The Meaning of Jesus' Death

Messages on the Meaning of Jesus' Death and Resurrection

The Healing of Human Nature in Jesus (video, Nov 15, 2013)

The Role of Jesus in Revolution and the Pursuit of Justice

The King Who Entered Our Sin and Suffering (Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12) (and ppt)

Knowing the Love of God (1 John 4:9 - 14)

Why Trust This Jesus? (John 1:14 - 18)

The Making of a New Humanity (Colossians 1:15 - 20)

God's Response to Human Evil: The Faithfulness of Jesus (Romans 3:21 - 26)

God's Victory over Human Evil in Jesus (Romans 6:1 - 11)

God's Victory over Human Evil: Presenting Ourselves to Jesus (Romans 6:12 - 14)

God's Victory over Human Evil: We Are Bondslaves to Christ (Romans 6:15 - 23)

Beyond "Near and Far": Jesus Overcomes Shame and Alienation (Ephesians 2:11 - 22)

Jesus Frees Us from the Evil One (Matthew 3:13 - 4:11, given in 2012 to imprisoned men in Gulu, Uganda)



How to Move Mountains and Influence People: The Gospel of Matthew as Handbook for Jesus' Mission and Ours

Evangelism Diagram of the New Humanity Paradigm

Evangelism With the New Humanity Paradigm

Jesus Saves Us From What?  Integration of Motifs in Evangelism Training

Illustrations of the Atonement

Quotations and Reflections on Evil and Human Nature

C.S. Lewis' Theology of Atonement

The Theology of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4

The Theology of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (short version)

The Theology of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter

The Council of Nicaea, the Origin of "the Trinity," and the Limitations of Human Language on the linguistic, theological dimension

The Council of Nicaea, the Origin of "the Trinity," and the Role of Political Power on the political history

Poem, "Red Dust" from my trip to Uganda 2012

Poem, "Sweat" from my trip to Haiti and the Dominican Republic 2014

For more information, please see:

* The Question of the Goodness of God and the Christian Response: The Trinity

* The Question of Evil and the Christian Response: Jesus' New Humanity

* The Question of Suffering and the Christian Response: The Divine-Human Partnership


Worship Songs

Keith Getty, In Christ Alone, revised for the Ontological Substitution atonement theory

Matt Maher, Christ is Risen

Michael Gungor, Beautiful Things

Hillsong Worship, This I Believe (The Creed)

Chris Tomlin, Good, Good Father

Hillsong Worship, At the Cross

Planetshakers, The Anthem

Israel Houghton, I Know Who I Am

Kari Jobe, Healer

Larry Hampton, Hail to the King


Comparisons of Western "Penal Substitution" and Eastern/Classical "Ontological Substitution"

Interpreting Jesus and Atonement - Practical Issue Series (NHI blog post series)

* #1: Does God Love Your Non-Christian Friend? (Aug 17, 2015)

* #2: Does God Want to Undo All Human Evil? Or Does He Require It To Exist? (Aug 18, 2015)

* #3: Is God Partly Evil? (Aug 19, 2015)

* #4: What About Hell? (Aug 20, 2015)

* #5: Does God Value Every Person? Does He Anchor Universal Human Dignity? (Aug 24, 2015)

* #6: Is Retributive Justice the Highest Form of Justice? The Impact of Atonement on Criminal Justice (Sep 9, 2015)

* #7: Atonement, God's Character, and Economic Justice (A Critique of Wayne Grudem) (Sep 14, 2015)

* #8: How Penal Substitution Affects Your Student Loan Debt, Mortgage Payments, and "Too Big to Fail" Banks (A Critique of Tim Keller) (Sep 22, 2015)

* #9: Does God Sound Like an Asian Parent?  What Language of Motivation Does He Use? (Oct 12, 2015)

Big Questions About God: Contrasting Early and High Federal Calvinist Theologies

Atonement Theology: Why Everyone Should Care (one document)

* Ch.1: Does God Love Your Non-Christian Friend?

* Ch.2: Does God Want to Undo All Human Evil?  Or Does He Require Human Evil to Exist?

* Ch.3: Is God Partly Evil?

* Ch.4: Does God Value Every Person?  Does He Anchor Universal Human Dignity?

* Ch.5: Is Retributive or Restorative Justice the Highest Form of God's Justice?  Does Atonement Theology Impact Our Framework for Social Justice?

Evil and the Christian God

Evil and the Christian God and Theology of Atonement

Penal Substitution and Ontological Substitution: A Theological Comparison (intro ppt)

Penal Substitution and Ontological Substitution: A Theological Comparison (long)

Penal Substitution and Ontological Substitution: A Historical Comparison (analysis of early church writings)

Penal Substitution and Ontological Substitution: A Pastoral Comparison

Paul's Language of Motivation:  Why Paul Didn't Believe in Penal Substitution
Why Penal Substitution Damages Asian-Americans: Medical Substitution From the Patristic Period
Ontological Substitution:  Why it Works with Social Justice-Oriented Non-Christians

Why Penal Substitution Drives Out Other Atonement Theories: Satisfaction Theory

Homosexuality and Atonement Theories


Analyses of Scripture

Why Did God Choose a "Chosen People"?  Why Not Just Skip Right to Jesus? (one document)

* Reason #1: To Be a Microcosm of All Humanity, Not a Race or Ethnicity

* Reason #2: To Live by God's Word and Hope for a Happy Ending

* Reason #3: To Diagnose the Evil Internal to Human Nature

* Reason #4: To Suffer on Behalf of the World

* Reason #5: To Document the Diagnosis

* Reason #6: To Anticipate God's Dwelling Within People

* Reason #7: To Oppose Pagan Temple Systems and Glimpse the Trinity

* Reason #8: To Anticipate the Messiah and His Mission

The Sacrificial System and Atonement in the Pentateuch

The Cry of Psalm 22:  Forsaken to the Gentiles, not Forsaken Absolutely

What Did The Suffering Servant Suffer?  Isaiah 53 and Penal Substitution

Ontological Substitution and the Gospel of Matthew

Ontological Substitution and the Gospel of Mark

Ontological Substitution and the Gospel of Luke & Acts

Ontological Substitution and the Gospel of John

"Do Not Weep for Me":  Is Evoking Pity for Jesus Good Preaching?

