Yesterday I received an email calling me an “unsaved heretic” who should “just stick to tennis and stop all the theology talk”. This person was referring to my latest podcast where I stated that I agreed with an article written by Richard Abanes that a person not holding to the Penal Substitution Atonement Theory (PSA) (source) could still be regenerated.
Before I begin let me say that I also hold to the PSA belief that Jesus paid the penalty for sin (Isaiah 53:6,12). Where I live the majority of professing believers in Christ hold to a Christus Victor Atonement Theory (source). To say I have had my share of disagreements with them regarding this would be an understatement and not part of this article.
1Corinthians 15:1-4 NIV
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
To varying degrees the above passage is what can be heard in Sunday School classes, Vacation Bible School classes, in bible tracts and this is most likely what most of us use to plant the seed of the true Gospel message. Would you say I’m wrong here?
There are some that believe the PSA is a “non-negotiable part of the Gospel” yet in the above portion of Scripture the PSA isn’t actually taught is it? Again, I hold to the PSA and that is the FIRST thing I attempt to relay to a newly professing Christian after their outward profession of faith. I don’t think I’ve ever taught that to someone I was witnessing to before the actual profession, have you?
When you heard and accepted the Gospel message, did you have any idea what the Penal Substitution Atonement Theory was? If the answer is no, do you believe if you had died that night not knowing or understanding what the PSA or any other of the six atonement theories were that you were saved and would be in heaven?
That’s the point I was trying to make.
How important is it to Salvation to have the correct Atonement Theory in place? Is someone professing Christ that either doesn’t understand or have a good grasp on a Atonement Theory truly regenerate?