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bobmutch
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Joined: 2008/6/26
Posts: 90


 Atonement Theory's

I have been studying the atonement and I am planing on making a list of all the theory.

So I was reading around for the evening on this subject and here is a list of what I found. I am wondering besides the Satisfaction Theory or Commercial Theory, the Ransom Theory, the Penal Substitution Theory, and the Governmental Theory or Moral Government Theory (RC, Eastern, and Calvinistic, Arminian) which of the following are popular.

I come from a very strong Calvinistic background and at one time would have embraced the Penal Theory. When I embraced the Free From Sin teaching Calvinism when out the door. The Wesleyan-Arminian system is bacially the Satisfaction theory with some parts from the Ransom, and Penal Substitution theories of the atonement.

That there was an atonement was more important to Wesley that laying out a systematic theory on how it was effected.

Do we have any Wesleyan-Arminians in this forum that know Wesley's system well?

Any way here is what I found.

Theories of the Atonement:

Satisfaction Theory or Commercial Theory -- Anselem, Roman Catholic Church -- The theory is based on the assumption that because God is infinite, even a single, minor human sin is an infinite insult to God. It can only be cancelled by an infinite satisfaction. A type of ransom was paid to God by Jesus.

Ransom Theory -- Origen, Eastern Orthodox Churches -- This view sees the atonement of Christ as a ransom that was paid to Satan to purchase man’s freedom from being enslaved to Satan. It is based on a belief that man’s spiritual condition is in bondage to Satan and that the meaning of Christ’s death was to secure God’s victory over Satan.

Penal Substitution Theory -- Aulen, Hodge, Calvinistic -- This view sees the atonement of Christ as being a vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice that satisfied the demands of God’s justice upon sin. In His death Christ paid the penalty of man’s sin bringing forgiveness, imputing righteousness and reconciling man to God. Those that hold this view believe that every aspect of man, his mind, will and emotions have been corrupted by sin and that man is totally depraved and spiritually dead. This view holds that Christ’s death paid the penalty of sin for those whom God elects to save and that through repentance man can accept Christ’s substitution as payment for sin.

Governmental Theory or Moral Government Theory -- Hugo Grotius, Albert Barnes, Arminian -- This view sees the atonement of Christ as demonstrating God’s high regard for His law and His attitude towards sin. It is through Christ’s death that God has a reason to forgive the sins of those who repent and accept Christ’s substitutionary death. Those that hold this view believe that man’s spiritual condition is as one who has violated God’s moral law and that the meaning of Christ’s death was to be a substitute for the penalty of sin. Because Christ paid the penalty for sin, it is possible for God to legally forgive those who accept Christ as their substitute.


Example Theory -- Martyr, Liberal Christians & post-Christians -- This view sees the atonement of Christ as simply providing an example of faith and obedience to inspire man to be obedient to God. Those that hold this view believe that man is spiritually alive and that Christ’s life and atonement were simply an example of true faith and obedience and should serve as inspiration to men to live a similar life of faith and obedience.

Moral Influence Theory -- Origen, Abelard -- This view sees the atonement of Christ as demonstrating God’s love which causes man’s heart to soften and repent. Those that hold this view believe that man is spiritually sick and in need of help and that man is moved to accept God’s forgiveness by seeing God’s love for man. They believe that the purpose and meaning of Christ’s death was to demonstrate God’s love toward man.

Recapitulation Theory -- This view sees the atonement of Christ as reversing the course of mankind from disobedience to obedience. It believes that Christ’s life recapitulated all the stages of human life and in doing so reversed the course of disobedience initiated by Adam.

Dramatic Theory -- This view sees the atonement of Christ as securing the victory in a divine conflict between good and evil and winning man’s release from bondage to Satan. The meaning of Christ’s death was to ensure God’s victory over Satan and provides a way to redeem the world out of its bondage to evil.

Satisfaction Theory or Commercial Theory -- Anselem, Roman Catholic Church -- The theory is based on the assumption that because God is infinite, even a single, minor human sin is an infinite insult to God. It can only be cancelled by an infinite satisfaction. A type of ransom was paid to God by Jesus.

Accident Theory -- Jesus was a man, subject to death. His methods and principles were opposed by the powerful of his day. They killed Him. It had no further, deeper significance.

Mystical Theory -- Schleiermacher -- Christ, by the Holy Spirit kept His corrupt human nature
from manifesting sin and gradually purified this sinful nature until at death all that was sinful in it was eradicated. We can mystically share in that salvation. Christ's activity is meant to influence and inspire us.


