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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Articles and Theses on the Penal Substitutionary Theory of the Atonement

Articles and Theses in Favor of the PST

"The Death of Sin in the Death of Jesus: Atonement Theology in the NT," by Ben Witherington (2010)

"The Scriptural Necessity of Christ's Penal Substitution," by Richard Mayhue, in The Master's Seminary Journal 20/2 (Fall 2009): 139-48.

"Penal Substitution in the Old Testament," by William Barrick, in The Master's Seminary Journal 20/2 (Fall 2009): 149-70.

"Penal Substitution in the New Testament: A Focused Look at First Peter," by Paul Felix, in The Master's Seminary Journal 20/2 (Fall 2009): 171-97.

"Penal Substitution in Church History," by Michael Vlach, in The Master's Seminary Journal 20/2 (Fall 2009): 199-214.

"Penal Substitution and Christian Worship," by Andrew Snider, in The Master's Seminary Journal 20/2 (Fall 2009): 215-30.

"Penal Substitution in Perspective: Re-Evaluating the Articulation and Application of the Doctrine,"  by Patrick Franklin, in McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry 10 (2008–2009): 22–52.

"A Trinitarian Crucifixion: The Holy Spirit and Penal Substitution," by Rustin Umstaddt, a paper presented at the annual meeting of the ETS (2008).

"The Logic of Penal Substitution Revisited," by Oliver Crisp in The Atonement Debate: Papers from the London Symposium on the Theology of Atonement (2008), 208-27.

"Penal Substitution in Romans 3:25-26?," by Jarvis J. Williams, in The Princeton Theological Review (2007): 73-82.

"On the Penal Substitution Model of the Atonement," by Jianshe Kong, Ph.D. dissertaton, Brown University (2007).

"Articulating, Defending , and Proclaiming Christ Our Substitute," by Stephen Wellum, in The Southern Baptist Seminary Journal of Theology (Summer 2007). 

"A History of the Doctrine of the Atonement, by Greg Allison, in The Southern Baptist Seminary Journal of Theology (Summer 2007).

"The Atonement in Isaiah's Fourth Servant Song,"  by Peter Gentry in The Southern Baptist Seminary Journal of Theology (Summer 2007).

  "The Cross and Substitutionary Atonement," by Simon Gathercole in The Southern Baptist Seminary Journal of Theology (Summer 2007).

"Songs of the Crucified One: The Psalms and the Crucifixion,"  by Derek Tidball in The Southern Baptist Seminary Journal of Theology (Summer 2007).

"Christ Bore the Sins of Many: Substitution and the Atonement in Hebrews," by Barry Joslin in The Southern Baptist Seminary Journal of Theology (Summer 2007).

"The SBJT Forum: The Atonement Under Fire," by D. A. Carson, Thomas Schreiner, Bruce Ware and James Hamilton, in The Southern Baptist Seminary Journal of Theology (Summer 2007).

"The Atonement as Penal Substitution," by A. T. B. McGowan in Always Reforming: Explorations in Systematic Theology (2006).

"Nothing but the Blood," by Mark Dever, in Christianity Today  (May 2006)

"Question…But isn’t “Penal Substitution” actually illegal (if not immoral)??," by Glenn Miller (2005).

"Can Punishment Bring Peace? Penal Substitution Revisited," by Stephen Holmes in Scottish Journal of Theology (2005)

"The Evangelical Alliance Atonement Symposium: Introductory Address," by David Hilborn (2005)

"Justice, Law, and Guilt," by Garry Williams (2005)

"Punished in our Place: A Reply to Steve Chalke on Penal Substitution," by Garry Williams (2005)

"Why Did Christ Die: A Symposium on the Theology of Atonement," by Sue Groom (2005)

"Swinburnian Atonement and the Doctrine of Penal Substitution," by Steven Porter in Faith and Philosophy (2004): 228-41.

 "The Cross and Substitutionary Atonement" by Simon Gathercole in Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology (2003)

“Rethinking the Logic of Penal Substitution,”  by Steven Porter in Philosophy of Religion, ed. William Lane Craig, Michael Murray, and Daniel Howard-Snyder (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2001), 596–608.

"The Atonement in Scripture," by David Petersen, a paper delivered at Oak Hill College School of Theology (2000).

"Moral Faith and Atonement," by John Hare, a paper presented at Wheaton College (1996).

"De Jesu Christo Servatore: Faustus Socinus on the Satisfaction of Christ," by Alan Gomes, in The Westminster Theological Journal (1993).

"What Did the Cross Achieve? The Logic of Penal Substitution," by J I Packer (1974)

"The Atonement and Human Sacrifice," by David Dilling, in Grace Theological Journal (1971)

"Concerning The Necessity And Reasonableness Of The Christian Doctrine Of Satisfaction For Sin," by Jonathan Edwards,  The Works of President Edwards in 4 volumes,  vol. I, 582-611. (1740)

"Christ's Agony," by Jonathan Edwards, in The works of Jonathan Edwards, ed. Edward Hickman, II, 872ff. (1745)

Articles and Theses in Opposition to the PST

"Poena Satisfactoria: Locating Thomas Aquinas Doctrine of Vicarious Satisfaction in Between Anselmian Satisfaction and Penal Substitution," by John Joy, Master's Thesis, International Theological Institute (2010)

"Substitutionary Atonement and the Church Fathers: A Reply to the Authors of Pierced For Our Transgressions," by Derek Flood, in The Evangelical Quarterly (2010).

"Not Penal Substitution but Vicarious Punishment", by Mark Murphy, in Faith and Philosophy, 26:3 (2009) 253-73.

