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Is the Penal Substitution Theory the most common theory throughout history?

Discussion in 'Calvinism & Arminianism Debate' started by JonC, Mar 6, 2018.

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  1. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Penal Substitution assumes the Cross was an expression of God's wrath. Justin Martyr' s writings did not. So not all theories view the Cross as God pouring wrath on Christ.

    Many of the early writers believed the Cross to be Christ sharing in our death so we can share in His life.
     
  2. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    It wasn't just sharing our death, as it was a punitive death. As stated previously, Christ died as a criminal, died the most horrendous death a human being could die as a form of punishment. It perhaps goes beyond the human scope in terms of its force as the wrath of God was poured out upon Him.

    Granted, this causes us to shrink away even in horror.
    Yet it was for the ultimate joy of our redemption.

    Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
     
  3. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I understand this is what Penal Substitution Theory holds (I not only held that theory but I taught it for years).The issue is that Scripture places Christ's death "as a criminal" to be the perspective of those who crucified Christ (who Peter, in Acts, informed was wrong as they had killed the Messiah).

    The claim that people reject the idea because they reject wrath or because it is horrible is not always valid (it is for some, e.g., Weaver's interpretation). But others believe that Christ's death paid the debt against us not because God punished Christ but because He lay down His life (Christ, being God Himself, outweighed anything that could be charged against us) n obedience to the Father who offered Him as a guilt offering.
     
  4. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    No better; they wrote it down very clearly. But as you yourself say, it doesn't matter because what matters is what is in the Bible.

    However, I shall not let you get away with claiming the Penal Substitution was unknown until the Reformation. That is demonstrably untrue.
     
  5. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    There is a chasm between the suffering of Christ the Israeli considered was justified and that as what some hold of Penal substitution in that in some manner God had wrath that he poured out upon the Son.

    1). The Scriptures state that the people would think it Devine justice of God. (Isaiah 53). But the FACT is that it w as not, again Isaiah “It pleases God”.

    2) There is not a single statement that God was displeased at anytime in the crucifixion. Just the opposite. The Father did not abandon Christ, but certainly did remove protection from Him (example Job). If one thinks that Christ is and always was God (as I do), then it is totally impossible for God to punish Himself to be angry and pour wrath out upon Himself.

    3). Although there certainly is penal suffering, such was not for God’s benefit, but rather it was as Isaiah state for humankind. “He was wounded for our...”. “He was bruised for our...”. “With His stripes we are...”.

    4). Typical of the times and conditions penal substitution was put into a monstrously misguided theory. Rather then it showing and proving the Love of God, it portrays some ogre ready to squash bugs out of some Devine retribution. The Scriptures do not present such a God.

    5). Penal substitution (not the theory) is evident in the Scriptures along with satisfaction, redemption and all other such statements. Honest theogolians recognize this truth, and though they may prefer one “theory” as a personal view, do not cling to it as the only single true presentation, but understand that within their preference there is room to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of both their own and that which they hold as less.

    6). Penal Substitution Theory is a THEORY! It is not written in stone, and it is silly that some presentations on this thread would give such a theory that level of dedication.

    Now, I will retreat and keep reading with interest.

    I really do enjoy reading the presentations, especially those in which the focus is not upon a person, but upon ferreting out the basic presentation of Scriptures.
     
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  6. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    It matters because that is the topic of the thread. And no, it is very true. Until fairly recently it wasn't even questioned.

    In all of your posts the best you could come up with was that people believed Christ bore our sins, suffered as one of us, and by His stripes we were healed. Never once did you provide a single statement that God was wrathful towards Christ by punishing Him with our punishment.

    Even Aquinas taught that God punished Jesus for our sin as our representative. But he did not hold to Penal Substitution Theory.

    You have an issue with context.
     
  7. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Statements such as without the theory one does not have the Atonement places our theories above God's Word. I believe this reflects a shallowness to our doctrines thay plagues churches today.
     
