The Cross And The School Of Providence And Prayer: Atonement Controversies At New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary -- By: Mark A. Rathel
Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 14:2 (Fall 2017)
Article: The Cross And The School Of Providence And Prayer: Atonement Controversies At New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Author: Mark A. Rathel
JBTM 14:2 (Fall 2017) p. 23
The Cross And The School Of Providence And Prayer: Atonement Controversies At New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Mark A. Rathel is professor of Theology and Philosophy at The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida.
The Apostle Paul summarized the good news of Jesus Christ through a confessional statement in 1 Cor 15:3-8 detailing four key aspects of apostolic preaching: Christ's death for our sins, burial, resurrection, and a series of resurrection appearances.1 Regarding the cross, Paul stated “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (NASB). Christian theological reflection on the connection between the death of Christ and “our sins” resulted in theologians developing several models and analogies to communicate the relationship between the death of Jesus and human sin. Three times in the history of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS), professors’ explanations of the connection between the death of Jesus and sin created controversy. In this article, I will describe some aspects of the controversies that arose due to the teachings and writings of Frank Stagg, Theodore Clark, and Fisher Humphreys and offer some concluding comments.
Atonement Controversies At New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
The atonement controversies at NOBTS occurred in a period James Nalls characterized as a “Period of Extreme Multiformity (1959-1985).” Nalls described this as a period of creativity and experimentation, novelty replacing traditional categories, abandonment of biblical models in favor of contemporary models, rejection of legal and forensic categories for moral and personal categories, and expansion of the salvific events to include the incarnation, earthly life, and resurrection.2
JBTM 14:2 (Fall 2017) p. 24
Frank Stagg served for twenty years as professor of New Testament at NOBTS (1945-1964) and then returned to his alma mater, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) and taught until his retirement (1964-1981). Stagg received his education at Louisiana College and SBTS. Robert Sloan commented that some identified Stagg as the premier Southern Baptist New Testament scholar in the middle third of the twentieth century.3 The center of his academic career and teaching ministry in churches focused on the meaning of the cross.4 From the 1950s until the time of his retirement, Stagg explicated a consistent understanding of th...
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