Today concludes my series of responses to Gandalf's critique of my emphasis on the doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement. In the previous posts of this series I have answered these objections and re-emphasised the critical importance of teaching and understanding the atonement correctly as it strongly affects our view of God, our view of ourselves, and thus how we approach God. Today, as a closing footnote to this series, I want to take a look at an example of a how wrong views of the atonement can infiltrate the "Christian media". It also serves as an example of how these things can sneak under our radar of discerning true and false gospels.
At the end of part 5 of this series I asked the question regarding a major theological flaw in the first Narnia movie that affects the Gospel. Do you know what it is? Watch this video and see if you can figure it out . . .
Who killed the lion? Who did she represent - Satan! This is an example of the ransom theory of the atonement where God has to pay a ransom to Satan. the ransom theory undermines human depravity in that it portrays sinful man as an unwilling and helpless captive of Satan awaiting a deliverer. This is contrary to Scripture where Paul portrays fallen man as:
"None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Romans 3:10-18)
What about Jesus, did he have a higher view of man. Most know John 3:16 but few know what follows:
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:18-20)
It is true that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. But the only accusation Satan can raise against a Holy and righteous judge is an appeal to his perfect justice and the consequent need for Him to deal with our sin. The only way God could reconcile sinners without compromising His righteousness was for Christ to die as a substitute under God's wrath:
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief (Isaiah 53:4-10 emphasis mine).
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:23-26)
I'll leave it to rapper Shai Linne to close out this discussion on Penal Substitutionary Atonement:
Go Back To Part 5
Go Back To Part 1