The Difference the Cross Makes

Adult Education Topical Study: Sundays, March 10 through April 14, at 9:45 a.m.

Detail of the cross located on the Communion table in the Chancel of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church Sanctuary.During Lent, you are invited to join the Adult Christian Education Team’s topical study, which begins exploring the doctrine of atonement with the Reverend Dr. Edwin Chr. van Driel, on Sunday, March 10.

As Christians, we believe that Jesus’ death was neither random nor meaningless. In Jesus’ death, God and human beings are reconciled, we say — but what exactly does this mean? Many of us are uncomfortable with traditional language about Jesus “suffering under the wrath of God” or “carrying the punishment for sin.” At the same time, the Scriptures are very straightforward in proclaiming that Jesus died “for us.”

In this course, we will look closely at the Old Testament imagery the New Testament uses to explain Jesus’ death — such as Israel’s sacrificial cult and Isaiah’s “suffering servant.” By discovering the often unknown meaning of these images, we will try to gain fresh insight into the difference the cross makes.

  • First Session on March 10: Israel’s Sacrificial Cult (Leviticus)
  • Second Session on March 17: Our Heavenly High Priest (The Letter to the Hebrews)
  • Third Session on March 24: The Suffering Servant (Isaiah)
  • Fourth Session on March 31: Jesus the Mercy Seat (Romans 3)
  • Fifth Session on April 7: Jesus and the Curse (Galatians 3)
  • Sixth Session on April 14: The Faith of Jesus
The Reverend Dr. Edwin Chr. van Driel
The Reverend Dr. Edwin Chr. van Driel

Participants will be asked to familiarize themselves beforehand with the Scriptural images we will discuss. No other preparation is necessary.

On Sundays, after a time of fellowship and light refreshments in the Sharp Atrium at 9:30 a.m., please join our discussion leader, Dr. van Driel, in the Craig Room at 9:45 a.m. An ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Reverend Dr. Edwin Chr. van Driel occupies the Directors’ Bicentennial Chair in Theology at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (PTS). Dr. van Driel teaches mainly in Christology, ecclesiology, and the interaction between Biblical studies and theology.

Read more about Dr. van Driel and his ministry at PTS.

See the full schedule of other studies you are invited to join at Shadyside Presbyterian Church.

Architectural Photograph: Detail of the cross located on the Communion table in the Chancel of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church Sanctuary. The inscription of “IHS” in the central medallion is a Christogram symbolizing Jesus Christ. The monogram is taken from an abbreviation of the name of Jesus in Greek. Photograph taken by John Mahood, Imagebox Productions.