Was Jesus' work finished on the cross?

I was made to think by part of a comment here by Bud Press. Bud listed a number of what he called “serious problems” with the teaching in Todd Bentley’s book The Reality of the Supernatural World (which I haven’t read) including this one:

– Jesus’ act of redemption was not completed on the cross, but when he ascended into heaven.

Now why does Bud consider this a problem? I know that it is a commonplace in certain strands of evangelicalism to refer to Jesus’ finished work on the cross. And his final word before he died, as recorded by John, tetelestai “It is finished!” (19:30) is often understood as a triumphant declaration that Jesus has finished his work. But is this understanding correct?

The word tetelestai in itself, introduced simply by eipen “he said”, does not necessarily imply anything triumphant. Indeed it can equally be interpreted as a dying man’s cry of despair, John’s equivalent of the words “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” recorded by Matthew (27:46) and Mark (15:34), but not by Luke (who has “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”, 23:46) or John. The interpretation of tetelestai as a shout of triumph is based not on the word itself but on a broadly based theological understanding of Jesus’ work.

But does this broader theological understanding in fact support the concept that Jesus’ work was finished, completed, with his death on the cross? I think not. While much evangelical theology has relegated Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to being not much more than an afterthought in God’s plan, these subsequent events have always been given much greater importance in many strands of theology, especially in Eastern Orthodoxy where they tend to be given more emphasis than the cross.

There are certainly some aspects of Jesus’ work which are specifically linked to the cross alone and so were complete at Jesus’ death. This would include his sacrifice and satisfaction for sins, according to the substitution and satisfaction model of the atonement. On the rather different model presumed by Bud’s (or was it Todd’s?) use of the word “redemption”, that of slaves being bought and given their freedom, the price of this redemption was already paid on the cross. So in a rather narrow sense I might be able to agree with Bud’s implicit position that Jesus’ act of redemption was completed on the cross.

But there are other important senses in which Jesus’ work could not be completed without the subsequent resurrection and ascension. Concerning the resurrection, Paul writes to the Corinthians:

if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.

1 Corinthians 15:17-18 (TNIV)

So, although in principle sins had been dealt with on the cross, it took the resurrection to apply the benefits of the cross to individual believers, so that they would not remain in their sins and be lost when they die, but be forgiven and attain eternal life.

As for the ascension, this may not be essential for believers’ salvation, but it does seem to be essential for the Christian life. For, in ways which I do not claim to understand, it was necessary for Jesus to ascend back to his Father before the Holy Spirit could be poured out fully on humanity, as happened on the Day of Pentecost just days after Jesus ascended. Before he died he had said:

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

John 16:7 (TNIV)

And Paul wrote, quoting Psalm 68:18:

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, …

Ephesians 4:7-8,11 (TNIV)

So, if Jesus had not ascended, it might have been possible for individuals to be saved, but they would not have received the power and gifting to bring others to that salvation and to come together as a community, to live as God’s people in the world.

So I must conclude that Todd Bentley (as reported by Bud Press) is right to teach that the work of Jesus, his “act of redemption” in the full sense of the word as redeeming for himself a people for his own possession (Ephesians 1:14), “was not completed on the cross, but when he ascended into heaven.”

0 thoughts on “Was Jesus' work finished on the cross?

  1. Peter
    When I started reading, I was initially doubtful of the words quoted. The danger of jumoing too quickly! On reading further, everything you said resonated with my own understanding. Jesus did not stay in the tomb, and his ressurection is the essential foretaste and guarantee of the restored/renewed creation. And no doubt you have seen the thread on TC’s New Leaven Blog which has been exploring the resuurection. And only when he ascended could the Holy Spirit be sent to live within all believers.

    So on checking more carefully, the quote attributed to Todd looks like normal evangelical orthodoxy. Given the variation in views on what he has taught and done, the more cautious streak in me wants to delve further into the book and see how this isolated statement sits in the context of his wider writing. “Proof text out of context etc” to borrow from Wimber/Pytches

  2. Good thinking and working. However, I would take the thoughts at least one step further — John 7:39 “He was speaking of the Spirit which believers in him would later receive; for the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” REB I suspect the “finished work” of Christ, in which I deeply believe, was not completed until the Spirit was poured out on the church at Pentecost.

