Surely the neo-liberals can do better than this?

Surely the neo-liberals can do better than this? December 19, 2004

Stuart Murray Williams was a speaker in defence of Steve Chalke before he was censored by the EA. I thought I would read his article and give you the chance to- it is of course only fair having questioned (as has the EA) whether it is possible to take his view of the atonement and still call yourself an evangelical christian.

The criticisms Steve Murray levels against classical penal substitutionary theory are all rational arguments rather than biblical expositions.

There is always a danger inherrant in a theological discussion that starts from premises and arguments rather than beginning with a blank sheet and asking “What does the bible say?”

I am quite happy to engage on this issue on the level of serious interaction with the text of the bible but am only going to quote Stuart’s arguments as an illustration of my previous points that most of those with a different view rarely properly engage with the bible.

He argues

1. Punishing an innocent man even a willing victim is fundamentally unjust.

2. Biblical justice is essentially about restoration of relationships rather than retribution.

3. Penal substitution is inherently violent and contravenes central aspects of the message of Jesus.

4. Penal substitution raises serious difficulties for our understanding of the Trinity.

5. Penal substitution fails to engage adequately with structural and systemic evil.

6. If penal substitution is correct, neither the life of Jesus nor his resurrection have much significance.

He goes onto say that the marginalised of society struggle to accept the traditional view and that the doctrine is too closely associated with the view of the church as dominating society.

There is no attempt in this article to interact with the scriptures in any meaningful sense- indeed the bible isnt even quoted directly.

So, anyone out there have a better web-based article for me from the side of what I am terming the neo-liberals? Do any of them even attempt to argue their position is more biblical than the standard evangelical view?

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