Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wright on Penal Substitution

N. T. Wright, the sometimes controversial evangelical Anglican bishop of Durham, has recently published an article on the Fulcrum website reviewing a book about the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement. As always, it is probably better to read the original if this is a debate that floats your boat. Here is a taste:

To throw away the reality because you don’t like the caricature is like cutting out the patient’s heart to stop a nosebleed. Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and all because of the unstoppable love of the one creator God. There is ‘no condemnation’ for those who are in Christ, because on the cross God condemned sin in the flesh of the Son who, as the expression of his own self-giving love, had been sent for that very purpose. ‘He did not spare his very own Son, but gave him up for us all.’ That’s what Good Friday was, and is, all about.

6 comments:

michael jensen said...

um, 'sometimes controversial'?

;-)

Anthony said...

Yes, because you have to find somebody willing to take his side!

But is he the evangelical Anglican bishop of Durham, or the Anglican evangelical bishop of Durham...?

byron said...

Michael, would you have preferred 'very occasionally controversial'?

Anthony - the former (evangelical Anglican), since evangelicalism is not a denomination and so has no bishops.

Bruce Yabsley said...

Thanks for the link, Byron. BTW is it my imagination, or is the Fulcrum website often having problems?

evangelicalism is not a denomination and so has no bishops

Nice.

byron said...

I've heard that the Fulcrum site has particularly been experiencing problems since it posted this Wright review because of high traffic. Or it might just be a more general problem with the site, since I've had trouble in the past too.

psychodougie said...

wow. fascinatinig article. especially in light of our last WaSaBI on the atonement.

i think rob doyle said that in order to understand how substitution works, God for Us, we first have to understand how it functions, God in sich (God within himself).

and it is because talking about the goings-on within the God-head is often so abstract, so removed from worldly things, we resort to human charicatures.

i guess it's about looking at the charicatures and seeing them as the humble attempts that they are.

i especially liked tom's line about the atonement story being a whole narrative, not something we can easily pin down - any attempt to summarise, allegorise, contemporise, will always fall short.