  3. Thank you, Colin. I agree. It looks to me as if Bud, in his eagerness to find ways to knock Todd, has picked on something out of context which is only superficially inconsistent with standard evangelical teaching. I would expect that if he is able to reconsider this matter dispassionately he will not really disagree with me. But I think it is worth pointing out the possible misleading nature of the phrase “finished work on the cross”, and the dubious exegesis of tetelestai.

    Iris, thanks for pointing out the further biblical support. I did wonder if Jesus’ work should be extended to Pentecost, or is this in fact more the work of the Father in sending the Spirit, and the Spirit in being sent? Of course Jesus has never stopped working, but his primary work since the ascension and Pentecost has been of interceding for believers.

  4. It seems to me that the point of 1 Corinthians 15:17-18 is not that Jesus’ being raised has played a part in delivering us from our sins, but that his being raised was God’s vindication of Jesus, a demonstration to all that it was more than a man who had died on the cross, and a guarantee that the work of the cross is effective. The work of redemption, strictly speaking, was finished on the cross, and his resurrection was a sign to all confirming this, not that the resurrection in and of itself contributed to our redemption.

  5. James, I see your point and can agree to an extent. The resurrection is making effective the work done on the cross. But it is more than a demonstration and guarantee of that effectiveness. Paul doesn’t just say that if there is no resurrection we don’t know that we are forgiven and have no assurance of salvation. He says that we are in our sins and lost.

  6. Peter:

    Two things:

    1. Let’s look at what Jesus did and did not say.

    Jesus said “It is finished” (John 19:30), meaning that He completed the work of man’s redemption and salvation on the cross, and nowhere else.

    Jesus did not say, “It is partly finished” or “It will be finished in heaven.”

    God’s written word speaks for itself. Todd Bentley’s words add to Scripture.

    As a side note, keep in mind that the Word-Faith movement teaches that Jesus died spiritually on the cross and had to be born again in hell, which is heresy and blasphemy ( http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/word-faith2.html ).

    And heretical, blasphemous teachings have not the power to save, sanctify, and redeem the lost.

    2. In your July 2, 2008 post, “Wheat or weed?” you quoted Matthew 7:15-18, then stated:

    “No one can tell the difference from the outward appearance, for both sheep and wolves look like sheep. The only way to distinguish between the two groups is to wait for the fruit to appear.

    “This implies that it is still rather early to make definitive judgments about Todd Bentley. I think there has been good fruit, but there have also been reports of bad fruit. We will have to wait and see” (complete post at http://www.qaya.org/blog/?p=570 ).

    The “reports of bad fruit” from Todd Bentley’s claims and teachings are all over the internet, and were gathered from Bentley’s articles, books, videos, and eyewitness accounts during the Florida Outpouring.

    Therefore, Peter, don’t assume that my posts or the articles I write demonstrate an “eagerness to find ways to knock Todd” or that I have purposely “picked on something out of context…”

    Had you read my article, “Todd Bentley and the Hotel Fire in Seattle,” you would have known that I loved Bentley enough to make numerous attempts to contact him by phone, e-mail, and FAX ( http://www.christianresearchservice.com/ToddBentley7.htm ).

    Finally, Christians are under the Scriptural commands to Test all things and Try the spirits by God’s written word, defend the faith, expose the unfruitful works of darkness, and guard the flock against the “wolves” (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1; Jude 3; Ephesians 5:11; Acts 20:27-31).

    Precious souls for whom Jesus Christ died for hang in the balance. And when Christians follow these Scriptural commands, they do so NOT out of hatred, but out of love for Jesus Christ and the truth of His written word.

  7. Bud:

    1. Jesus did not say what was finished. He might have been referring to his own life. What E.W. Kenyon taught about the atonement is irrelevant, especially as there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that anyone else has taught his strange doctrine.

    2. I have not seen any reliable “reports of bad fruit” in connection with Lakeland. Todd’s inappropriate relationship is not of course good, but at least Todd recognises his mistake. But the main bad fruit I see around here is in the hatred, lies etc coming from those who oppose God’s work at Lakeland and continue to claim that what they are doing is good.

    If you showed your “love” for Todd in the way you have in your comments here when you tried to contact him about the hotel fire, I’m not surprised he didn’t reply to you.

    I have tested and tried what you are writing here as commanded by God’s word and have come to the conclusion that the bad fruit you are demonstrating shows where your comments are coming from.

