The Manliest of the Theologies: Mark 15:1–39

I opened my sermon this past Sunday with this quote from Mike Wittmer’s book Christ Alone:

Critiquing Rob Bell’s Love Wins, Mike Wittmer writes,

 A real rescue beats an imaginary rescue every day of the week, because it involves actual risk. . . . It’s one thing to pretend that we’re drowning or being chased by bad guys; it’s entirely different to actually be lost at sea or dodging bullets. Real-life rescues always have the most at stake (142–43).

Wittmer continues by explaining that Bell’s view

Makes an exceptionally bland story. There is no drama. No deep conflict requiring resolution. No compelling need for a satisfying denouement. Where is the insurmountable problem that must be overcome? Where’s the cliff we might fall off? Where’s the foreshadowed death that can be avoided only by intervention from the outside? Nothing is ever really at stake in Bell’s tale of limitless happy endings. It has even less suspense than a child’s bedtime story. . . .

I appreciate that the looming threat of hell can make us uncomfortable, but if we eliminate this from the Scriptures we deflate the true and even more astonishing biblical story. A world without the real possibility of hell, of eternal death, would increasingly resemble the contrived world of the film The Truman Show, comically and tragically unrealistic. If the cross teaches us anything, it’s that this is a wild, dangerous world. If the Son of God can be crucified, then anything is possible here. A world which killed Jesus may well have a large number of murderers headed for hell. The stakes are that hight (145­–46).


We need to see that we have the real story. We need to feel what G. K. Chesterton writes when he says, “In a thrilling novel (that purely Christian product) the hero is not eaten by cannibals; but it is essential to the existence of the thrill that he might be eaten by cannibals” (Orthodoxy, 206).

Main Point

When the world was at stake the Father gave the Son that the world might be redeemed. Chesterton again, “Alone of all creeds, Christianity has added courage to the virtues of the Creator. For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point—and does not break” (Orthodoxy, 209).

Chesterton says that Christianity’s “main advantage is that it is the most adventurous and manly of all theologies” (Orthodoxy, 201).

To read of the manliness of Christ and the courage of God in putting everything on the line by not sparing his own Son, see Mark 15:1–39. Here’s my attempt to exposit the passage: Mark 15:1–39, “Crucified, Dead, and Buried.”

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