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One more on Protestant Aesthetics

March 6th, 2010 | 1 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

The substance of Dyrness’ essay highlights the Protestant emphasis on the brokenness of the world, and on the crucifixion as the only remedy for that brokenness.  But Dyrness points out that the emphasis on Jesus’ crucifixion isn’t on the event per se, but rather on its meaning for us.  He writes:

For all the importance the cross plays for Protestants, they have spent little time focusing on the actual event of the cross – the Catholic imagination evident in Mel Gibson’s film ‘The Passion of Jesus Christ’ has traditionally been alien to them. It is more important for Protestants to interpret the cross, to see their life as cross-shaped. Calvin, for example, spends barely a page in his Institutes describing the actual event of Christ’s death. But he writes a long chapter on what this death means for the Christian – that since Christ suffered this way we should not expect our lives to escape such hardship, that our lives should be characterized by this willingness to suffer for Christ and so on (this is to say nothing of the great sections he uses to develop the theological meaning of that event). The event of the cross finds its real meaning in this typological extension in the life of the believer.