  8. Peter, sadly, T.B. lists Kenyon among his favorite reads on his “MySpace” page. Around 25 years ago I was going through Kenyon’s books as a young Christian and though initially fascinated by them, was soon left with an uneasiness. My mind caught up with my spirit a few months later, as scriptures began to penetrate and ultimately destroy the Kenyonian theological system (essentially “sin” is “spiritual” and cannot be atoned for by “physical” death alone). The scriptures that Jesus came “in the flesh,” that he “bore our sins in His own body on the tree,” that He “condemned sin in the flesh” — among many others, including most of the Book of Hebrews, has left me with the conviction that the Holy Spirit specifically anticipated Kenyon and provided us with spiritual weapons to deal with this leaven wherever it shows up. And it shows up all the time, whether under Kenyon’s name or someone else’s, and not just in charismatic groups.

    Neverthless, in Lakeland, we worshiped God with earnestness. And indeed on a couple of nights it was high worship, the highest I’ve seen in over 10 years. We hungered and hoped that the day of real miracles had come. But I saw no “mighty works,” only overwhelming human need. But salvations – yes, I think so. And who knows, maybe there were some healings like in Nazareth, not “mighty works” but “healings” in the midst of unbelief on one side and hype on the other. At the time, I did not know about T.B.’s affinity for Kenyon. Had I known, and had I still chosen to go, I would have been more on guard for the mysticism and false things that ultimately revealed themselves. But in Lakeland, some of us were ready to believe, ready to fight. I cannot believe that God has changed. We may well see the “mighty works” in our day, with the persecution that always accompanies real power. It won’t be among the mystics and the ones who think they can “reform the culture.” It won’t come from the “prophetic” movement. It won’t come from those who report hundreds of mighty miracles but can demonstrate none. It is God’s Name at issue. Mighty works glorify His Name. Oh God, even in our day. Lord Jesus, even now.

  9. F James, it may be that Todd has read Kenyon as you have, but do you or Bud have any indications that he actually believes or teaches Kenyon’s wrong doctrine about the atonement?

    Indeed we want to see mighty works to glorify God’s name. We saw some small signs at Lakeland, but we all want to see more. But the way to get there is not to drag into the mud the name of the one God used to bring about the small beginnings.

  10. 1. Bud is in danger of strange misconception. While it is true that heretical and blasphemous teaching cannot save anyone, it is also true that neither can orthodox teaching. It is stating the obvious that it is God who saves and not the teaching of men however accurate. To assert that teaching saves would be to make our salvation centred on man. How God gets us to put our faith in Christ is down to Him although it is true that good teaching will in the ordinary scheme of things work better than defective teaching and with fewer drawbacks later.
    2. I agree with Peter that James unnecessarily restricts the significance of the resurrection. The one who rose from the dead was the man Christ Jesus and it is this which is so significant according to 1 Cor 15, where the parallel (and contrast) between Adam and Christ is drawn out. Christ’s resurrection is necessary for our resurrection, not simply proof of the efficacy of the sacrifice on the cross.

  11. Peter and Timothy:

    Speaking of teachings and salvation, here some quotes from God’s written word:

    “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16).

    “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).

    “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ” (Colossians 1:28).

    “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).

    “Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!” (2 Timothy 3:10-11).

    “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

    “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

    In Christ,
    Bud Press

  12. To Bud
    Proof texting is an annoying way of arguing. The reason why it is annoying is that the texts seldom attempt to deal specifically with the issue debated. Your list is a case in point. I am not arguing for poor teaching. I am not arguing that good teaching is not helpful. I am making the basic point that it is God who saves and he saves through Christ. This seems so incontrovertible that this may be why you do not seek to deal with the point.
    Taking your texts in canonical order
    Rom 10:17
    Paul is simply not addressing the problem that you are seeking to deal with. He is dealing with the appalling fact that in his own time the majority of Jews did not believe in Christ. Note for my argument that it it faith in Christ that is required (Rom 10:11-13). This failure to believe had occurred despite them hearing the Word of Christ. Of course to believe in Christ you must hear about him; thus it is important that the word of Christ is spread abroad. What you need to hear about is given in Rom 10:9, that Jesus is Lord and has been raised from the dead. It is very helpful to have this explained in more detail. When we do so, we run the risk of getting the detail wrong, to longterm danger. But it remains that it is faith in Christ and his resurrection that Paul sees as essential. What I fear is that you seem to be insisting on acceptance of specific explanations of salvation as necessary for salvation. This I reject (and perhaps you do as well and I have merely misunderstood you – in which case please accept my apologies).
    Col 1:28
    This text also is not addressing the point at issue, but of how we might present people mature. I am quite sure that many believers are not mature and need good teaching. I am sure you do too. If Todd B is teaching badly, good teaching will hopefully correct that (never having heard anything from him I could not comment whether that is the case).
    I will not attempt here to go through all the other texts but I hope you get my point.

