Dean of Grafton: the Cross “is not about my sins or your sins”

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The freshly-installed Dean of Grafton Cathedral, Gregory Jenks, has published his Good Friday sermon where he teaches “[The Crucifixion of Jesus] is not about my sins or your sins.”

The full text of the sermon is available on Jenks’ website. Here is the section that particularly raised’s interest:

The last of these really bad ideas about the Cross that I want to mention is one that is especially popular among people planning—or attending—Good Friday services.

This is the idea that my sins—or yours, or both yours and mine together—are what caused Jesus to die.

This is an idea that is especially common in Christian hymns.

It is nonsense.

We know what caused Jesus to be crucified, and it was not your sins or my sins, or the sins of anyone else we know.

All such twisted theology does is generate guilt. It makes us feel bad, and encourages us to be compliant participants in a church forgiveness racket. It is misdirected.

Readers may be confused given that Jesus and his Apostles have the following to say (just a few examples will suffice):

Matt. 26:27    Then Jesus took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Rom. 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

2Cor. 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Col. 2:13    When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 

Heb. 9:28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many;…

1Pet. 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

1Pet. 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

Jenks is an ordained Anglican minister in the Anglican Church of Australia. The official position on these matters is pretty clear:

Article XXXI

Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross

The Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone.

Ordinarily would ask Jenks’ bishop for a comment. Unfortunately there is no current bishop in Grafton although we do note that Bishop Macneil (now retired) has previously preached along similar lines.

We previously reported on Jenk’s appointment. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. David Fischler

    “This is not about my sins or your sins.

    It is about a clash between Jesus the prophet of the empire of God, and the elites in Jerusalem who prospered under the empire of Caesar and could not tolerate someone like Jesus. …

    Jesus was a martyr, not a sacrifice.”

    So I’m guessing that the Dean is a practical Unitarian–he obviously rejects the Old Testament sacrificial system as barbaric and primitive, unworthy of Christ or His followers, and he clearly rejects Paul, whose ideas regarding the crucifixion are also barbaric and primitive, and for that matter rejects the Gospels in their one-sided focus on the Passion story. He’s therefore left with less of a Bible than Thomas Jefferson, near as I can tell.

    1. Philip North

      What doesn’t Jenks understand by Peter’s words in his first letter (1Pet. 2:24)?
      As an ordained man (Anglican Diocese of Armidale) I’m left to wonder how that man can retain his position in any Christian church, for by his own words he is no priest of the Living God. Surely Jenks needs to call on Jesus as Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, is recorded as calling on Jesus in Mark. 10:46-47; “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”.
      It bodes poorly for the congregation under his care. I thank and praise God that He works past obstacles such as this man poses, to still save his people.
      How very far it seems the Grafton Diocese has fallen since my wife and I recommitted our lives to Jesus at Grafton Cathedral in 1983 under the preaching of then Dean, Rev. Richard Hurford and modelling the Christian life by families in the Cathedral’s “young adults fellowship”.

  2. Robert Bruce

    How helpful it is for Dean Jenks to explain that Jesus’ death was nothing to do with sin, either mine or anyone else’s. Fancy people being mislead by such twisted theology for so many centuries!

    Now I can go out and sin like hell (sorry, unfortunate simile) and just enjoy it without the terrible shadow of guilt. Good old Dean Jenks has freed me from any need for repentance too. If he can just explain to me how I can give up the bit about believing, I can be free of the whole Gospel thing altogether. Wow! When I think of all the time I’ve wasted in my life on all that stuff, and what I could have been doing instead … the mind boggles.

    Why don’t we have more of this sort of teaching in the church? It must make God really happy to know there are such wise preachers and teachers representing Him here and explaining what His message is really all about. No doubt He will have a great reward waiting for them when they move on to the next life, and that reward will last for ever and ever and ever.


  3. Karen

    It is only by hearing every view point that we can truly examine and deepen our own faith, it’s better than blindly accepting one point of view. As a side point, I see most replies come from the Sydney area where discrimination against women and the LGTBI community is accepted faith

    1. David Ould

      well you’re right. In the same way, it’s only by regularly examining counterfeit bank notes that we can be sure what real ones are like.

  4. Karen

    Penal substitution theory is my least liked Atonement theories. I feel it makes God responsible for our hate and violence rather than mankind

    1. David Ould

      right. So you’re not really open to “hearing every view point” after all.

  5. Kate

    You’re absolutely right, this vilifying of Greg Jenks, coming from the group led by the Archbishop who defended domestic violence against women..

    1. David Ould

      Hi Kate. Two quite outrageous accusations in one sentence.
      First, who has vilified Dean Jenks? The post you’re responding to merely points out that his Good Friday sermon was contrary to the Scriptures and to the Articles (which our constitution states is our rule of doctrine). Nobody has said anything about him that is not true.
      Second, and far more seriously, I think it is necessary for you to justify your accusation against Archbishop Davies. In what way has he “defended domestic violence against women”? In his last Presidential Address at the 2017 Synod he described such abuse as something that, “dishonours both God and his image-bearers”.

      Please show us all clear demonstration of your charge, or have the integrity to apologise and withdraw.

  6. Steve Copland

    As an Anglican clergyman from the ‘reasonably liberal’ diocese of Melbourne, this makes me sad. I may not be ‘the sharpest theological tool in the shed’ but I do know enough of my Bible ‘and its context’ to know how incorrect much of what was preached is. I have too trust that the good people who sat under this were able to wrestle through this for themselves and see that there is much wrong with the sermon.
    An aside – David, thanks so much for spelling out our rules of engagement. Makes it nice and clear. Sorry that there isn’t much ‘depth’ in this comment but I tripped over this article and at present don’t have the mind muscle to do much more than add my concerned voice to the comments.
    Bless ya

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