Is a Denial of Penal Substitution a Fatal Heresy?
Date Published: March 24th, 2011
Updated December 29th, 2011
This question has arisen from a couple of articles online concerning the atonement of Christ, and one in particular where one writer considers me a false teacher and on my way to Hell since I deny the critical assumption of his precious philosophy! The purpose in responding to this attack on my Christianity is to state the truth and to save others from the oppression of such misguided vitriol. We will take a look at these malicious accusations, and face them directly. The accusation is that being against the doctrine of Penal Substitution makes one have a false Gospel, and a false Christ. The inevitable result is that those who do not believe this philosophical doctrinal nonsense are not even Christian at all! While I have always been open to Biblically based correction, I can only accept that which actually has substance behind the correction. Several writers on the internet, and some noted theologians have discarded the life-giving Gospel of salvation by grace though faith, for a "gospel" based upon ascent to the soul-stifling doctrine of Penal Substitution. I do not fault them for their passion, but their judgment.
I cannot allow this bold lie that destroys salvation by grace through faith to go unchallenged. These assertions must be answered, and the ugly truth about how people's allegiance to their philosophy so easily outweighs their commitment to the Bible will be exposed. It is sad to see how such a mixture of philosophy and misapplied Scripture makes fools of otherwise intelligent men. Approaching truth through philosophy, and not Scripture alone will eventually place one in opposition to sound Biblical theology. The two are like oil and water. The humanistic oil of philosophy will taint the pure water of the Word. These two elements always seems to separate over time, with the philosophical oil dominating over the Scriptural water. This is the case with the Theory of Penal Substitution and these writers.
In the process of facing their baseless accusations, several questions will be answered; (1) does opposition to Penal Substitution place one outside of the Christian fold? (2) Is belief in the particular theory of Penal Substitution a requirement for every believer's salvation? (3) Is the doctrine even Biblical? (4) What is the fate of those who teach it as part of the Gospel? These are critical accusations that demand sure answers! If it is Biblical, then those that oppose this doctrine should repent immediately for the sake of their souls! If the teaching is false, the addition of it to the Christian system is a doctrinal tragedy at best, and heresy at the worst.
Throughout this article, the opponent's position will be in blue.
Another “factual Divine truth” that is not in the Scriptures? How can this be? How can I be an enemy of the cross of Christ for opposing a doctrine that God never taught? Is one man’s dogmatic bluster the equivalent of a “factual Divine truth”?
Five hundred flies cannot be wrong--so said the spider! If numbers prove so much, we should all be Roman Catholic or Muslims. I do not deny the popularity of the doctrine, but ask for Biblical proof of its existence. Popularity is a fool's basis for establishing a doctrine.
In response to these graceless and unfounded dogmatic statements, I will note that the author states nothing in the way of a single Biblical proof "for" Penal Substitution in the entire article! He does give a short reference to Leviticus and a sacrifice as the point of his conversion to this belief. He alludes to the idea of the scapegoat, along with his personal eisegetical presuppositions that the sacrifice was "Penal" in nature. In the Old Testament where the the death of the sacrifice occurs, he appears ignorant of several Biblical facts! (1) Nowhere in all of Scripture is it said that God viewed the sacrifice as being "punished." The purpose revealed was grace and redemption, not judgment and punishment of the sacrifice. The scapegoat is figurative, not of transfer of guilt, but of the innocent substitute taking away the sin. So the message was intended to state a figure of expiation, not transfer of guilt and subsequent punishment. The Scriptures are careful to use the term "suffering" when speaking of what the sacrifice endures, which is not punishment. You cannot punish the innocent; they can only suffer the punishment due to the guilty. In Scripture we see that a minimum of 21 times it refers to the work of Christ on our behalf as "suffering," yet not once is it said in Scripture that Jesus was punished or that He was the subject of God's wrath. The Old Testament sacrificial lamb was not punished (Penal Theory) for someone's sins any more than Jesus was for ours! (2) In Hebrews 10:4 we are told, "For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." God says that the Old Testament sacrifices did not take away sins. Our proponent of Penal Substitution interjects his circular reasoning, based upon the doctrines of Calvinism, causing him to say that the actual sins of the sinner were successfully transferred to the sacrifice, which Hebrews 10:4 denies by clear implication. Shallow circular reasoning, and extensively quoting those "big names" that agree with his doctrine, is not in any way a Biblical defense of the doctrine, but a lame attempt at mere philosophical "group-think" appeal.
