Saving Christ's Substitutionary Death Print
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 04 June 2012 14:44

"During a coffee break at a conference, I passed by some young pastors who were discussing the Atonement, a topic covered by the speaker at the session we had just attended. One of them said rather forcefully that he seldom mentions the substitutionary work of Christ anymore in his sermons. Instead, he said, he talks about how Christ encountered "the powers" of consumerism, militarism, racism, super-patriotism, and the like.

"Whatever the pastor's intention, his remark expresses a mood increasingly prevalent among younger evangelicals. They often show a genuine discomfort with substitutionary themes, favoring a Christus Victor approach.

"Much of traditional Christianity has strongly emphasized how the work of the Cross was a kind of intra-Trinitarian transaction. Jesus offered himself "up" to the Father; he paid a debt that we humans could not pay on our own; he hung in our place, offering himself as a sacrifice for sin.

"Each atonement theory highlights a truth about the Cross—but none more so than Christ's substitutionary death."

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