Surveying the Wondrous Cross


El Greco – Christ Carying the Cross

Google the words atonement and emergent church together, and your computer screen will soon heat up a few degrees. A lively (and not always civilized) debate has broken out among those who defend classical theories of the Atonement and those who see them as some variation of the caricature Dorothy Sayers drew 60 years ago:

God wanted to damn everybody, but his vindictive sadism was sated by the crucifixion of his own Son, who was quite innocent, and, therefore, a particularly attractive victim. He now only damns people who don’t follow Christ or who have never heard of him.

Since Jesus’ death nearly 2,000 years ago, theologians such as Origen, Anselm of Canterbury, Peter Abelard, and John Calvin have proposed ways of understanding it: as a Ransom paid to Satan, a Satisfaction required by God, a Moral Influence for humanity, a Penal Substitution for the punishment due to humankind. Some of these theories, referencing animal sacrifices and God’s wrath, can make for a hard sell for many in modern
times.

Interested? Read more HERE.

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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