His idea is that I am "unregenerate" by referring to 1 Cor. 2:14, is a case in point how this man distorts the Scriptures to his own destruction! 1 Cor. 2:14 says, "But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God." Strangely, God never said anything here about Penal Substitution. This alleged defense is nothing more than the so-called "Spirit Card" that is swiftly thrown down to silence an argument, i.e., "I know that I am led by the Spirit, and though I don't have any solid Scripture that proves my position, I know that God tells me it is true! If you don't agree with me, you can't possibly be hearing from my God!" A.K.A., "If you don't agree with super-spiritual me, you're obviously not spiritual or even a Christian; no debate--go to Hell, do not collect $200."
I am not "spiritual" in his estimation. Mr. Andrews supposedly "proves" this by appealing to 1 Cor.2:15, "but he who is spiritual appraises all things..." Basically, his argument is, if I "appraise" or "judge right" according to the Scriptures, I would agree with him. Since I do not agree, he feels justified by the rigidity of his own convictions to place himself as my Judge, while his whole doctrinal defense is summed up in his refusal to peer over the wall of his own philosophical presuppositions. His strong-armed approach to proving doctrine is nothing less than blind unsubstantiated dogmatism! He wants to "bully" people into believing his argument by terrorizing them with threats of eternal damnation. But it boils down to this; the only difference between his method of evangelism and a Muslim terrorist is a literal sword. People need not fear his threats of eternal damnation; he is not God, and does not have God's endorsement for his theory or condemnation based upon a doctrine of the atonement. The Gospel never demands any ascent to any specific view of atonement. It is faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Salvation is by grace through faith-never of faith plus Penal Substitution!
Some, like the following writer believe that my "Christ" is counterfeit, solely on the basis that I do not accept his theory of the atonement!
As we can see, Penal substitution has been made into the Gospel itself by many of this Calvinistic Cult. Even John Calvin had sense enough not to teach it! (Boy is he in trouble!) Penal Substitution is not the only doctrine or means by which this cult seeks to equate with the Gospel. See Eternal Security; A Substitute for Grace.
This is not the first time, or the last that someone will infer that a person is lost if they don't believe some unbiblical doctrine! This spiritually coercive fraud is the mainstay of nearly every cult!
Reverend Byrn MacPhail takes a huge leap into cult territory by saying:
What is strange about the argument is that he admits shortcomings in his own theory of the atonement, yet these people reject any other theory based upon the idea that they do not adequately delineate every aspect of the Christian Gospel! A strange self-contradictory standard indeed!
For any doctrine to be Biblical, it must be stated in the Bible. Penal Substitution is not in the Bible and therefore not a Biblical doctrine! How then, can Penal Substitution be part of the Gospel when it is not taught in Scripture? Everywhere the Gospel is preached in the Scriptures it always omits any reference to Penal Substitution. One thing we do know for sure, the Scriptures clearly say that The Gospel minus Penal Substitution IS the Gospel according to the Bible!
If these false teachers believe this so passionately, don't you think that they must prove their bold assertions? Where is the statement in Scripture that appends the acceptance of Penal Substitution to the Gospel plan? Where do we see, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart in Penal Substitution, you shall be saved..."?
If these writers cannot prove it, (which they cannot), then how can they condescendingly insist that someone does not have the Gospel without it? This is without a doubt spiritual quackery! Performing spiritual services without any authority from God! They are writing religious prescriptions for something we do not need, making their delusional doctrinal drug a substitute for a healthy, unadulterated Gospel!
Mr. Dave Jenkins states this error even more boldly:
It is perplexing that in our enlightened day that one must have to deal with such absurd statements! People like Mr. Jenkins must answer the obvious; what do we do with all those Christians before the invention of the Penal Theory in the 16th century? Such troubling statements as a "denial of Penal Substitution is a denial of Christianity itself," either proves that no one was ever saved before Calvinism, or that those that would make such ridiculously stupid claims are arrogantly ignorant of Christian history, without love for their Christian brothers, or incompetent expounders of the Word of God!
Jenkins further whines in protest saying "Penal substitution is clearly taught in Isaiah 53, so the charge that penal substitution is a form of 'cosmic child abuse' cannot be sustained in light of the text of Isaiah 53." I would say that Isaiah 53 is clearly a denial of Penal Substitution when it is looked at without "Penal" presuppositions! I also understand that the suggestion that Penal Substitution is tantamount to "cosmic child abuse" is an offensive thought to the proponents of the Penal doctrine, but like it or not, it is the inevitable result of the Penal doctrine! Appealing to Isaiah 53 does nothing to dislodge such an inevitable conclusion. Appealing to Scripture does not undo the logical outcome of a bad doctrine, without proving at the same time that the doctrine itself is wrong! If I were to beat and murder my own child so that the guilty could be acquitted, there is not a court or sane person in the entire world that would not justly condemn me as a monster!
