All Christians subscribe to the view that Jesus’ death on the cross was to be a good example for us. But some hold that it was only that and deny the scapegoat theology in all its forms. The scapegoat idea is that God punished Jesus for our sins so we could go free. Today, the Christadelphians adhere to the doctrine that it was an example only. The doctrine was stressed by the Catholic, Peter Abelard, who was born in Brittany in 1079 AD. He was a brilliant scholar and one can wonder if his devotion to Catholicism was real for he could be accused of wilfully preaching ludicrous doctrines about Christ so that the intelligent would lose their faith. I mean the cross of Jesus is ridiculous considered just as an example and by exposing the foolishness of seeing it as more than that he was trying to underhandedly make people see that all the theories concerning the cross were terrible.

Did Jesus merely die as an example of obedience to God for sinners that inspires them to repent?

The most striking thing about the theory is the fact that it is so unnecessary. There are plenty of deaths endured in obedience to the conscience that has been allegedly bestowed by the Lord God.  There was no need for one more. And the power of the cross and many other gruesome events to inspire and instil goodness rapidly wears off. We see crosses on television and have watched Jesus being crucified so how could the meaning of the cross of Christ be that it was just an example or something to shock us into obeying God?
If the atonement is to influence us and give us an example, God would need to trigger us to respond to it like that. But he has not done so. Most Christians accordingly take the blood of Christ for granted.

Furthermore, if we repent because we are shocked that Jesus had do die for us to show us that we ought to then this repentance is fake. It is done to fulfil the feeling of guilt and not for the love of God. The only thing that is acceptable to God is us repenting because we choose to and not because of feelings. This fact emphasises all the more that if Jesus died as a mere example then he was a fraud.

There is no shortage of wiser ways to bring person’s need for repentance home to them.

It is absurd to say that Jesus saved us by being an example or a demonstration of what was due to sin. Then it is not Jesus who has saved us but our response to him that has saved us. It is chance that has saved us. If we didn't react the way he wanted we wouldn’t be saved. We save ourselves. And a preacher of the cross would be a saviour more than Jesus. Yet the Bible says Jesus is the Saviour. It is not his teaching alone that saves for if it were then the person who tells us about him would be our Saviour and not him.

Is it really fair for Christians to make Jesus the saviour for dying on the cross when the Old Testament martyrs died as an example for us and are not called saviours? It is an insult.

If Jesus was incapable of sin like the Christian religion claims then his death was no example for us. He couldn’t help dying for us for it must have been the only ethical option. His death would only be an example if he could have chosen not to die or to sin.

If Jesus did not have to be crucified and die on the cross then this example of his was superfluous. It was suicide not a good example. And Jesus said that God would have saved him from it if he had asked him (Matthew 26:53). He provoked his execution even to the end. So I can rest my case.

Jesus said that to do works of mercy is more important than to offer sacrifice. But he meant animal sacrifice and to say it was less important than mercy is not to say it is not important at all. Sacrifice is not pleasing to God unless it is offered by a person with a heart cleansed by mercy. And if Jesus had abolished sacrifice here he wants animal sacrifice and not the one he intended to offer.

If we really needed Jesus’ gruesome example then he should have got killed by the Devil on a cross in the Adamic world at the dawn of the human race.

There is another aspect to the example theory.

It is that Jesus took the death we deserved to die so that if we admit that this is what was due to us we will be saved if we repent. So instead of Jesus dying in our place or anything Jesus merely dies to show us what we deserve. Jesus died as a sacrifice to take our sins away in this sense for there is no salvation for one who thinks he our she should not be punished.

There is no need for anybody to die so that we can look at them and say we deserve it. A person can believe that they deserve jail even if they never heard of anybody being caged.

Jesus did not show us what we deserve if we are sinners. What sinners deserve is infinite torture and we cannot see if Jesus endured that. God is unlimitedly good which makes sin infinitely offensive therefore infinitely evil and deserving of eternal torment.

Death is no punishment. If we don’t live on then it is no more a punishment than not having existed. If we do live on it is just going to another place.

The entire theory is wrong because it assumes that death is punishment.

If Jesus really died to give us an ethical message then why didn’t he come in a time when the whole world could have seen the event on television? God could have engineered science so that the television could have been invented at the time of Christ even if it made no other progress. If God’s Son dies for an example then something of utmost importance happened so we should be able to prove that death better than we can prove anything else. But we can’t so the exemplarist theory is nonsense.

The inane example theory is taught in the Bible which also regards Jesus’ suffering and death as something vicarious, something that is done for us in our place to make up for sin to God.

The moral influence doctrine of the cross teaches that Christ merely died as a moral example and to show what love may ask for and to inspire us to follow him to the cross. Christians in general argue that though the theory is true there is more to what Christ did than that. So all Christians agree about moral influence. If there are other reasons then how important is the moral influence one? The most important? The least important. Is it equal in value to how Jesus’ sacrifice was his being punished for our sins so that we can go free? The answer is that Jesus paying for sin is important for us but as Jesus is supposed to be God's perfectly moral son it follows that Jesus only paid that price by being an example for all he does is showing love. So it was because Christ died mainly as an example that he was able to atone.

Jesus dying for sins so that he can be a mere example is unnecessary and thus a bad example if anything!


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