Necessary Blood 2

By R.C. Sproul

Throughout church history, dear friends, there have been many efforts to deny the necessity of blood atonement.  Pelagius in his debate with Augustine rejected the idea of a necessary atonement.  In the 16th Century, the Soncinians rejected the necessity of blood atonement.  In the 19th Century European liberalism rejected the idea of a necessary substitutionary atonement.  But I don't think there's ever been a time in church history where the guns of criticism have been more frequently aimed at this doctrine than they are right now. 

Once in Louisville I was at a conference with 5,000 pastors where we focused our attention on the Gospel and in our time together, Dr. Al Mohler from Southern Seminary related an experience of a young lady student who matriculated to the seminary to learn theology in order to prepare herself for the mission field.

On her first day of class, the professor that she had at that time went around the room and asked the students why are you here?  Each gave their various reasons until they came to this young woman, and the professor said, and why are you enrolled, young lady?  She said I came here that I might learn more about the precious blood of my Savior. The professor slammed his fist on the table, and he said there will be no bloody cross theology in this classroom.  That idea is held widely.  I've heard the charge coming out of Great Britain, and the blood atonement is simply a doctrine of cosmic child abuse, and that we need to have a more sophisticated understanding of the death of Jesus.

Now throughout church history there have been reviews about the necessity of blood atonement.  The first I've already mentioned, the Pelagian, Socinian and Liberal view which says an atonement was absolutely unnecessary, that God is a God of love; His is a God of grace; and requires no such sacrifice.  The second view is that view that says that the cross is necessary, but only hypothetically necessary, that is, that God could have chosen from a myriad number of ways to redeem His people, but from all eternity, He chose to do it through the atoning work of His incarnate Son.  

Since there was an agreement from eternity among the Trinity, the covenant of redemption...  Once God entered into that agreement to do it this way, that now became necessary de facto, that is because a pact had been reached, an agreement has been made to carry it out.  But He could have made this agreement by many other methods.

The orthodox position of the Christian church, that the atoning blood of Christ has been a necessary condition for our salvation, and what I want to do is to explore a few of the reasons why it is  necessary, why the author of Hebrews declares without shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.  .