In response to the Isaiah 53 argument I have stated,
The Scriptural evidence is clear; there is no passage that states Penal Substitution. The best that anyone can do is interject or force the idea into the Scriptures, but that just leaves us with nothing but an extra-biblical idea, a philosophically driven doctrine and religion, and not the theology of the Bible!
Imagine if I were to say, "If you do not admit that Penal Substitution is not in the bible, you have "another Christ, and do not have the Gospel. You are lost and not a Christian!" Wouldn't the world of sensible Christians and theologians openly condemn me as being wildly absurd and heretical? But, according to Scripture fact, my version of adding a denial of the Penal theory to the Gospel would be much closer to the truth than those that claim that Penal Substitution is a requirement of the Gospel! I scratch my head wondering why there is absolute silence from these "sensible Christians" and theologians when these writers add Penal Substitution to the Gospel! I understand that the vast majority of Christians have been taught and adhere to the Penal Theory of the atonement (although most hold to it inconsistently), because that is all they have ever heard. Is familiarity more important than truth? Has the Theory become so central to their thinking that it does not matter what the Bible has to say? Is their doctrinal idol of Penal Substitution so precious that they dare not criticize anyone who believes it, even though those writers boldly abuse it to the point of heresy?
Allow me to move on to another site that makes a more specific attack on my beliefs and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Crosswork.org specifically took some of my statements to task in several places on their site. Though there is no claimed "author" of the attack, I will assume that this article speaks for the organization whether is is the thinking of one person or a thousand.
IS YOUR CHRIST A COUNTERFEIT?
What does your church teach about the Cross/work of Christ? Do they teach the Scriptural doctrine (which he fails to prove) of Penal Substitution or do they assert that Christ death in and of itself did not accomplish your salvation? The writer uses a false analogy here... and either/or argument without any proof. Alternate theories of the atonement do not equate out to "Jesus did not atone for our sins." Most theories assert that salvation comes solely from the work of Christ on our behalf alone. So, his comments stem from either colossal ignorance, or bullheaded willful deception, which is it? The churches that teach against the Biblical doctrine of Penal Substitution are teaching Satan's lies. So the reverse must be sure in his mind; if Penal Substitution is shown to not be in the Scriptures, is he not teaching Satan's lies? To believe in what is not true is sinful, evil and willful, defiant rebellion against the revealed Light of God's Holy Word. Amen! He finally states something that is true! I heartily encourage him to heed his own words and repent right now!
The tactic he is using is just age-old demagoguery; working on the emotions, fears and prejudices of his listeners to get his way. He wants to settle the argument by merely striking fear in the gullible who will take his dogmatic confidence to be the equivalent of being right!
Perhaps H. L. Mencken was right when he defined a demagogue as "one who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots."
Once again, another lie propagated through the use of a false analogy. Just because someone does not believe the Penal Theory does not mean that they reject Scriptural atonement. The Penal Theory is not the only theory of the atonement! Other theories fully embrace expiation, propitiation, redemption and reconciliation being carried out in Christ alone. To deny Penal Substitution is not to deny the work of Christ. Loaded statements such as "calling God a liar!" and "blaspheming God's Word" are dangerous accusations for someone who is so flippant about adding their own philosophical machinations to God's Word, making the Scene of Calvary to be a place of wrath and vengeance, when God reveals it to be the scene of sacrifice, love, and redemption.
The application of this verse has no bearing on those who do not believe in his Penal hot air! Millions of Christians throughout history have "believed God" and "his testimony" without believing the fiction of Penal Substitution.
I for one am looking forward to "learn from Scripture" the "true meaning of Christ Cross/work work in contrast to the counterfeit Christ of Satan." The question is, will he?
He copied and pasted this from my site.
ON THE IDEA OF PUNISHMENT AND PAYMENT IN THE ATONEMENT
CONDENSED FROM THE
ETERNAL SECURITY: A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE WEBSITE
By Jeff Paton
The idea that the atonement was a payment demands that Jesus was punished on the cross. .... If it was a payment, who was the payment made to? The Scripture does not tell us. So how can we build such seemingly conclusive doctrines based on this? In fact, I will state that the reason that the Bible does not tell us is because there was no such payment!