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Bob Mutch

 2008/12/10 23:38Profile
boG
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Joined: 2008/5/21
Posts: 349
Las Vegas, NV

 Re: Atonement Theory's

Other than the last two weird ones and the Example Theory, I would say they all share truth. I have also been highly focused upon this doctrine. Not for the sake of fascination or that I might spend idle-time pondering secondary issues but for the critical understanding of how to preach the Gospel to those who are dead in their sins and understanding just how much we all need a Savior to save us from ourselves.


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Jordan

 2008/12/11 1:02Profile
bobmutch
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Joined: 2008/6/26
Posts: 90


 Re:

boG:
boG is God backward and it is Gods name in Russian.

I see you are quoting Willian Booth. I think the world of him. He was Wesleyan in doctrine.

Blood and Fire was one of their motto's and another was soap, soup, and salvation.

Brengle wrote some very nice booklets for them.


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Bob Mutch

 2008/12/11 1:17Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: Atonement Theory's

Quote:
I come from a very strong Calvinistic background and at one time would have embraced the Penal Theory. When I embraced the Free From Sin teaching Calvinism when out the door. The Wesleyan-Arminian system is bacially the Satisfaction theory with some parts from the Ransom, and Penal Substitution theories of the atonement.



Wesleyan theology was straight down the line Penal Substitution. The one aberration to this group was Finney who embraced the Moral Government theory.

I was never a Calvinist but who don't need to throw everything out of the door just because Calvinists believe them.


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Ron Bailey

 2008/12/11 4:36Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
I see you are quoting Willian Booth. I think the world of him. He was Wesleyan in doctrine.



Indeed he was. One of his somewhat incendiary comments was "There is One God and John Wesley is his prophet!"

But YOU are not Wesleyan but Finneyist and the two views are chalk and cheese.


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Ron Bailey

 2008/12/11 4:38Profile
KingJimmy
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Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

It should also be noted regarding Wesley that most churches that trace their roots back to him espouse the penal/substitution theory of atonement. Wesley, while not using that theological vocabulary (to my knowledge), clearly taught such a view. Those who would say otherwise clearly have not read very much Wesley, but have merely cherry-picked various sermons of his.

Wesley's doctrine of justification by faith is clearly at odds with any Finneyism/Moral Government theory. One has to look no further than Wesley's famous "The Almost Christian" sermon to determine that. Indeed, up until a year or so before his conversion, Wesley could have probably been considered as a proponent of moral government. According to his own testimony, he believed in God and did everything in his own strength and power to serve God. He determined to love God and love his neighbor, and always keep the commandments. He determined to be disciplined in prayer, fasting, and giving. He determined to evangelize the heathen (this sounds like some traveling street preachers we know of on SI!), and always speak an edifying word. Indeed, John Wesley, according to his own testimony, was living his life for God most of his life before he ever got saved!!!

Some spiritually dead commentators that wrote on Wesley wondered just how he, according to his own words, was not a genuine Christian prior to his conversion at 34. God knows Finney would have deemed him saved prior to then. But Wesley makes it clear in his sermon, that in spite of all his determination, obedience, and work, that he was but "almost a Christian" up until his actual conversion at Aldersgate, when his heart was "strangely warmed."

I've said it before and will save it again: Justification by faith (apart from the works of the law) is truly a matter of life and death. Until one realizes that all their works are but filthy rags, and realizes that it is "through the obedience of the One," one is trapped in the grave errors of Finney.

And I choose the word "grave" intentionally. Righteousness comes through faith, not obedience to the law. The only righteousness that has ever been through the law is a ceremonial righteousness having to do with external things. If one attempts to live before God with a righteousness based on the law, one will surely be damned (for your good works will never undo your bad works). Only the one who lives before God by faith will be saved. For faith brings an end to man, who has no works to offer God. Instead he says that Christ's work on the cross alone can stand in his place (substitution). And only once man has been brought to his end, and thus dying, can Christ begin to live in him. Moral government attempts to add our works to Christ's work to produce salvation. But so long as he does that, he denies the sufficiency of the cross of Jesus Christ, and effectively says that Christ's work was not good enough. Such a man is on his way to hell.


