Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reconciliation presupposes somebody is mad at me!

From the 9Marks Blog comes this excerpt from an article by Greg Gilbert:

I’m not going to make a sustained case for penal substitutionary atonement here. I and others have done that elsewhere, over and over and over again. I will, however, assert (again) that penal substitution is not just one more image of the cross among many, from which buffet we may pick and choose depending on what we think will communicate best at any given moment. It is, rather, the underlying reality upon which all the other images depend and are built. So, you say you prefer to talk about the cross in terms of reconciliation instead of penal substitution? Great. All I ask is that you be honest about it and trace that image all the way down. Why, for starters, is reconciliation needed in the first place? Don't tell me you can avoid talking about anger by talking about reconciliation---reconciliation presupposes that somebody is mad at somebody else. So then, is reconciliation needed because we are angry at God, or is it because God is angry at us? And exactly how is reconciliation with an angry God effected at the cross? Is it by something other than Jesus taking the wrath that was owed to us, becoming a curse for us, the just dying for the unjust? You see? You can talk about “the Bible looking at the cross from a multiplicity of perspectives” all you want, but all those perspectives, when you trace them down, come right back to Jesus taking the punishment his people deserved—that is, to penal substitution. And if you argue for something short of that, you are missing the point of the cross, and therefore of the gospel, entirely. (Of course you can—and people have—simply made up a few perspectives that don’t trace back down to penal substitution. But that’s beside the point. We’re talking about biblical images here.)

Read the entire article here. Really, read it!

1 comment:

  1. Jude, I just read this article. It is really good and very sobering.