Jesus’ Primary Mission Was To Atone For The Sins of The World Say 56%

Derek Ouellette —  January 2, 2011

Watching the development of December’s poll numbers was fascinating indeed. For the first half of the month the wide majority voted in favor of to “inaugurate the Kingdom of God/Heaven”, but sometime after December 15th, the poll took a decisive shift in favor of to “atone for the sins of the world”. Curious.

The question of the poll could be read in one of three ways: first as a question about the atonement, second as a question about Jesus’ political intent, or third about both first and second.

I’m not surprised that the majority voted in favor of Jesus’ primary mission being to atone of the sins of the world. This view is summarized in the phrase Penal Substitution, which is the most common view of the atonement in the Western Church and characteristic of Evangelicalism’ preaching of “the simple Gospel”. Simple, that is, because it has been ingrained, not because it is actually more simple.

It is also not too surprising that to “inaugurate the Kingdom of God/Heaven” came in second. This view is best summed up in the phrase Christus Victor and is growing in popularity by those who understand it. In fact, I would dare to suggest that most who jumped to vote in favor of to “atone for the sins of the world” as a “no brainer” were probably unclear as to what “inaugurate the Kingdom of God/Heaven” means. Christus Victor is the view that includes Penal Substitution, but goes beyond it so that, not only did Jesus die to atone for our sins, but he also defeated the Devil, Sin and Death. In other words, yes you have been forgive (Penal Substitution), you have also been set free (Christus Victor).

Those who voted for to “atone for the sins of the elect” are probably representative of the Calvinists camp. Interesting that the number is so small. This is probably an accurate representation of how few of those who visit Covenant of Love hold to a Calvinist worldview. On the other hand, maybe some who embrace the Calvinist label still voted for to “atone for the sins of the world”, probably because they don’t understand the detrimental teachings of Calvinism.

Those who voted in favor of to “restore the Kingdom of Israel” falls into two camps: Dispensationalism or Liberalism. First Dispensationalists say that Jesus’ mission was to restore the Kingdom of Israel, but when Israel rejected him and crucified him, he then turned his attention toward Gentiles and redeemed them by Grace, not by the Law – i.e. the Church is in the “parentheses” of God’s plan. But Jesus’ primary mission was to restore Israel, a mission which Israel thwarted by rejecting their Messiah. Second Liberals – many of which reject the Resurrection – would say that in Jesus’ historical Roman context, he was a typical prophetic or messianic figure (one of many) who’s primary mission was to restore Israel by throwing off the Roman yoke. Some would say that in the crucifixion Jesus was successful in his mission (nothing works in favor of a mission like a martyred leader) others say that in the crucifixion Jesus failed. In either case, both Dispensationalists and Liberals would say that Jesus’ primary mission was to restore the Kingdom of Israel.

In “Other” many said “all of the above” and one person said “to glorify God”.

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.