Friday, January 30

Odd Theories of the Atonement

For a few years I have been participating occasionally on a couple of discussion boards. Since I attend a Baptist church, the Baptist Board is one of the places I regularly participate. It is a site where mostly evangelical or fundamentalist Baptists discuss various issues, and thus the site tends to be fairly conservative. In the past couple of years there, I have seen two unusual theories of the atonement expounded more and more frequently, and I thought it would be interesting to examine those two theories here. (Here is where we get into the nitpicking part of theology, and if you are not inclined toward nitpicking, please, feel free to skip these particular blogs. Or, you can read them anyway on the outside chance you will find it interesting or beneficial.)

Let me start by saying that I accept the two main evangelical models of the atonement as within the pale of orthodoxy. There is one I consider more correct as properly explained, but I acknowledge the other one as not so far wrong as to be heterodox.

The more I understand these two unusual theories, however, the more I am convinced that they are at least pushing against the fence defining orthodoxy. In the beginning, it seemed that these ideas of how the Christ's death works were held by so few people that ignoring them was the best option, but as years have gone by, I've seen them advocated more and more often, and perhaps the time has come to take a more active approach in defending against them. So here's what I'll try to do here: show some of the error with each theory, and show why it matters. Let's continue tomorrow by examining "The Divine Blood" theory.

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