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The Atonement Debate

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When a popular British evangelical leader appeared to denounce the idea that God was punishing Christ in our place on the cross as a 'twisted version of events,' 'morally dubious,' and a 'huge barrier to faith' that should be rejected in favour of preaching only that God is love, major controversy was stirred. Many thought the idea of penal substitution was at the heart of the evangelical understanding of the cross, if not the only legitimate interpretation of the death of Christ. Yet for some t
 

Recent days have seen a debate among evangelicals over how the death of Christ is to be interpreted. When a popular British evangelical leader appeared to denounce the idea that God was punishing Christ in our place on the cross as a "twisted version of events," "morally dubious," and a "huge barrier to faith" that should be rejected in favour of preaching only that God is love, major controversy was stirred. Many thought the idea of penal substitution was at the heart of the evangelical understanding of the cross, if not the only legitimate interpretation of the death of Christ. Yet for some time less popular evangelical theologians had been calling this traditional interpretation of the atonement into question. So, is the traditional evangelical view of penal substitution the biblical explanation of Christ’s death or one of many? Is it the non-negotiable heart of evangelical theology or a time-bound explanation that has outlived its usefulness? What does the cross say about the character of God, the nature of the law and sin, the meaning of grace, and our approach to missions? The public debate which resulted was often heated. In order to act as reconcilers, the Evangelical Alliance and the London School of Theology called for a symposium in which advocates of the different positions could engage with each other. The symposium, which was attended by some 200 participants, was held when the July 7th bombings took place in London and drew together many of Britain’s finest evangelical theologians. This book contains the collection of papers given at the symposium, supplemented by a few others for the sake of rounding out the agenda, and grouped in convenient sections.

Contributor Derek Tidball , David Hilborn , Justin Thacker
Short Bio Derek Tidball
Derek Tidball (PhD, Keele University) has been principal of the London School of Theology since 1995. Previously Derek served as pastor of two Baptist Churches, as a tutor at LST, and as head of the mission department of the Baptist Union. He is currently chair of the UK Evangelical Alliance Council. He has authored numerous books including Skilful Shepherds: An Introduction to Pastoral Theology, previously published by Zondervan. He edits The Bible Speaks Today: Bible Themes series for IVP and has contributed the volumes on The Message of Leviticus and The Message of the Cross himself. He is married to Dianne, a Baptist pastor. They have one son.

David Hilborn
David Hilborn (PhD, Nottingham University) is director of studies of the North Thames Ministerial Course, having served as head of theology for the UK Evangelical Alliance since 1997. In that role he was responsible for the publication of a number of significant books and reports on topics where evangelicals differ from each other, including reports on hell, the Toronto Blessing and homosexuality. Formerly a United Reformed Minister, David is now an ordained clergyman of the Church of England. He is married to Mia, a hospital chaplain. They have two children.

Justin Thacker
Justin Thacker (PhD, King’s College London) is the head of theology at the Evangelical Alliance in the UK. His first book, Postmodernism and the Ethics of Theological Knowledge will be published by Ashgate in October 2007. He lives in the UK.
UPC 025986321499
ISBN-13 9780310321491
Publish Date May 26, 2009
Publisher Zondervan
Price $6.99
Format eBook
Language English

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