  8. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    First of all, this is the wrong way to ascertain the truth, 'The infallible rule of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.' [1689 Confession 1:9] In other words, Scripture interprets Scripture and to confine one's search for a doctrine to one particular book is the wrong approach.

    However, @The Archangel, who is a learned chap and a considerable theologian, has shown you the lexical meaning of hilasmos in 1 John 2:2 and quoted various commentators to you. However that verse is not in a vacuum, and is the culmination of a doctrinal section that begins in 1 John 1:5. I'm not going to go through all the verses-- go read a commentary-- but I think we can find the meaning of the section quite easily. I reserve the right, however, to ski off piste.

    '.......God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.' We note that darkness cannot abide in the presence of God (Revelation 22:5), and that light and darkness in John are spiritual rather than physical. Thus we see the darkness of ignorance in Nicodemus (John 3:2), and the darkness of sin in Judas (John 13:30). If we are walking in darkness, we can have no fellowship with God (v.6). Yet, 'if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us' (1 John 1:8). How can we ever be right with God? How can sinners walk in the light?

    'Eternal light! Eternal Light!
    How pure that soul must be
    When, placed within Thy searching sight,
    It shrinks not, but with calm delight
    Can live and look on Thee?

    .......Oh, how shall I whose native sphere
    Is dark, whose mind is dim,
    Before the Ineffable appear
    And on my naked spirit bear
    The uncreated beam?

    But verse 8 tells us that 'If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.' How can He do that? God is faithful; that is, He is true to His character and true to His word, which states that He is 'By no means clearing the guilty' (Exodus 34:7). He declares, 'I will not justify the wicked' (Exodus 23:7). God is just: the wicked must be punished. How can He forgive us? We see the remarkable similarity of 1 John 1:5-2:2 and Romans 3:21-26. '.......That [God] might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.'

    'There is a way for man to rise
    To that sublime abode:
    And offering and a sacrifice,
    A Holy Spirit's energies,
    An advocate with God.'

    God's law must be upheld; the guilty must be punished; God's wrath, 'Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men' must be appeased. And this is done by the Lord Jesus Christ. 'He Himself is the propitiation for our sins......' Sin has been punished in Him (Isaiah 53:6). 'Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree' (1 Peter 2:24). And the use by Peter of 'tree' rather than 'cross' reminds us that Christ also bore the curse that our sins brought upon us (Deuteronomy 27:26; Galatians 3:13). Sin has been punished, in Christ; God's righteousness has been upheld, in Christ; we are free from condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1), because we become 'the righteousness of God in Him' (2 Corinthians 5:21), because He has borne our sins, every last bit of them, and God looks at us and sees the perfect, unblemished righteousness of Christ.

     
  9. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    @The Archangel was wrong. The word translated "propitiation" in 1 John (the only place that Greek word appears) does not necessitate the meaning "bears wrath". The contest of 1 John does not necessitate the interpretation "Jesus bore God's wrath".

    The commentaries he provided were giving commentary. I have a BA in Religion and a MA in Theology (concentration Church History). But when I was a high school student I knew the difference between translation, definition, interpretation, and commentary. Both of you should be ashamed.

    If the two of you cannot separate the theory from Scripture you cannot evaluate the theory and are therefore incapable of discerning the truth of the matter.
     
  10. The Archangel

    The Archangel Well-Known Member

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    I, like Paul, "am not ashamed of the gospel."

    The Archangel
     
  11. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I certainly hope that no one here is ashamed of the gospel.
     
  12. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    You cannot ignore these verses

    4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
    5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

    No one is saying that God is/was displeased it was for the joy of our redemption that Jesus bore the shame of being made sin for us. God punishing Himself!? Do you not understand the doctrine of the Trinity. I know you do (in all probability) Three distinct persons in one divine essence.

    Agreed..

    Genesis 6
    6 And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
    7 So the LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground, man and beast and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them."
    8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

    God did indeed exercise His wrath against the human race. Fortunately Noah found grace in His eyes.

