Substitutionary atonement

Substitutionary atonement, also called vicarious atonement, is the idea that Jesus died "for us,"[1] as propagated by the classic and objective paradigms of atonement in Christianity, which regard Jesus as dying as a substitute for others, 'instead of' them.

Substitutionary atonement has been explicated in the "classic paradigm" of the Early Church Fathers, namely the ransom theory,[2] as well as in Gustaf Aulen's demystified reformulation, the Christus Victor theory;[2][note 1] and in the "objective paradigm," which includes Anselm of Canterbury's satisfaction theory,[3] the Reformed period's penal substitution theory,[4] and the Governmental theory of atonement.[note 2]

Christ Carrying the Cross 1580
El Greco's Jesus Carrying the Cross, 1580.


Substitutionary atonement, also called vicarious atonement, is the idea that Jesus died "for us."[1] There is also a less technical use of the term "substitution" in discussion about atonement when it is used in "the sense that [Jesus, through his death,] did for us that which we can never do for ourselves".[note 3]

The English word 'atonement' originally meant "at-one-ment", i.e. being "at one", in harmony, with someone.[5] According to Collins English Dictionary, it is used to describe the redemption through Jesus' death and resurrection, to reconcile the world to himself, and also of the state of a person having been reconciled to God.[6][7][8]

The word "atonement" often is used in the Old Testament to translate the Hebrew words kipper and kippurim, which mean 'propitiation' or 'expiation'. The word occurs in the KJV in Romans 5:11 and has the basic meaning of reconciliation. In the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible or Tanakh), atonement was accomplished by the sacrifice of specified animals such as lambs to pay for one's sins.[9]

A distinction has to be made between substitutionary atonement (Christ suffers for us), and penal substitution (Christ punished instead of us), which is a subset or particular type of substitutionary atonement.[10] Care should be taken when one reads the language of substitution in, for example, patristic literature, not to assume any particular substitution model is being used but should, rather, check the context to see how the author was using the language.[note 4]


Jewish scriptures

According to Pate, the Jewish scriptures describe three types of vicarious atonement: the Paschal Lamb; "the sacrificial system as a whole," with the Day of Atonement as the most essential element; and the idea of the suffering servant (Isaiah 42:1-9, 49:1-6, 50:4-11, 52:13-53:12).[11][web 1] The Old Testament Apocrypha added a fourth idea, namely the righteous martyr (2 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, Wisdom 2-5).[11]

These traditions of atonement offer only temporary temporary forgiveness,[11] and korbanot (offerings) could only be used as a means of atoning for the lightest type of sin, that is sins committed in ignorance that the thing was a sin.[12][note 5][note 6] In addition, korbanot have no expiating effect unless the person making the offering sincerely repents his or her actions before making the offering, and makes restitution to any person who was harmed by the violation.[12] Marcus Borg notes that animal sacrifice in Second Temple Judaism was not a "payment for sin," but had a basic meaning as "making something sacred by giving it as a gift to God," and included a shared meal with God. Sacrifices had numerous purposes, namely thanksgiving, petition, purification, and reconciliation. None of them were a "payment or substitution or satisfaction," and even "sacrifices of reconciliation were about restoring the relationship."[web 5]

The idea that Jesus was predicted by Isaiah is attested in Luke 4:16-22, where Jesus is portrayed as saying that the prophesies in Isaiah were about him.[note 7] The New Testament explicitly quotes from Isaiah 53 in Matthew 8:16-18 to indicate that Jesus is the fulfillment of these prophesies.

James F. McGrath refers to 4 Maccabees 6, "which presents a martyr praying “Be merciful to your people, and let our punishment suffice for them. Make my blood their purification, and take my life in exchange for theirs” (4 Maccabees 6:28-29). Clearly there were ideas that existed in the Judaism of the time that helped make sense of the death of the righteous in terms of atonement."[web 6]


1 Corinthians 15:3-8 contains the kerygma of the early Christians:[13]

[3] For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, [4] and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,[note 8] [5] and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. [6] Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. [7] Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. [8] Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.[16]

The meaning of this kerygma is a matter of debate, and open to multiple interpretations. Traditionally, this kerygma is interpreted as meaning that Jesus' death was an atonement or ransom for, or propitiation or expiation of, God's wrath against humanity because of their sins. With Jesus death, humanity was freed from this wrath.[17][web 7][note 9] In the classical Protestant understanding, which has dominated the understanding of Paul's writings, humans partake in this salvation by faith in Jesus Christ; this faith is a grace given by God, and people are justified by God through Jesus Christ and faith in Him.[18]

More recent scholarship has raised several concerns regarding these interpretations. The traditional interpretation sees Paul's understanding of salvation as involving "an exposition of the individual's relation to God." According to Krister Stendahl, the main concern of Paul's writings on Jesus' role, and salvation by faith, is not the individual conscience of human sinners, and their doubts about being chosen by God or not, but the problem of the inclusion of gentile (Greek) Torah observers into God's covenant.[19][20][21][web 9][note 10] Paul draws on several interpretative frames to solve this problem, but most importantly, his own experience and understanding.[22] The kerygma from 1:Cor.15:3-5 refers to two mythologies: the Greek myth of the noble dead, to which the Maccabean notion of martyrdom and dying for ones people is related;[web 6] and the Jewish myth of the persecuted sage or righteous man, c.q. the "story of the child of wisdom."[23][24] The notion of 'dying for' refers to this martyrdom and persecution.[25] 'Dying for our sins' refers to the problem of gentile Torah-observers, who, despite their faithfulness, cannot fully observe commandments, including circumcision, and are therefore 'sinners', excluded from God's covenant. [26] In the Jerusalem ekklēsia, from which Paul received this creed, the phrase "died for our sins" probably was an apologetic rationale for the death of Jesus as being part of God's plan and purpose, as evidenced in the scriptures. For Paul, it gained a deeper significance, providing "a basis for the salvation of sinful Gentiles apart from the Torah."[27] Jesus' death and resurrection solved this problem of the exclusion of the gentles from God's covenant, as indicated by Rom 3:21-26.[28]

Substitutionary atonement theories

Theories of atonement

A number of metaphors and Old Testament terms and references have been used in the New Testament writings to understand the person[web 10][29][note 11] and death of Jesus.[30][31] Starting in the second century CE, various theories of atonement have been explicated to explain the death of Jesus, and the metaphors applied by the New Testament to understand his death. Over the centuries, Christians have held different ideas about how Jesus saved people, and different views still exist within different Christian denominations.

