Sunday, 7 September 2008


Mark Driscoll speaks:

Jesus is our ‘propitiation’. This word appears four times in the Greek New Testament. Most translations don’t include it. They say, “People don’t know what the word ‘propitiation’ means”, so they put in other words like ‘sacrifice of atonement’. [But] people don’t know what those words mean either! So I don’t think it helps. Use the word. It’s a good word.


What happens with propitiation is that Jesus stands in our place and the wrath of the Father is poured out on the Son.

It seems to me that the very strongest thing about Mark Driscoll's ministry is that he trusts the Lord Jesus to save him from God's terrible anger against sin and sinners, and teaches accordingly. You can find more about his explanation here.


Martin Shields said...

Gordo, what do you think of "appease"? Does that work as an easier to understand translation?

Gordon Cheng said...

Martin, I reckon that 'appease' is a word that I might use if I was trying to explain propitiation. But isn't it a bit vaguer?

My understanding of the idea of 'propitiation' is that it necessarily involves a sacrifice (that turns aside the anger of the one propitiated). To appease seomeone may involve sacrifice, yes, or it may just involve winning them over by non-sacrifical means, eg an apology, an explanation, or even just an exhortation to calm down.

'Propitiation' is a technical and somewhat offputting word, I can see that. But I tend to agree with Driscoll that we're better of using it and explaining it. I find it heartening that such an obviously popular preacher can get away with that approach. I mean I do that too, but I'm not an obviously popular preacher!!