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Living On The Edge: challenges to faith

September 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Today Christians in the Western world are typically living in a post-Christian society. Christian beliefs are met with skepticism, and people see little reason to believe. Christians are confronted with daily challenges to their faith, and often struggle to understand the relevance of Christianity to modern life.

The book ‘Living On The Edge: challenges to faith‘ (due to be printed in November 2013), addresses those concerns. For an overview of the book, click here.

Participatory atonement 3: Modern scholarship

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

The dominant Christian understanding of the atonement is the ‘penal substitution’ theory, which states that Christ was punished by an angry God as a substitute for those he came to save. However, the interpretation of penal substitution came under sustained attack during the nineteenth century.[1] This continued throughout the twentieth century,[2] [3] with the result that the theory has lost considerable support among theologians over the last thirty years.

*  Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary[4]

*  New Bible Dictionary[5]

*  Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary[6] [7] [8]

*  Encyclopedia of Christianity[9]

Many liberal theologians have abandoned substitution,[10] but recently there is increasing recognition among even conservative theologians that the most the original Biblical teaching is best understood as participatory.[11] [12] [13]

Interest in historic alternatives to penal substitution has increased, and the interpretations of Abelard and the Socinians have received renewed attention. Support for participatory atonement is growing, especially in reaction to the violent nature of traditional penal substitution. [14]

It is increasingly understood that a change was required not in God, but in those who sinned against Him.[15] Likewise, the irrelevance of penal substitution to the life of the believer has been identified as a serious weakness in this theory.[16] [17] Scholarly support for participatory atonement is both widespread and increasing. [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24]


[1] ‘The character of the needed reform became more and more clear: Christian thought must be brought over from the point of view of law to that of the conscience, it must be raised from legality to morality. Those even who wished to adhere as far as possible to the tradition of the past, tried to find a new foundation for the doctrine of substitution in the moral fact of solidarity. They gave up justifying the expiatory condemnation of Christ on the plea that divine justice must be satisfied; they were content to insist upon the organic bond which united the Son of man with the whole race. This method of argumentation, the first sketch of which was given by Ch. Secretan, and which was powerfully developed by so many orators, among whom should be mentioned E. Bersier, Ed. de Pressense, and Ch. Bois, has the advantage of being modem; but it remains to be seen whether, from a logical point of view, the argument does not ruin the ancient edifice it was destined to support.’, Sabatier, ‘The Doctrine of the Atonement: And Its Historical Evolution and Religion; and, Religion and Modern Culture ‘, pp. 92-93 (1904).

[2]But new challenges to the position arose in the modern period and were accepted by more and more churches. Able apologists for the penal substitutionary view also defended and developed that position against these new theories.’, Allison, ‘History of the Doctrine of the Atonement’, Southern Baptist Journal of Theology ( 11.2.15), 2007).

[3] ‘On much the same basis articulated by Abelard, nineteenth-and early twentieth-century Protestant liberals advocated a version of moral influence theory over against the satisfaction theory of fundamentalism and evangelicalism. A primary example is Horace Bushnell’s use of satisfaction terminology to argue for a moral influence theory of atonement.’, Weaver, ‘The Nonviolent Atonement’, p. 19 (2001).

[4] ‘While Paul stresses the centrality of Christ’s vicarious sacrifice, the Synoptic Gospels note that Christ claimed to give his life as a “ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28 par. Mark 10:45; see Exod. 21:30). All three Evangelists record Christ’s sincere mention of his eternal sacrifice when at the breaking of the bread he referred to his own body during the Last Supper (“this is my body”; Matt. 26:26–27 par. Mark 14:22–23; Luke 22:19–20). On the other hand, the New Testament leaves no doubt that atonement is accomplished through the believer’s participation with the Lord in his death rather than merely by Christ’s death on the cross (Rom. 6:2, 6, 8; cf. Gal. 2:19–20).’, ‘Atone, Atonement’, in Myers (ed.), ‘Eerdmans Bible Dictionary’, p. 106 (1987).

