39/3 On Jesus going to hell

For many this would be the Article that they struggle with…

I’m going to neatly avoid controversies that surround this one (how could he tell the second thief he’d be with him that day in paradise? Are we looking at a movement at Christ’s death from temporality into the atemporal? Is he “in hell” at the point where he cries “Why have you forsaken me?” etc…)

I’m going to speak of something else instead.

One thing that this article makes clear is that Jesus’ death on the cross was not just to set an example of how committed we should be to the “peaceful way,” it wasn’t a big act to shake us out of our apathy, it was a death which he suffered, including the most painful experience possible, the abandonment of the father, because he loved us & he was taking the penalty that we deserve for our failure to live as we ought.

Here is the perfect example of where all Christians can say “there, but for the grace of Christ, go I.”


2 thoughts on “39/3 On Jesus going to hell

  1. This was one of the articles that meant I couldn’t sign off on the 39. Your solution is nice, but is it what the article means? Is it what it meant to the framers?

    If we can reinterpret the articles, they cease to have the function they’re meant to have (i.e. maintaining a kind of orthodoxy). You could change the oath to say something like, “This is an historical formulation of doctrine in the church of England” — something anyone could happily sign.

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