Sunday, March 1, 2009

Question 5 from Affirmative

Ultimately, it is inconsequential whether the church has faithfully taught the doctrine of penal substitution or whether it has not, since we have the infallible authority of Scripture. Nevertheless, the church fathers also provide evidence that we are not the first to recognize this doctrine in Scripture. You didn’t seem to feel that my quotations from the church fathers initially provided were good enough, so I provide the following:

O Lord Jesus, who hast suffered for us, not for Yourself, who had no guilt, and endured its punishment, that you might dissolve at once the guilt and punishment.
- Augustine, Sermon 86 on the New Testament, Section 6

Christ, though guiltless, took our punishment, that He might cancel our guilt, and do away with our punishment.
- Augustine, Against Faustus, Section 4

For there is no husband that, because he is an husband, is not subject to death, or that is subject to death for any other reason but because of sin. For even the Lord was subject to death, but not on account of sin: He took upon Him our punishment, and so looses our guilt.
- Augustine, Exposition on Psalm 51, Section 10

He was troubled, then, who had power to lay down His life, and had power to take it again. That mighty power is troubled, the firmness of the rock is disturbed: or is it rather our infirmity that is troubled in Him? Assuredly so: let servants believe nothing unworthy of their Lord, but recognize their own membership in their Head. He who died for us, was also Himself troubled in our place.
- Augustine, Tractate 60 (John 13:21), Section 2

He, the Saviour, suffered for man, but they despised and cast from them life, and light, and grace. All these were theirs through that Saviour Who suffered in our stead.
- Athanasius, Letter 10, Section 5

We believe therefore in one God, that is, in one First Cause, the God of the law and of the Gospel, the just and good; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, true God, that is, Image of the true God, Maker of all things seen and unseen, Son of God and only-begotten Offspring, and Eternal Word, living and self-subsistent and active. always being with the Father; and in one Holy Spirit; and in the glorious advent of the Son of God, who of the Virgin Mary took flesh, and endured sufferings and death in our stead, and came to resurrection on the third day, and was taken up to heaven; and in His glorious appearing yet to come; and in one holy Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the flesh, and life eternal.
- Gregory Thaumaturgus, A Sectional Confession of Faith, Section 17

And thus, the two being created in Him, He may say suitably, 'The Lord created me.' For as by receiving our infirmities, He is said to be infirm Himself, though not Himself infirm, for He is the Power of God, and He became sin for us and a curse, though not having sinned Himself, but because He Himself bare our sins and our curse, so , by creating us in Him, let Him say, 'He created me for the works,' though not Himself a creature.
- Athanasius, Discourse II Against the Arians, Section 55 (Chapter 20)

Therefore do you also crucify sin, that you may die to sin; he who dies to sin lives to God; do you live to Him Who spared not His own Son, that in His body He might crucify our passions. For Christ died for us, that we might live in His revived Body. Therefore not our life but our guilt died in Him, "Who," it is said, "bare our sins in His own Body on the tree; that being set free from our sins we might live in righteousness, by the wound of Whose stripes we are healed." 1 Peter 2:24
- Ambrose, On the Holy Spirit: Book I, Section 109 (Chapter 9)

"Behold, it is said, I have taken away your sins." Because He had taken on Himself the sins of the people of those who believed in Him, he uses many such expressions as these: "Far from my salvation are the words of my transgressions," and "You know my foolishness, and my sins were not hid from You."
- Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of John: Book II, Chapter 21

Have they read also today, "that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us"? Galatians 3:13 Was Christ a curse in His Godhead? But why He is called a curse the Apostle tells us, saying that it is written: "Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree," Galatians 3:13 that is, He Who in his flesh bore our flesh, in His body bore our infirmities and our curses, that He might crucify them; for He was not cursed Himself, but was cursed in you. So it is written elsewhere: "Who knew no sin, but was made sin for us, for He bore our sins, 2 Corinthians 5:21 that he might destroy them by the Sacrament of His Passion."
- Ambrose, On the Giving Up of the Basilicas, Section 25

You had mentioned, almost in passing, that a consequence of penal substitution is limited atonement. If you’re right, this too would make sense since Augustine taught limited atonement.

On the other hand, many who glory in the cross of Christ and do not withdraw from that same way, though ignorant of those points which are so subtlely debated, because not one little one perishes for whom He died.
- Augustine, Letter 169 (to Evodius)

In view of all this evidence, will you agree that the concept of penal substitution is not simply a doctrine discovered by the Reformers?


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