In this statement I have rejected "punishment" as an expression of the work of Christ on the Cross. Our opponent believes otherwise. His view is:
I believe that this is a fair and accurate summary of what he is saying that he believes the Scriptures teach. While those that believe the Theory may object to "imputation" being defined as "mystical transfer," it is only fair to remove the fog they like to hide behind in their definition; it is an accurate definition of their position. What we must do is, evaluate the Scripture that he uses to see if it actually proves what his theory asserts.
Eph 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
He believes that he answers my statement with the emboldened type in the above passage. There is no denial that Jesus was an offering and a sacrifice to God in what I have written! As we will further see, the idea of sacrifice and offering are void of the ideas of wrath and punishment. One thing is sure: Ephesians 5:2 says nothing about Jesus being punished, or Jesus paying for a single sin! That is a fact! His refutation fails.
Charles Stanley boldly states that, "We trust that Christ was punished in our place." He can only "trust" this, since he does not have one unambiguous statement from Scripture to prove it! The Bible never states even one time that Jesus was punished on the cross! So we must ask, what did happen on the cross? The Bible unequivocally and without exception reveals that Jesus suffered on the cross. Mark 8:31, The Son of man must suffer. Luke 22:15; 24:46; 17:25, Before I suffer. Acts 3:18; 26:23, That Christ should suffer. Hebrews 13:12, his own blood, suffered without the gate. 1 Peter 1:11; 2:21; 2:23; 3:18; 4:1; 5:1, because Jesus also suffered for us.... suffered in the flesh. 2nd Corinthians 1:5, the sufferings of Christ. Look them up for yourself, then try and find a statement of the "punishment" of Christ, that He was "punished" for our sins, or that the Son of man must be "punished." You will not find it because it is not true!
1. The doctrine of Punishment.
From the very beginning of Genesis and continuing through to the end of the book of Revelation, God the Holy Spirit asserts in the strongest language that God hates sin and that all sin will be punished because God is a Holy God. Punishment of sin is an entirely different thing than punishment of Jesus Christ. The argument fails.
Gen 2:17 but of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat
of it you shall surely die.
Yet, in his "Doctrine of Punishment" he fails to prove any of my assertions wrong. In fact, he proves all of my assertions to be correct, and does not prove his position to have Biblical support at all! Jesus was not punished on the Cross!
2. The O.T. typified God's vicarious sacrificial system for dealing with the punishment of sin.
Exo 29:10 You shall also have the
bull brought before the tabernacle of meeting, and Aaron and his sons
shall put their hands on the head of the bull.
There is not one passage in all these passages that affirms his claim that "sin" was punished, or that any sacrifice was ever "punished" for anyone's sins. Punishing sin, or even the guilty sinner, is entirely different than punishing a Substitute. Either way, neither Christ nor animal sacrifice is ever stated to be punished in Scripture.
3. The Scripture unequivocally states that Christ was punished for our sins. He really took the punishment for our sins upon Himself.
1Co 5:7 Therefore purge out the
old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened.
For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
He boldly claims that "The Scripture unequivocally states that Christ was punished for our sins."
You may be thinking that I am splitting hairs here. Suffering or punishment, it's all the same, right? No, it is not the same! In order for a man to be punished, he must be guilty. To inflict what is due for punishment upon an innocent man is an injustice. But if a man voluntarily suffers in another's place to whom punishment is due, it is self-sacrifice and heroism. If it is inflicted by an arbitrary authority, it is injustice on one side, and martyrdom on the other. If I go to jail on the charge of murder, but I am innocent, then I am not punished, because I am not guilty. All I suffer is an injustice. Punishment is a legal term that presupposes guilt. It is an impossibility to punish the innocent.
Isa 53:9 And they made His grave
with the wicked - But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no
violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
What he is doing here (and in the rest of his response) is the tactic of "Tossing the elephant." Trying to impress someone that his position is "Biblical" because he uses huge amounts of scripture, even though none of them apply to the argument at hand; hoping that something sticks. By doing so, he seems to be trying to convince you that his view is Scriptural. What he wants you to think is, "Boy, he sure has a lot of Scripture on his side!" With this tactic he appears to be coming off as saying, "See" how "biblical" I am? See how little his "proof" looks compared to mine?"
