Let’s Discuss the Penal Substitution Atonement Theory and it’s Importance to Salvation

 

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?

 

Let’s discuss…….

 

Advertisements

42 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss the Penal Substitution Atonement Theory and it’s Importance to Salvation

  1. I’ve been to all kinds of evangelical meetings — Calvary Chapel services, various crusades, missionary outreach presentations, etc. — and at each place I’ve heard a perfectly sound, yet simple, “Gospel” at the end of the service that included all the elements of 1 Cor. 15:1-4.

    They didn’t include any complex theological jargon, advanced dogma surrounding the atonement, or a systematized overview of free will. What was offered to people was the simple Gospel of grace, the Good News: Jesus died for your sins on the cross, and if you want forgiveness, you can come to him right now, accept his sacrifice on your behalf, and receive eternal life by God’s grace through faith in him.

    Such a “Gospel” is the basic/core presentation as noted by the apologists over at the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM): see WHAT IS THE GOSPEL.
    http://www.carm.org/christianity/christian-doctrine/what-gospel

    This is the Gospel that saves — i.e., as my theologian friend puts it, the Gospel in its sufficiency to save. It is the pure, simple, basic, core Gospel that was preached in the early church before there was time for theologians to come along and tease out the deeper aspects of the Gospel’s complex niceties:

    – “[In early Christianity,] PEOPLE SIMPLY HELD TO THE SATISFYING TRUTH THAT CHRIST SAVED THEM BY WAY OF THE CROSS AND DID NOT ARGUE ABOUT HOW SALVATION WAS AFFECTED” (Leon Morris, in Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, p. 100).

    – “GOSPEL. . . . The message of God’s redemption in Jesus Christ. . . . first, the proclamation by Jesus that the kingdom has drawn near and, then, proclamation by His disciples that in His life, death, and resurrection the kingdom has been established and that salvation and forgiveness are offered to all who believe” (W. Ward Gasque, in The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 424).

    – “[There was] one common apostolic gospel. . . . In briefest outline, this contained: 1. a historical proclamation of the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus. . . . 2. a theological evaluation of Jesus as both Lord and Christ; 3. a summons to repent and receive forgiveness of sins” (R.H. Mounce, in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, p. 474).

    – “1 Cor. 15:3-4 sets forth with crystal clarity the message of primitive Christianity. Paul, using terms equivalent ti the technical rabbinic words for the reception and translation of tradition . . . refers to this message as something he had received and passed on (R.H. Mounce, in Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, p. 256).

    – “To summarize, Paul viewed the GOSPEL as centering upon Jesus Christ and what God has done through him. The ESSENTIAL points of the gospel are Jesus Christ’s status as the Son of God, his genuine humanity, his death for our sins, his burial, resurrection, subsequent appearances, and future coming in judgment. It may well be said that, in Paul’s view, JESUS IS THE GOSPEL” (Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, p. 1063).

    In other words, the Gospel of the early church is the very same simple gospel that is usually heard at the end of church services. That’s all I’m saying. Look again at Erickson’s statement. JESUS is the Gospel. Anything beyond what is listed here by Erickson seems to be going into the realm of more complex facets of the Gospel. Such things might certainly present a fuller (more complete) picture of Gospel truths, but they lie beyond the core/basic/simple Gospel in its sufficiency to save.

    And I believe we must be very careful to protect that simplicity and not add to it anything that rests in the area of deeper Gospel truths.(I am speaking here as someone who, because of my ministry to cults, has seen that simple Gospel encrusted with all manner of conditions and additions — which is probably why I am sensitive, admittedly, to seeing anything else equated with actually being the Gospel or being the heart of the Gospel. That is my bias and concern.)

    “PENAL SUBSTITUTION” fits into those aspects of the Gospel that bring fuller depth, development, complexity, understanding, and truth to the basic/simple Gospel that is noted above. There must never be a confusion between:

    1) The Gospel in its fullness & completeness; and

    2) The Gospel in its sufficiency to save.

    The Gospel in its sufficiency to save is the Gospel we see EXPLICITLY outlined by Paul in 1 Cor. 15 — i.e., the very passage I have consistently pointed to. The knowledge/belief outlined there that is needed for salvation is the simple admission that “Christ died for my sins at the cross.”

    The Gospel in its fullness & completeness is ANOTHER issue that brings in all kinds of truths, most importantly, the Penal Substitution Theory/View of what happened at the cross and HOW it all worked on a cosmic level — i.e., the mechanics of the atonement.

    There is a nuanced difference between these two aspects of the Gospel, properly speaking. They highlight the difference between: 1. What you MUST believe to be saved; and 2. What MUST be true to be saved. These two things must never be mistakenly conjoined.

    RA

  2. Well, as a solidly Reformed/Calvinist Christian which usually means correct doctrine is an extremely important aspect of my faith I want to say that I can & do allow for “blind spots” — in mine & other believers’ theology.

    For example, for 10 years I was a card carrying Independent KJV-only fundamental Arminian Baptist…Was I “saved”??? You betcha!

    An analogy I often use is this; a freewill advocate may get into a car & say, “The car goes because I push the gas pedal” whereas a monergist (ie Calvinist) gets in the car & says, “The car goes because of the engine”. Which is more accurate? [Hint: without an engine a person can press the gas all they want & it isn’t going anywhere..it wouldn’t have the “ability”]

    Though PSA is essential to a MATURE faith, it may be a little difficult for a new Christian. I recall when I first started reading the Bible before I was a Christian — it all just looked like a bunch of bloody animal killing to me. It wasn’t until I saw how Jesus was the innocent dying for the guilty (just as all of those animal sacrifices) that it really hit home.

    I tend to try to weigh things on a case by case basis, UNLESS there is a movement or “leader(s)” pushing some agenda (such as with hyperpreterism) & then I will call the entire thing a fraud.

    However, I would have difficulty with a person who has been a Christian longer than a couple of years not understanding & agreeing with PSA. Christ’s death being the propitiation for sin is a hallmark of historic Christianity. Without it, it is hard to see that person as being a Christian.

  3. ROD: Christ’s death being the propitiation for sin is a hallmark of historic Christianity. Without it, it is hard to see that person as being a Christian.