According to C. Marvin Pate, "there are three aspects to Christ's atonement according to the early Church: vicarious atonement [substitutionary atonement],[note 12] the escatological defeat of Satan [Christ the Victor], and the imitation of Christ [participation in Jesus' death and resurrection]."[32] Pate further notes that these three aspects were intertwined in the earliest Christian writings, but that this intertwining was lost since the Patristic times.[33] Due to the influence of Gustaf Aulèn's (1879-1978) Christus Victor, the various theories or paradigms of atonement which developed after the New Testamentical writings are often grouped as "classic paradigm," "objective paradigm," and the "subjective paradigm":[34][35][36][note 13]

Substitutionary atonement has been explicated in the "classic paradigm" of the Early Church Fathers, namely the ransom theory,[2] as well as in Gustaf Aulen's demystified reformulation, the Christus Victor theory;[2][note 1] and in the "objective paradigm," which includes Anselm of Canterbury's satisfaction theory,[3][note 14] the Reformed period's penal substitution theory,[4] and the Governmental theory of atonement.[note 2]

Classic paradigm

According to Yeo, the

ransom theory [...] views salvation based on the vicarious atonement of Jesus (Isa. 53:10, "an offering for sin"; Rom. 3:22-25; Heb. 10:12; Mark 10:45) and thus understands Jesus as the Victor [...] over enemies such as chaos, darkness, the devil, or sin and death.[2]

Pate differentiates the "Christ the Victor"-theme from the "vicarious atonement"-theme, both of which can be found in early Christianity.[38]

The ransom theory present Jesus as dying to overcome (supernatural) powers of sin and evil. In this model, the devil has ownership over humanity (because they have sinned) so Jesus dies in their place to free them. The doctrine is that Jesus gave himself as a ransom sacrifice on behalf of the people. [Matthew 20:28] This is known as the oldest of the theories of the atonement,[note 15] and is, in some form, still, along with the doctrine of theosis, the Eastern Orthodox Church's main theory of the atonement.

Many of the Church Fathers, including Justin Martyr, Athanasius and Augustine incorporate the ransom theory of atonement into their writings. The specific interpretation as to what this suffering for sinners meant differed to some extent. It is widely held that the early Church Fathers, including Athanasius and Augustine, taught that through Christ's vicarious suffering in humanity's place, he overcame and liberated humanity from sin, death, and the devil.[39]

Gustaf Aulén reinterpreted the ransom theory in his study Christus Victor (1931),[40] calling it the Christus Victor doctrine, arguing that Christ's death was not a payment to the Devil, but defeated the powers of evil, particularly Satan, which had held humankind in their dominion.[41] According to Pugh, "Ever since [Aulén's] time, we call these patristic ideas the Christus Victor way of seeing the cross."[42]

Objective paradigm

The specific idea of satisfaction and penal substitution are later developments in the Roman Catholic church and in Calvinism.[43] Both Anselm's satisfaction theory and the penal satisfaction theory hold that human beings can not rightfully repay the debt (to God's honour [Anselm], or to God's justice [penal substitution]) which was incurred through their willful disobedience to God. Since only God can make the satisfaction necessary to repay it, rather than merely forgiving humanity, God sent the God-man, Jesus Christ, to fulfill both these conditions.[44] Christ is a sacrifice by God on behalf of humanity, taking humanity's debt for sin upon himself, and propitiating God's wrath.[10] The penal substitution theory has been rejected by liberal Christians as un-Biblical, and an offense to the love of God.[web 11][web 12][web 13] According to Richard Rohr, "[t]hese theories are based on retributive justice rather than the restorative justice that the prophets and Jesus taught."[web 14]

The Governmental theory, introduced by Hugo Grotius (17th century), states that Christ suffered for humanity so that God could forgive humans without punishing them while still maintaining divine justice. Jesus' death demonstrated God's hatred of sin,[note 16] and thus God's law (his rule, his government) is upheld (people see that sin is serious and will lead to death),[45] and God forgives people who recognise this and respond through repentance.[web 15] The governmental theory rejects the notion of penal substitution,[web 12][note 17] but is still substitutionary itself in that Christ, in his exemplary sufferings, substituted for believers and the punishment they would otherwise receive.[web 12][note 2]

Other substitutionary models

There are a number of other substitutionary theories of the atonement besides the four described above. A few are listed below:

  • John McLeod Campbell (The nature of the Atonement [1856]): 'Campbell rejects the idea of vicarious punishment [...And] Taking a hint from Jonathan Edwards, ...develops the idea that Christ, as representative and complete man, was able to offer a vicarious repentance to God for men.'[47]
  • Horace Bushnell (The Vicarious Sacrifice [1866]): Bushnell rejected penal substitution and, instead, speaks of Christ as 'my sacrifice, who opens all to me'. 'Beholding Him with all my sin upon Him', he says, 'I count Him my offering....'[48]
  • Vincent Taylor (The Cross of Christ [1956]): ' St. Paul's teaching Christ's death is substitutionary in the sense that He did for us that which we can never do for ourselves, but not in the sense that He transfers our punishment to Himself...' (p. 31). While rejecting as pagan the notion that Jesus' death propitiates the Father (p. 91), he talks of Jesus' sacrifice as vicarious, representative and sacrificial (p. 90), and says that for Jesus 'sacrifice is a representative offering in which men can share, making it the vehicle or organ of their approach to God' (p. 21). Taylor called this theory the 'Sacrificial Theory' (p. 104).
  • F. W. Camfield (‘The Idea of Substitution in the Doctrine of the Atonement’ in SJT I [1948] 282-293): in his 1948 paper, Camfield spells out 'a non-penal view of substitution'.[49]

