By Alexandra Donnel | Reporter
Matt Snowden, a George W. Truett Theological Seminary graduate and the pastor of the historic First Baptist Church Waco, was invited to speak at Baylor Chapel on Monday.
Ryan Richardson, the associate chaplain and director of worship and chapel said Snowden came to Truett Theological Seminary in 2010 for the doctoral program after he finished his education. Snowden helps shape Waco with the word of God, Richardson said.
Snowden is from Meridian Mississippi and attended William Carey University, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Truett Seminary. Snowden’s first sermon was preached at a church in Mississippi when he was 15. He became the pastor of First Baptist Church Waco in 2010 at the age of 33 after completing his doctorate at Truett Seminary.
At Monday’s Chapel, Snowden preached on the importance of the image of substitutionary atonement.
“Substitutionary atonement says to us that Jesus died for us, in our place, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God,” Snowden said. “Substitutionary atonement says to us that it is God who justifies, it is God who rectifies, it is God who makes right.”
Snowden discussed ideas by a Swiss Reformed theologian, Karl Barth, who said that humanity’s reconciliation with God began with God putting himself in humanity’s place and humanity being put in God’s place. This was an act of sheer grace and an inconceivable miracle, according to Barth.
Snowden believes there are two reasons that humankind needs substitutionary atonement.
“One, there is no justice without a just judge. Without a just judge, our overtures towards justice are saccharine and sentimental and emotive at best. At worst they disintegrate into totalitarianism, cannibalism, the desire for the strong man to lead us, but we fail at leading ourselves,” Snowden said.
Because of the reasons he listed, Snowden said there needs to be a holy, loving, and just judge: God.
“Another reason we need substitutionary atonement so much is because we are ever willing to play the judge on our own. We are willing to judge others harshly, and we are willing to self-justify, we are willing to cut ourselves enormous amount of slack even as we brutalize others,” Snowden said.
Snowden said substitutionary atonement changes our lives and actions. He said the way we treat others and our motivation to help others comes from the grace of God. God’s salvation changes the identity of Christians by their union to Jesus who Snowden said is our forgiver and liberator who set us free from the captivity of sin.
Austin freshman and pre-business major Beau Watson said Monday’s Chapel was engaging in both the worship and the speaker.
“Matt Snowden did a great job with message delivery during his lesson,” Beau said.