30 August 2007

What does it say about your church . . .

. . . if the members are so familiar with the criminal justice system that they start singing about Heaven as a court and Jesus as defense attorney/judge?


Anonymous said...

That they believe everyone is a sinner. (That's the doctrine in virtually all forms of Christianity. Unitarians might disagree.)

However, it does say something about the membership if they got the procedures right - and I doubt it means that a criminal lawyer wrote the hymn for them...


Anonymous said...

It's interesting because Jesus appears not only as mediator for the defense, but also as the judge. And as it turns out, this accords with the New Testament's discussion of the various roles that Jesus plays in Christian soteriology.

What's missing from the song, though, is the mention of Jesus as a substitute. Not only did Jesus drop the charges, but he dropped them because he levelled them at himself instead. Because he already paid the penalty for his followers' crimes on the cross, it would be unjust for the penalty to be borne by them as well. Consequently, he dropped the charges against them, having already taken them on himself.

Pleading for the Defense - 1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 7:25
Judge - John 5:22-30
Substitute - Romans 3:25, Hebrews 2:17

It should be clear that the Western adversarial model of justice does not quite fit Christian exposition of the Bible. But that makes sense, since one hardly imagines (or wishes) that the divine judicial system bears much resemblance to our own.

Ken Lammers said...

I don't think he levelled the charges at himself; I think the better explanation might be that he accepted the punishment we were due because of our guilt.