Belief in substitutionary atonement

The Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics do not incorporate substitutionary atonement in their doctrine of the cross and resurrection. The Roman Catholic Church incorporates it into Aquinas' satisfaction doctrine rooted in the idea of penance. Most Evangelical Protestants interpret it largely in terms of penal substitution.[39]

See also


  1. ^ a b According to Yeo, the "ransom theory [...] views salvation based on the vicarious atonement of Jesus (Isa. 53:10, "an offering for sin"; Rom. 3:22-25; Heb. 10:12; Mark 10:45) and thus understands Jesus as the Victor [...] over enemies such as chaos, darkness, the devil, or sin and death."[2]
    Pate differentiates the "Christ the Victor"-theme from the "vicarious atonement"-theme, both of which can be found in early Christianity.[38]
  2. ^ a b c Governmental theory:
    • Gridder: "The governmental theory is also substitutionary. According to this theory, what Christ did became a substitute for something else that would otherwise occur [...] But there is substitution also in the governmental theory--substitution of a different sort. Here there is a double-dimension substitution. There is substitution in the sense that something Christ did substituted for something that would have been required of the finally impenitent. But then, there is a substitution of the guiltless Christ's suffering for the punishment that those who repent and believe would have received in eternal hell."
    • Pugh notes that the Governmental Theory has been called "penal non-substitution."[46]
  3. ^ Vincent Taylor, The Cross of Christ (London: Macmillan & Co, 1956), p. 31. Compare J. I. Packer: "It would ... clarify discussion if all who hold that Jesus by dying did something for us which we needed to do but could not, would agree that they are regarding Christ’s death as substitutionary, and differing only on the nature of the action which Jesus performed in our place and also, perhaps, on the way we enter into the benefit that flows from it." ("What did the Cross Achieve? The Logic of Penal Substitution" [1973])
  4. ^ Context:
    • D. Flood, "Substitutionary atonement and the Church Fathers" in Evangelical Quarterly 82.2 (2010), p. 143: "It is not enough to simply identify substitutionary or even penal themes in the writings of the church fathers, and assume that this is an endorsement of the Reformed understanding of penal substitution. Instead, one must look at how a patristic author is using these concepts within their own understanding of the atonement and ask: what salvic purpose does Christ bearing our suffering, sin, and death have for this author? Rather than simply 'proof-texting' we need to seek to understand how these statements fit into the larger thought-world of an author. In short, it is a matter of context."
    • J. K. Mozley, The doctrine of the atonement (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916), p. 94–95: "The same or similar words may point to the same or similar ideas; but not necessarily so, since a word which has been at one time the expression of one idea, may, to a less or greater extent, alter its meaning under the influence of another idea. Hence it follows that the preservation of a word does not, as a matter of course, involve the preservation of the idea which the word was originally intended to convey. In such respects no doctrine demands more careful treatment than that of the Atonement."
  5. ^ Sins in Judaism consist of different grades of severity:[web 2]
    • The lightest is the ḥeṭ, ḥaṭṭa'ah, or ḥaṭṭat (lit. "fault," "shortcoming," "misstep"), an infraction of a commandment committed in ignorance of the existence or meaning of that command.
    • The second kind is the awon, a breach of a minor commandment committed with a full knowledge of the existence and nature of that commandment (bemezid).
    • The gravest kind is the pesha or mered, a presumptuous and rebellious act against God. Its worst form is the resha, such an act committed with a wicked intention.
  6. ^ According to the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), "The Mishnah says that sins are expiated (1) by sacrifice, (2) by repentance at death or on Yom Kippur, (3) in the case of the lighter transgressions of the positive or negative precepts, by repentance at any time [...] The graver sins, according to Rabbi, are apostasy, heretical interpretation of the Torah, and non-circumcision (Yoma 86a). The atonement for sins between a man and his neighbor is an ample apology (Yoma 85b)."[web 2]

    The Jewish Virual Library writes: "Another important concept [of sacrifices] is the element of substitution. The idea is that the thing being offered is a substitute for the person making the offering, and the things that are done to the offering are things that should have been done to the person offering. The offering is in some sense "punished" in place of the offerer. It is interesting to note that whenever the subject of Karbanot is addressed in the Torah, the name of G-d used is the four-letter name indicating G-d's mercy."[web 3]

    The Jewish Encyclopedia further writes: "Most efficacious seemed to be the atoning power of suffering experienced by the righteous during the Exile. This is the idea underlying the description of the suffering servant of God in Isa. liii. 4, 12, Hebr. [...] of greater atoning power than all the Temple sacrifices was the suffering of the elect ones who were to be servants and witnesses of the Lord (Isa. xlii. 1-4, xlix. 1-7, l. 6). This idea of the atoning power of the suffering and death of the righteous finds expression also in IV Macc. vi. 27, xvii. 21-23; M. Ḳ. 28a; Pesiḳ. xxvii. 174b; Lev. R. xx.; and formed the basis of Paul's doctrine of the atoning blood of Christ (Rom. iii. 25)."[web 4]
  7. ^ [Luke 4:16-22]: "And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 'THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.' And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, 'Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'"
  8. ^ See Why was Resurrection on “the Third Day”? Two Insights for explanations on the phrase "third day." According to Ernst Lüdemann[14] and Pinchas Lapide, "third day" may refer to Hosea 6:1–2:

    "Come, let us return to the Lord;
    for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
    he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
    After two days he will revive us;
    on the third day he will raise us up,
    that we may live before him."