[5] ‘It is agreed by most students that Christ’s death was vicarious. If in one sense he died ‘for sin’, in another he died ‘for us’. But ‘vicarious’ is a term which may mean much or little. It is better to be more precise. Most scholars today accept the view that the death of Christ is representative. That is to say, it is not that Christ died and somehow the benefits of that death become available to men (did not even Anselm ask to whom more fittingly than to us could they be assigned?). It is rather that he died specifically for us. He was our representative as he hung on the cross. This is expressed succinctly in 2 Cor. 5:14, ‘one died for all; therefore all have died’. The death of the Representative counts as the death of those he represents. When Christ is spoken of as our ‘advocate with the Father’ (1 Jn. 2:1) there is the plain thought of representation, and as the passage immediately goes on to deal with his death for sin it is relevant to our purpose. The Epistle to the Hebrews has as one of its major themes that of Christ as our great High Priest. The thought is repeated over and over. Now whatever else may be said about a High Priest, he represents men. The thought of representation may thus be said to be very strong in this Epistle. d. Substitution taught in the New Testament But can we say more? There is a marked disinclination among many modern scholars (though not by any means all) to use the older language of substitution. Nevertheless, this seems to be the teaching of the NT, and that not in one or two places only, but throughout.’, Morris, ‘Atonement’, in Wood & Marshall (eds.), ‘New Bible Dictionary’, p. 103 (3rd ed. 1996).

[6]The idea of appeasing an angry god by sacrifice is certainly present in some non-Jewish ideas of sacrifice. Much hinges on the translation of the word hilaskesthai (and cognates) in the NT, and the equivalent OT words (usually kpr). In non-Jewish Gk, the word clearly carries ideas of propitiation. However, in a classic essay Dodd (1935: 82–95) argued that Jewish and Christian usage differs from that decisively.’, Tuckett, ‘Atonement in the NT’, in Freedman (ed.), ‘Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary’, volume 1, p. 519 (1996).

[7]Thus it is unlikely that the sacrificial system was ever conceived of in such a substitutionary sense. Substitutionary ideas have been thought to lie behind much of Paul’s language, though many would argue that “representation” rather than “substitution” does far more justice to Paul’s thought.’ , ibid., p. 519.

[8] ‘Similarly Paul’s language of Jesus “redeeming” those under the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us (Gal 3:13; 4:5) can only with difficulty support the view that Jesus’ death is being interpreted as a ransom price paid in a substitutionary sense. Far more important for Paul here seems to be the representative nature of Jesus’ death (see Hooker 1971).’, ibid., p. 521.

[9] ‘Atonement is a central concept in biblical theology. Along with the traditional misunderstanding of appeasing an angry deity, the penal definition of making good an offense and the viewing of the cultus as a human work have impeded a more relevant approach., Janowski, ‘Atonement: OT and Judaism’, in Fahlbusch & Bromiley (eds.), ‘Encyclopedia of Christianity’, volume 1, p. 152 (1999-2003).

[10] ‘In the wake of Socinian attacks, Protestant liberalism and Catholic modernism rejected objective theories, especially penal substitution. The “heretical” anthropology of R. Girard has reinforced the trend. Radical feminists have expressed the strongest possible aversion.’, Blocher, ‘Atonement’, in Vanhoozer et al. (eds.), ‘Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible’, p. 73 (2005).

[11] ‘In the Roman Church, after the critique by Sabourin and Lyonnet and under the climate created by Teilhard de Chardin and Rahner, few scholars of note, if any, have maintained it.’, ibid., p. 73.

[12] ‘Sanders goes so far as to argue that “the purpose of Christ’s death [for Paul is] that Christians may participate in it, not that their sins may be atoned for.”.’, Finlan, ‘The background and content of Paul’s cultic atonement metaphors’, p. 117 (2004).

