No. I simply deny it pride of place.  Here’s what I wrote in October, 2006 about my lunch with John Piper:

One thing that won’t surprise anyone who knows about these things:
John Piper basically equates a penal substitutionary understanding of
the atonement with the gospel. I am unwilling to do that. I don’t
disparage that theory of the atonement (see my recent endorsement on

the back of the 20th Anniversary Edition of Stott’s The Cross of Christ),
but I believe the birth/death/resurrection of Jesus Christ to be the
pivot point of cosmic history. Thus, I do not think that one
theory interpreting that event to be sufficient. Every theory of the
atonement is 1) human, and 2) bound to a context. The penal
substitution — while there are seeds of it in Pauline writings — is
tied to the development of the Western legal mind. Nor am I willing to
condemn the billions of
faithful Christians who have lived and died in the past two millennia
with alternate understandings of the atonement (here see Gustav Aulen, Christus Victor).

In other words, PSA is one theory of the atonement. Beneficial, but not exclusive. Not even first among equals.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad