Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Its amazing what you find when you start digging into church history. I have been on a 6 year journey of studying the atonement, and it was not until recently that I have begun to appreciate the treasures that can be found in the first 3-4 centuries of the church an dhow they explained the atonement. This video captures most of where I have landed in my understanding of the text of scripture as it relates to the gospel and how we explain the "how" of what Jesus has done for us. And believe me, the "how" really matters. Not so much that people understand it all on the front end, but how you explain the gospel to people sets a framework for how they will view God, themselves and a host of other really important sets in their faith. For example, when I first started studying the atonement, I ran across books that took what I call the pragmatic approach. They took the various models of atonement like penal substitution, exemplary, Christus Victor etc, and tried to say that the scriptures can vouch for all of them in some form or fashion. This sounded right at first, but then I started t see some glaring contradictions in the models. For example, either God poured his wrath out on Jesus to punish him instead of us, or he didn't. You cant have it both ways. Jesus either takes our punishment for us, or he doesn't. I, for one, can't find anywhere in the Bible where it says or teaches that God punished Jesus and poured his wrath out on him. And yet, this is exactly what most of Reformed theology teaches. I have completely rejected the penal substitution model of the atonement because I don't see it being taught in scripture. I do, however, see what my friend Mako Nagasawa has coined medical substitution, or in more technical terms, ontological substitution. Jesus is still a substitute, but he is not a penal substitute. Rather than God punishing Jesus instead of us, God united himself to our corrupted human nature and throughout the whole course of his life, he converts it back to God. At his death, he condemns the sin in his own flesh, and kills it. in his resurrection, that corrupted human nature is healed and transformed, and through out union with him, by the Spirit, he shares his new humanity with us. Hope you enjoy the video.