Now that we are re-thinking the sacrificial system and how it pertains to Jesus’s sacrifice, many questions arise. Here a Presbyterian asks a key question over on PTM’s website, and Brad Jersak provides a clear and really helpful response…
Isaiah 53 is consistently used as a proof text for the penal substitution theory of the atonement. Whilst there is no doubt that this chapter contains prophetic echoes of Jesus’ sacrifice, we should not simply assume that we can apply the entire text literally to the events of Golgotha. The litmus test for how to understand Isaiah 53 must come from the New Testament and the Apostles.
Let’s examine all the specific verses from Isaiah 53 which are either utilised or directly quoted in the New Testament. Continue reading “Isaiah 53 in the New Testament (the Apostles’ teaching)”
In John’s gospel Jesus categorically states that he would not be left alone by the Father.
There is one oft overlooked problem with claiming that the Father abandoned Jesus, and that is that the Gospel narratives do not bear it out. Let’s examine them.
- Was Jesus abandoned by his Father?
John’s Gospel provides us with two very specific statements from Jesus about his coming death – and the shock is that Jesus categorically states says that he would not be left alone by the Father. Continue reading “The Gospel Narrative: Never Alone”
Although we watched the “Monster God or Monster Man” debate between Dr Michael Brown and Brian Zahnd some time ago, we only recently stumbled across this interesting review of it (which contains a link to the debate). The debate is a great starting point to get a handle on the issues… and then Rob Grayson’s review provides helpful reflection.
We recently came across this article by Derek Vreeland. It is a thoughtful piece and makes a helpful contribution to the debate. You’ll need to read it through to the end, though, or you’ll entirely miss the point he’s making:
In this excellent article, Nick demonstrates why we need to understand Jesus’ cry of abandonment as a prayer, and that the entire Psalm was clearly in mind. He also addresses some of the issues with trying to use the ‘cry’ from the Gospel narrative as the basis for forming doctrine.
As long as our thinking remains shaped by the scheme of this age… our understanding of the cross will inevitably be conformed to the world’s ideas of justice and peace
Darrin W. Snyder Belousek has written a book that anyone and everyone who holds to the Penal Substitution view of the Atonement should read. Deftly and carefully he examines our presuppositions against the biblical text.
Early on, as he sets out the purpose of writing this book, he quotes J. Lawrence Burkholder:
“…the Bible is seldom, if ever, approached without presuppositions. They change from age to age. Frequently they reflect quite unconsciously a framework of meaning and habits of thought that are supplied by the prevailing world view.” Continue reading “Atonement and the nature of God’s Justice”
References to Christ as a sin offering, a ransom, an atoning sacrifice, a passover lamb prove nothing about wrath or punishment
Proof Texts Unchecked
The arguments for PSA rely heavily on the same set of Bible verses. What is clear is that most of these are generic and common to all atonement theories. References to Christ as a sin offering, a ransom, an atoning sacrifice, a passover lamb prove nothing about wrath or punishment. These verses are also embraced within Ransom theory, Recapitulation, Scapegoat theory etc. Yet, despite their commonality across Atonement Theories, they are constantly traipsed out and used in defence of PSA. That Christ was pierced for our transgressions is universally acknowledged by all atonement theories, and so to bring it into the argument for PSA is surely an act of wilful misleading. Continue reading “What proponents of Penal Substitutionary Atonement (PSA) Theory need to address”