1 Corinthians: Christ Our Passover Lamb and the Cleansing of His Body from Sin

Romans: God's Wrath is Directed at the Corruption in Us, Not Our Personhood

Galatians: Jesus Became a Curse For Us By His Active, Not Passive, Obedience

2 Corinthians: How Did Jesus Become Sin?

"Pistis Christou": The Faithfulness of Christ Jesus, and Jesus' Active Obedience

Paul's Language of Motivation:  Why Paul Didn't Believe in Penal Substitution
Justification, Circumcision, and Covenant:  Why Justification Rests on Jesus' Resurrection, Not His Death Alone

Forgiveness of Sin:  Self-Harm and the Defacing of the Image of God

The Ridiculousness of Debt:  Fiscal Substitution and Ransom

Assurance of Salvation:  Why it Rests on Participation in Christ, Not Limited Atonement

Limited vs. Unlimited Atonement:  An Examination of the Key Texts

Heaven as Sharing in the Triune Life

Hell as the Love of God (and ppt)

Hell as Fire and Darkness: Remembrance of Sinai as Covenant Rejection in Matthew's Gospel

Atonement in Scripture - The Scapegoat Series (NHI blog)

* Donald Trump's Scapegoating and the Myth of Retributive Justice (NHI blog, Feb 12, 2016)

* Donald Trump's Scapegoating and the Scapegoating of the Black Community (NHI blog, Feb 15, 2016)

* What Lynching, Torture, and Scapegoating Have in Common: Penal Substitution (NHI blog, Feb 18, 2016)

* Why Penal Substitution is a Gateway Drug to Right-Wing Extremism (NHI blog, Feb 22, 2016)

* Why Evangelicals Scapegoat Gays, Muslims, Etc. (NHI blog, Feb 29, 2016) on the sacrificial system in the Pentateuch

* Why Trump and Cruz Are the Direct, Logical Result of American Evangelical Theology (NHI blog, Mar 6, 2016) on Romans and the Sinai covenant

* A Neuroscientific Reason for Why Retributive Justice is from the Fall, and Penal Substitution is Immature (NHI blog, Apr 28, 2016) on the Genesis 3 fall

The Theme of Fire in Scripture, Book by Book

* The Theme of Fire in the Pentateuch

* The Theme of Fire in Isaiah

* The Theme of Fire in Malachi

* The Theme of Fire and Darkness in Matthew's Gospel

* The Theme of Fire in Luke - Acts

* The Theme of Fire in Hebrews

* The Theme of Fire in 2 Peter

* The Theme of Fire in Revelation


Email Correspondences

Correspondence with KH On Penal Substitution (debates with a Southern Baptist Arminian, last updated Apr 7, 2017)

Correspondence with ELS & MT3 On Penal Substitution (short debate on Facebook, last updated Apr 2017)

Correspondence with TF about the Goodness of God and the Will of God (short discussion on Facebook, last updated May 17, 2017)



Early Church (Patristic)

* Digestible quotations from early church theologians about atonement (from my devotional on Matthew's Gospel)

* Jonathan Burke, Participatory Atonement (Christian Studies website) and his paper, The Atonement in Historical Review (Academia)

* Robert D. Culver, The Doctrine of Atonement Before Anselm (Patrick Henry College) argues that satisfaction theory was present in the patristics, and that Anselm got it right

* Michael J. Vlach, Penal Substitution in Church History (The Master's Seminary Journal, Fall 2009) argues for penal substitution in the patristics

* Encyclopedia Britannica, Patristic Literature (website)

* Tim Barnett, Did the Council of Nicea Invent the Deity of Christ? (Stand to Reason, Nov 18, 2016)


Odes of Solomon (1st - 2nd centuries)

Reflections on the Odes of Solomon

* Glen Clary, Hughes Oliphant Old Describes the Earliest Christian Hymnal (Reformed Forum, Apr 20, 2016) 


Irenaeus of Lyons (c.130 - 202 AD)

Why God is Not Evil, Not One Bit, According to Irenaeus of Lyons (my ppt presentation)

* Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies book 3, chapter 17, paragraph 3

* Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies book 3, chapter 18, paragraphs 1, 3, 7

* Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies book 3, chapter 19, paragraphs 1, 3

* Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies book 3, chapter 20, paragraph 2

* Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies book 5, chapter 14, paragraphs 1 - 4

* Irenaeus of Lyons, Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, 31, 32, 34, 37 - 38

* Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment 28

* Matthew Baker, "The Place of St. Irenaeus of Lyon in Historical and Dogmatic Theology According to Thomas F. Torrance", Participatio: The Journal of the Thomas F. Torrance Theological Fellowship (T.F. Torrance Theological Fellowship website, Volume 2, 2010)

* Robert Arakaki, Excerpts from Irenaeus of Lyons (Ancient Faith blog, Sep 8, 2012)

* Anthony Briggman, Irenaeus of Lyons and the Theology of the Holy Spirit (pdf book, 2012)

* Anthony Zimmerman, Irenaeus, Evolution, and the Sin in Eden (Lifeissues)

* Bobby Grow, The Father-Son Relation: Rowan Williams on the Irenaean Theology of Participation, and TF Torrance's Homoousion (Evangelical Calvinist, Jul 14, 2016)


Methodius of Olympus (died 311 AD)

* Methodius of Olympus, Three Fragments from the Homily on the Cross and Passion of Christ, paragraphs 1 - 2  


Athanasius of Alexandria (c.298 - 373 AD)

Athanasius on the Holy Spirit, Conversion, and Sanctification, Part 1 (my paper)

Athanasius on the Holy Spirit, Conversion, and Sanctification, Part 2 (a paper in progress)