In order for anything to be a Biblical doctrine, it must of course, be in the Bible! If it is not directly stated, it must be able to be formed by a compilation of non-contradictory and direct facts; just as the Trinity is derived. But there is no direct reference to any of the "essentials" to a penal theme to be found in these passages. Not once is it said that Jesus paid for a single sin, or that He was punished on the Cross. These are irrefutable facts that no credible translation of the Bible denies. As our dissenting author casts me and other Christians into an eternal Hell for not believing his imaginary version of the "gospel," I can stand comfortably with the majority of all Christians throughout history who never knew of a Penal Substitutionary Theory. The full Penal Theory was developed during the lifetime of Calvin's successor, Theodore Beza. It would be intellectual and moral suicide to assume that everyone prior to the death of Beza in 1605 is consigned to the eternal torments of Hell for their ignorance of the Penal Gospel! Any rational Christian would conclude that the addition of a Penal Atonement as a requirement of the Gospel must be a foreign idea, a cancer that some wish to append to the true Gospel plan of God!
But, you say, "Didn't God transfer my sin to Jesus upon the cross?" Charles Stanley writes, God made a swap. Actually, the correct term is imputation. He imputed our sin to Christ and His righteousness to us. This doctrine may be popular, but it is pure theological fiction! Nowhere, I repeat NOWHERE is this hogwash found ANYWHERE in Scripture!
Gen 3:21 Also for Adam and his
wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
2Co 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
1Pe 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
Note that not a single passage states that God works in such fictions! There is no mystical transfer of sin or character from one person to another. No passage states such a ridiculous absurdity!
Guilt and righteousness are personal and cannot be transferred. You can no more impute wisdom to a fool than you can impute courage to a coward. If you were a thief, I could not impute honesty to you anymore than you could impute or transfer your dishonesty to me. Impute means to "count" or "reckon." It never means to transfer character! Faith is imputed (counted) for righteousness. It does not say righteousness is imputed (transferred) because of faith. To get the transfer that Charles Stanley believes in, one must read that belief into the passages to come up with this.
4. Faith is imputed for righteousness.
Rom 4:1 What then shall we say
that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
He is using the Calvinistic cult tactic of misrepresentation here, creating a scarecrow of his own imagination, and attacking it as if that is my position. He twists what I have stated to mean something that I have never taught! In doing so, he invents a scarecrow of his own invention that is easy to knock down! "The phrase, 'his faith is accounted for righteousness' does not mean, as our learned false teacher asserts, that our faith itself is credited to our account as righteousness. There is no righteousness in our faith." I never claimed that faith "merits" righteousness, or that faith is in itself righteousness, but that on the condition of faith God accounts us righteous because of the work of Christ; just as he did with Abraham!
Besides being a fraudulent accusation, notice how he uses this as a diversion from the real issue at hand! I challenged anyone that thought that they could, to show where the word "impute" meant "mystical transfer of guilt or righteousness." Notice that he never proves this! He wants you to read this doctrine into these passages to mean, the "righteousness of Christ is (mystically) imputed to Abraham by faith." Yet, the passage states that it is "faith" that is "imputed" for righteousness, not the other way around!
Another tactic he seeks to use is the "Blinded by Science" or an "Appeal to Authority." "Dr. So-and-So says that I am right!" Flaunting around little known grammatical terms or "Theo-Babble" as if it proved his position! The question is, does the word "impute" mean "mystical transfer of guilt or character" as the Penal Theory claims, or does it mean to "count" or "account" something as the original Greek language understood it? Can we by the gusty breeze of pure Calvinian bias, interject some idea into the passage that some writer at Crosswork.org desires to "assume," since the Bible at times does not always openly state something that is taken for granted by the biblical writers? Can we just insert whatever doctrine we want, and apply it to the text as his "learned Doctor" argues? It is true that the Bible "assumes" that God exists, and it makes no effort to prove it. Just because there are times that something is assumed in Scriptural context, there is no Scriptural warrant to interject a doctrinal fatalism that was not accepted in Christianity until over 500 years after the Scriptures were written! Wouldn't it be sensible to assert that when the Biblical writers "assumed" something, that it was something that was actually in the Bible, and not something some totalitarian Calvinists at Crosswork.org wished to "assume" was behind the scenes a full 2000 years later?
One word seems to describe this "learned Doctor's" argument that we can just insert payment of sins, punishment of Christ on the Cross, and some sort of mystical transfer of sins by magical imputation of character from one person to another. The word is ABSURD!
