Atonement: Penal Substitution Theory (Part 1)

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The penal substitution theory of atonement was popularized among Protestants during the Reformation and remains the paramount Evangelical view of atonement. This view of atonement sees the death of Christ as vicarious in nature. The required punishment for sin was suffered by Christ for believers, while His perfect righteousness was transferred to believers. In this […]

Atonement: Moral Influence Theory

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Introduction Understanding the cross of Jesus Christ as a demonstration of God’s love for mankind is a central theme of both the New Testament and the early fathers (McGrath, 2012).  What we commonly refer to as the moral influence theory of atonement has come to mean different things to different people over the course of church […]

Atonement: Satisfaction Theory

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Introduction This week, in our continuing series of blogs on the atonement, we move into the medieval period. In the late 11th century, Anselm of Canterbury, a Doctor of the Church, was one of the most influential philosophers and theologians of the time. He was one of a new breed of scholars that approached topics […]

Atonement: Recapitulation

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Over the past two weeks we have discussed the views of the early fathers on the atonement. The Christus Victor and ransom themes are both prominent during the patristic era. Before moving on to views popularized during the medieval period, there is one more important theme from the early fathers – recapitulation.  Discussions of the […]

The Atonement: Christus Victor

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Christus Victor Theory of Atonement Christus Victor (Latin for “Christ is Victorious”) is a view of the atonement closely related to and often lumped together with the ransom view that was discussed in last week’s blog post. However, the Christus Victor motif avoids some of the problems that the ransom theory falls into. It may […]

The Atonement: Ransom Theory

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Over the course of church history ideas about the atonement have ranged widely. An orthodox consensus never really developed and varied views of atonement have been tolerated within Christendom. A doctrine of the atonement attempts to answer the question, “How does Christ accomplish the salvation of fallen humanity?” The Bible makes it clear that the […]