* Athanasius of Alexandria, On the Incarnation, chapters 2 - 5 (circa 328 - 330 AD)

* Athanasius of Alexandria, Discourses Against the Arians, discourse 1, paragraphs 51 and 60

* Athanasius of Alexandria, Discourses Against the Arians, discourse 2, paragraphs 47, 54 - 56, 65 - 66, 70, 74

* Athanasius of Alexandria, Discourses Against the Arians, discourse 3, paragraphs 31, 33, 39

* Athanasius of Alexandria, Letter 3, paragraphs 3 - 4 note the motif of God as a purifying fire

* Athanasius of Alexandria, Letter 11, paragraph 14

* Athanasius of Alexandria, Letter 59 to Epictetus of Corinth, paragraph 8 for John 1:14 and Galatians 3:13 as mutually interpreting

* Athanasius of Alexandria, Letter 60 to Adelphius, paragraph 4 for 2 Peter 1:4 and Romans 8:3 as mutually interpreting

* Athanasius of Alexandria, Letter 61 to Maximus, paragraphs 2 - 3 for discussion of Jesus' genuine humanity, and our reception of him being deification

* Athanasius of Alexandria, Tomus ad Antiochenos 7 for Jesus having a human soul; cf. Against Apollinaris 1.17 "he gave body for body and soul for soul" and see Matthew Craig Steenberg, Of God and Man: Theology as Anthropology from Irenaeus to Athanasius (pdf book, 2009, ch.5) for more discussion

* Athanasius of Alexandria, Life of Antony paragraph 74

* The Works of Athanasius in Chronological Order (Fourth Century Christianity website)

* Grace Communion International, The Nicene Creed's Incarnational Trinitarian Roots (The Surprising God blog)

* T.F. Torrance, Theology in Reconciliation (Amazon book, 1996), p.151 - 154

* Antiochan Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, Saint Athanasius and the ‘Penal Substitutionary’ Atonement Doctrine (blog, 2010; website)

* Aidan Kimel, St. Athanasius: Substitutionary Atonement and the Dilemma of Death (Eclectic Orthodoxy, Apr 13, 2013)

* Dattatreya Mandal, Nifty 3D Animation Presents The Grandeur Of Ancient Alexandria, From Its Library To Lighthouse (Realm of History, Apr 26, 2016)

* Jonathan Kleiss, Athanasius, T.F. Torrance, and the Vicarious Humanity of Christ (Reformissio, Oct 6, 2016)

* Jonathan Kleiss, An Easterly Influenced Reformed Theology Rather Than a Westerly (Reformissio, Feb 1, 2017) features Athanasius


Ephrem the Syrian (c.306 - 373 AD)

* Ephrem the Syrian, Hymn on the Nativity 1 (~370 AD; website)

* Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns on the Nativity 2, 6


Basil of Caesarea (330 - 379 AD)

* Basil of Caesarea, On the Human Condition (Amazon book)

* Basil of Caesarea, Epistle 261, paragraphs 1 - 3


Gregory of Nazianzus (329 - 389 AD)

* Gregory of Nazianzus, Epistle 101 to Cledonius the Priest Against Apollinarius

* Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 2, paragraphs 18, 22 - 25

* Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 30, paragraphs 5 - 6  

* Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 45, paragraphs 13 and 22

* T.F. Torrance, Theology in Reconciliation (Amazon book, 1996), p.154 - 156

* Aidan Kimel, Gregory of Nazianzus and the Apollinarian Nonsense (Eclectic Orthodoxy blog, Oct 8, 2013)


Gregory of Nyssa (c.335 - 395 AD)

* Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses book 2, paragraphs 32 - 33 and 275 - 277 on Jesus becoming sin and the serpent to cure us

* Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius book 5, chapter 4, on Jesus destroying the evil in himself

* Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius book 6, chapter 1, God condemned sin ‘in the flesh,’ not ‘in the Godhead’ critiques Eunomius and penal substitution

* Gregory of Nyssa, Great Catechism chapters 8, 9, 15, 24 - 27, 29 - 32, 35, 37, 40

* Gregory of Nyssa, Epistle 1

* T.F. Torrance, Theology in Reconciliation (Amazon book, 1996), p.154 - 156


Cyril of Jerusalem (315 - 386 AD)

* Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis Lecture 4, paragraph 9

* Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis Lecture 12, paragraph 15


Ambrose of Milan (340 - 397 AD)

* Ambrose of Milan, Exposition of the Christian Faith, book 2, paragraphs 93 - 94  

* Ambrose of Milan, Exposition of the Christian Faith, book 5, paragraphs 117 - 178, 181

* Ambrose of Milan, On the Holy Spirit, book 1, chapter 10, paragraph 114

* Ambrose of Milan, On Repentance, book 1, chapter 3, paragraphs 11 - 13

* The Works of Ambrose in Chronological Order (Fourth Century Christianity website)


John Chrysostom (c.349 - 407 AD)

* John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, Homily 13 see Romans 8:3

* John Chrysostom, Homilies on 2 Corinthians, Homily 11 see 2 Corinthians 5:11 - 21

* John Chrysostom, Homilies on Ephesians, Homily 1 see Ephesians 1:6

* John Chrysostom, Homilies on Hebrews, Homily 17 see Hebrews 10:2 - 9

* John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homily 11 on John 1:14


Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430 AD)

* Augustine of Hippo, Enchiridion, paragraph 41

* Augustine of Hippo, Against Faustus the Manichean, book 14, paragraphs 3 - 6  seems to think that Mary's virginal conception eliminated some kind of sin in Jesus' humanity (the early error was to think that sexual desire even for one's spouse was sinful) but otherwise subscribes to medical substitutionary atonement

* Augustine of Hippo, On Christian Doctrine, book 1, chapter 14

* Augustine of Hippo, On the Christian Struggle (Orthumanitas blog, Mar 31, 2015)

* Thomas Weinandy, In the Likeness of Sinful Flesh, p.29 (pdf book, 1993)

* Stanley P. Rosenberg, "Interpreting Atonement in Augustine," edited by Charles E. Hill and Frank A. James III, The Glory of the Atonement (Amazon, 2004) notes that Augustine did not believe in penal substitution, despite the fact that the book was intended to be a collection of essays honoring penal substitution!

