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Article

Abandoning Penal Substitution: A Patristic Inspiration for Contemporary Protestant Understanding of the Atonement

Department of Christian Ministry and Theology, Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary, 129327 Moscow, Russia
Academic Editors: Bradley Nassif, Tim Grass and Joel B. Green
Religions 2021, 12(9), 785; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090785
Received: 30 April 2021 / Revised: 31 August 2021 / Accepted: 2 September 2021 / Published: 18 September 2021
In recent decades, there has been a resurgent interest among Protestant theologians in the so-called Christus Victor theory of the atonement. Firmly grounded in patristic thought (esp. Irenaeus of Lyons), this understanding of the work of Christ was first studied and formulated by a Swedish Lutheran, Gustaf Aulén, in 1931. Recent works by Darby Kathleen Ray, J. Denny Weaver, Thomas Finger, Gregory Boyd, and others develop Aulén’s endeavor and present new versions of the Christus Victor model. These scholars directly or indirectly demonstrate that the main framework of the patristic understanding of atonement was more faithful to Scripture and less problematic in terms of dogma and ethics than the traditional Protestant penal substitution theory. A short analysis of contemporary versions of the Christus Victor motif shows that this model of atonement proves to be more relevant in responding to the challenges of today’s world by providing substantial background for Christian spiritual life and ethics. View Full-Text
Keywords: atonement; the work of Christ; retributive justice; penal substitution; satisfaction; nonviolence; Christus Victor; Gustaf Aulén; Anselm; Irenaeus; Darby Kathleen Ray; J. Denny Weaver; Thomas Finger; Gregory Boyd atonement; the work of Christ; retributive justice; penal substitution; satisfaction; nonviolence; Christus Victor; Gustaf Aulén; Anselm; Irenaeus; Darby Kathleen Ray; J. Denny Weaver; Thomas Finger; Gregory Boyd
MDPI and ACS Style

Koryakin, S. Abandoning Penal Substitution: A Patristic Inspiration for Contemporary Protestant Understanding of the Atonement. Religions 2021, 12, 785. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090785

AMA Style

Koryakin S. Abandoning Penal Substitution: A Patristic Inspiration for Contemporary Protestant Understanding of the Atonement. Religions. 2021; 12(9):785. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090785

Chicago/Turabian Style

Koryakin, Sergey. 2021. "Abandoning Penal Substitution: A Patristic Inspiration for Contemporary Protestant Understanding of the Atonement" Religions 12, no. 9: 785. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090785

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