The Resolutions Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention has just published the resolution that Malcolm Yarnell and I coauthored (explained here). It is listed below. Later today Southern Baptist messengers will hear the resolution on the convention floor. I am thankful to the committee for their consideration and deliberation.
It is my hope, with Malcolm, that the messengers will formally embrace this resolution as our conventional belief. Without penal substitutionary atonement, there is no satisfaction of the Father’s just wrath against sinners. Without the satisfaction of divine wrath, there is no forgiveness for sin. Without forgiveness for sin, there is no gospel. Penal substitution is not a percentage of the cross-work of Christ; the cross-work of Christ is at its core atonement for sin. That the atonement is a many-splendored achievement does not diminish this reality.
The stakes are very high, as this resolution makes clear. May God use this for his glory and the church’s good.
RESOLUTION 5: ON THE NECESSITY OF PENAL SUBSTITUTIONARY ATONEMENT
WHEREAS, In recent days numerous voices from the Protestant world have boldly attacked the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement; and
WHEREAS, These voices have publicly labeled penal substitution “monstrous,” “evil,” “a terrible doctrine,” and indicative of “the Father murdering a son”; and
WHEREAS, The “anti-violence” model of the cross of Christ weakens the Bible’s teaching by recasting the atonement as a basis for pacifism (in contradiction of Romans 13:4); and
WHEREAS, God is perfect in His holiness (Isaiah 6:3) and perfect in His justice (Deuteronomy 32:4), as He is also perfect in His love (1 John 4:8); and
WHEREAS, On the cross of Christ Jesus the perfect love of God perfectly applies the perfect justice of God to satisfy the perfect holiness of God in order to redeem sinners (Romans 3:26); and
WHEREAS, The denial of penal substitutionary atonement in effect denies the holy and loving God the exercise of His justice, the overflow of which in a sinful world is the outpouring of His just retributive wrath; and
WHEREAS, The denial of penal substitutionary atonement thus displays in effect the denial of the perfect character of the one true God; and
WHEREAS, The denial of penal substitutionary atonement constitutes false teaching that leads the flock astray (Acts 20:28) and leaves the world without a message of a sin-cleansing Savior (Romans 5:6–11); andWHEREAS, The denial of penal substitutionary atonement necessarily compromises the biblical and historical doctrines of propitiation, expiation, ransom, satisfaction, Christus Victor, Christus Exemplar, and more; and
WHEREAS, The Lord promised a warrior-savior who would crush the head of the serpent to obliterate the enemy (Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20; Revelation 19:11–16); and
WHEREAS, The sacrificial system of the Old Testament culminated in the blood sacrifice of a spotless lamb on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:11–19); and
WHEREAS, Jesus Himself unveiled the salvific mission that necessitated His incarnation (Hebrews 2:17) when He said, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28); and
WHEREAS, The confession of the Scriptures is that Christ is our passive and active righteousness, forgiving all our sin by His death and imputing to us all His righteousness through faith (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9); and
WHEREAS, An apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ called the shed blood of the Savior “precious” (1 Peter 1:19); and
WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” of sin (Hebrews 9:22); and
WHEREAS, Baptist pastor-theologians and scholars with differing soteriological convictions have made the preaching of the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ the foundation of their ministry, heralding the Good News all over this world; and
WHEREAS, Countless missionaries and martyrs of the Christian faith have laid down their lives in order to tell fellow sinners about the death of Christ for the wicked, thus obeying the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16–20); and
WHEREAS, Baptists preach the cross of Christ, sing about the cross, cling to the cross, share the cross, love the cross, and take up their own crosses to follow their Lord, even as the world despises His cross and the proclaimers of His cross; and
WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith & Message was revised in 2000, incorporating for the first time the language of substitution to make plain what evangelical Baptists have long since preached and believed;and
WHEREAS, Around the throne of God into all eternity, the redeemed from every tribe, tongue, ethnicity, and nation will cry out, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain … !” (Revelation 5:12, ESV); now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, reaffirm the truthfulness, efficacy, and beauty of the biblical doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement as the burning core of the Gospel message and the only hope of a fallen race.