* John Milbank, Why Study Augustine of Hippo (University of Nottingham, Jul 14, 2016) explains Augustine's error re: his definition of predestination and hell

* Bobby Grow, Augustine's Theology of Atonement: Divine Child Abuse? (Evangelical Calvinist, Sep 26, 2016) this is a response to John McGuckin's misunderstanding of patristic theology, but an example of engaging penal substitution from ontological substitution


Cyril of Alexandria (c.376 - 444 AD)

* Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John's Gospel (~410 AD, CCEL website) see 1:14, "the fallen body united ineffably to the Word"

* Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Romans (fragment) "the whole world has been saved"

* Cyril of Alexandria, In Ioannis evangelium, MPG LXXIII, 753A - 756C; LXXIV, 276A - C refers to "sinful flesh"

* Cyril of Alexandria, De incarnatione unigeniti, MPG LXXV, 1213B - D

* Cyril of Alexandria, Scholia, MPG LXXV, 1388BC, 1397B; and 1390C - 1391A compares Jesus healing human nature to God healing Moses' hand of leprosy; cf. Glaphyra in Leviticum, MPG LXIX, 553A - 580A

* Cyril of Alexandria, Quod unus sit Christus, MPG LXXV, 1332A - D

* Cyril of Alexandria, De Incarnatione Domini, MPG LXXV, 1441D- 1445B

* Cyril of Alexandria, Fragmenta in Diodorum, MPG LXXVI, 1430C - D

* Cyril of Alexandria, Adversus Nestorium, MPG LXXVI, iii, 164A - D

* Cyril of Alexandria, Thesaurus, MPG LXXV, 272D - 273A; 392D - 401B; 468D - 469A

* Cyril of Alexandria, Contra Orientales, MPG LXXVI, 321C - 324A

* T.F. Torrance, Theology in Reconciliation (Amazon book, 1996), p.156 - 185

* Donald Fairbairn, "Justification in St. Cyril of Alexandria", edited by Matthew Baker and Todd Speidell, T.F. Torrance and Eastern Orthodoxy (Amazon book, 2015, p.139) notes that in Cyril, Jesus is the justified one, and our justification is by participation with him; justification may be forensic language but there is an underlying ontological, medical substance to which it refers


The Council of Chalcedon (451 AD)

* Mark DelCogliano, The Christ of Analytic Theology: A Review Essay (Eclectic Orthodoxy, Apr 17, 2017) treats succinctly the problems surrounding the Tome of Leo


Prosper of Aquitaine (c.390 - 455 AD)

* Prosper of Aquitaine, The Call of All the Nations, chapters 6 - 8 significant because Prosper was Augustine's leading disciple in Gaul; he does not elaborate on whether the incarnation instantly cleansed Jesus' human nature, or whether the lifelong obedience and death did, but Prosper certainly subscribes to the medical atonement


Maximus the Confessor (c.580 - 662 AD)

* Metropolitan Paul Yazigi, The Church's Unity According to Maximus the Confessor (Pravmir, Feb 11, 2016)

* Paul M. Blowers, Maximus the Confessor and John of Damascus on Gnomic Will in Christ: Clarity and Ambiguity (pdf file) shows the problems with Maximus saying that Jesus did not have a gnomic will

* David Bradshaw, St. Maximus on the Will - Natural and Gnomic (Eclectic Orthodoxy blog, Aug 3, 2016)



* Charles C. Twombly, Perichoresis, Personhood, and Salvation in John of Damascus (2015; Amazon page)

* Dania Rodrigues, The Ancient Greeks Sacrificed Ugly People (Atlas Obscura, Oct 30, 2015) part of the cultural backdrop which Christians rejected


Eastern Orthodox

* Journey to Orthodoxy (website)

* Prayers on the Day of Assumption/Ascension (Anastasis, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain) says, "Lifting up on your shoulders the nature which had been led astray, O Christ, you were taken up and brought it to God the Father... Lifting up our nature which had been slain by sin, O Saviour, you brought it to your own Father... The majesty of him who became poor in the flesh has been raised above the heavens and our fallen nature honoured by sitting with the Father... and having through compassion exalted our fallen nature, you have seated it with the Father. O God, having renewed in yourself Adam’s nature, which had descended to the lower parts of the earth, you took it up to-day above every rule and authority; as you loved it, so you made it sit with you; as you had compassion on it, so You united it to Yourself; as united with it, so you suffered with it; as not subject to suffering, yet you suffered and glorified it with yourself. When you came down from heaven to things on earth and as God raised up with you Adam’s nature which lay below in Hades’ prison, you brought it to heaven by your Assumption, O Christ, and made it sit with you on your Father’s throne, as you are merciful and love humankind."

* Matins on the Feast of Ascension (Kiilehua) says, "In a manifestation of great glory He Who humbled Himself in the flesh hath risen above the heavens; and our fallen nature hath been honored by sitting with the Father"

* John Meyendorff, Christ's Humanity: The Paschal Mystery (St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 31, no.1, 1987: 22 - 30)

* Kallistos Ware, How Are We Saved: The Understanding of Salvation in the Orthodox Tradition (1997; Amazon page)

* Hieromonk Damascene, What Christ Accomplished on the Cross (Orthodox Christian Information Center, Mar-Apr 2004)

* Stephen Freeman, A Common Faith (blog, Jan 15, 2008) quotes early theologians on 'deification'

* Steve Hayes, Salvation and Atonement (Khanya blog, Jun 30, 2008) compares Western and Eastern views

* Antiochan Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, Saint Athanasius and the ‘Penal Substitutionary’ Atonement Doctrine (blog, 2010; website)

* Ivana Noble, The Gift of Redemption: Vladimir Lossky and Raymond Schwager on Anselm of Canterbury (Comunio Viatorum, 2010)

