 4

When I first learned to preach, I was told that each text has one theme, and one theme only.  A few years later, another teacher of preaching told me that each text has many possible legitimate themes.  One must choose a theme and run that theme like a magnet over the surface of the text. …

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Numbers 16

Comments and Observations Who has the LORD chosen? Who belongs to him? Who is holy? These are the questions at the heart of our passage. But how we ask often matters as much as the content of the questions themselves.  The people who oppose Moses and Aaron’s leadership, led by Korah, ask these questions with…

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