    As to the basic assertion of Todd B that redemption is not complete on the cross but at the ascension, this smacks of the rhetorical. I think you might agree that there is an amazing neglect of the ascension, perhaps because Ascension Day takes place midweek. But it is an important part of the pattern of events that result in our redemption. What I think the Reformers were so anxious about when they argued for the completion of redemption on the cross (I am open to correction from Reformation scholarship), is the rejection of the notion that there remains something for US to do to complete our redemption. What they were rejecting was the efficacy of good works IN OUR SALVATION. Of course they believed that good works were the necessary fruit of salvation but they were anxious that this was not confused with being necessary for the salvation itself. Thus, the issue of whether redemption is complete on the cross or at the ascension would seem a strange one. Of course if Christ was not raised, and if he had not taken his place at the right hand of the Father, our salvation would be incomplete. But for the Reformers, the cross stood as a catch all word for the activity of God in Christ in our salvation and they were anxious no-one should think that they can add to that.
    Thus I would argue that your debate with Todd B is a storm in a teacup, quite irrelevant to the debate the Reformers were having. Both of you argue that redemption is achieved by God and God alone, by Christ and Christ alone, which is the point at issue for the Reformers.

  13. Timothy:

    “Proof texting”? Proof texting is “annoying”? You were provided with Scriptures from God’s written word, and you call it “Proof texting” and “annoying”?

    Did you forget what you wrote? Here, I’ll quote it for you: “While it is true that heretical and blasphemous teaching cannot save anyone, it is also true that neither can orthodox teaching.”

    “Orthodox teaching” can’t “save anyone”? How are the unsaved supposed to be born again, through osmosis?

    “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).

    And don’t forget Romans 10:17: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

    I wholeheartedly believe that God saves the lost through Jesus Christ. Thus, the “point” is the lost can be saved through “orthodox teaching.”

    And it isn’t what the reformers say, but what God’s written word teaches that is important.

    Again, “Pay close attention to yourself and to your TEACHING; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ENSURE SALVATION both for yourself and for those who HEAR you” (1 Timothy 4:16, emp. added).

    Sincerely in Christ,
    Bud Press

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  16. Bud, the only thing that can save anyone is God. People can believe what they like, even the soundest doctrine, but that will not help them if God does not act to save them personally. And don’t forget that to be saved we need to repent as well as believe.

  17. Dear Bud
    Just to explain what I mean by proof texting.
    I am not denying that you provided texts from the Holy Scripture, and for that I thank you. What concerned me was that you provided no help enabling me to know how you thought that these verses actually sorted the problem out. When one looks at the verses in context, both the literary context (i.e. its place in the Bible) and its historical context, it becomes quite opaque to me how they do in fact help. I tried, obviously unsuccessfully, to show my difficulties with the texts as baldly given by you. I do not have a difficulty in the texts themselves but I have failed to understand how they deal with the issue in the way you assume.
    I see from the internet that you are much involved, or have been, in debating with cults. You will therefore know that Jehovah’s Witnesses are often able citers of scripture, but not always understanding it correctly.

    Lastly, did I touch a raw nerve with my original comment. Your response has been fierce. Did I provoke it? If I did, please accept my apologies. If not perhaps (if you will forgive the text) 2 Tim 2:24-25 is relevant.

  18. Off topic now, but I do not understand why some folks like to end the gospels on the cross. The evangelists certainly did not fade to black at that moment.

    Indeed, the “mystery of faith” begins with the cross but does not end there: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

    Sounds like his work is far from over.

    In the gospels, we have several acts of ministry after the resurrection, including his breathing of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples (John 20:22), which seems to be an additional or alternative version to Luke-Acts.

    For someone whose finished on Calvary, he put in lot of overtime.

    For someone who was finished on the cross, he sure did a lot after Easter.

  19. Thanks, John. I can understand why liberals who don’t believe in a bodily resurrection might want to insist that Jesus’ work was finished on the cross. I can’t understand that attitude from evangelicals who claim to believe in a bodily resurrection, unless in fact that belief is phoney and maintained only as they recite creeds and sign doctrinal statements with their fingers crossed behind their backs. But that attitude would be consistent with the Bible deism I see in so many of them, an attempt to reconcile biblical truth with a thoroughly materialist worldview by rejecting miracles and marginalising Jesus’ resurrection and the future resurrection of us all.