    RA: Then, I thimk, if I can point this out, we have a VERY serious problem in that the current Penal Substitution Theory did not exist until the Reformation/Post-Reformation Era — i.e., NONE of the Early Church Fathers believed the PS as we have it today.

    The early church fathers held to a “Substitutionary Atonement” view of sorts, which advanced the idea that Christ SUFFERED for us-–along with the general thought that his suffering was a kind of ransom to Satan. The cross was a trap. Christ was the bait, his deity was the fish hook. And the victim who swallowed the bait and got tricked was Satan.

    The Penal-Substitutionary Theory/View of the atonement we have today, which originated much later (i.e., after Anselm), taught that Christ was PUNISHED for us through the suffering that he endured. That’s something entirely different than what the earliest church believed. Even Anselm’s view went through development to get us where we now are: “Anslem of Canterbury made the FIRST attempt at a harmonious and consistent representation of the doctrine of atonement” (Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines, p. 171).

    The predominant view of the Early Church Fathers was the “Ransom to Satan View.” I quote one of your own LUTHERAN scholar/ theologian: “If we were to name ANY theories that are characteristic of the Greek patristic period, we would point to what Mackintosh calls ‘the great exoteric doctrine of atonement in the Greek Church,’ the doctine of ransom paid to the devil; and to what he styles ‘the esoteric theory of recapitulatio.’ (Louis Berkhof [LUTHERAN], The History of Christian Doctrines, p. 167).

    In closing, we also have this from Louis Berkof: “Theories of the Early Church. . . .THE RANSOM-TO-SATAN THEORY. . . . THE RECAPITULATION THEORY….” (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, pp. 384-385).

    RA

    • Hi,

      I think its fairly clear in the following verse the PSA view is most likely the correct view and one we all hold to;

      Isaiah 53:6

      All we like sheep have gone astray;
      We have turned, every one, to his own way;
      And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

      The “Lord has laid” is fairly convincing don’t you think?

      One thing that I always wondered about concerning the 1Corinthians passage is that it doesn’t mention repentance (Acts 3:17). How important is that to Salvation?

      Phil

      • Yes, Penal Substitution is certainly:

        1. the most biblically consistent all the Theories/Views used to explain HOW the atonement took place
        (given numerous scriptures),

        2. the most logical all the Theories/Views used to explain HOW the atonement took place
        (based on God’s revealed character), and

        3. the fullest in scope of all the Theories/Views used to explain HOW the atonement took place
        (in light of the other Theories/Views that are lacking in certain areas).

        As for repentance, that is what occurs when a person actually makes an internal/conscious shift TOWARD GOD (i.e., accepts the Gospel) and AWAY from the self (i.e., living for one’s self).

        “Repent” literally means to stop, turn around, and take another direction. It means coming to a point where you stop in your tracks and change your mind about following God. As John the Baptist put it, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:1-3).

        Repentance is an inner state of mind (or attitude of heart) where a person turns around and begins to follow God. Now, this has often been confused with forsaking sins. But the actual physical act of forsaking sins is known as the FRUIT of repentance: Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8).

        True repentance (an inward change of heart), will be followed by FRUIT, as John the Baptist said, ïn keeping with repentance.

        RA

    • Hello Richard,

      You said:

      “…the current Penal Substitution Theory did not exist until the Reformation/Post-Reformation Era — i.e., NONE of the Early Church Fathers believed the PS as we have it today.”

      I fear you are lending to the same mentality that allows the hyperpreterists, the Mormons, the JWs & every other cult to justify making up NEW doctrines. This idea that key doctrines don’t exist until many, many years after the fact lends to the notion that maybe everything that has come before has been wrong. Maybe we should question why we have only 66 books & not more or less? Maybe we should question whether the concept of Christ’s deity is accurate or the concept of the Trinity? Where does it end if a person advocates NEW doctrines are constantly being formed???

      It is just as WRONG to say the doctrine of PSA is “new” as it is WRONG to claim “justification by faith” didn’t exist until Martin Luther advocated it. Certainly Luther was a very capable articulator of the concept, but it wasn’t “NEW”.

      Theological concepts/doctrines within Christianity exist even before someone comes along & applies a name to them – for example, postmillennialism. It was the purpose & reason Jesus hand-picked apostles & sent them the Holy Spirit to guide THEM into all truth & to give the Church its beliefs. If we are still coming up with new doctrines AFTER the apostolic era, then there will never be an end to new-fangled doctrines.

      Propitiation/expiation didn’t just come into existence in the Reformation Era anymore than what we now often call “Calvinism”.

      To say the atonement was merely a “ransom to Satan” gives Satan more power then I think you intend. The “wages of sin” was a requirement not by Satan, but by God. So if anyone is being “paid” it would be God, NOT Satan. The “ransom” is required by God, not Satan. (Rom 6:23, Mt 20:28, Mk 10:45, 1 Tim 2:6)

  4. Richard and Phil,
    If you don’t believe in the Penal Substitutionary Atonement, you’re not saved. Simple. If you’ve never heard the phrase “Penal Substitutionary Atonement” it makes no difference at all. If you don’t know what that phrase means it makes no difference at all. The important thing isn’t the ability to recite a phrase invented by humans to denote a biblical concept, but the biblical concept certainly is. The idea of the PSA is as old as the Adamic Covenant and the promise of the coming of the Seed of the Woman. Every Israelite knew of it in symbolic form with the sacrificeial system. This idea is so basic to Scripture itself that it was first symbolized in the sacrifice that caused the Cain-and-Abel incident. Blood sacrifice of an innocent animal was to make atonement for the real sinner, Abel.

    I Cor. 15 CERTAINLY DOES teach the Penal Substitutionary atonement in three little words used to describe why Christ died: “for our sins”. “Penal” means having to do with penalty or punishment. Hence, we see Christ died FOR SINS. That denotes just what the penalty was for–sins. “Substitunary” has to do with the repalcement of one with another. Hence, Christ didn’t die for His sins, except in the sense that our sin was imputed to Him. Rather, He died for OUR sins, a substitute for us.

    Can you be saved, under the New Covenant, without knowing that Jesus died for our sins? It’s part of the gospel according to this passage. Can you be saved, under the New Covenant, without hearing and believing the gospel? Believing that one can be saved without hearing the gospel is called the Wider Mercy Doctrine and the WMD is damnable heresy, just not a difference of opinion about something peripheral.