* Daniel Marchant, Atonement in Orthodox Soteriology (thesis 2011; pdf file)

* Steve Robinson, Love Wins - An Orthodox View (youtube video, Sep 2011), a short video comparing Western and Eastern ways of doing evangelism

* Darrell, What is the Eastern Orthodox View of the Atonement? The Recapitulation Theory (Tough Questions Answered blog, Nov 9, 2011)

* Father James Bernstein, The Original Christian Gospel (Pravmir, Nov 1, 2011)

* Aidan Kimel, St. Athanasius: Theologian of the Cross (Eclectic Orthodoxy, Apr 2, 2013)

* Aidan Kimel, St. Athanasius: The Creation of Humanity in the Image of the Image (Eclectic Orthodoxy, Apr 4, 2013)

* Aidan Kimel, St. Athanasius: The Fall of Man Into the Body (Eclectic Orthodoxy, Apr 4, 2013)

* Aidan Kimel, St. Athanasius: The Nothingness of the World (Eclectic Orthodoxy, Apr 5, 2013)

* Aidan Kimel, St. Athanasius: Substitutionary Atonement and the Dilemma of Death (Eclectic Orthodoxy, Apr 13, 2013)

* Aidan Kimel, St. Athanasius: The Death of Death in the Death of God (Eclectic Orthodoxy, Apr 15, 2013)

* Nathaniel McCallum, Original Sin and Orthodoxy: Reflections on Carthage (Ancient Faith blog, Aug 22, 2013) intriguingly credits transmission of "original guilt" not to Augustine's translation of Romans 5:12 but to his view that there was a gap between genesis (conception) and kinesis (motion); although see Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, John P. Galvin, Systematic Theology: Roman Catholic Perspectives, Volume 2 (Google book) which argues that some facets of Roman Catholic theology (like this point) have been in a state of flux; and see also Michael Pomazansky, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology (website, Feb 1, 2009), who also faults Augustine on Romans; but see Nathaniel McCallum, Inherited Guilt in Saints Augustine and Cyril (Academia, 2016) re-engagement of the issue

* Stephen Freeman, The Scope of Passover and Penal Substitution (AncientFaith blog, Apr 25, 2014)

* Stephen Freeman, Legal Problems (AncientFaith blog, May 29, 2014)

* Timothy Copple, The Atonement of Jesus Christ (Orthodox Convert website)

* David Bentley Hart, A Gift Exceeding Every Debt: An Eastern Orthodox Appreciation of Anselm's Cur Deus Homo (Scribd) although Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger critiques Anselm

* Stephen Freeman, No More Debt (Ancient Faith blog, Apr 13, 2015) an Eastern Orthodox critique of modern finance based on atonement theology

* Aidan Kimel, Kallistos Ware and the Fall of the Incarnate Christ (Eclectic Orthodoxy, Jun 13, 2016) see also my comments

* Aidan Kimel, John Meyendorff and God's Assumption of Fallen Humanity (Eclectic Orthodoxy, Jun 19, 2016)

* Stephen Freeman, The Seat of Mercy and the End of the Legal View (Ancient Faith blog, Aug 11, 2016) study of "hilasterion" and the cultural shifts in medieval law that gave rise to abstractions like penal substitution

* Stephen Freeman, Being Saved - The Ontological Approach (Ancient Faith blog, Aug 12, 2016) why I like the term "medical substitution" for this theology

* Aidan Kimel, When Did Jesus Decide to Die? (Eclectic Orthodoxy, Aug 15, 2016)

* Stephen Freeman, How Good Is Your Will? Part Two of the Ontological Model (Eclectic Orthodoxy, Aug 16, 2016)

* David Bentley Hart, Interview - Crackers and Juice Podcast (ObjectiveBob, Feb 27, 2017) 50 min mark on Calvin; 55:30 min mark on Barth


Roman Catholic

* New Advent, Doctrine of the Atonement (New Advent website) from Nicaea to Trent, unlimited atonement

* New Catholic Encyclopedia, Satisfaction of Christ ( on Anselm as interpreted by Aquinas

* Catena Aurea, Gospel of Matthew ch.27 (CCEL)

* Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity (online quote, from p.231 - 234 and p.281 - 282) where he affirms the Eastern view of atonement as continuous with the early church, and critiques Anselm's satisfaction of honor theory

* Thomas G. Weinandy, In the Likeness of Sinful Flesh (1993; pdf book online)

* John Richard Neuhaus, Challenging a Giant (First Things, Apr 2006; website) about Alyssa Helene Pitstick challenging Hans Urs Von Balthazar's idea of Christ's penal suffering in hell

* Eleonore Stump, "Aquinas on the Atonement" in Michael C. Rea, Oxford Readings in Philosophical Theology: Trinity, Incarnation, and Atonement (2009; pdf book), see ch.13

* Bryan Cross, Aquinas and Trent, Part 5 (Called to Communion, Apr 6, 2009) regarding "debt of punishment" - for reference, to ponder

* Dave Armstrong, Theology of the Atonement: Catholic Distinctiveness Over Against the Calvinist Penal Substitution Model (Biblical Evidence for Catholicism blog, Apr 23, 2009)

* Bryan Cross, Catholic and Reformed Conceptions of the Atonement (Called to Communion blog, Apr 1, 2010)

* Eleonore Stump, The Value of Atonement (video, from 6 min mark, Jul 8, 2010); note parts 2 - 9 (p4 highlights what I consider to be a flaw in Aquinas' understanding of atonement)

* Catholic Nick, More Problems With Penal Substitution (Nick's Catholic blog, Jul 7, 2010)

* Catholic Nick, Protestant Apologetics Site "GotQuestions?" Says Jesus "Spiritually Died" on the Cross (Nick's Catholic blog, Mar 28, 2014)

* Catholic Nick, Does the Catholic View of Atonement Permit the Reformed View of Penal Substitution? (Nick's Catholic blog, Apr 2, 2014) although Michael Taylor critiques Nick for not distinguishing sufficiently between them, which I believe gets at some of the tensions in Catholic theology on the atonement