[13]Sanders combines the participationist passages with those that mention “dying to the law” and argues that it is not so much atonement, as it is “sharing in christ’s death” that brings salvation.’, ibid., p, 117.

[14] ‘According to Anthony Bartlett, the New Testament has no place for wrath and its propitiation. Thus the atonement can only be “saved” if it is stripped of its “violent” implications.’, Horton, ‘Lord and servant: a covenant Christology’, p. 184 (2005).

[15] ‘Thus in this view, the work of the cross affects a change in us, rather than in God. Horace Bushnell revived this view of the atonement in the nineteenth century. He regarded sin as a type of sickness from which we must be healed.’, Kuhns, ‘Atonement and Violence’, Quodlibet Journal (5.4), October 2003.

[16] ‘First, this theory emphasizes Christ’s death as a sacrifice of propitiation that turns away God’s wrath, almost to neglect of any immediate consequence of Christ’s death for the daily life of the believer.’, ibid.

[17] ‘If some of the other theories are weak in not showing why Jesus had to die, this theory, as it is sometimes expounded, fails to adequately show why Jesus spent so much time teaching and calling people to follow him.’, ibid.

[18] ‘The central thesis of this lecture now comes into view. I contend that the work of the cross is not completed until we participate in it.’, Marshall, ‘On A Hill Too Far Away?: Reclaiming The Cross as the Critical Interpretive Principle of the Christian Life’, Review and Expositor (91.2.251), 1994.

[19] ‘Reno says that, in this account, Milbank accords the activity of “interpretive creativity” an indispensable role in the act of atonement itself, which thereby gives rise to the idea of “participatory atonement.”‘, Hyman, ‘The Predicament of Postmodern Theology: Radical Orthodoxy or Nihilist Textualism?’, p. 87 (2001).

[20]Participation is a constant theme with Paul. The believer must offer up his whole self as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1; 6:13)…’, Finlan, ‘The Background and Content of Paul’s Cultic Atonement Metaphors’, p. 118 (2004).

[21]But Paul’s teaching is not that Christ dies “in the place of” others so that they escape death (as the logic of “substitution” implies).86 It is rather that Christ’s sharing their death makes it possible for them to share his death.“Representation” is not an adequate single-word description, nor particularly “participation” or “participatory event”. But at least they help convey the sense of a continuing identification with Christ in, through, and beyond his death, which, as we shall see, is fundamental to Paul’s soteriology.’ , Dunn, ‘The Theology of Paul the Apostle’, p. 223 (2006).

[22] ‘…emphasis upon the practice of accepting forgiveness and extending it to one another, a participatory atonement if you will.’, Steere, ‘Rediscovering Confession: A Constructive Practice of Forgiveness’ p. 227 (2009).

[23] ‘Participatory atonement: we become reconciled to God by participating in Jesus’ path of death and resurrection‘ , Borg, ‘Conversations with Scripture: The Gospel of Mark’, p. 81 (2009).

[24]In a participatory model, but contrast, God does it all and we are fully included in the doing of God. And not as puppets are we fully included, but as creatures created by the Creator God to be creative. It is we who contribute something, we who are artists participating in the artistry of God.’, Rigby, ‘”Beautiful Playing”: Motlmann, Barth, and the Work of the Christian’, in McCormack & Bender (eds.),  ‘Theology as Conversation: The Significance of Dialogue in Historical and Contemporary Theology: A Festschrift for Daniel L. Migliore’, p. 114 (2009).

Participatory atonement 2: Medieval era

February 13, 2011 Leave a comment

An accurate understanding of the atonement was practically lost during the early to late medieval era. In the 12th century Anselm’s satisfaction theory and Abelard’s moral influence theory competed; Anselm’s model however, became dominant.

