Primitive and Obscene

“Some parts of the Bible are so clear and simple that they are offensive to those suffering from intellectual arrogance. I once was lecturing about how Christ’s death on the cross fulfilled the curse motif of the Old Testament. In the middle of my lecture a man in the audience interrupted me, saying loudly, ‘That’s primitive and obscene.’ I asked him to repeat his comment so that everyone present could hear his complaint. When he repeated it, I said, ‘You are exactly right. I particularly like your choice of words, primitive and obscene.’ The entire history of redemption is communicated in primitive terms, from the episode of the encounter of Adam and Eve with the serpent to the devastationg destruction that God visits on the chariots of Egypt in the exodus to the crass and brutal murder of Jesus of Nazareth. The Bible reveals that God hears the groans of all of his people, from the peasant to the philosopher, from the dull-witted to the sophisticated scholar. His message is simple enough from the most simplistic of fallen creatures to understand. What kind of a God would reveal his love and redemption in terms so technical and concepts so profound that only an elite corps of professional scholars could understand them? God does speak in primitive terms because he is addressing himself to primitives. At the same time, there is a enough profundity contained in Scripture to keep the most astute and erudite scholars busily engaged in their theological inquiries for a lifetime.

If primitive is an appropriate word to describe the content of Scripture, obscene is even more so. All of the obscenities of sin are recorded with clear and forthright language in the Scripture. And what is more obscene than the cross? Here we have obscenity on a cosmic scale. On the cross Christ takes upon himself human obscenities in order to redeem them.”

– R.C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, p. 18-19

Everyone is a Theologian

“Countless times I have heard Christians say, ‘Why do I need to study doctrine or theology when all I need to know is Jesus?’ My immediate reply is, ‘Who is Jesus?’ As soon as we begin to answer this question, we are involved in doctrine and theology. Every Christian is a theologian. Perhaps not a theologian in the technical or professional sense, but a theologian nevertheless. The issue for Christians is not whether we are going to be theologians but whether we are going to be good theologians. A good theologian is one who is instructed by God.

– R.C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, p. 25

The Most Beautiful Example of God’s Wrath

“The Cross was at once the most horrible and the most beautiful example of God’s wrath. It was the most just and the most gracious act in history. God would have been more than unjust, He would have been diabolical to punish Jesus if Jesus had not first willingly taken on Himself the sins the world. Once Christ had done that, once He volunteered to be the Lamb of God, laden with our sin, then He became the most grotesque and vile thing on the planet. With the concentrated load of sin that He carried, He became utterly repugnant to the Father. God poured out His wrath on this obscene thing. God made Christ accursed for the sin He bore. Herein is God’s holy justice perfectly manifest. Yet it was done for us. He took what justice demanded from us. This “for us” aspect of the Cross is what displays the majesty of its grace. At the same time justice and grace, wrath and mercy. It is too astonishing to fathom. We cringe at God’s justice because its expression is so unusual. As Kung observed, God’s usually course of action is one of grace. Grace no longer amazes us. We have grown used to it; we take it for granted.”

– R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, p. 172-173

Cosmic Treason

“Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, “God, Your law is not good. My judgment is better than yours. Your authority does not apply to me. I am above and beyond your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what You command me to do.'”

– R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, p. 164