orthodoxy and the atonment issue…once again


Fr Stephan Freeman has a great post on the Atonement over at his blog, “Glory to God for All Things”.  in it he speaks of the many uses of metaphor for the atonement that the biblical writers use.  to belatedly answer andrea’s question on piper, the sole doctrine of substitionary atonement and penal substitution that is taught frustrates me to no end.  that’s a reason i love Orthodoxy.  genuine transformation is a promise that’s made, it’s not some icing on the cake.  and me… i kinda want to be transformed.

But first things first in my questions. There have always been problems with the purely extrinsic models of justification. For one thing, the “reality” of what happens is restricted to God alone – it consists only in what He considers us to be. The obvious question, since most would make a person’s justification a requirement for salvation, would be, “If the reality exists only in what God considers us to be, why, in His infinite mercy, does He not just consider it so for everyone?”

This turn of the question seems quite fair, since Martin Luther asked much the same question of the Papacy, when considering the Church’s authority to declare indulgences. “If the Church has this authority to release from Purgatory, why, in the name of mercy, does it not just do so for everyone?” What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If the Reformation could ask such obvious questions of the Pope, can we not ask such obvious questions of the Reformation and its account of God?

Of course, the answer is that the Reformation’s answer has been given, and that’s where extra doctrines, such as election, predestination, sovereignty of God, etc., become important. God could, but He doesn’t, and this is why…

These explanations, with a carefully crafted bulwark of Scripture, are what make up the bulk of classical Protestantism. The Reformation was not a “return” to Biblical authority, but a shifting of authority from one ecclesial source (Rome) to another (Geneva), (Wartburg, etc.), and so it continues to this day.

Read the rest at “once for all?”


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