Peter Lombard attempted to reconcile competing theories, [1] favouring exemplary and participatory views. Penal substitution was essential to Reformation theology as a single legal satisfaction ‘once, for all’, eliminating human involvement in the process of salvation. [2] Emphasis was placed on God’s wrath and the need for violent appeasement of His anger.[3]

Penal substitution became the standard view for Reformation groups down to the 20th century,[4] though unorthodox groups such as the Anabaptists and Socinians rejected it for exemplary or participatory models.[5] [6] [7] The Catholic Church was also influenced by penal substitution. [8]

*  1080-c.1147: Robert Pullan;[9] exemplary [10]

*  d. 1142: Peter Abelard; exemplary, participatory [11] [12]

*  1100-1160: Peter Lombard; exemplary, participatory [13] [14] [15]

*  1265-1308: Duns Scotus; exemplary [16] [17] [18]

*  d. 1562: Laelius Socinus; exemplary [19] [20]

*  1527-1700: Anabaptists; exemplary [21]


[1] ‘Peter Lombard accumulated and tried to reconcile the most widely divergent opinions. He expresses the view that the death of Jesus was both a ransom paid to the devil and a manifestation of love.’, Sabatier, ‘The Doctrine of the Atonement: And Its Historical Evolution and Religion; and, Religion and Modern Culture ‘, p. 75 (1904).

[2] ‘The Magisterial Reformers made penal expiation central and set forth the once-for-all, finished work of the cross as the foundation of justification by faith alone. Luther preached it with unprecedented force (under the influence of Gal. 3); he taught that the satisfaction of divine justice and the propitiation of God’s wrath is the basis of our deliverance from sin, death, and the devil (Eißler 128–29). Calvin marshaled the biblical evidence (Isa. 53 as a key).’, Blocher, ‘Atonement’, in Vanhoozer et al. (eds.), ‘Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible’, p. 73 (2005).

[3]The Reformers introduced another view of the atonement, generally called the penal substitutionary theory. In some ways, it was similar to Anselm’s satisfaction theory, but with this major difference: Instead of grounding the atonement in the honor of God—that of which God had been robbed by the sin of humanity—the Reformers grounded it in the justice of God. Because he is holy, God hates sin with wrathful anger and acts against it by condemning and punishing sin. Thus, an eternal penalty must be paid for sin. Humanity could not atone for its own sin, but Christ did: as the substitute for humanity, he died as a sacrifice to pay the penalty, suffered the divine wrath against sin, and removed its condemnation forever.’, Allison, ‘History of the Doctrine of the Atonement’, Southern Baptist Journal of Theology ( 11.2.11), 2007).

[4] ‘The penal substitutionary view has come to characterize the standard Reformed/Calvinist approach to the atonement.’, Beilby, Boyd, & Eddy (eds.), ‘The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views’, p. 17 (2006).

[5] ‘Although this theory became the standard view of the atonement among Protestants, it did not go unchallenged. The heretical Socinians developed a view similar in some ways to Abelard’s moral influence theory; it is called the example theory of the atonement.’, Allison, ‘History of the Doctrine of the Atonement’, Southern Baptist Journal of Theology ( 11.2.13), 2007).

[6] ‘And they insist that Christ’s atonement requires following in his footsteps and conforming one’s own will to the divine‘, Roth & Stayer, ‘A companion to Anabaptism and spiritualism, 1521-1700’, p. 268 (2007); a comment on an Anabaptist list of articles of faith.

[7] ‘While Anabaptists stressed Christ’s example in the way of martyrdom, Luther’s and Calvin’s doctrine of atonement became the heart of the evangelical message, and its so-called “crucicentrism,” down, for example, to John Stott.’, Blocher, ‘Atonement’, in Vanhoozer et al. (eds.), ‘Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible’, p. 73 (2005).

[8] ‘Until the middle of the twentieth century, Roman Catholics also commonly held penal substitution as one element in complex theologies.’, ibid., p. 73.

[9] Also known as Pullen, Pullan or Pully.

[10] ‘Appeal might be made to a thinker like the English theologian Robert Pullan, who rejected the ransom view and in good Abelardian fashion stressed the noetic aspect that Christ “by the greatness of the price” made known to us “the greatness of his love and of our sin” (Sent. viii.4.13).’, Bromiley, ‘Atone; Atonement’, in Bromiley (ed.), ‘International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia’, volume 1, p. 357 (1992 ed.).

[11]Abelard is known as the pioneer of the subjective, moral influence, view (though he did express the objective and penal one when commenting on Rom. 4:25; as quoted by Tobias Eißler 124n30).’, Blocher, ‘Atonement’, in Vanhoozer et al. (eds.), ‘Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible’, p. 73 (2005).

[12] ‘The main point for him was the teaching of Christ and the response it evoked. Christ became man in order that He might enlighten the world by His wisdom and excite it to love for Himself (Ep. ad Rom., Opera [ed Cousin], II, 207). His death was both a lesson and also an example. Its intended effect was the kindling of a responsive gratitude and love which “should not be afraid to endure anything for his sake” (pp. 766f). When the sinner was stimulated to amendment of life in this way, God could remit eternal punishment in virtue of the conversion rather than any objective or external equivalent (p. 628). The work of Christ was thus a demonstration of divine love which removed the obstacle between God and man, not by a work for man, but by the effect in him.’, Bromiley, ‘Atone; Atonement’, in Bromiley (ed.), ‘International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia’, volume 1, p. 357 (1992 ed.).

[13] ‘Peter Lombard, though far from having Anselm’s vision, is almost equally explicit in tracing the moral element in the sacrifice of Christ’s death‘, Williams, ‘Broadchalke Sermon-Essays on Nature, Mediation, Atonement, Absolution, Etc’, p. 254 (1867).

[14] ‘As Peter Lombard, a twelfth-century theologian, wrote: So great a pledge of love having been given us we too are moved and kindled to love God who did such great things for us; and by this we are justified, that is, being loosened from our sins we are made just. The death of Christ therefore justifies us, inasmuch as through it charity is excited in our hearts.’, Bartlett, ‘Cross purposes: the violent grammar of Christian atonement’, p. 221 (2001).

[15] ‘But a more representative treatment is that of Lombard, who combines several aspects. Thus a ransom is paid and the devil is caught as in a mousetrap (Sermo i.30.2). Yet Christ’s death is also seen from the standpoint of satisfaction or merit (Sent. iii.18.2). It exerts a moral influence too, for by it we “are moved and kindled to love God who did such great things for us” (19.1).’, Bromiley, ‘Atone; Atonement’, in Bromiley (ed.), ‘International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia’, volume 1, p. 357 (1992 ed.).

[16] ‘A third general group of theories is known as the moral-influence theory. Its roots, though not its completed form, go back to Duns Scotus (d.1308) (qv).’, Colby & Williams (eds.), ‘The New International Encyclopaedia’, volume 2, p. (1930).

[17] ‘Thus Scotus did not see that Christ’s death was a punishment or that God’s justice necessarily demanded it. He could regard it as in fact a (nonsubstitutionary) satisfaction, but only because God in love freely willed to accept it as such (a doctrine known as acceptilation). Nor did it have to be infinite in scope but merely sufficient to merit initial grace for man, for which implicit faith was enough on man’s part.’, ibid., p. 357.

[18] ‘There is, however, no hint that Scotus accepts any sort of penal theory of the atonement here.’, Cross, ‘Duns Scotus’, p. 205 (1999).

[19] ‘Atonement is secured instead by penitence and a will to obey. The role of Christ’s death is that of an example of obedience.’, ibid., p. 358.

[20] ‘In reaction against the exaggerations of this ‘penal theory’ arose the doctrine, first defended by the Socinians, which denied the objective efficacy of the Cross and looked upon the death of Christ as primarily an example to His followers. Notable modern exponents of this view in England were B. *Jowett and H. *Rashdall.’, Cross & Livingstone, ‘The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church’, p. 125 (3rd rev. ed. 2005).