* Catholic Nick, Understanding Jesus' Cry of Dereliction (Creed Code Cult, Mar 28, 2015)

* Catholic Nick, Penal Substitution is the Key to Understanding Protestant Evangelicalism (Nick's Catholic blog, Apr 4, 2015) has a good assortments of quotes

* Brandon Peterson, Paving the Way? Penalty and Atonement in Thomas Aquinas' Soteriology (Academia paper)

* Kevin Davis, Did Christ Have a Fallen Human Nature? (Dogmatics blog, Nov 4, 2015) comparing T.F. Torrance and Thomas Aquinas

* Christopher D. Jackson, Catholics Are Adopting a Lutheran Perspective on Martin Luther. They Shouldn't (First Things, Jul 22, 2016)


Denial of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Herself

* Pope Leo 1 (440 AD) "The Lord Jesus Christ alone among the sons of men was born immaculate." (Sermon 24 in Nativ. Dom.)

* Pope Gelasius (492 AD) "It belongs alone to the immaculate lamb to have no sin at all." (Gellasii papae dicta, vol. 4, col 1241, Paris, 1671)

* Pope Innocent III (1216 AD) "She (Eve) was produced without sin, but she brought forth in sin, she (Mary) was produced in sin, but she brought forth without sin." (De festo Assump., Sermon 2)

* From Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, "Greek Fathers (Origen, St. Basil. St John Chrysostom, St Cyril of Alexander) taught that Mary suffered from venial personal faults, such as ambition and vanity, doubt about the message of the Angel, and lack of faith under the Cross."

* David Lyle Jeffrey, Hail Mary (Christianity Today)


Atonement and the Scapegoat Theory

* Rene Girard, Are the Gospels Mythical? (First Things, Apr 1996)

* Rene Girard, Interview with CBC, Part 1 (youtube, Jan 26, 2013) on an excellent anthropology of scapegoating

* Rene Girard, Interview with CBC, Part 2 (youtube, Jan 26, 2013) treats Leviticus 16 and the Jewish practice of the scapegoat and atonement; also says the Joseph story is the reversal of the Oedipus story, where Joseph is innocent (Oedipus as scapegoat is guilty) and brings reconciliation (not death and division). In addition, Joseph tests his brothers by making Benjamin a scapegoat, but Judah refuses it and offers himself. The Joseph and Judah story exposes the scapegoating myth.  It is anti-myth.

* Rene Girard, Interview with CBC, Part 3 (youtube, Jan 26, 2013) explains why non-instinctual desires are imitative (mimetic) and therefore competitive; explains the biblical story of the fall in Genesis and redemption in the Gospels; why imitating Jesus is non-violent and non-competitive

* Richard Feloni, Peter Thiel Explains How an Esoteric Philosophy Book Shaped His Worldview (Business Insider, Nov 10, 2014) Rene Girard's work

* Dania Rodrigues, The Ancient Greeks Sacrificed Ugly People (Atlas Obscura, Oct 30, 2015) part of the cultural backdrop which Christians rejected

* Adam Ericksen, Rene Girard and the Mechanisms of Violence (Christian Transhumanist Podcast, Nov 30, 2015)

* Sarah Kaplan, The Darker Link Between Ancient Human Sacrifice and Our Modern World (Washington Post, Apr 5, 2016)


Protestant Evangelical: The Links Between Penal Substitution, Lynching, and Prisons

* Paula J. Giddings, Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching (Amazon book, Mar 3, 2009)

* Dominique Gilliard, Sunday Lynchings: The Church's Role in Our Nation's Legacy of Racism (Converge Oakland, Feb 27, 2013)

* Jamelle Bouie, Christian Soldiers: Lynching and Torture in the Jim Crow South Weren't Just Acts of Racism, but Religious Rituals (Slate, Feb 10, 2015)

* Kaia Stern, Voices from American Prisons: Faith, Education, and Healing (Amazon book, Jun 10, 2015) ch.2 about Augustine, Calvin, and penal sub


Protestant Evangelical:  Medical-Ontological Substitution or Critiques of Penal Substitution

* Theopedia, Definite Atonement (Theopedia article) the view I critique

* John McLeod Campbell, The Nature of the Atonement (1856; pdf book online)

* Henry Nutcombe Oxenham, The Catholic Doctrine of the Atonement (1865; free ebook)

* George MacDonald, "Justice", from Unspoken Sermons, Series Three (1885; pdf file)

* Laurence William Grensted, A Short History of the Doctrine of the Atonement (1920; google book)

* David Smith, The Atonement in the Light of History and the Modern Spirit (1923; free ebook)

* Gustav Aulen, Christus Victor:  A Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement (1930; Amazon page) but develops inconsistencies by trying to reconcile penal substitution

* C.S. Lewis, "The Perfect Penitent" (blog post) from his book Mere Christianity (1942 - 44; pdf file)

* D.M. Baillie, God Was in Christ (1948; Amazon page)

* Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics I/2 writes, "There must be no weakening or obscuring of the saving truth that the nature which God assumed in Christ is identical with our nature as we see it in the light of the Fall"

* Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV/2 and IV/3 (1961)

* P.P. Waldenstrom, Be Ye Reconciled to God (1963; pdf file)

* Roberta Bondi, To Love as God Loves (1987; Amazon page)

* Trevor Hart and Daniel Thimel, Christ in Our Place: The Humanity of God in Christ for the Reconciliation of the World (1989; Amazon page)

* Christian D. Kettler, The Vicarious Humanity of Christ and the Reality of Salvation (1991; Amazon page)

* Thomas F. Torrance, The Mediation of Christ (1992; Amazon page)

* "Judgment" from Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (IV Press, 1993) and Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (IV Press, 1992; pdf file)

* "Wrath" from Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (IV Press, 1993; pdf file)

* "Expiation, Propitiation, Mercy Seat" from Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (IV Press, 1993; pdf file)

* "Righteousness" from Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (IV Press, 1993; pdf file)

