Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Penal Substitution?

Penal substitution in current evangelical theology is the primary consequence of the cross of Christ

Meaning, Christ takes all our sins and we take all His righteousness,
now what it implies is a 'vicarious atonement' - that is, only the debt of the punishment is transferred

According to Berkhof's Systematics, this implies:

1. The guilty part himself is not in a position to bear the penalty through to the end, so that a righteous relation results
2. the transfer does not encroach upon the rights and privileges of innocent third parties
3. the person enduring the penalty is not himself already indebted to justice
4. the guilty party retains the consciousness of his guilt and of the fact that the substitute is suffering for him

so in summary: "The guilt of sin as a liability to punishment was imputed to Christ, and this could be transferred because it did not enhere in the person of the sinner, but was something objective."

Now is it just me, or is this slightly wonky?

As far as I know "He who had no sin BECAME sin for us"

It is also not as if Christ dies for Adam therefore Adam goes free...
No it is Christ dies, therefore all in Christ live
In fact Scripture says, "We are crucified with Him, we died with Him, we were buried with Him, we were raised with Him, we ascended with Him, we are seated on the right hand of God with Him now"

All the allegories in Scripture, the tree, the ark, the sheep pen, the body etc...
imply a much more personal union with Christ, that we participate in the cross, and now are truly righteous in Him - true participators in the Divine Nature

Everything in the law indicates we are dead to the world, and are alive in Christ, in fact He is our life, and we are hidden in Him

This is no mere substitution, but a full incorporation into the Godhead...
Therefore as Paul we must say...
Galatians 6:14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.


2 comments:

Jacky said...

do u think this definition of penal substitution by berkhof is defined similarly by other evangelicals today? like steve chalk vs. piper etc on the penal substitution business.. if they are arguing over different definitions, then its pretty self-defeating?

yemsee said...

i haven't read it myself.. but basically Chalke has some weird notion that the cross is really some wicked cosmic child abuse..
and I think Piper is right to smack him on the wrist for it..

this book "Pierced for our Transgressions" by Jeffery, Ovey & Sachs is basically written in refutation of Chalke

now i'm saying that penal substitution is too weak a description for the cross... although i may be wrong?