The British paper The Sunday Telegraph reports that "The Very Rev Jeffrey John" is preaching against the traditional Christian view of the death of Christ this Easter. He calls the traditional view "repulsive" and "insane." He claims that to say that Jesus died to atone for the sins of mankind is to make God out to be a "psychopath." He doesn't like the idea of the Father pouring His wrath out on His Son. He thinks that this makes God out to be vindictive and cruel instead of loving. He reinterprets the death of Christ by saying that Christ died to "share in the worst of grief and suffering that life can throw at us."
My question to Jeffrey John is, why even call yourself a Christian? The penal substitutionary atonement of Christ is the center of the Christian faith. In other words the truth that Jesus Christ the Son of God laid down His life to pay for the sins of mankind is essential to Christianity. Without this there is no reasonable explanation for why Christ came, died, rose, ascended and is now Lord of His church. This is what happens when a pagan takes the prevailing wisdom of the world and analyzes Christianity. To say that Christ came to merely experience the worst of humanity is absurd. This would give us a picture of a weak god who feels bad for the world of humans. This kind of god has no power to save men from their sins, so he merely joins in the sorrow with them. This kind of god can offer no hope to the world. What joy would Christ have to look forward to if he is just another victim of sin? This is a cruel picture of God sending his son to the world to die!
Jesus has made it very clear why He came to earth to die. He has communicated this through His true followers through His word. The Bible is Christ's explanation for why He came to die. Perhaps if Jeffrey John would crack it open, read it, believe it, and be saved by it, he would then be able to do what a Christian minister is supposed to do: preach the gospel, instead of attacking it!
Here are a few quotes from Christ Himself that make it very clear what he was doing when He died on the cross.
Luke 24:46-47 and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.NASB95
Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."NASB95
Matthew 26:27-28 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.NASB95
When we understand that Jesus freely gave Himself to die for our sins in accordance with the Father's will and we understand that the Father raised Him from the dead and has exalted Him above all tings and made Him head of the church then we can understand that Jesus endured the cross “for the joy set before Him" (Heb. 12:2).
It is only when we understand this that we can begin to understand the future joy of heaven spoken of in the book of Revelation:
Revelation 5:1-10 I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”NASB95
Don't feel bad for Christ! He doesn't! Rejoice with Him and embrace His salvation!