    See also 2 Kings 20:8: "Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord on the third day?”"

    According to Sheehan, Paul's reference to Jesus having risen "on the third day [...] simply expresses the belief that Jesus was rescued from the fate of utter absence from God (death) and was admitted to the saving presence of God (the eschatological future)."[15]
  9. ^ Atonement:
    Briscoe and Ogilvie (2003): "Paul says that Christ's ransom price is his blood."[17]
    * Cobb: "The question is whether Paul thought that God sacrificed Jesus to atone for human sins. During the past thousand years, this idea has often been viewed in the Western church as at the heart of Christianity, and many of those who uphold it have appealed to Paul as its basis [...] In fact, the word "atonement" is lacking in many standard translations. The King James Translation uses "propitiation", and the Revised Standard Version uses "expiation." The American Translation reads: "For God showed him publicly dying as a sacrifice of reconciliation to be taken advantage of through faith." The Good News Bible renders the meaning as: "God offered him, so that by his sacrificial death he should become the means by which people's sins are forgiven through their faith in him." Despite this variety, and the common avoidance of the word "atonement," all these translations agree with the New Revised Standard Version in suggesting that God sacrificed Jesus so that people could be reconciled to God through faith. All thereby support the idea that is most directly formulated by the use of the word "atonement."[web 8]
  10. ^ Dunn quotes Stendahl: "Cf Stendahl, Paul among Jews and Gentiles, passim-e.g "... a doctrine of faith was hammered out by Paul for the very specific and limited pupose of defending the rights of Gentile converts to be full and genuine heirs to the promise of God to Israel"(p.2)"[20]

    Stephen Westerholm: "For Paul, the question that “justification by faith” was intended to answer was, “On what terms can Gentiles gain entrance to the people of God?” Bent on denying any suggestion that Gentiles must become Jews and keep the Jewish law, he answered, “By faith—and not by works of the (Jewish) law.”"[web 9] Westerholm refers to: Krister Stendahl, The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West, Harvard Theological Review 56 (1963), 199–215; reprinted in Stendahl, Paul Among Jews and Gentiles and Other Essays (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976), 78–96.

    Westerholm quotes Sanders: "Sanders noted that “the salvation of the Gentiles is essential to Paul’s preaching; and with it falls the law; for, as Paul says simply, Gentiles cannot live by the law (Gal. 2.14)” (496). On a similar note, Sanders suggested that the only Jewish “boasting” to which Paul objected was that which exulted over the divine privileges granted to Israel and failed to acknowledge that God, in Christ, had opened the door of salvation to Gentiles."
  11. ^ The earliest Christian writings give several titles to Jesus, such as Son of Man, Son of God, Messiah, and Kyrios, which were all derived from the Hebrew scriptures.[web 10][29]
  12. ^ In Christianity, vicarious atonement, also called substitutionary atonement, is the idea that Jesus died "for us."[1]
  13. ^ Karl Barth notes a range of alternative themes: forensic (we are guilty of a crime, and Christ takes the punishment), financial (we are indebted to God, and Christ pays our debt) and cultic (Christ makes a sacrifice on our behalf). For various cultural reasons, the oldest themes (honor and sacrifice) prove to have more depth than the more modern ones (payment of a debt, punishment for a crime). But in all these alternatives, the understanding of atonement has the same structure. Human beings owe something to God that we cannot pay. Christ pays it on our behalf. Thus God remains both perfectly just (insisting on a penalty) and perfectly loving (paying the penalty himself). A great many Christians would define such a substitutionary view of the atonement as simply part of what orthodox Christians believe.[37]
  14. ^ Pate: "Anselm's theory does not yet factor in the substitutionary nature of Christ's death."[3]
  15. ^ Oldest theory:
    • Gustaf Aulen, Christus Victor (1931) (London: SPCK), p.143: 'The history of the doctrine of the Atonement is a history of three types of view, which emerge in turn. The classic idea emerges with Christianity itself, and remains the dominant type for of teaching for a thousand years.
    • Vincent Taylor, The Cross of Christ (London: Macmillan & Co, 1956), p. 71-2: '...the four main types, which have persisted throughout the centuries. The oldest theory is the Ransom Theory...It held sway for a thousand years.
  16. ^ Dean Harvey: "[God] needed to do something that would demonstrate His justice, that He hated sin as much as when He had pronounced the penalty, and loved obedience because it was the way of duplicating His character in this world."[web 15]
  17. ^ Gridder: "Whereas Calvinists boldly teach that Christ paid the penalty for us--that He took our punishment--and believe their view to be Biblical, it is altogether opposed to the teaching of Scripture."[web 12]