    His wrath is coming again.

    Revelation 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.


    I believe Isaiah 53 along with the historic penal crucifixion of Jesus Christ in fulfillment proves it more than a theory (I suppose according to your statement above concerning "honest" theologians this makes me a dishonest theologian.

    Again what I believe is the essence of the disdain of penal substitution is that it strikes to the very core of the sin of Adam.

    Genesis 3:12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

    "thou gavest to be with me" -- Adam blamed God for what happened. In others words "It's your fault"

    It is indeed a miracle of grace that He spared anyone.
     
  13. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    The chastisement of our peace does not necessarily mean the chastisement of our sins. No one is rejecting this (or any other) passage here. We have different views we can discuss. Personally, I believe PST the farthest from the biblical text not because it doesn't include Scripture but for the amount of philosophy it contains.
     
  14. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Hank, I going to keep out of the thread for the most part. But, will answer a couple good points that you make.

    But, that is that not the very core essence of some posts? That it "displeased" God that the Son bore our sin and our sorrow, so in His Devine Wrath, He punished his own self, "I and the Father are one," "If you have seen the me, you have seen the Father," "...The Word was God... The Word became flesh..."

    I hold to the trinity, but there is just no room to allow that God would punish himself, especially for what He promised, decreed and saw through to completion.

    Certainly! The wrath of God is revealed upon all ungodly. But, Christ NEVER became ungodly. Again, in essence, there are some posts that are bordering on such by suggesting that God "poured out His wrath upon the Son." And even, that God turned his back on the Son or no longer could look upon His Son. Such just is not that which follows Scripture principle. God does look upon sinful humankind all the time, does He not?

    Penal means body the forensic. Christ suffered, no doubt. BUT, the suffering was not imposed by God, but it was what humans considered that God would approve. "... smitten of God and afflicted..." Peter statement at Pentecost.

    The "Penal Substitution Theory" takes the suffering and makes it retribution for what God appointed, prophecies, and caused.

    No such theory should make God the blame for the suffering of Christ.

    Just as you said, Adam blamed God for what happened.

    Humans have been blaming God for what happened to Christ in the crucifixion using Penal Substitution Theory.

    It is not that Christ didn't suffer, it is why did He suffer and who caused the suffering.
     
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  15. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    I am weary of this fruitless discussion neither of us will change.

    However I have one very serious issue with you - your virtual changing of Jesus words "The Father and I are one" to "The father and I are one and the same".

    The Father is NOT punishing Himself at the crucifixion!
    This constitutes Modalism and Patripassianism.
     
    #135 HankD, Mar 8, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  16. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    This is wrong, God poured out his wrath for sin (Jesus was made to be sin for us) on His Son that He (The Father) might be propitiated.
    The point is that it was not His fault we sinned, yet Jesus suffered in our place nonetheless.
     
  17. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    Amen!

    The Godhead was taking/absorbing, and thus forgiving, the penalty due man, in HIMSELF. This was not "cosmic child abuse". It was a debt being paid by the wronged party, aka, forgiveness.
     
  18. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    This is certainly stretching, for in no manner (even "virtually") did I state what you would account for me as stating.

    I could actually ask, (assuming to extrapolate your own statement(s)) are you actually stating that Christ is not God in the flesh?

    There is not a single Scripture supporting that "God poured out His wrath" upon His only natural born Son.

    In my opinion, this thinking is totally something left from the retribution view that God must punish and have some kind of payback. That some great debt is owed because of sin. Because the "reformers" did not actually want to separate from the RCC, but were pushed out, they did not come out clean but brought baggage and dust with them.

    The Scriptures do not present in a single place that God's wrath was poured out upon the Son. As a result, I am obliged to not support such thinking. Again, in my opinion, such is left over "dust" from the RCC in which they desired ways to manipulate and control both kings and common folks.

    This is just so much bad thinking, that it is hard to know were to start. The whole concept is just wrong!

