THE ATONEMENT DEBATE – Steve Chalke Argues Against Penal Substitutionary Atonement

In his chapter in the recent book The Atonement Debate, Steve Chalke begins to argue against penal substitution (PSA). He starts in a surprising, and to me, a deeply concerning way. One of my major concerns about this whole debate is what a rejection of PSA does to our view of the Bible. The concept of God’s wrath is very prominent in the Bible, culminating in the famous dilemma of Romans 3 where Paul essentially asks how can God be both JUST and yet FORGIVE our sin. In the context of Romans, to … [Read more...]

THE ATONEMENT DEBATE – Steve Chalke Confirms He Does Not Believe in Penal Substitution

I do want to thank Steve Chalke for the honesty and openness in his contribution to the recent book, The Atonement Debate. He is very bold, and explains his position with far more clarity than I feel he has done before. Reading his chapter was worthwhile as there is much confusion about what Chalke really believes. Indeed, many people, including N. T. Wright, have gone so far as to make pronouncements about what they are sure Chalke believes. But in this book we find the answer to the question … [Read more...]

Update on Steve Chalke and The Atonement Debate

Somehow I missed a book published earlier this year by Zondervan called The Atonement Debate. The book was described to me as a “cool-headed” approach to the whole debate on penal substitutionary atonement (PSA) that has been raging in evangelicalism since Steve Chalke popularized attempts to dismiss it as a form of “cosmic child abuse.” It is essentially an edited and expanded publication of some papers from a theological debate which took place under the auspices of the Evangelical Alliance and … [Read more...]

2008 Top Posts Numbers 5 and 6

In a sign of just how many preachers read this blog, so far this year the sixth most read post on my blog is a Mother's Day sermon entitled "Comfort Like a Mother" that I preached earlier in the year.At number 5 is my initial post on the Steve Chalke controversy. There are several updates to this issue listed on that page. My invitation to Steve to come on this blog or issue a statement clarifying what he believes about penal substitution remains open, but I doubt very much he will ever take me … [Read more...]

Replacing UK Evangelical Leader Joel Edwards

There is no doubt that it has been a difficult time in the Evangelical movement on both sides of the Atlantic in recent years. There have been numerous arguments about what the definition of an Evangelical should be and how closely we can work together with people who disagree with us about a range of issues. In the UK, for example, these arguments erupted within the Spring Harvest/Word Alive partnership and have led to the formation of a new conference, New Word Alive, which appears headed for … [Read more...]

5th Most Read Post – Steve Chalke and "The Lost Message of Jesus"

No. 5 on the list of most-read posts on this blog appeared on November 21, 2004. I felt like a lonely figure back in 2004 with my strong criticism of Steve Chalke's views on the atonement. I argued that his words were close to blasphemy at the time. John Piper would subsequently accuse Chalke directly of blaspheming, and Wayne Grudem would first agree, then modify his position to something similar to what I had said back in 2004.Many questions remain unanswered about this whole controversy, and … [Read more...]

11th Most Read Post – The Atonement: Wright Attacks Both Sides of the Debate

No. 11 on the list of most-read posts on this blog appeared on April 23, 2007, and examined what is possibly the most controversial article Bishop Tom Wright has ever written. In it, I questioned his ability to criticize some who dismiss Penal Substitutionary Atonement while approving of Steve Chalke, stating his own support for a form of PSA, and decrying angrily the value of the book, Pierced For Our Transgressions. I posed a number of questions to Wright in private e-mails, and sadly, he … [Read more...]

25th Most Read Post – PSA: Precious Gospel or Divine Child Abuse?

No. 25 on the list of the all-time most popular posts with readers of this blog appeared on July 2, 2007, and summarized some of my series on the atonement. It also included links to a number of other posts on the subject. There were many other posts within this series—the most popular of which was entitled "J. I. Packer on the Atonement." As we finally draw near to the conclusion of this long-running series on the atonement, it has struck me just how the lines are being drawn. On the one hand t … [Read more...]

Review of the Blog – April 2007: Atonement Wars

UPDATE - Steve Chalke has expressed his views more fully in a chapter in The Atonement Debate, and I have posted a response to this.Today I will continue my review of the last year's blogging which we began yesterday. April was a very interesting month for me on this blog. So much so that it deserves an entire post. It was a month which single-handedly seemed to dramatically raise my UK readership, and that rise persisted after the month ended. Since I have historically had so many US readers … [Read more...]

Rediscovering Theopedia

I have spent a bit of time over the last few days rediscovering Theopedia. It is not quite so frenetic and unstructured as Wikkipedia. This is probably due to its requirement that you acknowledge a statement of faith and be registered before editing items. They are keen for more contributors and if you have good quality material you have blogged and are willing to adapt, they are happy for it to be included in their articles with the appropriate acknowledgments. Would be great to have a few more … [Read more...]


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