  1. ^ a b c Flood 2012, p. 53.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Yeo 2017, p. 2.
  3. ^ a b c Pate 2011, p. 256.
  4. ^ a b Pate 2011, p. 260.
  5. ^ Niels-erik A. Andreasen, 'Atonement/Expiation in the Old Testament' in W. E. Mills (ed.), Mercer dictionary of the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1990)
  6. ^
  7. ^ Matthew George Easton, 'Atonement' in Illustrated Bible Dictionary (T. Nelson & Sons, 1897). According to The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, atonement in Christian theology is "man's reconciliation with God through the sacrifcial death of Christ."
  8. ^ Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church, p.124, entry "Atonement". New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  9. ^ "Yom Kippur - The Atonement Today." Web: 13 Feb 2009. Yom Kippur - The Atonement Today
  10. ^ a b Schreiner, Thomas R. in James Beilby and Paul R. Eddy (eds.), The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views. InterVarsity Academic, 2006. ISBN 0-8308-2570-3
  11. ^ a b c Pate 2011, p. 250.
  12. ^ a b "Judaism 101: Qorbanot: Sacrifices and Offerings".
  13. ^ Mack 1997, p. 85.
  14. ^ Lüdemann & Özen 1996, p. 73.
  15. ^ Sheehan 1986, p. 112.
  16. ^ oremus Bible Browser, 1 Corinthians 15:3–15:41
  17. ^ a b Briscoe & Ogilvie 2003.
  18. ^ Stubs 2008, p. 142-143.
  19. ^ Stendahl 1963.
  20. ^ a b Dunn 1982, p. n.49.
  21. ^ Finlan 2001, p. 2.
  22. ^ Karkkainen 2016, p. 30.
  23. ^ Mack 1995, p. 86=87.
  24. ^ Finlan 2004, p. 4.
  25. ^ Mack 1997, p. 88.
  26. ^ Mack 1997, p. 88-89, 92.
  27. ^ Hurtado 2005, p. 131.
  28. ^ Mack 1997, p. 91-92.
  29. ^ a b Brown 1994, p. 4.
  30. ^ Baker 2006, p. 25.
  31. ^ Finlan 2004, p. 1.
  32. ^ Pate 2011, p. 250-254.
  33. ^ pate 2011, p. 261.
  34. ^ Weaver 2001, p. 2.
  35. ^ Beilby & Eddy 2009, p. 11-20.
  36. ^ Gustaf Aulen, Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement, E.T. London: SPCK; New York: Macmillan,1931
  37. ^ Placher, William C. "How does Jesus save? Christian Century, 00095281, 6/2/2009, Vol. 126, Issue 11
  38. ^ a b Pate 2011, p. 250-253.
  39. ^ a b "Doctrine of the Atonement." Catholic Encyclopedia."
  40. ^ Pugh 2015, p. 8.
  41. ^ Leon Morris, 'Theories of the Atonement' in Elwell Evangelical Dictionary.
  42. ^ Pugh 2015, p. 1.
  43. ^ Johnson Alan F., and Robert E. Webber. What Christians Believe: A Biblical and Historical Summary. Zondervan, 1993, pp. 261-263.
  44. ^ "Atonement." The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2008
  45. ^ Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: WM B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1940), p. 573-5
  46. ^ Pugh 2014, p. 135.
  47. ^ Vincent Taylor, The Cross of Christ (London: Macmillan & Co, 1956), p. 73-4
  48. ^ Vincent Taylor, The Cross of Christ (London: Macmillan & Co, 1956), p. 75
  49. ^ J. I. Packer, 'What did the Cross Achieve? The Logic of Penal Substitution' (1973)

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Printed sources
  • Baker, Mark D. (2006), Proclaiming the Scandal of the Cross: Contemporary Images of the Atonement, Baker Academic
  • Beilby, James K.; Eddy, Paul R. (2009), The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views, InterVarsity Press
  • Brown, Raymond Edward (2004), An Introduction to New Testament Christology, Paulist Press
  • Dunn, James D.G. (1982), The New Perspective on Paul. Manson Memprial Lecture, 4 november 1982
  • Finlan, Stephen (2004), The Background and Content of Paul's Cultic Atonement Metaphors, Society of Biblical Literature
  • Flood, Derek (2012), Healing the Gospel: A Radical Vision for Grace, Justice, and the Cross, Wipf and Stock Publishers
  • Hurtado, Larry (2005), Lord Jesus Christ. Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity, Eerdmans
  • Lüdemann, Gerd; Özen, Alf, De opstanding van Jezus. Een historische benadering (Was mit Jesus wirklich geschah. Die Auferstehung historisch betrachtet / The Resurrection of Christ: A Historical Inquiry), The Have/Averbode
  • Mack, Burton L. (1995) [1995], Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of the Christian Myth
  • Mack, Burton L. (1997) [1995], Wie schreven het Nieuwe Testament werkelijk? Feiten, mythen en motieven. (Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of the Christian Myth), Uitgeverij Ankh-Hermes bv
  • Pate, C. Marvin (2011), From Plato to Jesus: What Does Philosophy Have to Do with Theology?, Kregel Academic
  • Pugh, Ben (2015), Atonement Theories: A Way through the Maze, James Clarke & Co
  • Sheehan, Thomas (1986), The First Coming: How the Kingdom of God Became Christianity, Random House, ISBN 978-0394511986
  • Stendahl, Krister (1963), "The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West" (PDF), The Harvard Theological Review, 56 (3): 199–215, doi:10.1017/S0017816000024779
  • Stubs, David L. (2008), "The shape of soteriology and the pistis Christou debate", Scottish Journal of Theology, 61 (2), doi:10.1017/S003693060800392X
  • Weaver, J. Denny (2001), The Nonviolent Atonement, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
  • Yeo, Khiok-Khng (2017), "INTRODUCTION: So Great a Salvation: Soteriology in the Majority World", in Green, Gene L.; Pardue, Stephen T.; Yeo, Khiok-Khng (eds.), So Great a Salvation: Soteriology in the Majority World, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
  1. ^ Herald Gandi (2018), The Resurrection: “According to the Scriptures”?
  2. ^ a b Jewish Encyclopedia, SIN
  3. ^ Jeewish Virtual Library, Jewish Practices & Rituals: Sacrifices and Offerings (Karbanot)
  4. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), ATONEMENT
  5. ^ Marcus Borg (October 28, 2013), The Real Meanings of the Cross
  6. ^ a b James F. McGrath (2007), What’s Wrong With Penal Substitution?
  7. ^ David G. Peterson (2009), Atonement in Paul's writing
  8. ^ John B. Cobb, Did Paul Teach the Doctrine of the Atonement?
  9. ^ a b Stephen Westerholm (2015), The New Perspective on Paul in Review, Direction, Spring 2015 · Vol. 44 No. 1 · pp. 4–15
  10. ^ a b Matt Stefon, Hans J. Hillerbrand, Christology, Encyclopedia Britannica
  11. ^ Marcus Borg (October 25, 2013), Christianity Divided by the Cross
  12. ^ a b c d J. Kenneth Grider (1994), The Governmental Theory: An Expansion
  13. ^ Richard Rohr (July 29, 2017), Salvation as At-One-Ment
  14. ^ Richard Rohr (January 21, 2018), At-One-Ment, Not Atonement
  15. ^ a b Dean Harvey, The Atonement