    Sin has NO penalty. Sin collects no debt. The Scriptures state, "The WAGES of sin is death."

    Sin pays a wage, it isn't a debt collector. Such retribution type thinking is again that RCC view of having to do penitence. A way to manipulate and control.

    God was not nor is He "owed" for human sin. What is owed? A debt of Love! "For He first loved us..."

    God brings judgment not in a court of some financial accounting, but in a court of criminal sin and trespass.

    The Decalogue violations do not stack accounting errors, but crimes of trespass and sin.

    Does not the Scriptures show that all mankind will be judged out of the books of works done, not to show some accounting practice, but to demonstrate that not a single work can be used as a resolve to the crime of trespass and sin. There is no payment to be made, or then even the Lake of Fire would not be eternal.

    Yet, the thinking of the Penal Substitution Theory obliges such thinking as: Payment for a sin debt, Penalty for sin... and to extrapolate that thinking to the obvious conclusions obliges one to accept purgatory and penitence as valid.

    Christ made no such payment, for He took upon Himself not to pay, but took upon Himself the very CURSE.
    Therefore, humankind can be preached the message of reconciliation - restored favor.


    Now, it is important that the readers come to understand that many just accept and not truly investigate the thinking of the Penal Substitution Theory.
    Here are some flaws in the thinking of that THEORY that I am certain those that hold it will make all manner of attempts at rebuttal, but the flaws never-the-less remain.

    1) The Penal Substitution Theory would have the Trinity as being separated in that operations of the three could occur and could impact upon the Trinity separately and in isolation to the other members. That allows the Father to be wrathful towards Himself (as He, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all the Trinity). That He could actually ignore a portion of the Trinity, turn His back on a portion of the Trinity, and more actually poured out wrath upon the Son - a member of the Trinity.

    2) It presents a conflict in the salvation. If God poured out His wrath upon His son (as some would contend) then what wrath is left over? Did God incompletely pour out His wrath? Are none then under the wrath of God? Or did God only pour out a portion, so the work of the cross could be considered incomplete? Yet, do not many hold to a limited atonement because of this very problem? If such would submit to the Scriptures, the problem dissolves - Christ can certainly have shed the blood for all without regard to all being redeemed, for redemption is a matter of belief and not of blood, it has been that way from the time of Adam.

    3) It presents a conflict with the OT type(s). At what point was ANY sacrifice for the sin offering or the scapegoat tortuously treated in a manner of displaying the wrath of God in type? Did God not rebuke Mosses for striking the rock rather than speaking to it? Was the rock not stricken once by Mosses that water flowed. Did God ever strike the rock or did a human? At what point do ANY of the prophets even suggest that God would pour out His wrath upon the suffering Messiah? Does not Isaiah specifically state that "It PLEASED God..."


    Now, I have spent far too long in this thread in which I desired to read more than participate.

    I hold each of the participants in very high regard, but when it comes to this matter of supporting the Penal Substitution Theory, the examination of the Scriptures shows most glaring areas that definitely need addressed and corrected.

    I was hoping the thread would bring folks to acknowledge the needed areas and work toward a better more Scripturally consistent theory.
     
  19. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    Nice rant. When are ready discuss, just pop back, anytime.
     
  20. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    The lexical meaning of hilasmos is one thing. Go back and read @The Archangel's posts. The context certainly demands the interpretation that Christ on the cross is the propitiation for our sins. I have shown you how that works out in my post above.
    This stuff impresses me not at all. Bunyan, Booth, Spurgeon and Lloyd-Jones all lacked a formal theological education. On the other hand the Anglican Church is full of people with PhDs in theology who don't know the Gospel. I know nothing of The Archangel's education-- he may be stacked with PhDs for all I know-- but he knows his theology far better than you.
    The theory is drawn from Scripture. By clinging to the text without understanding what it means, you are adopting the tactics of Arius at Nicaea as I explained elsewhere.
     
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