    “For our sins” is the Penal Substitutionary Atonement.

    You know something? This sort of misunderstanding is caused by reading books other than the Bible and putting too much stock in trying to sound theological. This is what I mean: I know that Phil N. would never say that one can be saved without knowing Jesus died for our sins. The Bible says “Christ died for our sins.” It never says “Penal Substitutionary Atonement”. The two mean the same thing, except that the Bible names the Substitute, thus being the superior way to say it because it’s more exact. So drop “PSA” and say “Christ died for our sins.” The Bible way isn’t just good enough; it’s better than some theologian trying to sound smart.

    But if you don’t believe in the concept of the PSA (Christ died for our sins), you’re not saved.

    In Christ,
    Phil Perkins.

    • Hi,

      Sorry for the delay. I’ve been out of town.

      Of course I’m not saying Jesus didn’t die for our sins. After all Christ’s death and resurrection is the HEART of the Gospel. I don’t think anyone here is saying anything contrary to this.

      The PSA is a theory on HOW the atonement works, one of at least 6 of them. Some are weaker theories then others and the PSA makes the most sense and as has been said before there are several Scriptures that make a strong case for the PSA theory.

      In my honest opinion the WHY Christ died (for our sins) is far and away more important then HOW the atonement works. You can know all the “how’s” but if you don’t know and believe the “why’s” then you can’t possibly be saved as you have pointed out.

      Phil, there are some out there that believe knowledge and belief in the HOW is mandatory for salvation and I disagree with this because I honestly believe the why matters most.

      I agree with you the PSA theory is just some theologian sounding smart and the Bible way is far more superior.

      Hope this made sense:-)

      Phil

  5. Great post Phil Perkins. A person who doesn’t believe in the concept of the PSA will never really understand what sin is, much less overcome it.
    I would love to hear your opinion on whether a person who teaches that a person not holding to the Penal Substitution Atonement Theory is saved ? Isn’t this a dangerous heresy ?

    • Henry,
      Thank you, sir. I don’t believe you have to say “Penal Substitionary Atonement” or even know what that means. What you MUST DO is believe in what PSA actually means, namely, Christ died for my sins and yours in our place. How can they believe if they haven’t heard? Heard what? The gospel. And Paul defines the gospel as including “Christ died for our sins”.

      If you don’t know Christ died for our sins you can’t be saved because you haven’t heard or understood the gospel.

      Billy Graham has long said that many who haven’t heard the gospel or even know Who Jesus is will be saved because they are really seeking to do God’s will. So we will see Muslims, Buddhists, and perhaps atheists (according to some) in heaven because they were really godly, but simply didn’t know the gospel. Charles Stanley said in 1991 that God will never send someone to hell just because they haven’t heard the gospel. The sort of stuff Richard is defending here is creeping in and it’s poison.

      You’re right. This is dangerous and it’s a lie. Here’s a book to read that will give you a lot of history of the Evangelical slide over the last 100 years: McCune, Rolland; ; Ambassador International; Greeneville, South Carolina; 2004. There you can read about what teachers and leaders have given to this and other heresies. The most interesting thing in the book is just how many of our leaders have been dishonest.

      It is high time to be dead-set on knowing the Scripture. Pray. Read. Study. Be hard-headed and trust no one. Check out everyone. Check me out. If I’m lying say anathema to me and exclude me from your fellowship because I’m not worthy of the name of Christ.

      In Christ,
      Phil Perkins.

  6. PS : Sorry the question should read ” whether a person who teaches that a person not holding to the Penal Substitution Atonement Theory can be saved is saved himself ? “

  7. Hey folks,

    I haven’t followed every detail of this conversation. However, it seems awfully high-handed to say that if someone doesn’t believe in this or that, he/she is unsaved. We can have our suspicions, of course, regarding someone else’s status — especially if that person’s beliefs depart radically from the Christianity contained in the Bible.

    I’ve even voiced my own thoughts concerning the salvific state of those who deny the consummation of the redemptive work that was effected on the Cross.

    However, we have to be cautious when making umbrella statements regarding other people’s salvation. Even if denial of PSA is a radical departure from the faith, there is a marked difference between the “lapsed” and the “apostate.” A lapsed person may embrace error for a time, but eventually repents and returns to the truth. An apostate never returns to the truth.

    Penal substitution is an important doctrine. However, it is true that nobody is saved by having the doctrine explained to them. We’re saved by hearing the Word of God and trusting in Christ to save us. If back of this saving faith is the belief that our sins have been taken by the sin-bearer, then the knowledge is experimental, rather than intellectual. Every Christian knows that his past sins have been blotted out, and knows that Christ is his/her Redeemer. This is knowledge is not always intellectually perfect. However, the work of God IS perfect. And it is by this work that we stand.

    Peace & Health,

    Brian

    • Brian,
      John 8:24 24 “I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.”

      Romans 10:14 How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed?

      Exodus 4:4-5 4 But the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail “– so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand– 5 “that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” (The people couldn’t leave Egypt unless they believed certain things about God.)

      Psalm 78:21-22 21 Therefore the LORD heard and was full of wrath, And a fire was kindled against Jacob, And anger also mounted against Israel; 22 Because they did not believe in God, And did not trust in His salvation.

      Psalm 78:32 32 In spite of all this they still sinned, And did not believe in His wonderful works.

      Psalm 106:24 24 Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe in His word,

      Psalm 119:66 66 Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Thy commandments.

      Isaiah 7:9 If you will not believe, you surely shall not last.

      Isaiah 43:10 “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, In order that you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.

      Matthew 9:28 And after He had come into the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”

      Matthew 21:25 25 “The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?” And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?'”

      Matthew 21:32 32 “For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax-gatherers and harlots did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.

      Matthew 24:23-26 23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. 24 “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 25 “Behold, I have told you in advance. 26 “If therefore they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go forth, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them.

      Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

      And you thought I was high-handed!

      Be holy,
      Phil Perkins.

  8. ROD: I fear you are lending to the same mentality that allows the hyperpreterists, the Mormons, the JWs & every other cult to justify making up NEW doctrines. This idea that key doctrines don’t exist until many, many years after the fact lends to the notion that maybe everything that has come before has been wrong.

    RA: I hear your concerns, but I’m not too worried about that, based on the church’s teachings and response in this area of doctrine.

    First, I’m really just stating the facts about this issue. Let’s start there. Once more, I cite Berkhof:

    “Theories of the Early Church. . . .THE RANSOM-TO-SATAN THEORY. . . . THE RECAPITULATION THEORY….”
    (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, pp. 384-385).

    “Anselm of Canterbury made the FIRST attempt at a harmonious and consistent representation of the doctrine of atonement”
    (Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines, p. 171).

    “If we were to name ANY theories that are characteristic of the Greek patristic period, we would point to what Mackintosh calls ‘the great exoteric doctrine of atonement in the Greek Church,’ the doctrine of ransom paid to the devil; and to what he styles ‘the esoteric theory of recapitulatio.’
    (Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines, p. 167).

    There are many other citations I could give, but they all say the same thing, Clearly, Penal Substitution as we know it today in its articulated form did not, in historical fact, exist as a developed doctrine until the Reformation/Post-Reformation era.

    What DID exist, however, was a simple acceptance of Christ dying for our sins on the cross and an understanding that SOMEHOW it was this death that brought forgiveness and eternal life. Certainly, the concept of Penal Substitution is resident within that idea, but as noted by Leon Morris — who BTW was a great champion of Penal Substitution — throughout the early centuries of the church, PEOPLE SIMPLY HELD TO THE SATISFYING TRUTH THAT CHRIST SAVED THEM BY WAY OF THE CROSS AND DID NOT ARGUE ABOUT HOW SALVATION WAS AFFECTED” (Leon Morris, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, p. 100).

    Penal Substitution is an additional after-the-fact, deep, complex, theological, plumbing-the-depths-of scripture doctrine that seeks to explain in the best way possible HOW that atonement took place. It is an expansion on what the Gospel means and is extrapolated from numerous verses. It is something DERIVED from the text ABOUT the Gospel. It is NOT the Gospel itself.

    In direct response to your concern, Rod, it must not be overlooked that denying PS is a VERY different thing than denying Jesus was/is divine. Denying PS is VERY different than denying the virgin birth. Denying PS is VERY different than denying the trinity (in favor of polytheism), the eternal nature of God (in favor of open theism), or salvation by grace (in favor of salvation by works).

    This is all very evident from the fact that TO THIS DAY, THE CHURCH HAS NEVER LAID DOWN AN OFFICIAL, ORTHODOX VIEW.”
    (Leon Morris, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, p. 100).

    We must be very, very, very, very careful to not become overly dogmatic when it comes to complex theological areas of debate that are not DIRECTLY related to our identification of, and relationship to, God — i.e., understood by the church to be an essential of the faith. As I have also stated elsewhere:

    * Is the Penal Substitution Theory/View a true doctrine?
    YES.

    * Is the Penal Substitution Theory/View biblical?
    YES.

    * Is the Penal Substitution Theory/View important to teach?
    YES.

    * Does the Penal Substitution Theory/View explain much of the atonement?
    YES.

    But. . . . .

    * Must a person embrace the Penal Substitution Theory/View in order to truly be a Christian?
    NO.

    * Does the PS explain everything about the atonement.
    NO.

    * Is it actually part of the Gospel Paul outlined in scripture?
    NO (see 1 Cor. 15:1-4 and Rom. 10:9).

    * Is it preaching a false Gospel to not embrace/preach the PS view?
    NO (especially since it did not exist in present form until the post-Reformation era).
    _________
    ROD: Maybe we should question why we have only 66 books & not more or less? Maybe we should question whether the concept of Christ’s deity is accurate or the concept of the Trinity? Where does it end if a person advocates NEW doctrines are constantly being formed???

    RA: See above.
    __________
    ROD: It is just as WRONG to say the doctrine of PSA is “new” as it is WRONG to claim “justification by faith” didn’t exist until Martin Luther advocated it. Certainly Luther was a very capable articulator of the concept, but it wasn’t “NEW”.

    RA: When I say did not exist, what I mean is it was not formally articulated. It was not formally articulated as we know it today.

    Was PS always a truth? Of course. Was it always being articulated as a doctrine to be believed in the early centuries of the church? NO. That’s all I’m saying.

    As I noted, there is a vast difference between derived doctrines such as the trinity and the full deity of Christ (both of which the church made OFFICIAL pronouncements on) and this Penal Substitution Theory/View.

    The main ESSENTIAL needed to understand/grasp for salvation is that Christ lived, died on the cross for us and for our salvation, and rose again from the dead. This is the Gospel (1 Cor. 15). By accepting this, and understanding that he was indeed God in the flesh who bodily rose from the dead — you will be saved (Rom. 10:9). This is the Gospel in it’s sufficiency to save.

    I discussed this in my Post #1. I repeat. “PENAL SUBSTITUTION” fits into those aspects of the Gospel that bring fuller depth, development, complexity, understanding, and truth to the basic/simple Gospel that is noted above. There must never be a confusion between:

    1) The Gospel in its fullness & completeness; and

    2) The Gospel in its sufficiency to save.

    The Gospel in its sufficiency to save is the Gospel we see EXPLICITLY outlined by Paul in 1 Cor. 15 — i.e., the very passage I have consistently pointed to. The knowledge/belief outlined there that is needed for salvation is the simple admission that “Christ died for my sins at the cross.”

    The Gospel in its fullness & completeness is ANOTHER issue that brings in all kinds of truths, most importantly, the Penal Substitution Theory/View of what happened at the cross and HOW it all worked on a cosmic level — i.e., the mechanics of the atonement.

    There is a nuanced difference between these two aspects of the Gospel, properly speaking. They highlight the difference between: 1. What you MUST believe to be saved; and 2. What MUST be true to be saved.

    These two things must never be mistakenly conjoined.

    RA

    • Richard,
      Thank you for your detailed clarification. I’m not certain we are differing as much as it looks then. Most Christians, understand this simple concept: “Jesus died for sinners”. Why & how & who are details we can look at further.

