Benjamin Corey, a Pro-Gay, Anti-Gun pacifist, has recently put out a series of articles with attacks (In the form of questions) against Penal Substitionary Atonement. If you don't know what that word is, Penal Substitutionary Atonement basically means that Jesus died in our place. Jesus suffered the wrath of God so that we do not have to. Here, I am going to defend this essential Christian Doctrine (in the form of answers).
These articles can be found here.
Why would God demand a blood sacrifice?
This is a simple question with a simple answer. God demanded a blood sacrifice because He is angry at sin. Because God is infinitely Holy, God has an infinite wrath against sin. 1 John 2:2 uses the word "Propitiation" to refer to Jesus. According to Merriam Webster, Propitiate means, "to make (someone) pleased or less angry by giving or saying something desired". So Jesus and His imputed righteousness is the thing we give to make God pleased. We see this in Isaiah 53:10 (ESV), "Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand."
Why is God unable to simply forgive us, without blood to satisfy him?
Because He is a just God. God wrote His moral law in the beginning. God's law has always stood, and the law has been written on all of our hearts (Romans 2:12), so we are without excuse to break His law. If a judge knew a criminal who broke the law, and he wanted to simply let him go without the penalty being paid, he wouldn't be able to do that if he was a just judge. However, he could pay the fine for this criminal. In the same way, God cannot just let us go, which is why He came to pay the price. I suggest those who want to know more about this read Romans 3.
Is it just to execute an innocent person to spare the guilty? How does that even work?
The thing this question leaves out is that this was Jesus Christ was a willing substitute. It doesn't take into consideration that Jesus Christ wasn't viewed as innocent in that time on the Cross. While Jesus's righteousness was imputed (Or given) to us, our sin was imputed to Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) says, "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 1 Peter 2:24 (ESV) similarly says, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness."
Why is it that our understanding of the cross seems so comparable to medieval concepts of justice?
I don't even think this question makes sense. How is it comparable? I could find ways to compare it to modern justice practices, which are shared by medieval practices, such as one paying another's fine.
If the cross was a payment, who was being paid off? Was it even God?
Yes, it was God. We owed God a debt when we sinned against Him and broke His law (Romans 6:23). The payment for our sins is death. Since we have sinned against God (Psalm 51:4), that is who we owe the debt to. It is Jesus Christ who paid this on the cross.
How is God still Holy and Different from Other Gods if He demands a blood sacrifice?
Okay, so this question was not directly asked but is the best way to sum up the second article in the series's objections. It is pretty simple to answer. God is still Holy, still cut above the idols of the land, because He came to Earth Himself and paid the debt that we owed. I challenge you to find one other god who paid our sin debt in full. And while making this objection, Corey both taught heresy and blasphemed the God of the Bible.
What About Psalm 51:16 and Hosea 6:6?
Another summarizing question here, this question fails to see the entire context of what is happening. Both Psalm and Hosea is talking about the Jewish sacrificial code, and it is talking about in a context where people are focusing on keeping the sacrificial code yet ignoring laws like Leviticus 19:18.
What About Hebrews 10:4-11?
This is still referring to the Hebrew sacrificial system. In fact, the entire point of the passage is that the sacrificial code did nothing but point to Jesus, who took away our sins through the cross. If Corey had actually read the whole passage, he would've caught these verses: "And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (v. 10, ESV) " But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God..." (v. 12, ESV) "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." (v. 14, ESV) "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh..." (v. 19-20). The fact that he missed each of these which specifically point to Jesus being an offering and a blood sacrifice for our sins shows that Corey was not interested in actually understanding, but just objecting and denying. He took the verses he used out of context, and he either didn't read the rest of the passage, didn't notice what these verses were saying, or directly lied about what those verses meant.
Why did God prevent Herod from killing baby Jesus?
Because it wasn't a part of God's eternal plan. God had planned otherwise. If Jesus had been killed as a baby, He could not have preached, He could not have trained His disciples, and the New Testament likely would not have been written. Jesus would not have fulfilled certain prophecies (Deut. 18:18, Isaiah 9:1, Isaiah 50:6, and many, many others). Also, it would damage His Active Obedience, or His continued obedience to the law of God. When Corey made this objection he did not account for many other things.
What about all those peeps in the Old Testament?
The same as us. Everyone is saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ. They were saved by Christ's atoning work, looking forward to it the same way we look back on it. If you read the Old Testament, you see many things that point to the Atonement. There are types and shadows such as the first Passover, Abraham sacrificing Isaac, and even the Ritual Sacrifices. Read Isaiah 53.
Why was Jesus able to be in the presence of sinners?
In certain points in history, God has had sinners in His presence (Isaiah, Paul, Satan, those who will be judged by Him). However, none of these people were allowed to enter into fellowship with God (Except Isaiah and Paul, both of whom were purified by Jesus's work on the Cross). None of them would be allowed into the kingdom of Heaven without being saved by Christ.
Why was Jesus able to just freely forgive?
Because it was the will of God that He forgive them, and Jesus submits to God the Father. However, we must note that some people there were redeemed by the crucifixion they enacted, while some will be punished in Hell for all of eternity.
Benjamin Corey's blog is called "Formerly Fundy". If this is true, he formerly affirmed the core doctrines of the Christian faith (Including Penal Substitutionary Atonement), meaning he could just as easily be called, "Formerly Orthodox". Here is what 1 John 2 has to say about those who, like Benjamin Corey, are "Formerly Orthodox":
"Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us." 1 John 2:18-19 (ESV)
About the Author
Brandon C. Hines is a young writer from somewhere in northern Alabama who writes about Theology, Polemics, and Apologetics. His beliefs are best summarized by the 1689 London Baptist Confession.
You can search for various topics I have written about by going to Google and typing in a keyword, then typing site:Learningthepath.weebly.com after it.