Sub-Biblical arguments against Steve Chalke

I wonder if you were wondering if I would do it again. Well the answer is yes, my excuse is that Adrian has done it again: THE ATONEMENT DEBATE – Steve Chalke Argues Against Penal Substitutionary Atonement.

This time we see Adrian's breath been taken away by Steve's audacity in using the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures as well as the New Testament.

Chalke sidesteps the issue of
the wrath of God by attempting to remove the issue of the sacrifices of
the Old Testament from the discussion

Well no. What in fact happens is that Adrian again tries to change the definition of Evangelical by claiming that infallibility is part of the definition. Sorry to keep doing this to you Adrian, but again check the Evangelical Alliance definition and you will discover infallible isn't there.

Then Adrian does several of those sub-biblical tricks we have come to expect.

First he ignores Scripture, missing out the parts that don't support his point. Try Amos 5:21-22, 24
    21 "I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
       I cannot stand your assemblies.

    22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
       I will not accept them.
       Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
       I will have no regard for them.

    23 Away with the noise of your songs!
       I will not listen to the music of your harps.

    24 But let justice roll on like a river,
       righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Or Hosea 6:6
    For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
       and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings.

Or Isaiah 1:11,17
    11 "The multitude of your sacrifices—
       what are they to me?" says the LORD.
       "I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
       of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
       I have no pleasure
       in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

    17 learn to do right!
       Seek justice,
       encourage the oppressed.
       Defend the cause of the fatherless,
       plead the case of the widow.

Second, he ignores context and culture. In particularly what were the sacrifices for and how did they work (see J Denny Weaver "The Nonviolent Atonement" 2001 p58). Many sacrifices were fellowship offerings, for thanksgiving and celebration. The sacrifices included grain and for the worst offences sacrifice was not used but a scapegoat.

Thirdly, he misses any alternative interpretations for example simply note that in Hebrews Jesus is the High Priest ie the one who makes the offering not the one who is offered – in fact it is a self-offering. Again J Denny Weaver has plenty of properly cited evidence for a different reading of Hebrews to Adrian's simplisitc noticing the word sacrifice and taking that into Penal Substitution. Sadly for Adrian even the texts he chooses do not support his own case. Hebrews 9:26 makes it clear that we are talking about a self sacrifice not a punishment applied by God.

Near the start of his post Adrian writes:

One of my major concerns about this whole debate is what a rejection of PSA does to our view of the Bible.

Absolutely it challenges a simplisitic partial reading of Scripture in favour of a thorough and respectful dialogue with the whole of Scripture – a truely evangelical approach to scripture. What a wonderful idea that is, for me the wonder of opening up models of atonement and considering others besides Penal Substitution is that we find new ways of understanding God that are far more in tune with Jesus the Son of God as revealed in Scripture. Go on try it, I promise the view on this side of the fence is fantastic. What a wonderful loving God we serve!

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