      Just one more small point. The Church doesn’t need to make an “official pronouncement” on key doctrine UNLESS & UNTIL those doctrines begin to be challenged or distorted by some heretical group. For example, the deity of Christ, the Virgin birth, the Trinity were NOT imposed on the Church by a council but rather when those forgone conclusions were challenged or distorted by heresies, the Church THEN made clarification. Unfortunately, cults (such as the hyperpreterists) think councils were called to impose some new doctrine on the Church. I just want to make sure you & I don’t lend to this delusion. I believe there was no need to make an official pronouncement on Christ’s substitutional death on our behalf because like other doctrines, it is a forgone conclusion that has been believed since the beginning of Christianity. Even Roman Catholics & Anabaptists agree on that matter.

      Thanks again.

  9. Henry: Great post Phil Perkins.

    Yomi: Phil Perkins, Very well said!

    RA: I have to disagree respectfully. I don’t think what Phil said was very well said or great at all. He has, in effect, cut out virtually all the Christians of the pre-Reformation centuries. I’m not quote sure how anyone could do that and still be applauded for a great post.

    As I’ve already noted, according to historical fact, the Penal Substitution as we know it today, did not exist in the early church. Yes, they certainly believed that Jesus DIED FOR OUR SINS, but their explanation of how that all worked — i.e., the metaphysical/cosmic mechanics behind the atonement — was not the PS Theory/View.

    “Theories of the Early Church. . . .THE RANSOM-TO-SATAN THEORY. . . . THE RECAPITULATION THEORY….” (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, pp. 384-385).

    “Anselm of Canterbury made the FIRST attempt at a harmonious and consistent representation of the doctrine of atonement” (Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines, p. 171).

    “If we were to name ANY theories that are characteristic of the Greek patristic period, we would point to what Mackintosh calls ‘the great exoteric doctrine of atonement in the Greek Church,’ the doctrine of ransom paid to the devil; and to what he styles ‘the esoteric theory of recapitulatio.’(Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines, p. 167).

    “…PEOPLE SIMPLY HELD TO THE SATISFYING TRUTH THAT CHRIST SAVED THEM BY WAY OF THE CROSS AND DID NOT ARGUE ABOUT HOW SALVATION WAS AFFECTED” (Leon Morris, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, p. 100).
    ________
    ROD: I’m not certain we are differing as much as it looks then. Most Christians, understand this simple concept: “Jesus died for sinners”. Why & how & who are details we can look at further.

    RA: Precisely. I don’t think we disagree at all. Anyone who loves Jesus Christ as their personal Lord & Savior, but for whatever reason either does not know, does not understand, or does not disagree with the PS (i.e., the explanation of HOW it all worked), would certainly be inconsistent and unbiblical in their view — but they would still be saved.

    As Norman Geisler has observed this very same thing with regard to various essential doctrines and biblical beliefs: “One can believe heretical views on some doctrines, however, and still be saved. Being saved (justified) depends only on believing certain saving truths such as Christs deity, His death for our sins, and His resurrection. One may disbelieve the virgin birth, inspiration of the Bible, Christs ascension, and second coming, however, and still be saved. In short, one can hold heretical views on a number of doctrines and still be saved. Such a person is, of course, unbiblical and inconsistent; but better to be inconsistently saved than consistently lost.”

    R. Abanes

    • Richard,
      By your logic “God” is only a theory unknown to the early Christians, since they didn’t speak English. They only had “theos”, “Yahweh”, and “Deus” for those who spoke Latin. So, where they polytheists?

      By your logic, the Trinity isn’t biblical, either, since the word “Trinity” wasn’t used until the Nicene Creed, if I have my history correct. The concept of the hypostatic union and the Trinity is in the Hebrew Bible where Yahweh of Hosts, the Holy Spirit, and the Angel of the Lord all accepted worship, are involved in creation, etc. And it’s spelled out in the Greek Bible. So is the Trinity just a theory unknown to the early Christians? Be logically and hermeneutically consistent here.

      Words mean things. The things are the important things. Words are buckets; it’s the oats inside the bucket that feed the horse.

      You said, “As I’ve already noted, according to historical fact, the Penal Substitution as we know it today, did not exist in the early church.”

      That’s true. Except for Paul in I Cor. 15 and Romans 8:3, Peter who cited Paul’s writings as Scripture, and John the Baptist who called Jesus the “Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world”, just to name three right off the top of my ugly, bald head. Then there is the author of Hebrews in 10:8-10 and 13:11, and Moses in Lev. 5-6 where he said over and over, possibly a dozen times, “…the priest shall make atonement for him (or them)…” indicating the PSA in symbolic form. (Now Christ is the Lamb.)

      Now, if the language “Penal Substitutionary Atonement” wasn’t invented until later to describe “Christ died for our sins”, the concept “Christ died for our sins” is in the very passage being discussed here.

      I see, too, you’ve added the ransom theory to your original only-six theories.

      Another logical mistake that many make is thinking the Penal Substitutionary Atonement means that the atonement was in no sense a satisfaction for God’s wrath or a ransom for our souls. The PSA is the foundation and the meaning of “Christ died for our sins”, but the Scripture speaks of the ransom that Christ became (not a ransom to Satan, though, but a ransom to God the Father by satisfying His wrath at our sin) and God’s wrath was satisfied when Christ drank His Cup at the cross.

      Words mean things.

      Phil Perkins.

  10. Richard,

    Are you saying that Christians of the pre-Reformation centuries did not believe that Christ died for their sins?

    Absurd, if you ask me.

    1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures

    Paul made that statement several centuries before the Reformation, and the millions of believers held to that long before the Reformation.

    As Phil said, ditch the term PSA, and hold on to what Scriptures teach. This is the problem I have with coining non-Biblical words and terms to describe what the Bible already describes.

    1. No-one is saved who does not believe that Christ died for his sins.

    2. Believers in every century believed (and still believe) that Christ died for our sins.

    3. Therefore, pre-Reformation believers are not cut off in any way.

    Pretty straightforward. Why complicate what is already quite so simple?

    • Yomi and all here,

      I’ve been reading this thread with great interest. I view phrases like penal substitution atonement to be adjectives that are quick to set some parameters but still fail to give light to the whole position. I can say I hold to federal headship, but that’s not a Biblical term. For those who know what it is, then they have a sense of my position. No different than saying I’m tall, blond and have blue eyes. While that can give you somewhat an idea of what I look like, it still needs further definition.

