Atonement

At-One-Ment by Propitiation

(About this series)

CHAPTER II — AT-ONE-MENT BY PROPITIATION

BY DYSON HAGUE, VICAR OF THE CHURCH OF THE EPIPHANY, TORONTO, CANADA; PROFESSOR OF LITURGICS, WYCLIFFE COLLEGE, TORONTO; CANON OF ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL, LONDON, ONT., 1908-1912

The importance of the subject is obvious. The Atonement is Christianity in epitome. It is the heart of Christianity as a system; it is the distinguishing mark of the Christian religion. For Christianity is more than a revelation; it is more than an ethic. Christianity is uniquely a religion of redemption. At the outset we take the ground that no one can clearly apprehend this great theme who is not prepared to take Scripture as it stands, and to treat it as the final and authoritative source of Christian knowledge, and the test of every theological theory. Any statement of the atonement, to satisfy completely the truly intelligent Christian, must not antagonize any of the Biblical viewpoints. And further; to approach fairly the subject, one must receive with a certain degree of reservation the somewhat exaggerated representations of what some modern writers conceive to be the views of orthodoxy. We cannot deduce Scriptural views of the atonement from non-Biblical conceptions of the Person of Christ; and the ideas that Christ died because God was insulted and must punish somebody, or that the atonement was the propitiation of an angry Monarch-God who let off the rogue while He tortured the innocent, and such like travesties of the truth, are simply the misrepresentations of that revamped Socinianism, which is so widely leavening the theology of many of the outstanding thought-leaders of today in German, British, and American theology. Read more about At-One-Ment by Propitiation

Jesus Doesn’t Fail: An Interview on Definite Atonement

Jesus Doesn’t Fail: An Interview on Definite Atonement

To compare the doctrine of definite atonement with the contrasting view of the Arminians, Lorraine Boettner observes, “For the Calvinist, it is like a narrow bridge that goes all the way across the stream; for the Arminian, it is like a great wide bridge that goes only half-way across.” The question is not whether the atonement is limited in some sense, but how.

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The Atonement

(About this series)

CHAPTER IV: THE ATONEMENT*

BY PROFESSOR FRANKLIN JOHNSON, D. D., LL. D., AUTHOR OF “OLD-TESTAMENT QUOTATIONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT” ETC., CHICAGO, ILL.

The Christian world as a whole believes in a substitutionary atonement. This has been its belief ever since it began to think. The doctrine was stated by Athanasius as clearly and fully as by any later writer. All the great historic creeds which set forth the atonement at any length set forth a substitutionary atonement. All the great historic systems of theology enshrine it as the very Ark of the Covenant, the central object of the Holy of Holies. Read more about The Atonement

Atonement Wars, Part 3

Republished with permission. Originally appeared in Think on These Things, (Dec.-Jan 2010-2011). Read Part 1 and Part 2.

New Testament Support for Penal Substitutionary Atonement

As Our Substitute

We will begin by surveying some of the New Testament references that speak of Christ dying as our substitute. 2 Corinthians 5:21 heads the list: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Some have termed this “The Great Exchange” as the Sinless One took our sin upon Himself and gave us the righteousness of God. The implication is that this spiritual transaction is made possible only through the sacrifice of Christ. I Peter 2:24 adds detail, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” Christ then became sin on our behalf (i.e. in our place) at the Cross, for it is there that He bore our sin in His body. He did so to free us from sin and bring us righteousness, but our healing was made possible only because of His wounds. I Peter 3:18 reiterates the same thought by saying, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God…” In Roman 5:8 Paul writes, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Christ death was “for us.” His death accomplished what nothing else could. Jesus Himself speaks of penal substitution when He states that He came “to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). And John the Baptist declared Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Read more about Atonement Wars, Part 3

Atonement Wars, Part 2

Republished with permission. Originally appeared in Think on These Things, (Dec.-Jan 2010-2011)

In Part one of “The Atonement Wars” a number of atonement theories having found favor at various points in church history were explained. These included the moral influence theory, Christus Victor and the Ransom to Satan theory. While I reject the last of these theories, the other two have biblical backing and thus fill out our understanding of why Christ went to the cross. However, I believe the central teaching of Scripture in regard to Christ’s cross-work is best defined as the Penal Substitutionary Atonement (PSA). It is PSA that is facing resistance from many who would be happy to embrace the cross as a moral example of love or a victory over the forces of evil. Yet the Bible teaches that while Christ’s death was a great example and resulted in the defeat of evil forces, more importantly His death was necessary in order that our sins might be forgiven and we be reconciled to God.

Definitions and Challenges:

Wayne Grudem provides this helpful definition,

Christ’s death was ‘penal’ in that he bore a penalty when he died. His death was also a “substitution” in that he was a substitute for us when he died. This has been the orthodox understanding of the atonement held by evangelical theologians, in contrast to other views that attempt to explain the atonement apart from the idea of the wrath of God or payment for the penalty for sin.1

Millard Erickson says it plainly, “The idea that Christ’s death is a sacrifice offered in payment of the penalty for our sins sic. It is accepted by the Father as satisfaction in place of the penalty due to us.”2 Erickson further refines the doctrine, “By offering himself as a sacrifice, by substituting himself for us, actually bearing the punishment that should have been ours, Jesus appeased the Father and effected a reconciliation between God and Man.”3 Read more about Atonement Wars, Part 2

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