The word is a translation of the Greek word LOGIZOMAI which is an accounting term which means to count, or put to someone's account. The same word is translated as impute ( Rom. 4:6, 8, 11, 22, 23, 24), reckon, (Rom. 4:4, 9, 10), numbered (Mark 15:28), laid to their charge (2 Tim. 4:16), counted (Rom. 2:26, 4:3, 5; 9:8), accounting (Heb. 11:19). It is interesting to mark that the term of reckon and counting can be interchanged in all instances of "impute." Another point is that to "reckon" and to "count" do not carry the idea of any mystical transfer of character. The actual meaning of the word "impute" does not carry this idea without the theological imposition that has been put upon it.
He seems to fire a shot across the bough by making a mockery of my credibility and scholarship. This is just a distraction, a red herring to keep you from noticing that he has not produced a single passage to prove his point! He ran out of Scriptural ammunition in short order and has resorted to getting personal. So, since in his mind I am not credible and his "Doctor" is, allow me to quote a few "learned false teachers," or in normal thinking peoples minds, genuine Greek experts, and what they have to say!
"Doctor" James Strong-- LOGIZOMAI�3049. to make an inventory, i.e., estimate: conclude, count, despise, esteem, impute, lay, number, reason, recon, suppose, think. I guess that this academic slacker does not know languages, for he never adds, "mystical transfer of guilt of character from one person to another."
Another learned false teacher is "Doctor" Gerhard Kittle, vol. 4:291-292 of his massive ten volume work "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament," states, "One might equally say that faith is acknowledged to him for righteousness, or even better that righteousness is allotted to the believer... If God counts faith as righteous, man is wholly righteous in God's eyes." Astonishingly, after nine entire pages discussing this singular word alone, Kittle completely misses the opportunity to tell us that it ever means "to magically transfer guilt or righteousness from one person to another."
"Doctor" Colin Brown in his three volume "Dictionary of New Testament Theology" states in Volume 3:822 LOGIZOMAI-recon, think, credit, thought. Page 823, "LOGIZOMAI means: (a) counting, calculation; (b) reflection, argument, thought, plan; (c) the ability to draw a logical conclusion. The concept implies an activity of the reason which, starting with ascertainable facts, draws a conclusion, especially a mathematical one or one pertaining to business, where calculations are essential." It seems as if Doctor Brown is just another heretical Greek expert that we are supposed to disregard. On page 825 he deals with the Romans chapter three verses this way: "In Rom. 4:3-6, 8, 10, 22 ff., and Gal. 3:6 ...The rabbi's thinking was purely human; for them faith was merit. Paul wished to recon as God did, who reckoned salvation and righteousness on the basis of his promise ( Rom. 8:9), and what he promises he performs." How could he possibly agree with a false teacher as me? How could he neglect to mention how God transfers sin through Penal imputation?
"Doctor's" Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon- "LOGIZOMAI- to count, recon, calculate, compute, to calculate off hand. II. To take into account, consider..." Shame on them! They don't find the Penal Substitutionary definition to have any credibility either!
"Doctor" Walter Bauer, A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Early Christian Literature. Here we have hope! Surely the Early Christians knew that the atonement included a literal transfer of their sins to Christ, and His righteousness to them! Page 475-476. "LOGIZOMAI-1. recon, calculate, count, take into account..." And to avoid further useless redundancy, allow me to cut the argument short and observe that Bauer also makes no mention of a transfer of character, and agrees with every other credible Greek scholar on this point.
Theologian, Richard S. Taylor comments on this theory saying, "This is the belief that God not only imputes our sins to Christ but transfers in His accounting all Christ's righteousness to us, so that God doesn't really see our sins; rather He sees us as spotlessly holy in Christ." (The Scandal of Pre-forgiveness) I have heard this theory propagated on more than one occasion that once we get saved, we are "covered" by the righteousness of Christ. So, when we sin, God looks at us but cannot see our sins because all He can see is the blood of Christ.
Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice
in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with
the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of
righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a
bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Charles Stanley and others who have adopted this fiction must ignore the fact that God is all knowing and cannot be fooled as to the true character of an individual. It ignores the fact that God is the God of all truth, He cannot lie. So how can it be said that God can be the all knowing God of truth and call that which is unholy something other than what it is? If we are to follow this logic, many try to extricate themselves from this difficulty by saying that God can see the sin but it only affects our fellowship and not our relationship. But the idea of broken fellowship cannot be reconciled with this doctrine of imputed righteousness. Taylor says, "If God sees not my sin but my position in Christ, if He views me as clothed in Christ's righteousness, then how could sin - which has been put to Christ's account " break fellowship?" This mysticism and unscriptural idea that character can be transferred from one individual to another is the glue that holds Mr. Stanley's false assertions together. The logical course of the Eternal Securist who cannot find a clear and decisive Scripture to defend their position is to fall back upon their twist on the atonement. 2Pe 3:16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
This is where he ends the article without further comment. It really does not need any comment because it speaks for itself.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
"...I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel: which is really not another; only there are some are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed." Gal. 1:6-9.."