* Roberta Bondi, "Out of the Green Tiled Bathroom" (pdf file) from Memories of God: Theological Reflections on a Life (1995; Amazon page)

* Donald Bloesch, Jesus Christ (1997; Amazon page)

* Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jensen, Union with Christ: The New Finnish Interpretation of Luther (1998; Amazon page)

* Kelly M. Kapic, The Son's Assumption of a Human Nature: A Call for Clarity (International Journal of Systematic Theology, Jul 2001)

* Christopher D. Marshall, Beyond Retribution: A New Testament Vision for Justice, Crime, and Punishment (2001; Amazon page)

* Christopher D. Marshall, Atonement, Violence, and the Will of God: A Sympathetic Response to J. Denny Weaver's The Non-Violent Atonement (Jan 2003; website)

* Richard D. Nelson, He Offered Himself: Sacrifice in Hebrews (Interpretation, Jul 2003)

* Colin Gunton, The Actuality of Atonement (Amazon book, Dec 2003)

* Stephen Finlan, The Background and Contents of Paul's Cultic Atonement Metaphors (pdf book, Sep 2004) argues for both propitiation and expiation

* Richard H. Anderson, Cultic Atonement Metaphors (Kratistos Theophilus blog, Aug 2005) another review of Stephen Finlan, with comments on Loren Rosson

* Loren Rosson, The Historical Lamb (Jesus and His Death blog, Nov 9, 2005) a review of Scot McKnight's book Jesus and His Death and Stephen Finlan, 2005; see also here

* Alister E. McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification (2005; pdf book online)

* C. Baxter Kruger, Jesus and the Undoing of Adam (2007; Amazon page)

* Trevin Wax, Don't Tell Me N.T. Wright Denies "Penal Substitution" (The Gospel Coalition, Apr 24, 2007) examines a good sampling of passages but both Wright might be questioned further for consistency

* Jason Goroncy, 'The Wondrous Cross: Atonement and Penal Substitution in the Bible and History': A Review (blog, Jan 8, 2008)

* Our God is a Consuming Fire (God's Character, Jun 10, 2008) helpful list of Scriptures regarding God as fire, with comments

* Ian A. McFarland, Fallen or Unfallen? (International Journal of Systematic Theology, Oct 2008)

* Thomas F. Torrance, Incarnation (2008; Amazon page)

* Thomas F. Torrance, Atonement (2009; Amazon page)

* Matthew Baker, "The Place of St. Irenaeus of Lyon in Historical and Dogmatic Theology According to Thomas F. Torrance", Participatio:  The Journal of the Thomas F. Torrance Theological Fellowship (Volume 2, 2010; website)

* Jeff McSwain, Young Life and the Gospel of All-Along Belonging (The Other Journal, Jan 6, 2010)

* Ken Pulliam, Index of Posts About Penal Substitution Theory (Former Fundy blog, Jul 17, 2010) which contributed to his de-conversion

* Derek Flood, Substitutionary Atonement and the Church Fathers: A Reply to the Authors of Pierced for Our Transgressions (Evangelical Quarterly, 2010; pdf article)

* Derek Flood, Penal Substitution vs. Christus Victor (pdf article)

* Mark Thompson and the Sydney Synod, Penal Substitutionary Atonement (Sydney Doctrine Commission, Aug 24, 2010) a good explanation of PSA

* Christian Eberhart, The Sacrifice of Jesus: Understanding Atonement Biblically (2011; Amazon page)

* J.R. Woodward, A Missional View of the Doctrine of Election (blog, Jun 23, 2011)

* Darren W. Snyder-Belousek, Atonement, Justice, and Peace: The Message of the Cross and the Mission of the Church (Amazon book, Dec 29, 2011) and review by Stephen D. Morrison, The Book to End Penal Substitution (blog)

* Joshua, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christology: For Me (Theologians Inc blog, Feb 24, 2012) note Bonhoeffer's use of "new humanity" and universal atonement

* Thomas H. McCall, Forsaken: The Trinity, the Cross, and Why It Matters (2012; Amazon page) and review by Ted Johnston (Surprising God blog, Apr 18, 2012)

* Oliver Crisp, By His Birth We Are Healed (Christianity Today, Apr 9, 2012)

* Morgan Guyton, 4 Cringe-worthy Claims of Popular Penal Substitution Theology (Huffington Post, Jul 2, 2012) fun, short read for a popular audience

* John Milbank, Are the New Evangelicals a New Phenomenon or a Reversion to Type? (blog, Jan 18, 2013)

* Kevin Chiarot, The Unassumed is the Unhealed: The Humanity of Christ in the Christology of T.F. Torrance (Amazon book, Sep 24, 2013) challenges TFT

* Brad Jersak, The Gospel in Chairs (video, Oct 24, 2013)

* Martin M. Davis, Ontological Healing vs. Traditional Views of Atonement (blog, Dec 12, 2013)

* Paul Rezkalla, If All Religions Are True, Then God is Cruel (Gospel Coalition blog, Mar 25, 2014) an example of penal substitution; the "bridge operator" analogy in the context of interfaith dialogue; I would not endorse this approach

* Alan B. Torrance, Liberating Grace Audio Series (audio series online)

* Neil Carter, Anti-Humanism: How Evangelicalism Taught Me the Art of Self-Loathing (Patheos blog, Nov 3, 2014)

* Richard Beck, When God Became the Devil (Experimental Theology blog, Nov 20, 2014), see also the comments

* Greg Boyd, The Danger of the Penal Substitution View of the Atonement (ReKnew, Nov 20, 2014)

* Michael Gorman, "Paul’s Corporate, Cruciform, Missional Theosis in 2 Corinthians," edited by Thate, Vanhoozer, and Campbell, "In Christ" in Paul (pdf book, Dec 1, 2014) is an excellent treatment of 2 Corinthians 5:21 and 8:1 - 9:15 which shows participation is central to Paul, not justification, which helps dismantle penal substitution

