Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book, ecumenically sensitive and very readable, 10 Oct. 2009
This review is from: The Wondrous Cross: Atonement and Penal Substitution in the Bible and History (Christian Doctrine in Historical Perspective) (Paperback)
The agenda of the author is to defend penal substitution as a valid way of interpreting the atoning work of Christ, as it is also founded upon biblical terminologies and stories. The author was quite succesful in this endeavour. What is striking, however, is the approach the author chose to defend the "theory." With an ecumenical spirit and an open theological mind, he did not try to debunk other "theories" (or stories, as he called them) in order to exalt penal substitution - rather, he affirmed that all the stories are equally valid, and when taken together, complement each other's strengths and weaknesses.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Jun 2012 13:09:39 BDT
Simon Hall says:
I think your review is a little bit inaccurate - the stated purpose of the book is to place penal substitution alongside the other 'stories of salvation' (as Holmes puts it), which is where it should be: one metaphor among others. How can a punishment also be a ransom and a victory over death and Satan? Only by acknowledgeing that they are all metaphors for a mystery. How can an electron be both a wave and a particle? It isn't either, but those metaphors help us understand a tiny bit about the mystery of the atom.

I suspect Holmes might even agree with Steve Chalke that when it is exalted above all the other stories, the concept of an angry God torturing his innocent son becomes a mockery of the gospel. Holmes is trying to save the idea of penal substition from those who somehow see it as a superior story to all the others, and somehow 'more true,' despite it being much less developed than other ideas in the first 1500 years of the church. By making it part of a matrix of metaphors, he makes penal substitution more credible.
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