All I am contending for here is exactly what these opposing writers say that they believe: an unadulterated Gospel! But these writers argue in chorus with one another stating that Penal Substitution is the Gospel; yet where did Jesus or any Biblical writer ever add the Penal Theory as a requirement to the Gospel? How can it be possible that their view would be the unadulterated Gospel of the Bible?
If it is not that way in Scripture, why are they trying so hard to "disturb" us with a Gospel that is "different" than that "which the apostles preached"? If the Bible does not say that Penal Substitution is the Gospel, then do not those that teach this "distort" the Gospel to their own destruction?
By dogmatically asserting that "Penal Substitution is the Gospel," many seek to scare people into compliance with a Boogie-man that does not actually exist! Pathetically, it is an attempt to perform a spiritual shakedown via human manipulation; this is nothing more than Satanically inspired fear mongering! Adding Penal Substitution to the Gospel is the same thing as adding circumcision to the Gospel in the Church of Galatia. It is a "gospel that is contrary" to what Paul and the Apostles preached. I don't believe that God would see a glob of Calvinistic leaven as any less dangerous than a pinch of Jewish leaven. Though Galatians deals specifically with the Jewish Law-keeping of the Old Testament being forced upon Christians saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, any additional requirement (a "law" to believe a doctrine not in the Scriptures), is a violation of the same principle involved. Paul writes, "in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations; even though it is only a man's covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it." Gal. 3:14-15.
To add Penal Substitution to the Gospel is to violate the principle. "You have been severed from Christ, you who seek are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace." Gal. 5:4
Attempting to justify oneself by the Old Testament Law, or man's additional requirement to grace, voids grace and places ones faith in oneself, one's doctrine, or one's law-keeping for salvation. You cut yourself off from God's grace when you do so! Since adding Penal Substitution to the Gospel by default changes the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures, how can it be that Penal Substitution is not in God's eyes, "another" gospel?
Allow me to compliment the theory of Penal Substitution on one specific level. It is without a doubt great philosophy. But having said that, also allow me to observe the truth that philosophy is not theology. Philosophy is based upon human reason as the arbiter of all truth. Theology however, is determined by what the inspired Scriptures say is true. This does not mean that Theology is essentially self-contradictory, but it does mean that what God says is true, is always true whether our human minds can wrap itself around it, or comprehend it. Basically, if we cannot systemize it (like many philosophers demand that we do), it does not mean that it is not true, contrary to those sophists that would say otherwise.
What I am alluding to is, no matter how someone perceives the atonement of Christ, as long as that "view" of the atonement states that in our present condition, the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross on our behalf is the sole means by which we can be saved, it does not matter one iota what someone believes, salvation wise. One does not have to be an academic or comprehend complex doctrines or theological systems in order to be saved. The bible preaches a simple faith in a simple Gospel. Yes! We have to identify with the true Christ of the Scriptures, but who of us, to include the brightest theologians of all time can say that they know with absolute complete accuracy, every little aspect of Jesus Christ and God Himself? Good grief! We don't even know ourselves that well! Shame on those who would declare one of God's little one's to be lost because they cannot expound cogently about doctrinal Calvinism!
While I respect people's efforts to understand just what did happen on the Cross on our behalf, I just do not see how Christian love and unity is so easily discarded over something that the Scriptures never include as part of the Gospel. Why divide and heap damnation on others over a theological point that has no bearing on a person's salvation whatsoever? Is a mindless dedication to a theory of the atonement so precious and dear to the philosophically committed, that they feel justified in adding it to the Gospel? Apparently so! It reminds me of a petulant child, the sign of a spiritual immaturity that insists on having total theological domination over another. Their "spiritual" stomping of feet dishonors the spirit of the Gospel, especially when it comes to the point of damning anyone that doesn't agree with them on every petty point. This my friends, is firmly a cult attitude and not a Christian attribute! To me, all I see happening here is that people are adding their doctrine and amending the Gospel of Christ...it's their way or the highway! It is the way of the Sophist and not the Theologian! It is the way of humanism and not the Biblical path of faith! It is called "Doctrinal Regeneration," i.e., being regenerated by the Spirit only after an intellectual assent to a specific doctrine other than the work of Christ alone. Doctrinal Regenerationists, like these men, are seeking to establish theological cult that is no less damning to the soul than Mormonism and Russellism!
