The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Which atonement model?

Just recently I have learned penal substitution is not the only atonement model. Which one do you believe in? What do most universalists believe in?

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I side with the Eastern Orthodox view (i.e. see A Better Atonement: Union with God).

But to get the right tone, I sometimes use a** tuning folk**. :laughing:

But picking the “right atonement theory”, reminds me of the Eastern story, regarding the Blind men and an elephant :laughing:

Yes, there are many different atonement models. However, the set of models varies considerably, depending where you look. Augustus Strong’s “Systematic Theology” lists the following theories of atonement:

  1. The Socinian Theory
  2. The Bushnellian Theory
  3. The Grotian Theory
  4. The Irvingian Theory
  5. The Anselmic Theory
  6. The Ethical Theory (This is better known as the penal-substution theory)

Search online, and you find a different set (although some of them include the above under different names). I cannot say that I fully subscribe to any of those listed above, although I think the Irvingian Theory is closer to my personal view than any of the others that Strong listed.

To formulate a theory as to how Christ’s death applied to us, first, we should be clear as to the meaning of “atone.” It means to make compensation, reparation, or amends for an offense committed. Why should we be clear as to the meaning of “atone”? The reason is that perhaps it helps us to decide whether or not the word even applies to Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on our behalf.

Secondly, one should be familiar with the New Testament scriptures that give the reason for Christ’s death and sacrifice:

To sum up, Jesus sacrificed Himself for us, dying for us

  1. so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. (1 Peter 2:24)
  2. so that we might live no longer for ourselves but for Him (2 Corinthians 5:15)
  3. so that He might be Lord of our lives. (Romans 14:9)
  4. in order to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify us as His own, who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:14)
  5. in order to abolish sin in us completely. (Heb 9:26)

So I see Christ’s death as the way He made it possible for us to be made new (regenerated), and to make a way for the grace of God to enable us to live righteously.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age…(Titus 2:11,12)

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The further I get into AJP the less scriptural I’m finding penal substitution. That said, I think penal substitution is strong philosophically.

What’s AJP?

Paidion, it’s Atonement, Justice, and Peace. … 954&sr=1-1

I can’t speak for my brothers and sisters in the Gospel of the Larger Hope but for me personally I’m in the Christus Victor view.

Your answer really opens my mind.

Maybe we don’t even need an atonement model after all for Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on our behalf? Though I am not sure about that, as it was said that Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all people (1Tim 2:6, he gave his life as a ransom for many in Mark 10:45 and Mathew 20:28).

BTW, my husband, who has not been bombarded by the penal substitution model as much as I have been but just read the bible, said that is (of course) a ransom to save us from Satan who has kidnapped us since our first parent sinned. That’s straight-forward enough and make much more sense to me. His simple respond got nothing to do with the penal substitution model that Jesus’ death saved us from God’s wrath.

But may I know what is The Irvingian Theory on atonement?

Me too, after reading this summary.