External links

Altar candlestick

Altar candlesticks hold the candles used in the Catholic liturgical celebration of Mass.

Auburn Affirmation

The Auburn Affirmation was a document dated May 1924, with the title "AN AFFIRMATION designed to safeguard the unity and liberty of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America", authored by an eleven-member Conference Committee and signed by 1274 ministers of the PCUSA. The Affirmation challenged the right of the highest body of the church, the General Assembly, to impose the Five fundamentals as a test of orthodoxy without the concurrence of a vote from the regional bodies, the presbyteries.

In 1910, 1916, and again in 1923, the General Assembly declared that every candidate seeking to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church ought to be able to affirm

Inerrancy of the Scriptures

The virgin birth (and the deity of Jesus)

The doctrine of substitutionary atonement

The bodily resurrection of Jesus

The authenticity of Christ's miraclesThe Auburn Theological Seminary history professor, Robert Hastings Nichols, proposed to challenge this procedure of repeatedly affirming additional standards of orthodoxy, besides the Bible and the Westminster Confession of Faith - which were the only standards of orthodoxy officially recognized by the church. The Affirmation denounces that procedure of affirming the Fundamentals in the General Assembly as a contradiction of the history and polity of the Presbyterian Church. It was drafted and signed by a writing group, primarily Nichols and Henry Sloane Coffin, with the original intention of presenting it to the General Assembly of 1923. After events of the Assembly that year appeared to indicate that their thesis would be favorably received by moderates, Coffin suggested that the Affirmation should be signed by ministers before being formally made public; and in accord with that advice it was circulated for signature in preparation for the General Assembly of 1924. Although the Affirmation did not officially come from Auburn Theological Seminary (at that time located in Auburn, New York), the name "Auburn Affirmation" has been attached to the document from the beginning, because of Nichols' influence as the originator of the idea.

The Auburn Affirmation was the culmination of the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy, which by 1924 had been a conflict of more than thirty years within the Presbyterian Church (USA). It is generally regarded as signalling a turning point in the history of American Presbyterianism, because it garnered the support of both theological traditionalists and liberals. Besides the 1274 signatories, the document as submitted claimed the support of "hundreds of ministers who agree with and approve of the Affirmation, though they have refrained from signing it."

The Affirmation has six sections that can be summarized as:

The Bible is not inerrant. The supreme guide of scripture interpretation is the Spirit of God to the individual believer and not ecclesiastical authority. Thus, "liberty of conscience" is elevated.

The General Assembly has no power to dictate doctrine to the Presbyteries.

The General Assembly's condemnation of those asserting "doctrines contrary to the standards of the Presbyterian Church" circumvented the due process set forth in the Book of Discipline.

None of the five essential doctrines should be used as a test of ordination. Alternated "theories" of these doctrines are permissible.

Liberty of thought and teaching, within the bounds of evangelical Christianity is necessary.

Division is deplored, unity and freedom are commended.Referring to the Five Fundamentals as "particular theories", the Affirmation's argument is succinctly summarized in two sentences:

Some of us regard the particular theories contained in the deliverance of the General Assembly of 1923 as satisfactory explanations of these facts and doctrines. But we are united in believing that these are not the only theories allowed by the Scriptures and our standards as explanations of these facts and doctrines of our religion, and that all who hold to these facts and doctrines, whatever theories they may employ to explain them, are worthy of all confidence and fellowship.Partly due to the acceptance of the Auburn Affirmation, Presbyterian traditionalists who found themselves displaced because of it went on to found the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. This church maintains the older standards, such belief in the five essential doctrines (listed above) and the inerrancy of the bible; these are the minimum requirements for membership in an OPC congregation and ordination for its ministers.

Discussion of the Affirmation continued into the 1940s when the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (aka, Southern Presbyterian Church) began to consider union with the northern Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., with conservatives charging that the Affirmation was indicative of the theological posture of the northern denomination.

Church of Daniel's Band

The Church of Daniel's Band is a Wesleyan-Holiness Christian church originally organized in imitation of the early Methodist class meetings at Marine City, Michigan. The church has four congregations in the U.S. state of Michigan.

Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America

The Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America (CLBA) is a Lutheran denomination of Christians rooted in a spiritual awakening at the turn of the 20th century. A spiritual revival swept through a large part of the Midwestern United States in the 1890s. Lutherans who were influenced by this fervor rejected several former beliefs as incompatible with their newfound spirituality. They rejected the idea of receiving the unconverted into full membership or admitting them to Communion, replaced liturgical ceremonies with simple worship services, and formed new congregations to worship and serve according to these dictates of conscience. Five such Lutheran congregations from the United Norwegian Lutheran Church of America met in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on December 17, 1900, and organized a synod named the Church of the Lutheran Brethren. Its Constitution was patterned after that of the Lutheran Free Church of Norway. The Lutheran Bible School, forerunner of the current schools in Minnesota, was founded in 1903 in Wahpeton, North Dakota.

The CLBA emphasizes the foundational place of the Bible, stating, "We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and free from error. It is authoritative for faith and conduct." Other beliefs include the triune Godhead; total depravity; the eternal Son-ship, Virgin Birth, sinless life, substitutionary atonement, bodily resurrection, and personal return of Jesus; infant baptism; and Holy Communion. It has been noted for practicing open communion, teaching premillennialism, and not having the laity receive absolution from the pastor.In addition to the denominational statement of faith, the church adheres to the following historic confessions: the Apostles' Creed, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, the Augsburg Confession, and Luther's Small Catechism. Its strong emphasis on missions and evangelism, its stand for non-liturgical worship and a church composed only of confessing Christians differentiates it from most Lutherans in America. The CLBA considers itself to be "Lutheran in theological tradition and evangelical in practice."

The Church of the Lutheran Brethren has 123 congregations with about 8,860 baptized members in the United States (114) and Canada (9), as well as about 1500 congregations in Cameroon, Chad, Japan and Taiwan. Its offices, the Lutheran Brethren Seminary, the Lutheran Center For Christian Learning, and the Hillcrest Lutheran Academy are located in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. The CLBA has been led by President Paul Larson since 2014.


The funghellino (Italian for "small mushroom") is a short mushroom-shaped stand used in the Roman Catholic liturgy. It is placed on the altar at a Pontifical Mass to hold the bishop's and higher prelates' skullcap (zuchetto) during the Eucharistic prayer.

IFCA International

The Independent Fundamental Churches of America was founded in Cicero, Illinois, in 1930. The name was officially changed to IFCA International in 1996. It is an association of nearly 1000 independent Protestant churches located largely in the United States and up to three times that number of associated churches in 26 countries outside the U.S. It also has over 1100 individual members: pastors, missionaries, professors, church planters, chaplains, and other vocational Christian workers. In the U.S there are 5 member colleges/Bible Colleges, 11 home mission agencies, and 12 church planting agencies. It also has 8 foreign mission agencies ministering outside the U.S.

Organised in June 1930 as a successor to the American Conference of Undenominational Churches, it sees its roots in the rejection of theological modernism and the reaffirmation of the traditional, fundamental doctrines that it believes to underlie Biblical Christianity: Biblical inerrancy, the Virgin Birth of Christ, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, the literal resurrection of Christ, the Second Coming of Christ, the eternal joy of those who are redeemed by the blood of Christ through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, and the eternal judgment of those who are unredeemed. It also holds to the Pretribulational Rapture of the Church and the Premillennial Return of Christ to establish His 1000-year reign on earth before the eternal state.

The shift to the use of initials rather than its original name reflects a rejection of much of what is currently described by the label fundamentalist and a rejection of any nationalist focus rather than a softening of its message. Nonetheless, it is doctrinally quite conservative, strongly rejecting ecumenism and what it construes as liberalism within Christianity.

The IFCA International purpose statement is: "Enhancing the strength of the Church by equipping for, and encouraging toward, ministry partnerships to accomplish Great Commission objectives." Its organizational ambition is to become healthy churches who work together.

There are five IFCA International core values: Biblical Doctrine (contemporary importance of the historic Fundamentals) + Biblical Leadership (Christ-like integrity, humility, zeal, and sacrifice) + Biblical Outreach (evangelism at home and abroad) + Biblical Partnerships (accomplishing more together than separately) + Biblical Excellence (doing the best possible for God's glory).

IFCA International establishes an organizational structure to coordinate and encourage joint participation in ministry activities. IFCA International provides this while guaranteeing the autonomy of congregational government. The Constitution and By-Laws of IFCA International provide for a voluntary membership for churches, organizations and individuals. Membership is reaffirmed annually. Member churches may not join any denomination and continue to be member churches.

The association is administered by a paid Executive Director and Home Office staff in Grandville, Michigan. This staff is overseen by 12 unpaid, elected Board of Directors (who serve four-year terms) led by the President of the Board who serves a four-year term. IFCA International holds an annual convention to decide on the issues before it. This convention rotates around the U.S. and has met in places such as Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Los Angeles, York PA, Schroon Lake NY, Grand Rapids, Tacoma, Colorado Springs, St. Petersburg, Baltimore, Louisville, Tulsa, Eugene, and Springfield IL.

Past Executive Directors have included Dr. William McCarrell, Dr. Nye J. Langmade, Dr. Ernest Pickering, Rev. Glen Lehman, Rev. Bryan Jones, Rev. Harold Freeman, and Dr. Richard I. Gregory. The current Executive Director is Dr. Les Lofquist, a 1976 graduate of Grand Rapids (MI) School of Bible & Music, a 1979 graduate of Grace College (Winona Lake, IN) with a Bachelor of Arts degree, a 1982 graduate of Grace Theological Seminary (Winona Lake, IN) with a Master of Divinity degree, and a 2005 Doctor of Divinity degree from Calvary Bible College & Theological Seminary (Kansas City, MO). The current President of the IFCA International Board of Directors is Rev. Earl Brubaker.

Notable members have included

J. Oliver Buswell (President of Wheaton College)

M. R. DeHaan (Calvary Undenominational Church, Grand Rapids + Radio Bible Class)

William McCarrell (Cicero Bible Church + Moody Bible Institute)

William Pettingill (Editorial Committee, Scofield Study Bible)

Louis Talbot (President of BIOLA)

Charles L. Feinberg (Academic Dean of Talbot Theological Seminary)

Lance Latham (Founder of AWANA Children's ministry + New Tribes Mission)

John Walvoord (President of Dallas Theological Seminary)

J. Vernon McGee (Church of the Open Door, Los Angeles + BIOLA + Radio ministry)

Merrill Unger (Dallas Theological Seminary)

Charles Caldwell Ryrie (Dallas Theological Seminary)

John F. MacArthur (Grace Community Church, Los Angeles + The Master's College & Seminary + Radio ministry)

List of Methodist theologians

Methodist theologians include those theologians affiliated with any of the Methodist denominational churches such as The United Methodist Church, independent Methodists, or churches affiliated with the Holiness Movement including the Church of the Nazarene, the Free Methodist Church, the Wesleyan Methodist Church (America), the Wesleyan Methodist Church (Great Britain), the Pilgrim Holiness Church, and the Wesleyan Church, as well as other church organizations.