[21] ‘Unlike the so-called magisterial Reformation, the Radical Reformation gave pride of place to discipleship and the imitation of Christ rather than to justification and union with Christ.’, Horton, ‘Lord and servant: a covenant Christology’, p. 184 (2005).

 

Participatory atonement 1: Early Christian era

February 12, 2011 5 comments

The dominant Christian understanding of the atonement is the ‘penal substitution’ theory, which states that Christ was punished by an angry God as a substitute for those he came to save. However, the ‘representative’ or ‘participatory’ understanding of the atonement was the first to be held, originating with Clement of Rome (fl. 96).[1] [2] [3]

This interpretation understands Christ as the representation of how Christians should live, making salvation dependent on participation in the life of Christ.[4] The atonement changes the attitude of the sinner towards God, but no penalty is inflicted, no substitution made.

Early beliefs on the atonement often contain a range of elements. For example, Ignatius described Christ’s sacrifice as an example,[5] yet included other themes in his exposition of the subject.

Interpretations such as ransom, substitution, or penalty are found in the majority of writers, such as Eusebius,[6] Gregory of Nazianzus,[7] Basil of Caesarea,[8] Chrysostom,[9] Cyril of Alexandria,[10] Cyril of Jerusalem,[11] Nestorius,[12] Hilary of Poitiers,[13] Ambrosiaster,[14] Augustine,[15] Leo the Great,[16] and Gregory the Great.[17] However, even at this stage the focus was still largely on representation, not substitution.[18]

*  fl.96: Clement of Rome; exemplary, participatory[19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25]

*  d. c. 215: Clement of Alexandria; exemplary[26] [27] [28]

*  d.254: Origen; ransom, exemplary, participatory[29] [30] [31] [32]

*  d.330: Arnobius the Elder; exemplary[33]


[1] ‘You see, dear friends, the kind of pattern that has been given to us. For if the Lord so humbled himself, what should we do, who through him have come under the yoke of his grace?’.Clement of Rome, ‘Letter of the Romans’ (16.17), in Holmes (ed.), ‘The Apostolic Fathers: Greek texts and English translations’, pp. 47-49 (2nd ed., 1999).

[2] Its origin is commonly mis-attributed to Peter Abelard (d. 1142), who developed it in detail in opposition to the satisfaction model of Anselm; ‘For example, Hastings Rashdall praised Abelard lavishly for at last stating the doctrine of the Atonement “in a way which had nothing unintelligible, arbitrary, illogical, or immoral about it” – precisely because Abelard was an exemplarist and eschewed such bizarre notions as penal substitution and the ransom paid to the devil.’, Williams, Sin, Grace, and Redemption’, p. 259.

[3] Contrary to what has been claimed, Abelard’s model was not entirely ‘subjective’; he believed a truly objective event took place as a result of the crucifixion; ‘Abelard includes multiple references to Romans 5:5-8 and 8:35-38, John 3:16 and 15:13, as well as 1 John 4:19. Therefore, the charge against Abelard that atonement has been reduced to an idea, or that nothing happens, really does not apply. Something does happen that changes the course of history; the love of God is revealed for Jew and Gentile in Jesus Christ. This demonstration of love is an objective event. The theory is not completely reduced to the subjective response of humanity.’, Schmiechen, ‘Saving power: theories of atonement and forms of the church’, p. 294 (2005.

[4] ‘The central thesis of this lecture now comes into view. I contend that the work of the cross is not completed until we participate in it.’, Marshall, ‘On A Hill Too Far Away?: Reclaiming The Cross as the Critical Interpretive Principle of the Christian Life’, Review and Expositor (91.2.251), 1994.

[5]It serves as an example of obedience (Ign Rom. 2:2).’, Bromiley, ‘Atone; Atonement’, in Bromiley (ed.), ‘International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia’, volume 1, p. 355 (1992 ed.).

[6] ‘Among other Eastern fathers, Eusebius of Caesarea stressed the vicarious aspect. Christ bore the punishment, retribution, or curse in our stead (Demonsfratio evangelica 10.1).’, ibid., p. 355.

[7] ‘Gregory of Nazianzus attempts a new version of the ransom understanding in which the ransom is paid to the Father rather than the devil, but he does not seem to see how this can be carried through with consistency (Oratio 45.22).’, ibid., p. 356.

[8] ‘Basil of Caesarea repeats the same thought in Epistula 261.2, though he can describe Christ quite definitely as an equivalent for us all (In Ps. 68.6).’, ibid., p. 356.

[9] ‘Chrysostom in a much fuller analysis presents the same idea: “Christ hath paid down more than we owe” (Homiliae in Rom. 10.3). He emphasizes the universal character of Christ’s death; it is equal “to the death of us all” (Hom in Hebr. 17.2). He tries to find illustrations for the transfer of liability, e.g., a king giving his son for a bandit (Hom in 2 Cor. 11.4). The injustice of Christ’s death counterbalances the justice of our own condemnation, so that freedom is secured for the guilty (Hom in Ioann. 62.2f).’, ibid., p. 356.

[10] ‘Cyril of Alexandria strongly holds that in Christ’s flesh an equivalent is paid “for the flesh of us all” (De recta fide 21). He describes this payment as a punishment (De incarnatione 27). In answer to the possible objection that only the man Jesus died, he replies that by virtue of the enhypostasis the one person of Jesus Christ died, so that His death has the scope and efficacy of that of the eternal Son (ch 16).’, ibid., p. 356.

[11] ‘Cyril of Jerusalem again alludes to the trick on the devil, but a more interesting concept is that the righteousness of Christ is more than adequate to counterbalance the sin of man: “We did not sin so much as he who laid down his life for us did righteously” (Catechesis 13.33).’, ibid., p. 356.

[12] ‘It is interesting that Cyril’s great rival, Nestorius of Constantinople, also spoke of Christ paying our penalty “by substitution for our death.”’, ibid., p. 356.

[13]In Hilary the penal aspect received attention (in Ps. 53.12).’, ibid., p. 356.

[14] ‘Ambrosiaster also espoused the ransom view,.’

[15] ‘He sees not merely the payment of a debt whereby the release of justly held debtors is secured, but also the vicarious suffering of a penalty.’, ibid., p. 356.

[16] ‘Leo combines restoration by Christ’s incarnation with the concept of his righteousness counterbalancing our sin (Sermo 22.4).’, ibid., p. 356.

[17]Gregory the Great uses the category of penalty: Christ suffers without guilt the penalty of our sins (Moral. xiii.30, 34).’, ibid., p. 356.

[18]The general patristic teaching is that Christ is our representative, not our substitute; and that the effect of His sufferings, His perfect obedience, and His resurrection extends to the whole of humanity and beyond.’, Cross & Livingstone, ‘The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church’, p. 124 (3rd rev. ed. 2005).

[19] ‘It is also a moving demonstration of love (1Clem 7:4).’, Bromiley, ‘Atone; Atonement’, in Bromiley (ed.), ‘International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia’, volume 1, p. 355 (1992 ed.).

[20]Human penitence — not vicarious penitence only in man’s stead, but reality of penitence in man himself: this is its beauty, its joy, its preciousness, in the presence of God.’, Moberly, ‘Atonement and Personality’, p. 236 (1907).

[21] ‘In the other passage, the one thing that is absolutely clear is that the passion of Jesus Christ was all love, love beyond human conceiving, the love of God Himself. There is not a whisper here of anger, or vengeance. It is simply the unplumbed mystery of love.’, ibid., p. 326.

