Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Biggness of the Atonement

Derek Rishmawy has a great post here on the various models of the atonement.  He addresses something I have thought about for a long time:  that Scripture speaks of the atonement in many different ways and uses many different metaphors to describe what Jesus has done for us in accomplishing our salvation.  Rishmawy argues that we ought not to play one model of the atonement off against other models but, to the extent that each model is argued from and informed by a correct and faithful interpretation of Scripture, we ought to welcome multiple models as expanding the exaltation of God's saving work through Christ.  We ought not see these models as mutually exclusive if they have biblical warrant and ground and if they foster the greater glory of God in Christ.  Rishmawy calls it 'theological maximalism'.

I have put down some thoughts along the same lines here

Why so many theologians feel the need to find one commanding model at the exclusion of all others (and at the practical exclusion or through the fanciful interpretation of all the Scripture passages the other models are defended from) is beyond me. 

It has been said that when God does one thing, he does a thousand things.  Surely this is true of the atonement if it is true of anything God has done.  

A right view of the atonement, a biblical view, includes many aspects and angles on the saving work of the Son, along with the Father and Spirit, and includes the ongoing benefits to the church as well as the ongoing effects in the world.  There is no one model that I have seen which is sufficient to say all there is to say about the atonement. 

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