      Yomi, you wrote a great article sometime back at your website making a call for us to use Biblical definitions and I questioned you on it. You had so many great points that you made me back up and consider my own position on the topic. Do you still have that article?

      I know many of us here have a western mindset and forget there are pastors in area of the world who have never heard of Calvinism, yet teach and preach all 5 points. Should we meet we appear to be at odds because we aren’t using the same adjectives. Thus, we waste a lot of time making qualifications. If we all used the Biblical terms, much of that would go away. We would recognize agreement immediately.

      Anyway, if you still have the article Yomi or could just elaborate some on it here, I would like to see it again. It was a great piece.

  11. Yomi: Are you saying that Christians of the pre-Reformation centuries did not believe that Christ died for their sins? Absurd, if you ask me.

    RA: Absurd, indeed. To answer your question, “No, I’m not saying that at all.” Whatever gave you the idea I was saying that? What I am saying is…..oh, just read it again. 🙂 Of course, Christ died for our sins. Of course, pre-Reformation Christians believed Christ died for our sins.

    peace,
    RA

  12. I applauded Phil Perkin’s post and still do because he explained it in simple words that PSA simply meant the death of Christ for our sins. This is what is needed not to complicate doctrines by inventing new theological terms and then making unnecessary debates out of it as if to appear ‘spiritually gifted’ before the eyes of men.

    • Henry,
      You mentioned “…unnecessary debates…”

      YOU ARE RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I wish we would drop Calvinism. (I believe in the doctrines of Calvinism, but I’m an accidental Calvinist being convinced of those doctrines by studying Scripture, not Calvin.) I was recently in an e-tiff with a lady and when it was all done, she really believed the biblical position, but was arguing against a “Calvinism” she really didn’t understand. Calvin isn’t the Sovereign Savior. God is. And Calvin isn’t the first to teach that God is in control of all things. It’s all over Scripture. We don’t need Calvin. We need Moses and Paul and the rest of the Bible. They tell us that God decides who is saved.

      I have found that one can teach that God is in control of all things, including our lives and most Christians will listen and learn. But mention Calvin and the argument is on.

      I’m of Paul…I’m of Apollos…I’m of Calvin…I’m of Tom, Dick, and Harry…Who cares? Sola Scriptura!

      Henry, you’re right. Don’t change.

      Phil Perkins.

  13. Henry,

    Exactly why you’d instantly jump to some sort of issue like people trying to appear ’spiritually gifted’ is beyond me.

    The fact is that Jesus “died for our sins.” EXCELLENT. All Christians have known that since the beginning of the faith in the first centuries of the church.

    But exactly HOW the atonement worked — i.e., the mechanics working behind the great truth that Jesus died for our sins — has not always been so clear to people.

    The Penal Substitution View/Theory seeks to explain, in the most biblical way, precisely HOW the atonement worked. But there are other theories/views that Christians have held that explained to them better the HOW of the atonement — e.g., virtually all of the early church fathers and everyone prior to the Reformation/post-Reformation era. That’s just a matter of history.

    Perkins sated: “If you don’t believe in the Penal Substitutionary Atonement, you’re not saved.”

    That is untrue — period.

    The truth is: If you don’t believe Jesus died for your sins, you’re not saved.

    Penal Substitution seeks to explain HOW it is possible that Jesus died for our sins and seeks to explain the metaphysical mechanics behind the atonement. They’re two separate things — don’t combine them.

    IF you would, please explain how Phil can be correct in saying,”If you don’t believe in the Penal Substitutionary Atonement, you’re not saved,” in light of the following:

    “Theories of the Early Church. . . .THE RANSOM-TO-SATAN THEORY. . . . THE RECAPITULATION THEORY. . . .”
    (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, pp. 384-385).

    “Anselm of Canterbury made the FIRST attempt at a harmonious and consistent representation of the doctrine of atonement”
    (Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines, p. 171).

    “If we were to name ANY theories that are characteristic of the Greek patristic period, we would point to what Mackintosh calls ‘the great exoteric doctrine of atonement in the Greek Church,’ the doctrine of ransom paid to the devil; and to what he styles ‘the esoteric theory of recapitulatio.’(Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines, p. 167).

    “…PEOPLE SIMPLY HELD TO THE SATISFYING TRUTH THAT CHRIST SAVED THEM BY WAY OF THE CROSS AND DID NOT ARGUE ABOUT HOW SALVATION WAS AFFECTED” (Leon Morris, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, p. 100).

    Clearly, although the early church believed that “Jesus died for our sins,” they did NOT hold to the Penal Substitution Theory/View, they held to other theories/views, which contradicts Phil’s remark: “If you don’t believe in the Penal Substitutionary Atonement, you’re not saved.”

    RA

  14. Hi,

    I think we’re talking past one another here. It happens sometimes.

    Phil Perkins stated that those that don’t believe Christ died for our sins can’t be saved. That’s what he believes the PSA is. You share the same belief as Phil Richard In fact he stated we should replace the term PSA with “Christ died for our sins”.

    Christ’s death was penal in nature as he paid the penalty for sin by His death on a tree. Now whether he was “ransomed” or whatever other theory someone holds to in how the atonement works is a completely different issue.

    No matter how we word it or how many fancy terms we use for how the atonement works if we don’t believe that Christ died for our sins we can’t be saved. I think we all agree on that and that’s what Phil was trying to say.

    Phil

  15. Phil,

    My fear/concern is that certain individuals would go beyond this position you have stated, and actual declare that if a person MOST DEFINITELY believes Jesus died for their sins, but they deny — for whatever reason — the teased-out doctrine of Penal Substitution, then they are NOT saved. That would be a faulty position to take regarding the salvation of that other person.

    Would they be confused? Yes.

    Would then be biblically inconsistent? Yes.

    Would they be lacking in a fully developed perspective of what took place at the cross? Yes.

    But would they NOT be saved? I doubt you could say that based ONLY on their denial of Penal Substitution.