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Jimmy H

 2008/12/11 6:40Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re: Atonement Theory's

Quote:
I come from a very strong Calvinistic background and at one time would have embraced the Penal Theory. When I embraced the Free From Sin teaching Calvinism when out the door. The Wesleyan-Arminian system is bacially the Satisfaction theory with some parts from the Ransom, and Penal Substitution theories of the atonement. That there was an atonement was more important to Wesley that laying out a systematic theory on how it was effected.




Although I have already been accused of many things by this man, one of which that I don't understand Finney; I know for a fact that the revivalist approach to salvation employed by Finney did not allow him to believe in Penal Substitution. The reason is is that Finney used the dreaded measure of challenging a person's salvation for even the most craziest of behaviors. This is how he won the effect. He challenged their assurance and linked their assurance to their behavior making void in the minds of the people the fact that grace through faith is the means by which a person is declared righteous before God.

And this is one of those 'Paul Harvey', "[i]The Rest of the Story[/i]" threads. After a multitude of exchanges on point number n[u]y[/u]ne (a person becoming a child of the devil after a single willful sin) and my perception that Bob's views were essentially Finney's (although he has shown me convincingly that he is more radical than Finney) we see now that he has rejected Penal Substitution. This answers why he said Finney had done more in a day than 'we' had done in a lifetime. I pray to God I never wreak as much havoc on the souls of men as does this notion that man has no security in God except to walk in Christian Perfection.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/12/11 7:09Profile
bobmutch
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Joined: 2008/6/26
Posts: 90


 Re:

philologos:
>>>But YOU are not Wesleyan but Finneyist and the two views are chalk and cheese.

While I will have to let you believe what you want, I clearly reject Finney's no original sin, his legalism on coffee and black tea (even though I drink neither), and many other points.

It was Wesley that held the free from sin teaching not Finney. Finney clearly taught you were still a Christian when you sinned.

It wasn't until Oberlin that he even addressed the issue "can a Christian live free from sin". Oberlin Perfectionism even with Asa Mahan's infulence was a far step from Wesley's Christian Perfection teaching.

So clearly philologos you have made a wrong call on this one.

>>>I was never a Calvinist but who [you] don't need to throw everything out of the door just because Calvinists believe them.

I didn't through every out the door that Calvinist teach. They teach Christ is the only way to God. Clearly I didn't throw that out. I did how ever thought the 5 points out lock stock and barrow.


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Bob Mutch

 2008/12/11 10:47Profile
bobmutch
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Joined: 2008/6/26
Posts: 90


 Re:

RobertW:
I broke off what I considered a circle conversation with you on one of my threads yesterday Robert and let you know for the second time in that thread that I feel the conversation wasn't going any where and told you I wouldn't be responding to you on the thread any more Lord willing. Since then you have posted 9 more posts to me ignoring my request which of course raised my eyebrows.

I trust you are not going to follow me around and post on my threads or the threads I post on the kind of things you have posted there like...

>>>Although I have already been accused of many things by this man, one of which that I don't understand Finney;

I think as mature adults if some one indicates they feel like the conversation is going no where and they feel like it is in the best interest of the forum and their Christian witness to not continue -- than the other person should respect that.

To then move to another thread and post "I have already been accused of many things by this man" in my mind is getting close to slandering a person.

Also let me correct one of your quotes so that others will not be confuse as the what the 'we' is in your statement.

>>>This answers why he said Finney had done more in a day than 'we' had done in a lifetime.

Here is what I said.

"Finney had many errors but one thing he did have that neither you or I have is results. He likely did more in an average day than you or I will do in a life time."

I can see now that I made the right choice to break off conversation with you on the other thread. I trust I won't need to do the same thing here.

I feel that those that accuse me of being a Finneyite are really mistaken and either have not taken the time to see what teaching I do hold or they don't know the clear differences between Finney and Wesley.

I would consider those that say my doctrinal position is Finneyism being very close to a stawman attack.

While I hold Finney high for the work God did through him in the same way I hold Whitefield high for the work God did though him -- I reject Finney's theology.

So in closing Robert from what I have seen so far I think it would be best for both our Christian witness and the forum for you to keep posts directed toward me to a minimum per my request.


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Bob Mutch

 2008/12/11 11:25Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
So in closing Robert from what I have seen so far I think it would be best for both our Christian witness and the forum for you to keep posts directed toward me to a minimum per my request.



I will meet you and your error where I find it. What about Peter? Did that raise an eyebrow also?


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Robert Wurtz II

 2008/12/11 11:41Profile





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