* Douglas Campbell and Douglas J. Moo, Paul on Justification: Is the Lutheran Approach to Pauline Justification Justified? (Trinity Ev Div School, Feb 12, 2015)

* Philip Jensen, Anglican Evangelicalism (Preaching Matters, St. Helen's Bishopsgate, Mar 2, 2015) comments on the prayer book of Thomas Cranmer, the reliance on John Calvin, and the limits thereof; the difference between Calvin as biblical commentator (influenced by John Chrysostom) and modern Calvinists (who rely on a simplified version of Calvin's Institutes)

* George Hunsinger, What Christ Did Was Effective for All (Grace Communion International video)

* Cherith Fee Nordling, What Jesus' Humanity Means for Us (Grace Communion International video)

* Nadia Bolz Weber, Sara Miles, A Devastating Good Friday Sermon (Patheos blog, Apr 4, 2015)

* Scot McKnight, Theology of Holy Saturday (Patheos blog, Apr 4, 2015)'

* Bradley Jersak, A More Christ-Like God, a More Beautiful Gospel (Amazon book, Apr 21, 2015)

* The Problem of the Atonement (Death to Life website)

* Bruce Wauchope, The Gospel and Mental Health Sample (Trinity in You blog)

* J.R. Daniel Kirk, Why is Jesus Human? (Storied Theology blog, May 19, 2015)

* Chris Mooney, The Surprising Links Between Faith and Evolution and Climate Denial - Charted (NY Times, May 20, 2015) interesting as I think the principle of meritocratic-retributive justice standing behind penal substitution is also an influence

* Charlie Baber, Atonement Theories of Relativity (Wesley Brothers, Jul 21, 2015)

* Greg Boyd, Why Did Jesus Die on the Cross? (ReKnew blog, Jul 28, 2015)

* Jason Robert Radcliffe, Thomas F. Torrance and the Church Fathers: A Reformed, Evangelical and Ecumenical Reconstruction of the Patristic Tradition (Themelios, Aug 2015)

* Ben Myers, Five Short Videos on Atonement Theology (Faith and Theology blog, Sep 8, 2015)

* George MacDonald, Divine Justice (Works of George MacDonald, Oct 15, 2016)

* C. Baxter Kruger, A New Relationship (youtube video, Nov 23, 2015)

* Tom Belt, A Cry of Dereliction? (An Open Orthodoxy blog, Dec 9, 2015)

* Greg Boyd, Ten Problems with the Penal Substitution View of the Atonement (ReKnew blog, Dec 10, 2015)

* Myk Habets, The Fallen Humanity of Christ: A Pneumatological Clarification of the Theology of T.F. Torrance (Participatio, Vol.5, 2015)

* Benjamin L. Corey, Old Testament Law: The Accuser Christ Defeated on the Cross (Patheos, Mar 18, 2016) intriguing, though I disagree with his understanding of the Jewish law

* ReligionToReason, If Man Forgave Like God: Penal Substitution Atonement Theory (ReligionToReason, Aug 9, 2016) 5 minute video, humorous but raises good points

* Dan Cameron, Flesh and Blood Myth 1: Fallenness Equals Sinfulness (blog, Apr 18, 2016)

* Greg Boyd, The Incarnation: More Than a Rescue Mission (ReKnew, Jul 2016)

* Jonathan Kleis, When Orthodoxy Becomes Innovation (Reformissio, Aug 27, 2016)

* Jonathan Kleis, Are There Two Wills in God? (Reformissio, Aug 28, 2016)

* Bobby Grow, In Response to Kevin J. Vanhoozer's Critique of Evangelical Calvinism: No We Don't Hold to the Physical Theory of Atonement (Evangelical Calvinism, Sep 24, 2016) worth noting as an ongoing discussion; but may or may not represent the "physical theory" accurately, and KJV misrepresents Irenaeus

* George MacDonald, Justice (Works of George MacDonald, Oct 16, 2016) "God is not bound to punish sin. He is bound to destroy it..."

* Wondering Eagle, Cru Winter Conference Review 2016-2017: David Platt, Matt Smethurst, Jackson Crum and J.D. Greear are Some of the Main Speakers (blog, Dec 19, 2016)

* International House of Prayer, Atonement Debate - Dr. Michael Brown vs Brian Zahnd - Monster God or Monster Man (International House of Prayer, Dec 19, 2016)

* Bobby Grow, Athanasius and T.F. Torrance Condra Mundum, Against the World of Classical Calvinist Forensic Conception of the Atonement (Evangelical Calvinist, Jan 9, 2017)

* Bobby Grow, The Holy Spirit in the Theology of T.F. Torrance: The Holy Spirit 'Accommodates' the Ineffable God Through the Son, Jesus Christ (Evangelical Calvinist, Apr 1, 2017)

* Dishon Mills, Did We Divide God? (Grace Christian Church, Apr 3, 2017)

* Gary Deddo, Clarifying Two Key Terms: "All Are Included" and "Union with Christ" (GCI Equipper, Apr 3, 2017) distinguishes between universal reconciliation and personal, particular, union with Christ

* Relevant Magazine, N.T. Wright Explains How Easter Changed Everything (Relevant Magazine, Apr 14, 2017) "It’s better to believe that [PSA] than to believe nothing. But it’s simply not the way that the Bible itself tells the story."

* Gary Deddo, Union with Christ, Christ's Vicarious Humanity and the Holy Spirit's Ministry (GCI Equipper, May 1, 2017) on how to use the term "union with Christ" for believers only

* Gary Deddo, The Holy Spirit's Ministry, the Christian Life, Believers and Non-Believers (GCI Equipper, Jun 1, 2017) practical implications of why "union with Christ" is not identical with the hypostatic union

* Julie Zauzmer, Christians Are More Than Twice as Likely to Blame a Person's Poverty on Lack of Effort (Washington Post, Aug 3, 2017), because, I argue, white evangelicals believe in penal substitution and therefore believe that God's highest justice is meritocratic-retributive


Jewish Resources

* Executive Committee of the Editorial Board, Peace Offering (Jewish Encyclopedia)




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