Why does Christ have to die for the sins of humanity? What does he save us from? This may seem like a trite question, but throughout history, powerful forces have sought to trivialize the answer. And our generation is no exception. The Gospel of Matthew offers a profound insight into this question.
While I have been a proud member of the Mennonite Brethren (MB) family since 1984, I no longer count the number of times I have heard colleagues, friends, and various leaders confidently state that biblical inerrancy is “not our thing.”
“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28, NRSV). When God spoke these words, men and women were cringing before deities they believed took pleasure in visiting pain and suffering upon them. In contrast, the God of Israel offered what many now view as a bizarre command: “Have kids! And lots of them!”
About two years ago, my son began to experience severe pain in the chest area. Pulling our medical expertise together, my wife and I confidently “prescribed” two Aspirin and a hot shower to take care of what was surely just a pesky little disorder.
Mennonite Brethren, like other Anabaptist groups, vigorously pursue the question of identity. Nowhere is this quest more evident than in the field of hermeneutics, which, for the purposes of this article, I will simply define as the science and art of interpreting the Bible.
I suspect a lot of people would find this question quite amusing. For instance, the very notion of sin as an offence against a personal and righteous God now appears to have mysteriously vanished. Overreliance on technology and corporate greed are what really plague us; who needs a Saviour when you have a social activist? G. K. Chesterton once observed that confession without absolution was really what people were looking for; who needs a Saviour when you have Dr. Phil?
One of my two brothers died at 15. His name was Norman, and he was a thalidomide baby.
Thalidomide was a medication briefly prescribed to pregnant women to help them deal with morning sickness. Unfortunately, the medication had catastrophic teratogenic effects. It caused severe birth defects in infants exposed to the medication during pregnancy.