Kevin Stockmann: Discussion Questions

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Post by stockmannk on Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:17 am

1. The New Testament gives us many ways to understand the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Choose one model of the atonement that you have not used before. Summarize how you could share the gospel on campus using that model.

Goodness, before reading this I had no clue truly how much Jesus accomplished on the cross! One model I haven't heard about before is the Satisfaction Model. This model is great because it is set apart from the Ransom Atonement theory which is a ransom paid to the devil, instead focusing on "satisfying" the debts of honor we owe to God by sinning. It is also striking that is is different from Penal Substitution, as a this isn't a punishment, rather a restoration of honor to God that satisfied his need for justice for our misdeeds. This model could be pretty useful for sharing the gospel! It can well explain the concepts of God's grace and God's justice, showing that he cares deeply about justice and the way we hurt ourselves and each other and that there is only one way for that justice to be satisfied/that debt to be repaid -- a being of infinite greatness to live a perfect life as a person on behalf of human beings and to die on their behalf, in their place. It focuses more on God and his honor rather than the devil and his holding creation ransom. it could be useful because it is a different way of looking at at the purpose of Jesus' life and death without focusing on Jewish sacrifices/the Law or seeing it as "punishing" Jesus in our place. I don't believe this is the best model, but it is a model that surpasses insufficiency and allows another way to explain his death if students don't understand or like ideas of punishing or sacrifice (Here I mean not to ignore the punishment, as this is incredibly similar to penal substitution, but looking at it from a different perspective that may help a student come around to those ideas).

2. What is the one model of the atonement that best explains the nature and purpose of Jesus' death?

I’m torn between Penal Substitution and Christus Victor. I feel like these are almost equal excellent in explaining the nature and purpose of Jesus’ death, more like two sides to a coin or parallel-running purposes. I think Christus Victor is incredibly compelling because of the parallels to Adam’s failures and the protoevangelium in Genesis 3. Jesus faced temptation and was victorious over it, and then defeated the Devil at Golgotha in what seemed like his greatest moment of weakness. Paul talks frequently about the forgiveness of sins being part of the scheme to free people from the grip of Satan (Acts 26:17-18). This highlights the transfer of humans from the kingdom of darkness to Jesus’ kingdom of light. And what’s more is that this theory explains that the purpose of his death was to take on the full brunt of sin and then also of the powers of death, but then overcomes it, “being pierced in the heel” to “bring to death” the devil’s greatest power. But I think that this model doesn’t give God enough credit, as his judgement upon humanity also had to be satisfied. That’s where penal substitution comes in! I think they balance each other out well, not contradicting but instead complimenting. If I were to deeply explain the nature and purpose of Jesus’ death, I would tell students both of these.
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Post by ryanelliff on Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:07 am

I like your response to the question about what model of atonement best explains the nature and purpose of Jesus' death. Although it does say what "one" model... but I understand what you mean! I too found validity in several of the models Bird mentioned, but it seemed they all had a part that was a little "off". Just as you mentioned that Christus Victor doesn't give God enough credit. I also agree that the most scriptural and complete model is penal substitution. Jesus bore our sins and paid a debt he didn't owe by dying in our place on the cross. This model still gives God all the power as "the one who judges, is judged, and justifies" and God's love is shown by him taking out his wrath on himself for his creation's sake. Dang.
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Post by Caleb Nally on Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:55 am

2. What is the one model of the atonement that best explains the nature and purpose of Jesus' death?

I was intrigued when you said that you were torn between Christus Victor and penal substitution being the best way to describe the atonement. The reason being that these views of atonement are applied in two different ways. There's downwards toward Satan which emphasizes that the atonement was to defeat Satan and death. This would be Christus Victor because this view holds to the idea that the atonement as a divine struggle and victory over the hostile powers that have power over man. Then there's upward towards God meaning that that atonement was to satisfy God's wrath towards man. This is penal substitution in the sense that Jesus was to come take our punishment and appease God's wrath. Having said that I was interested in reading how you view these two views of atonement and liked how you said they complimented each other. Christus Victor is the goal of the atonement in the sense that the atonement is meant to defeat sin, death and the devil himself but this view isn't the means to the end. That's where penal substitution comes into play. Penal substitution is the means to the goal of Christus Victor because in order to defeat sin and death Jesus needs to bear God's wrath. Christus Victor explains why Jesus died and then penal substitution explains how his death worked. So I would agree that they compliment each other rather than contradict each other. I would even say that you can't mention one without the other.
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