  20. Peter: Thank you for allowing me to post on your blog.

    Timothy:

    Having dealt with cultists, occultists, New Agers, heretics, and false prophets since the early 1980’s, I am fully aware of what proof-texting is (“A text taken out of context becomes a proof-text”).

    My point is that the counterpoint to “heretical and blasphemous teaching” IS “orthodox teaching,” and I simply provided Scriptures that place emphasis on the importance of solid, Bible-based teaching. Of course, once the truth is revealed it is up to the reader to decide who and what to follow.

    Of course, this is where discernment comes in. Chances are, if one cannot discern the difference between a true and false prophet, then one cannot discern the difference between the the true Jesus and the counterfeit (2 Corinthians 11:3-4; 13-15).

    No, none of your comments touched a “raw nerve” with me. I have grown a thick-skin over the years to ad hominem, innuendo, “heresy hunter,” and charges of attacking “annointed men of God.” Terms such as these salivate with an elitist mentality–coupled with pride-filled exclusivity.

    But knowing that I am a Spirit-filled born again Christian, when a professing Christian accuses me of hating Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, it smacks of a cultic mentality.

    Timothy, during our exchanges, had I called you a blithering idiot and a moron, or said you had an IQ three digits higher than a houseplant, then I could understand your viewing my response as “fierce.” But I didn’t, and I won’t lower my standards to that type of response.

    I do not wear my feelings on my shoulders, nor do I lose sleep over what people say. In other words, I don’t take it personal. I don’t march to the tune of peer-pressure, nor do I fear reprisal from those who consider me their enemy. I do, however, believe in telling it like it is, especially when precious souls for whom Jesus Christ died for hang in the balance.

    Jesus Christ is our greatest example of love and compassion, but He offended virtually everyone in His day (Matthew chapter 23 is a good example). And He still offends. If I offend somebody, it is not done out of hatred, but in love.

    When concerned Christians take a stand on important issues, they place their necks on the chopping block of public opinion. Most of the time, that chopping block is buzzing with hornets who get offended, zip around, sting and cause painful welts. When I am stung, I wear those welts as a Badge of Honor for the Lord, as all Christians should.

    Indeed, Christians are called to be faithful, not victorious. If we are faithful, God will bless our efforts and receive the glory. It isn’t about us; it is about Jesus Christ and the truth of His written word. And God’s written word, as opposed to man’s, is my go-to, final, and ultimate authority.

    Someone once said, “It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills. It is not love and it is not friendship if we fail to declare the whole counsel of God. It is better to be hated for telling the truth, than to be loved for telling a lie. It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated. It’s better to stand alone with the truth, than to be wrong with a multitude. It is better to ultimately succeed with the truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie. There is only one Gospel, and Paul said, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-9).

    Sadly, there are many professing Christians walking around out there who think they have a corner-market on God. They claim to have visions, back-and-forth visits to heaven, and one-on-one visits with “Jesus.” They fail to study God’s written word and choose to listen to self-apointed “apostles” and “prophets.” They are filled with pride, and they look for excuses under every rock to defend enemies of the cross of Christ.

    “Why does anyone need the Bible when we have modern-day prophets to deliver new revelations?” –they maintain.

    In reality, they honor Jesus with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him (Matthew 15:8).

    Sincerely in Christ,
    Bud Press

  21. Bud
    I am relieved that I did not hurt your feelings.
    I too care about good faithful biblical teaching that demonstrates the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.
    I am appalled that anyone should have said you hated Jesus Christ and/or the Holy Spirit. I was concerned that you implied that I had but I assume that you referred to someone else.

  22. Bud, were you referring to me when you wrote “when a professing Christian accuses me of hating Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit”? I checked past comments to confirm that I have written nothing of the sort about you. I did at one time suggest that you among others were filled with hatred, but I understood that as hatred of Todd Bentley and other humans you associate with him, not of Jesus or the Holy Spirit. I may even have suggested that you, although not by name, hate the work of the Holy Spirit, which is perhaps “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit”, but of course that is because you do not recognise that work for what it really is. I can testify of you as Paul did of the Israelites in Romans 10:2, indeed that you are zealous for Christ and the Holy Spirit, but sadly there is a lack of knowledge to go with your zeal. And my desire and prayer is that you too will be saved and brought to a knowledge of the truth.

  23. On the meaning of tetelestai. John has a lot more literary unity than the other Gospels. The Gospel begins with the condescension of Christ in taking on human form, and repeatedly emphasizes his former glory. The real fulcrum or turning point of John’s Gospel is, in my opinion, 13:1. It is at this point that Christ becomes focused on further condescension: having already become a mere man (and a poor carpenter from the backwoods and a member of a persecuted ethnic minority at that) he will now further condescend to become the lowliest servant (by washing the disciples’ feet), then a defendant in a rigged judicial proceeding, then a condemned criminal and, finally, a corpse. All of this is introduced in 13:1 with the words “having loved his own who were in the world, he brought his love to its ultimate conclusion [telos]” (my translation). In foreshadowing his death, Jesus says “No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.” (15:13-14, HCSB) Finally, in 19:30, just before his death, Jesus cries out ‘the ultimate conclusion has been reached’ – i.e., ‘this is the telos‘. The telos of what? Of love, I would suggest.

    I don’t claim that this is the only meaning of this saying of Christ, but it is the meaning that I think is most emphasized by the literary structure of John’s Gospel. It is also telling that the noun telos, though moderately common elsewhere, is used by John ONLY in 13:1. The verb teleo likewise is used only in 19:28 and 19:30. To me, that makes a pretty strong case for a pretty strong connection. The teaching would seem to be that the cross is the telos of love.

  24. Kenny, thanks for this very revealing comment. I’m sure you are right that in the context in John tetelestai is not a cry of despair. Indeed Jesus had finished his journey of love as described in John’s gospel. The problem with the traditional evangelical interpretation is that it fails to distinguish between John’s description of Jesus’ work and the rather different descriptions made by Paul and the other New Testament writers.

  25. Timothy and Peter:

    My quote, “But knowing that I am a Spirit-filled born again Christian, when a professing Christian accuses me of hating Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, it smacks of a cultic mentality” was not referring to either of you. Had that been the case, I would have pointed it out before this post.

    But Peter, while we’re on the subject of hatred, you stated to me in post #110307: “But the main bad fruit I see around here is in the hatred, lies etc coming from those who oppose God’s work at Lakeland and continue to claim that what they are doing is good.”

    Then, in post #111753 you stated to me: “I did at one time suggest that you among others were filled with hatred, but I understood that as hatred of Todd Bentley and other humans you associate with him, not of Jesus or the Holy Spirit. I may even have suggested that you, although not by name, hate the work of the Holy Spirit, which is perhaps ‘blasphemy against the Holy Spirit’, but of course that is because you do not recognise that work for what it really is.”

    Peter, you stated these things despite the fact that I have maintained my love for the lost and deceived throughout this thread. You falsely assumed that just because I speak out against Todd Bentley’s teachings and other false teachers that I am filled with hatred towards them.

    Peter, I issue this challenge to you and everyone else on this blog: Review all of my blog posts, then go to my website and review all of my articles. Find one statement, one sentence, one word that speaks of my hating anyone.

    Save yourself the time. You won’t find it.

    So, in the future, instead of assuming or stating the worst, why not carefully review what is said, compare it to God’s written word, and allow His word to be the final authority?

    Finally, words are important. Words can encourage or discourage, build-up or destroy. When misused, words will return to haunt the writer. Playing the hate-card, the lie-card, and the attacking and opposing God’s work-card is not only a cop-out and an attempt to sidetrack the issues, it demonstrates a lack of discernment and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

    Sincerely in Christ,
    Bud Press

  26. Bud, I accept that you have not used the word “hate”. But how else can I understand your sustained campaign of personal criticism against an individual Christian brother other than hate? Maybe not hate in your heart, but certainly hate in your words. If you truly loved Todd as you claimed, you would forgive him and give him the benefit of the doubt about what he has actually done. Instead you and many others have been determined to put the worst possible interpretation on what has been said about him, and indeed to go beyond what is possible to outright lies. That is not Christian love.

  27. Peter:

    In one breath you accept that I have not used the word “hate,” but in another breath you deem my “sustained campaign” against Todd Bentley as “hate.” Then, to top it off, you accuse me and others of going “beyond what is possible to outright lies.”

    Am I missing something here, or are you suffering from an accute case of doublemindedness? (James 1:7-8; James 4:8). When in doubt, blame and berate the messenger. Right?