There is a philosophical strategy behind their insistence that Penal Substitution is the Gospel. By blindly accepting their Calvinistic Theory of the atonement, they know that a person would be illogical in being anything less than a full-blown Calvinist. It is a theory specifically created for Calvinism and to support Calvinism; its circular logic leads to only one conclusion-Calvin's doctrinal Fatalism. However, I would not reject the theory on the flimsy basis that I don't want to be a Calvinist, but because I see the Scriptures as teaching something else, and teaching things that are in direct opposition to Calvinism. I see no evidence that supports Penal Substitution as they define it. They can find these doctrines in their own philosophical minds, and they can "read it into" the Scriptures, but they can never prove them from the Scriptures. Unless you pre-suppose the doctrine to be true, none of the so-called "proof-texts" can possibly say what they seek to inject into them!
The plain fact is that you cannot reconcile Penal Substitution with the Word of God! To teach others that this is Scriptural, and not just a theory, or to base any doctrine on such a theory and calling it "Biblical," is a horrible deception. To go on claiming that Penal Substitution is the Gospel takes it further to the point of a soul damning fraud.
Now that you know the Facts, you cannot deny the truth. To teach Penal Substitution as Biblical is falling right into Satan's hands. Preachers who continue to do so after reading this are in defiance of the Word, and God Himself. Claims of pragmatism will not cut it on the Day of Judgment. Substituting your ideas about the atonement of Christ and calling it "scripture" or biblical, makes you a willful deceiver and unworthy to occupy any pulpit of the Living Christ!
If anyone who does not uphold Penal Substitution is worshiping "another Christ," then those who disagree with the Penal Theory do not have the same "gospel" as those who have unlovingly exchanged the light of Gospel grace for the darkness of the human philosophy of Penal Substitution! Yes I said philosophy and not theology! In order for something to be theological, it must spring forth from the Scriptures; Penal Substitution does not. If Penal Substitution is not ion the Bible, (and even if it were, it is not ever presented as having any part of the "Gospel"), it would be no less a heretical crime of changing the Gospel of Jesus Christ than if a Mormon or Jehovah's Witness were to change it! It is tantamount to "adding" to the words of Scripture something that is just not there, and requiring people to believe it in order to be saved! The audacity of those who feel they are so wise as to "correct" the very Gospel of Christ!
While I would firmly say that it does not matter how someone understands the atonement of Jesus Christ in order to be saved, it is an unforgivable crime to amend the true Gospel of Christ to include adding a specific doctrine of atonement to it. The Bible NEVER requires, nor adds a requirement to believe any certain theory of the atonement as part of the Gospel! Adding anything to the Gospel destroys it! By the addition it becomes "another gospel" which is not the same as the true Gospel of Jesus Christ! Mind you, I would say the very same thing if anyone "added" MY view of the atonement as a requirement for salvation! According to our dissenting opponent about the doctrine, either he is right, and everyone who disagrees with him is bound for hell, or, God's Gospel is much bigger than his narrow doctrine, and therefore, his position is heresy!
The sad irony of the whole argument from our opponents inclusion of the Penal THEORY as intrinsic to the Gospel is, they condemn themselves by their very own argument. If taking away something that is essential to the Gospel results in eternal condemnation, then what does adding something that is so clearly not part of the Gospel, or the Scriptures, do to them? They in essence, have elevated their corrupted "gospel" to be superior to the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ! What condemnation awaits those who are so arrogant as to insist that they are wiser than God Himself, correcting God's salvation plan to include a mindless doctrinal ascent to Calvinism for salvation? They apparently have no place for salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone! They feel they must add unbending faith in the THEORY of Penal Substitution as part of the Gospel plan; a stupid and fatal decision indeed!
I conclude that their false "gospel" is not only an insult to the sincere believer who is redeemed by the Savior's blood, but an insult of eternal proportions to Giver of salvation Himself! I have no delusion however, that those Demagogues that love their philosophy more than Christ will continue to preach this falsity to their willing school of useful idiots. It must be openly opposed because, unfortunately, nothing endures and propagates quite like bad theology. Misguided religious fascism will always find its home in the darkened heart of men!
 http://endued.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/contemporary-thought-regarding-penal-substitution-as-it-relates-to-isaiah-53/ by Dave Jenkins
 http://www..auburn.edu/~allenkc/openhse/atonement.html Mattison. Though I do not agree with some of his assessments of competing theories, he makes some great observations.