    The important thing is….do they believe Jesus died for their sins. If the answer is YES, then we must welcome them into the household of God. And if, like the Early Church Fathers, they held to….let us say, the “Ransom to Satan” view as a way of explaining the atonement…they still would be regenerated, but simply wrong on their view of the atonement.

    What has been bothering me for a while now is how readily and eagerly certain Christians seem to be to just kick people out of God’s family.

    You noted: “if we don’t believe that Christ died for our sins we can’t be saved. I think we all agree on that and that’s what Phil was trying to say.”

    I’m not sure that’s what Perkins is saying. If he could clarify, that would be great. It is very confusing, at least to me, for him to say, “If you don’t believe in the Penal Substitutionary Atonement, you’re not saved. Simple.”

    But then, he seems to indicate that it doesn’t if you believe in Penal Substitution as a concept, noting: “If you’ve never heard the phrase “Penal Substitutionary Atonement” it makes no difference at all. If you don’t know what that phrase means it makes no difference at all.”

    So in one way, he’s saying just believe Jesus died for your sins. But then he’s mixing that core belief so closely to the idea of PS that he’s making them virtually the same thing, while simultaneously drawing a distinction between them, and saying you don’t need to consciously know about PS.

    Meh. Whatever.

    Bottom Line: To be saved you need to believe Jesus Christ died for your sins on the cross and rose again from the dead (1 Cor. 15), and that he did so as God in human flesh(Rom. 10:9).

    Anything beyond that is just arguing and dogma……

    RA

  16. Dorothy: I can say I hold to federal headship, but that’s not a Biblical term. For those who know what it is, then they have a sense of my position.

    RA: This is EXACTLY what I am talking about. We have a living example. Dorothy here believes Jesus DIED FR HER SINS! Yet she also embraces the Federal Headship View/Theory of the atonement.

    — Do I agree with her? NO.

    — In a brother-sister conversation would I share my thoughts with her as to why I personally hold to Penal Substitution? YES.

    — Am I prepared/wiling to kick her out of the household of faith, decry her as a heretic, or say that she embraces/believes a false gospel? No, No, and NO!

    For whatever reasons, Dorothy sees Federal headship as a reasonable, thoughtful, and biblical explanation of the atonement, which is the word we use to refer to Jesus dying for our sins on the cross. This is no different than the early church fathers who believed Jesus died for their sins on the cross, but held to the “Ransom to Satan” view.

    I, for one, am NOT willing to condemn Dorothy, and say, “If you don’t believe in the Penal Substitutionary Atonement, you’re not saved.”
    ______
    Perkins: By your logic “God” is only a theory unknown to the early Christians, since they didn’t speak English. They only had “theos”, “Yahweh”, and “Deus” for those who spoke Latin. So, where they polytheists?

    RA: NO, that is not MY logic at all. In fact, that is not a “logic” of any kind. That is called a strawman — i.e., any argument made against a position that someone else does not actually hold.

    I’m not making any remarks about the WORDS “Penal Substitution.” I’m referring to the concept — i.e., the detailed, well-formed, complex, theologically deep explanation that teases out the mechanics that rest behind the HOW of Christ dying for our sins.

    We now have 3 views in this thread: 1. Penal Substitution (most modern believers); 2. “Ransom to Satan” (Early Church Fathers); 3. Federal Headship (Dorothy).

    Each Theory/View explains HOW the atonement worked – i.e., they explain the HOW Jesus could have died for our sins to those of us who already accept THAT Jesus died for our sins.
    _________
    Perkins: By your logic, the Trinity isn’t biblical, either, since the word “Trinity” wasn’t used until the Nicene Creed. . . . So is the Trinity just a theory unknown to the early Christians?

    RA: Again, you seem to have a problem confusing logic with strawman arguments (see above). As I noted previously about these very issues, there is a vast difference between derived doctrines such as the trinity and the full deity of Christ (both of which the church made OFFICIAL pronouncements on) and this derived doctrine of Penal Substitution Theory/View. The primary doctrine is the death of Christ on the cross, PS is a secondary explanation of that primary doctrine. Clearly, the church, which has NEVER made an offical declaration on PS, understood/understands this point.
    _________
    Perkins: Be logically and hermeneutically consistent here.

    RA: I am not the one having a problem with inconsistency (o comprehension).
    ______________
    Perkins: Words mean things. The things are the important things. Words are buckets; it’s the oats inside the bucket that feed the horse.

    RA: Oh thank you so much. The world is brand new now. LoL.
    ___________
    Perkins: [You said, “As I’ve already noted, according to historical fact, the Penal Substitution as we know it today, did not exist in the early church.”]. That’s true.

    RA: Talk about being inconsistent.
    _________
    Perkins: Except for Paul in I Cor. 15 and Romans 8:3, Peter . . . . [snip] indicating the PSA in symbolic form. (Now Christ is the Lamb.)

    RA: You’re barking up the wrong tree. You are simply arguing here for the Penal Substitution view. Fine. Cool. Excellent.

    But this has nothing to do with our discussion. I’ve already stated I embrace the PS Theory/View. You, my friend, are incessantly seeking to mold into one and the same thing:

    1. the simply idea that Jesus died for my/our sins; and
    2. the more fully developed, complex, theological framework of Penal Substitution.

    But they are not the same thing, although they do indeed go hand-in-hand.
    ______________
    Perkins: I see, too, you’ve added the ransom theory to your original only-six theories.

    RA: What in the world are you talking about? It’s one of the six theories. In my article (see ), it’s referred to as the “Atonement as Victory” Theory/View — a.k.a. the Ransom to Satan Theory/View. Same thing.
    _________
    Perkins: Words mean things.

    RA: Indeed.

    RA

    • Richard,

      This is a great example because when I said Federal Headship, I was speaking of marriage, not atonement. Yes, I do know about Adam being representative of mankind and Christ of the Church, but I was talking about the marriage roles. See how easy it is take words and still need to define the others statements.

      • D: I was speaking of marriage, not atonement.

        RA: LOL!!!!!! That’s a great one for the blog books. Yeah, I get you now. Cool. Thanks for clarifying.