    Furthermore, show me in my website articles and blog posts where I have lied or even fabricated stories about Todd Bentley, or anyone else for that matter. Solid documentation stands on its own.

    Truth isn’t up-for-grabs or “However it is perceived.” Truth is offensive and doesn’t change course in mid-stream. Truth shines light in the midst of darkness, and sets the captive free. Truth will stand up to intensive scrutiny.

    And sharing the truth in love IS Christian love.

    Peter, here’s the bottom line: Much like the Toronto and Brownsville revivals, Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring was and is a tremendous embarrassment to the Charismatic community. It was riddled with false teachings, false prophecies, and false healings. It left a trail of broken hearts and shipwrecked faith.

    And I praise the Lord that Christians worldwide had the courage to speak up and defend the faith.

    Whose fault is it that Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring began and ended in a mangled mess of confusion and controversy? Yours? Mine? No! Todd Bentley and his associates. This is why I maintain that Bentley and everyone–from C. Peter Wagner on down–should fall on their faces before Almighty God and repent and be born again.

    Finally, hate-filled words stem from a hate-filled heart. Scroll-up and re-read your posts. You are the one who played the hate-card and lie-card, not me. So, since God is the only One Who can read the heart and mind, stop with the accusations of hate and bearing false witness (Exodus 20:16; Proverbs 6:19; Proverbs 12:17; Matthew 15:19).

    Examine your priorities, Peter, and choose this day whom you will serve.

    Sincerely in Christ,
    Bud Press

  28. Peter:

    In one breath you accept that I have not used the word “hate,” but in another breath you deem my “sustained campaign” against Todd Bentley as “hate.” Then, to top it off, you accuse me and others of going “beyond what is possible to outright lies.”

    Am I missing something here, or are you suffering from an accute case of doublemindedness? (James 1:7-8; James 4:8). When in doubt, blame and berate the messenger. Right?

    Furthermore, show me in my website articles and blog posts where I have lied or even fabricated stories about Todd Bentley, or anyone else for that matter. Solid documentation stands on its own.

    Truth isn’t up-for-grabs or “However it is perceived.” Truth is offensive and doesn’t change course in mid-stream. Truth shines light in the midst of darkness, and sets the captive free. Truth will stand up to intensive scrutiny.

    Peter, here’s the bottom line: Much like the Toronto and Brownsville revivals, Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring was and is a tremendous embarrassment to the Charismatic community. It was riddled with false teachings, false prophecies, and false healings. It left a trail of broken hearts and shipwrecked faith.

    And I praise the Lord that Christians worldwide had the courage to speak up and defend the faith.

    Whose fault is it that Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring began and ended in a mangled mess of confusion and controversy? Yours? Mine? No! Todd Bentley and his associates. This is why I maintain that Bentley and everyone–from C. Peter Wagner on down–should fall on their faces before Almighty God and repent and be born again.

    Finally, hate-filled words stem from a hate-filled heart. Scroll-up and re-read your posts. You are the one who played the hate-card and lie-card, not me. So, since God is the only One Who can read the heart and mind, stop with the accusations of hate and bearing false witness (Exodus 20:16; Proverbs 6:19; Proverbs 12:17; Matthew 15:19).

    Examine your priorities, Peter, and choose this day whom you will serve.

    Sincerely in Christ,
    Bud Press

  29. Bud, maybe it is not you who has written outright lies about Todd, but I have certainly seen here such deliberate lies as that he is known to have committed adultery and to have abandoned his wife and family (she left him, he says). Your own lies about him have been concerned with more debatable issues, such as your claim here that he “was overshadowed by a counterfeit “Jesus/gospel/spirit,”” and your continued claim that he, together with Peter Wagner, needs to be born again. Indeed the implication of this latter claim is staggering, that you hold that he never has been a true Christian and so I suppose that he has been deliberately deceiving the whole Christian world for 15 years or so (and Wagner for even longer).

    Bud, I will not serve any god of lies, hatred and controversy, but only the true, living and loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, whom Todd Bentley, Peter Wagner and I, despite our sins, seek to serve. You choose who you want to serve.

  30. Peter:

    You did it again! You stated, “Bud, maybe it is not you who has written outright lies about Todd,” then stated, “Your own lies about him have been concerned with more debatable issues…”

    Do you actually take the time to read what you write?

    I stand by what I have written, and there is plenty of solid, Bible-based information on the internet to back it up.