[22] ‘Here it is quite clear that Clement regards the Cross as central in the work of Atonement, and as resting upon God’s love as its motive cause. And the result of this display of love is to turn us into the way of truth and righteousness, making us sons of God.’, Greensted, ‘A Short History of the doctrine of the Atonement’, p. 12 (1920).

[23] ‘By emphasizing Christ’s work for our repentance, he underpins the moral influence theory.’, Park, ‘Triune Atonement: Christ’s Healing for Sinners, Victims, and the Whole Creation’, p. 18 (2009).

[24] He saw the atonement as an expression of love not anger; ‘Because of the love he had for us, Jesus Christ our Lord, in accordance with God’s will, gave his blood for us, and his flesh for our flesh, and his life for our lives.’ Clement of Rome, ‘Letter of the Romans’ (49.6), in Holmes (ed.), ‘The Apostolic Fathers: Greek texts and English translations’, p. 85 (2nd ed., 1999).

[25] He understood the effect of the atonement as transformative in the life of the Christian, who is moved to participate in Christ’s example; ‘You see, dear friends, the kind of pattern that has been given to us. For if the Lord so humbled himself, what should we do, who through him have come under the yoke of his grace?’, Clement of Rome, ‘Letter of the Romans’ (16.17), in Holmes (ed.), ‘The Apostolic Fathers: Greek texts and English translations’, pp. 47-49 (2nd ed., 1999).

[26] ‘On the Alexandrian side Clement points out that the life of Christ equals the world in value (Quis dives salvetur? 37). Its main force, however, seems to be as an example.’, Bromiley, ‘Atone; Atonement’, in Bromiley (ed.), ‘International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia’, volume 1, p. 355 (1992 ed.).

[27] ‘The concept of punishment occurs, but it is presented as educative rather than penal (i.8.70).’, ibid., p. 355.

[28]It will be observed, that the obedience of Christ is the point here chiefly dwelt upon, and to which the victory over the evil one and our redemption is ascribed.’, Oxenham, ‘The Catholic doctrine of the atonement: an historical inquiry into its development in the Church’, p. 24 (1865).

[29] ‘In most of his references to the atonement Origen repeats early patristic phrases or ideas, including propitiation (comm in Rom. 3.8) and punishment (comm in Joannem 28.19). Christ’s death also has value as an example (Contra Celsum iii.2.8), and it is as exemplary rather than imputed that the righteousness of Christ saves.’, Bromiley, ‘Atone; Atonement’, in Bromiley (ed.), ‘International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia’, volume 1, p. 355 (1992 ed.).

[30]The power of Christ’s death to evoke a response of love also occurs (4.10). In addition to the death of Christ and faith, works are necessary to salvation (4.11).’, ibid., p. 355.

[31]The suffering of Christ, in which we too have mystical fellowship, is like awakening of new life in us. It is not merely a penalty, but a true chastisement. And so it is that Origen, with the piacular aspect of Atonement in his mind, can call it a purging or cleansing  of our sin. The chastening of God works a real change upon our hearts, and by Christ’s example we are enabled to see that this chastisement is sent by God’s love, and not by His wrath, and to accept it thankfully.’,  Greensted, ‘A Short History of the doctrine of the Atonement’, p. 67 (1920).

[32] ‘Such language as this quite outweighs the objectionable features of the Ransom theory as stated by Origen, while at the same time avoiding the danger of over-statement along the lines of vicarious punishment. We may notice, finally, that Origen sometimes uses phrases which suggest the Moral theory: Even apart from the value for all of His death on behalf of men. He showed men how they ought to die for righteousness’ sake,’, ibid., p. 67.

[33] ‘Arnobius, like many others, quoted Isa. 53, but with an emphasis on the exemplary side (Inst. Divin. 4.24f).’, Bromiley, ‘Atone; Atonement’, in Bromiley (ed.), ‘International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia’, volume 1, p. 356 (1992 ed.).