Manuterge is the name given by the Roman Catholic Church to the towel used by the priest when engaged liturgically.

Mark Dever

Mark E. Dever (born August 28, 1960) is the senior pastor of the Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and the president of 9Marks (formerly known as the Center for Church Reform), a Christian ministry he co-founded "in an effort to build biblically faithful churches in America." He is known as a Calvinist preacher.

Mea culpa

Mea culpa is a Latin phrase that means "through my fault" and is an acknowledgement of having done wrong.

Grammatically, meā culpā is in the ablative case, with an instrumental meaning.

The phrase comes from a prayer of confession of sinfulness, known as the Confiteor, used in the Roman Rite at the beginning of Mass or when receiving the sacrament of Penance.

The expression is used also as an admission of having made a mistake that should have been avoided, and may be accompanied by beating the breast as in its use in a religious context.


Oblation, meaning an offering (Late Latin oblatio, from offerre, oblatum, to offer), is a term used, particularly in ecclesiastical use, for a solemn offering or presentation to God.

Penal substitution

Penal substitution (sometimes, esp. in older writings, called forensic theory) is a theory of the atonement within Christian theology, which argues that Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished (penalized) in the place of sinners (substitution), thus satisfying the demands of justice so God can justly forgive the sins. It developed with the Reformed tradition. as a specific understanding of substitutionary atonement, where the substitutionary nature of Jesus' death is understood in the sense of a substitutionary punishment.

While penal substitution shares themes present in other theories of the atonement, penal substitution is a distinctively Protestant understanding of the atonement that differs from both Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox understandings of the atonement. A belief in penal substitution is often regarded as a hallmark of the evangelical faith and is included as an article of faith by many (but not all) evangelical organizations today.


Propitiation, also called by some expiation, is the act of appeasing or making well-disposed a deity, thus incurring divine favor or avoiding divine retribution.

Salvation in Christianity

Salvation in Christianity, or deliverance, redemption is the "saving [of] human beings from death and separation from God" by Christ's death and resurrection, and the justification following this salvation. Christians partake in this redemption by baptism, repentance, and participating in Jesus' death and resurrection.

While the idea of Jesus' death as an atonement for human sin was derived from the Hebrew writings, and was elaborated in Paul's epistles and in the Gospels, Paul saw the faithful redeemed by participation in Jesus' death and rising. Early Christians regarded themselves as partaking in a new covenant with God, open to both Jews and gentiles, due to the sacrificial death and subsequent exaltation of Jesus Christ.

Early Christian notions of the person and sacrificial role of Jesus in human salvation were further elaborated by the Church Fathers, medieval writers and modern scholars in various atonement theories, such as the ransom theory, Christus Victor theory, the recapitulation theory, the satisfaction theory, the penal substitution theory, and the moral influence theory.

Variant views on salvation are among the main fault lines dividing the various Christian denominations, including conflicting definitions of sin and depravity (the sinful nature of humankind), justification (God's means of removing the consequences of sin), and atonement (the forgiving or pardoning of sin through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus).

The Sunday Service of the Methodists

The Sunday Service of the Methodists, with The Sunday Service of the Methodists; With Other Occasional Services being the full title, is the first Christian liturgical book given to the Methodist Churches by their founder, John Wesley. It has its basis in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Editions were produced for Methodists in both the British Empire and in North America.The Sunday Service of the Methodists has immensely influenced later Methodist liturgical texts. The Order for Morning Prayer for the Methodist Episcopal Church, for example, is adapted from The Sunday Service of the Methodists. The more recent Book of Worship for Church and Home reprinted the original Morning Prayer office used in The Sunday Service of the Methodists. Many of the liturgical rites, such as that of the Lord's Supper, in "The Ritual" of The Discipline of The Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection have preserved various prayers published in The Sunday Service of the Methodists.

Unlimited atonement

Unlimited atonement (sometimes called general atonement or universal atonement) is a doctrine in Protestant Christianity that is normally associated with Amyraldians and non-Calvinist Christians. The doctrine states that Jesus died as a propitiation for the benefit of mankind without exception. It is a doctrine distinct from other elements of the Calvinist acronym TULIP and is contrary to the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement.

A doctrinal issue that divides Christians is the question of the extent of the atonement. This question typically goes as follows: "Did Christ bear the sins of the elect alone on the cross, or did his death expiate the sins of all human beings?" Those who take this view read scriptures such as John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:6; 4:10; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 2:2 to say that the Bible teaches unlimited atonement.

Use of Hereford

The Use of Hereford or Hereford Use was a variant of the Roman Rite used in Herefordshire before the English Reformation. When Peter of Aigueblanche, Bishop of Hereford, returned to his native Savoy he used it in his church in Aiguebelle.

Vidi aquam

Vidi aquam is the name of an antiphon, which may be sung during the Latin Rite Catholic Mass. It accompanies the Asperges, the ritual at the beginning of Mass where the celebrant sprinkles the congregation with baptismal water.

It is sung from Easter Sunday throughout the liturgical season of Eastertide until the feast of Pentecost.

The text refers to the words of the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 47:1), who saw the waters gushing forth from the Temple as a sanctifying flood that flows through the earth.

If the sprinkling rite occurs outside Eastertide, the simpler antiphon Asperges Me usually replaces Vidi aquam.

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