Can Legal Philosophy Help Us Make Sense of Penal Substitution? (TGC Canada)

“Penal substitution is more than unjust, it is by definition impossible!” This line of thought represents an important objection leveled against penal substitutionary atonement (PSA) by some philosophers of religion. The key to this objection lies in a widely held definition of punishment. According to a number of philosophers of law, like Joel Feinberg andContinue reading “Can Legal Philosophy Help Us Make Sense of Penal Substitution? (TGC Canada)”

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Jonathan Edwards on Penal Substitution

Penal substitutionary atonement, the doctrine according to which Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins, is crucial to good news of the gospel. It is so central to the good news that Christians around the world proclaim it weekly by singing hymns like Stuart Townend and Keith Getty’s “In Christ Alone My HopeContinue reading “Jonathan Edwards on Penal Substitution”

Do We Believe in Consequences? Revisiting the “Incoherence Objection” to Penal Substitution

An article I wrote defending a version of penal substitutionary atonement just came out in “Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie.” It’s a constructive model I call the “penal-consequence view.” It’s not necessarily the view I hold to but it’s a view that I think might be helpful to some who want to defendContinue reading “Do We Believe in Consequences? Revisiting the “Incoherence Objection” to Penal Substitution”

Not Penal Substitution But Vicarious Punishment

The following is a summary/notes of Mark Murphy’s article, “Not Penal Substitution but Vicarious Punishment.” (Faith and Philosophy, 26.3, 2009) Summary: PSA fails for conceptual reasons. Punishment is an expressive action so it is not transferable. A relative of PSA, VP, is conceptually coherent. Under VP, the guilty person’s punishment consists in the suffering ofContinue reading “Not Penal Substitution But Vicarious Punishment”

Sacrifice and Atonement

The atonement is the subject of intense interest among not only theologians, but Christians in general. This may be due to the fact that for most of Christianity atonement stands at the center. In some stands of Christianity, atonement itself is the gospel. However some people want to argue that the atonement is not onlyContinue reading “Sacrifice and Atonement”

Does Karl Barth Hold to a Version of Penal Substitution?

It’s a sort of tricky question. How does Barth understand Penal Substitution? I was once told that Barth definitely saw PSA in Isaiah, but that he believed that it is not taught in the New Testament. The debate sort of rages on – does Barth have some version of Penal Substitution? And if he doesContinue reading “Does Karl Barth Hold to a Version of Penal Substitution?”

Atonement is Penal and Substitutionary

Atonement is both penal and substitutionary – here is John Webster on what is happening on the cross: He becomes, that is, the bearer of our sins. “Surely,” Isaiah tells us, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (53:4); and again: “the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all”Continue reading “Atonement is Penal and Substitutionary”

Locating Atonement

[This is the final “Atonement Week” blog post.] This past Thursday and Friday I attended The 3rd annual Los Angeles Theology Conference – the topic was “Locating Atonement.” I especially enjoyed Ben Myers’ Atonement & the Image of God and Michael Horton’s Atonement and Ascension. Ben’s lecture was really stimulating, especially in light of theContinue reading “Locating Atonement”

Penal Substitution? Two Objections and Responses

Penal substitution takes a lot of flack these days. Many of the objections that come up against PSA have focused on this theories assumptions about what justice is.  However, many of these objections are based upon what we tend to think justice is. But as Donald Macleod has said, It would be certainly perilous toContinue reading “Penal Substitution? Two Objections and Responses”

Atonement Week – The Crucified King – Kindle Deal

Its tonement week and boy do I have a deal for you! Right now you can get Jeremy Treat’s excellent treatment of this doctrine, The Crucified King: Atonement in Biblical and Systematic Theology for your Kindle for only $1.99! What a steal! This book won the “Award of Merit” for Theology/Ethic in Christianity Today’s 2015Continue reading “Atonement Week – The Crucified King – Kindle Deal”