    In Christ,
    Bud Press

  31. This is an odd exchange to stumble onto during blog reading. Much of it appears to take the form of quasi church discipline. Coming from outside the circles spoken of, I know little about the individuals and ministries mentioned. So I have two things to say about that.

    1. I agree with discernment types about the importance of good doctrine. The things they think need dealing with often do.

    2. I doubt that a comment thread is a good place to handle such a matter. Where doctrine alone is in question, a blog post has some possibilities. But Matthew 18 is hard enough to follow even in familiar arenas like congregations. Much of what it offers is damage control, where matters are not spread beyond what is necessary. A new medium like the internet has all kinds of newer dynamics to it that make me suspect that it will almost always be a bad medium for this kind of pursuit.

    It is very common for blog readers to stumble into conversations where they were not involved in the earlier portions of the debate. This makes for all kinds of possibilities of misunderstanding. What may be the hundredth statement of what is expected to be a well-established conclusion between two bloggers could look like character assassination to an outsider.

    I would hate to have even the most soberly conducted disciplinary church meetings randomly broadcast on television. It has little to do with who is right or wrong. It has everything to do with how damaging a moment could be taken out of context.

    Again, I don’t have any complaint to make to Peter or Bud or any other commenter here on their behavior. I don’t know enough history on this one to know that anyone has acted badly. (Nor do I want to know the history!) I also know it is difficult to be certain of tone. I could read this giving any of the parties either a calm or shrill tone, and it works. (Try it on all the posts. It is quite illuminating.) But I wish another kind of venue could be found. Perhaps a Google group where people had to sign in? Or just forego doing this kind of thing in a blog? I’m not “offended” by it. But I have thick skin after some pretty bad church fights. Other readers may not.

    I have no problem with doctrinal error being made public. That is fitting. But keep on task. You go into something more like character review and the rules change.

    I did enjoy the actual post.

  32. Hello Rick Ritchie!

    Please know that prior to clicking the “Submit Comment” button, all of my above posts were dipped in honey, then sprinkled with lots of love in Christ.

    In Christian love,
    Bud Press

  33. Bud, what I meant should have been obvious: your lies about Todd are not of the clearly provable sort but the kind of smears against him which I went on to explain, such as that he is not a born again Christian. Now I suppose I cannot prove that that is a lie, but there is a lot of good evidence to suggest that it is and NO EVIDENCE AT ALL to support your outrageous libel. Perhaps “libel” is a better word for what you have done than “lie”, but neither is a Christian thing to do. By the way, I don’t mean to suggest that you are not a Christian, but that you are in the same category as Todd may be in: a Christian who is persisting in sin.

    Rick, thanks for your comment. There has indeed been a lot of previous discussion. One of the points I have been making all along is that pronouncing judgment on Todd is a private matter for those with spiritual oversight of him, not a public one for people on the Internet with no special connection to say what they like.

  34. “One of the points I have been making all along is that pronouncing judgment on Todd is a private matter for those with spiritual oversight of him, not a public one for people on the Internet with no special connection to say what they like.”

    Well, I think it would be good if you would ban allegations without evidence. Allow the doctrinal discussions, as at least citations are offered. But the moral questions seem irresolvable when the shape of the arguement is “Everybody knows” “No they don’t.” Or “It’s all over the internet” with no link.

    The fact is, it could well be that people close to the situation could have good knowledge (one way or the other) that really shouldn’t have traction on the internet. I only wish we were in more of a church environment where it didn’t matter so much. I think this is one of the downsides of celebrity pastors. If we didn’t have them, their problems could be dealt with locally and that would be the end of it.
    And if the problems weren’t dealt with, only the irresponsible congregation would suffer.

  35. Rick, I have tried to ban allegations without evidence. I have always required commenters to provide evidence or withdraw their allegations. But at times I have been overwhelmed by so much of this stuff that I have not been able to be strict with this rule.

  36. That is understandable. I just caught your post about cutting back on blogging, so it naturally follows that you can’t spend too much time moderating.

    And I want to be clear that I don’t think Bud in general should be banned, nor do I know independently that his allegations are false. I’m just trying to figure out how to keep comment threads from creating scandal, especially for those outside the discussion. I don’t disapprove of more established forms of discipline. (Except for witch trials. Haha. Though come to think of it appeals to “spectral evidence” were an innovation at the time.) A comment thread just seems a bad venue for doing some things that may be legitimate in more traditional venues whose dynamics are better known.

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