Saturday, May 28, 2011

Substitutionary atonement and the Church Fathers



Substitutionary atonement and the
Church Fathers:
A reply to the authors of Pierced for Our
Transgressions
- Derek Flood



3 comments:

Nicholas said...

It's good to see people making a distinction between Substitution and Penal Substitution.

Nicholas said...

It appears that these "pierced for our transgressions" guys are either wearing blinders or have no scholarly ethic.

Cole said...

I believe that Christ died for us. Not in the sense of "In the place of." For we are in spiritual union with Christ. He died and rose just as we died and rose. We have been crucified WITH Christ. On the cross God in Christ took on our sin. That means He at once bore the weight of the harm that we have done, and also bore the pain of the victims. This was not the Father punishing Jesus but the Christ was revealing the compassionate heart of God to us. On the cross we see Christ suffering with those who suffer. God carries the pain of every victim of rape, incest, abuse, and torture. On the cross Christ took on our suffering and took on our hatefulness. He was broken for us. He that was without sin became sin for us. Jesus experienced the terrible abandonment by the Father. Yet right there at that point of loss and abandonment and deep suffering we see the truest picture of God's love. As we look on the horror and ugliness of the cross we see there the saving power and glory and beauty of God. The cross reveals to us the compassion and love of God. God in His love suffers with us under the weight of our sin. His victory is in surrender. Moreover, I think Jesus was changing our whole concept of sacrifice. The sacrifice Jesus was referring to is the self-giving, selfless, love sacrifice. His entire life was one of self-giving, selfless love. It was this "offering" that was a fragrant offering to God. Likewise we are to imitate Christ in self-sacrificial love for the Bible calls us to bring our lives as "living sacrifices" to God. God the Father was not punishing Christ. Yes, God was involved in the death of Christ in the sense that He allowed Satan and evil men to unjustly punish Christ. But this wasn't God's punitive wrath being poured out on Christ. What Satan meant for evil God meant for good for God had morally sufficient reasons for allowing the murder of His Son.

It's like Jesus was telling us that the true sacrifice that would end all sacrifices was expressed in His selfless, self giving love. It had nothing to do with God laying Him on the altar and sacrificing Him. Yes, He was and is the Lamb Of God. I take this to mean that he was lowly, meek, humble, and self-giving love. A true self-sacrifice of love. At the cross He was showing His compassion not His wrath.

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