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A View from the Altar / Guys, you don’t have to do that
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Guys, you don’t have to do that

Roman Catholics in the Philippines (sans any official approval of their church, I add in response to a comment) participate in an annual ritual of suffering that re-enacts the passion of Christ.  They have themselves scourged and crucified — literally.  Check out the Google images link here, but be forewarned that many of these images are really gruesome.

We can appreciate their sense of devotion, I guess.  But these guys really need some instruction.  What they’re doing is wildly unnecessary.  Christ has suffered for us once, says the writer of Hebrews, meaning that he has suffered once for all.  Long quotes in an article tend to be skipped over, but here’s one I hope you’ll read:

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool . 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.  (Hebrews 10:10-14)

One obvious reason that Christ suffered for us is that suffering for ourselves couldn’t avail anything.  Your suffering can’t save your own soul, never mind anybody else’s.  Only the suffering of Christ’s perfect lamb could answer God’s perfect justice in a perfect sacrifice which, Hebrews says, results in a perfect salvation.

And the proof of the perfection is offered in the miracle of his resurrection from the dead.  How do I know he is the Son of God?  How do I know his suffering is accepted?  How do I know if I can be justified from all my sins?  I know because the tomb is empty and Jesus lives, the firstfruits of them that slept, and declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

One Comment

  1. Lord have mercy.
    I cannot appreciate anything about someone literally crucifying themselves in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s not so far removed from human sacrifices…

    Makes me think too about a local Appalachian church in my neck-o-the-woods that has, for years, practiced snake-handling and drinking strychnine (based on St. Mark 16) to show the Holy Spirit resides in them.

    From the article I read regarding the Philippines, the RCC frowns upon and discourages this practice.

    Posted on 23-Apr-11 at 14:58 pm | Permalink

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