        Well, then let us say, in light of your clarification, that we now have three views of the atonement mentioned in this thread, which includes Federal Headship held not by Dorothy, but by……. others out there in cyberspace. LoL. 🙂

        RA

        • Richard,

          Gottcha! LOL

          I don’t know if any here have studied the feasts of the Lord from Lev 23, but it’s a fascinating study. Alfred Edersheim did a lot of work in this area and his books are online and his rendition on the feast of atonement is quite enlightening.

          There were two goats used that day – one for sacrifice and upon the other were placed the sins of Israel. That goat was to be released out into the wilderness and if he returned, it equated to their sins returning. The Jews of the first century wanted to insure that goat couldn’t return, so they not only led it out into the wilderness, but they threw it off a cliff. Talk about trying to thwart justice.

          Redemption to me is the key word. If I redeem something, I’m recognized as paying for it. That would equate to an item changing hands, thus in the Federal Headship view those in Adam as a Federal Head, being bought and paid for, are under the headship of Christ by virtue of redemption. I may be off track here, but it seems to me that some of these views have a connection but are looking at different aspects of the same thing.

          If I hold a quarter up between us, one of us will see heads and one tails but we are both looking at the same quarter.

  17. D: If I hold a quarter up between us, one of us will see heads and one tails but we are both looking at the same quarter.

    RA: And in the case of Christ’s death on the cross for us, isn’t it a glorious, beautiful, miraculous quarter? Praise Jesus.

    RA

    • A quarter??? Are you sure it isn’t 25 cents? It sure looks like 25 cents to me….You need to get your eyes examined. lol

      All kidding aside – I wholeheartedly agree! Praise Jesus!!!!

  18. Of course, if you don’t believe that baptism is by immersion only and you have to use with water from the Holy Land, you’re not saved.

    Oh, yeah. April Fool’s Day was yesterday, wasn’t it?

    The Bald Guy.

  19. To all,
    Here is why I get alarmed when folks say you don’t have to believe in the Penal Substitutionary Atonement:

    Liberals have made statements denying the PSA and their intent is to deny the concept itself, not simply denying a need to know that particular extra-biblical phrase. (The words aren’t important; the concept is, remember.) Many liberals find the doctrine of our sinfulness offensive, so they say Christ died as a divine example of love and self-sacrifice or some such silly thing. (He is our example, but that’s not the main point of the murder of God in the flesh on the tree.) If Christ died for our sins, we must be sinful, not bacically good. The unregenerated in all religions hate being told they are evil.

    That destroys the true gospel, and creates another gospel. The concept of the substitution of Christ to accept the wrath of God so we don’t is the heart of the gospel–Christ died for our sins.

    And, yes, PSA does refer to Christ dying for our sins so we don’t have to. You can find more complicated definitions, but that’s the simple version.

    And I’m going to make a statement here. It may be offensive, but I know it’s true and if you’re doing this you’ll know it’s true, too. So please be patient with me as I say this: There is no way in this whole wide world one who regularly studies the Bible would think to deny the substitutionary punishment of Christ unless he/she was exposing him/herself to the teaching of someone who taught this. Stop reading and studying theology, and pop-religion found everywhere. Read and study the Bible. Other reading should be only supplemental as an aid to understand the Scripture. Scripture has the words of life. Read theology here and there as an aid. Most of your time and mental energy should be spent on comprehending and obeying the Bible. (The apostles had only the Bible and did fairly well, you know.) You won’t sound as smart, to some who don’t know the Bible much, but you’ll actually know A LOT MORE. And Christ will be pleased with you.

    But then, isn’t that what life is about?

    Be holy because your Father is,
    Phil Perkins.

  20. The only value the doctrine of PSA has is that it keeps you out of God’s kingdom. You need to consider that it is not untrue that “only a few find it” and this is not an understatement. One problem you have with this doctrine and it’s sidekick, substitutionary atonement, is too many proponents and too many gates. Another problem is two things God has said and one other statement from the Bible that either by themselves or as unit indicates either you or God is wrong.

    1. Gen. 9:5 NIV. This rule of law relative to every case of death of any human male caused by bloodshed has the constant residual factor which requires a direct accounting to God after the fact. The requirement to account is the residual remaining AFTER Jesus’ crucifixion and negates all value proposed by PSA and substitutionary atonement theory. Neither of these beliefs could have been perfected by Jesus’ crucifixion for the residual requirement, give account, preexisted Jesus’ crucifixion. Subordinate to PSA and substitutionary atonement is the preexisting requirement that if these hypotheses were to be perfected there will not be any residual issue relative to guilt or sin.

    2. Jn. 16:8 is a quote by Jesus prior to his crucifixion that recognizes the residual. Guilt relative to sin being the outstanding issue inclusive of the world populous AFTER Jesus was crucified indicates that the problem assumed to have been solved by crucifying a man in your place is not solved. The constant, guilt relative to sin, is unchanged.

    3. Heb. 7:12 clearly states that a change has been made to the law of God AFTER Jesus’ crucifixion. This fact creates an insurmountable problem for PSA and substitutionary atonement since there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. What will you do to solve this dilemma, crucify Jesus again, perhaps?

    At least one thing is true that you have said “a lot can be learned by reading and studying the Bible.”

    • Hi,

      Perhaps you should keep reading the Book of Hebrews Mr. Jones;

      Hebrews 9:24-26, 28, KJV

      Pay particular attention to the word “offered” (v28)……

      Yes, you can learn a lot from reading and studying the Bible.

      Looking forward to your response….

      Phil

  21. When a statement by any one is placed into a social setting of the like minded of the sayer that statement is confirmed as valid by a circular confirmation process. i.e. I agree with you, you agree with me, she agrees with us, etc. but one does not dare to be un-like minded. Birds of a feather flock together as the saying goes.
    Now let me see if I understand your short response. The word “offered” to your mind can only mean “offered in place of you” is that right? While there may have been a smidgen of truth in Jesus’ mind to offer himself in place of you it is rather difficult to prove Jesus has that same idea as you. One of the things Jesus does say relative to the subject at hand, and this was before his crucifixion, is the parable of the Tenants. What does Jesus say his father’s intention is after Jesus’ crucifixion? I would tend to think if it were true that Jesus had been crucified in your place to make things between you and his father OK. Those people he was speaking to should have gotten the exact same reward as you think you’ve gotten, but they didn’t.

Comments are closed.