"A Participatory Model of the Atonement," by Tim Bayne and Greg Restall, in New Waves in Philosophy of Religion eds. Yujin Nagasawa and Erik Wielenberg (2009)

"The Incarnational Theory of Atonement," by Robin Collins (2009)

"The Cross and the Caricatures:  a Response to Pierced for Our Transgressions," by N. T. Wright (2007)

"More Thoughts on Penal Substitution" by Scott McKnight (2006)

"Atonement," by Eleonore Stump, in Aquinas, pp. 427-54 (2003).

"Why Does Jesus' Death Matter," by S. Mark Heim, in The Christian Century [March 6, 2001]: 12-17.
"Do We Believe in Penal Substitution," by David Lewis, in Oxford Readings in Philosophical Theology: Trinity, Incarnation, and Atonement, ed. Michael Rea (1997).

"Old Testament Sacrifice and the Death of Christ," by John Goldingay, in Atonement Today, pp. 3-20 (1995).

“Paul’s Understanding of the Death of Jesus,” by James D.G. Dunn, in Reconciliation and Hope: New Testament Essays on Atonement and Eschatology Presented to L.L. Morris on his 60th Birthday (1974),  pp.125-141.

"Atonement and 'Saving Faith,'" by Brian Gerrish, in Theology Today (1960)

"Justice," in Unspoken Sermons, Part 3  by George MacDonald (1867)

"The Rise of the Edwardean Theory of the Atonement: An Introductory Essay,"  Edwards Amas Parks in The Atonement: Discourses and Treatises (1859).


  1. I can't quite tell if NT Wright is for or against PST in his article. He seems to lean in favour of some variant of it, but doesn't specify what exactly he thinks.

    It's a bit of a shame, since I like his ideas and would be curious whether he agrees regarding the problems of PST you've outlined on this blog.

  2. Paul,

    Wright is hard to pin down but he does reject the arguments of Piereced for Our Transgressions as caricatures and he has also defended the writings of Steve Chalke. Yet he will still say that he believes in some form of Penal Substitution.

  3. Ken,

    If I made the distinction between whether PS 'works' vs. whether it's 'right', would you say that most of the arguments for it are weighted more heavily one way or another? I can agree all day long that it works. But the very ways in which it works are (depending on the target) what make it wrong.

  4. This is probably my favorite article on the atonement, and to be quite frank has the greatest understanding of the biblical/Christian and historical/original understanding of Atonement.

  5. James Alison also has a nice piece on Girard. I like his stuff. Girard's obviously, and Alison's.

  6. For me of course PSA makes no sense, and really has no Biblical support at all. PSA just does not take the consequences of sin seriously. Almost to the point that they can argue that there are no consequences to sin. The only real consequence being that it makes "God" mad and that he has to take his anger out on someone. In college I remembering hearing PSA advocates actually arguing that human beings couldn't actually destroy the world through nuclear war. If nuclear war occurred it would be brought on by God through the use of humans. The logical conclusion of human sin is total annihilation brought on solely by human beings without any action by God to bring this annihilation. But Yahweh, who is the Son of God, and Jesus the Lord being his earthly manifestation has substituted himself for us. Without God we would suffer the consequences of our own wrath in which no flesh would survive. Jesus is the substitute given to us to absorb or intercept our own wrath which we would have had to suffer ourselves in inevitable nuclear conflagration. Jesus indeed is a substitute for us, but not absorbing any violence originating in the loving and just creator, but the wrath that is the consequence of our own sin.
    So PSA from my viewpoint simply doesn't address the apocalyptic consequences of human sin, it even goes so far as to deny the possibility of apocalyptic consequences of human sin.

  7. Margaret Barker has an absolutely fantastic paper on the Atonement ritual. I can still remember the thrill of reading this for the first time. James Alison was actually at our church for a month several years ago and he introduced me to Margaret Barker. His work combining Girardian Mimetic theory with the insights of Margaret Barker is incredible. To hear Alison discuss the Gospels and the Old Testament using Barker's insights into the origins of Christian symbolism is thrilling how the Bible is opened up to understanding.

    1. Thanks for the paper. Margaret is awesome.

    2. Thanks for the paper. Margaret is awesome.

  8. Deb,

    I am not clear on what you mean by "works." It has a psychological appeal but I think its logic is flawed. Of course, myths don't have to be logical but Calvinists who hold to the PST employ logic to develop their system.

  9. Buck,

    Thanks for the links to the articles. These are ones I have not read. As you can probably tell, I have focused primarily on those who specifically defended or argued against the PST. In a way these people are arguing against it in that they are advocating an alternative view. I have to admit that I am a little weak on Girard having only read part of one of his books. Thanks again for the links.

  10. Ken,

    I'm realizing that in order to answer your question about my notion of whether or not it "works" vs. whether or not it's "right" would require us to be on the same page about the nature of language (word (logos) of God (Logos)), psychology and logic ... more specifically the Greek notions of psyche and logos. It's my understanding that the Greek sense of logos incorporated the two, in such a way that the statement, "It has a psychological appeal but I think its logic is flawed" wouldn't make sense. I understand what you're saying but I don't think they would have, the notion of the two being separated would be anachronistic.

    But that's got me thinking about some other things that I need to clarify for myself about who had which notion of the nature of language and when, etc. It's difficult for me (post Saussuer) to hold in my mind the sort of Platonist sense of language as actually transmitting substantive essence. That model does make more sense of the biblical propensity toward and conflation of aural/oral sex (the base metaphor for reproduction). Makes me wish I had more philosophy of language under my belt. Luckily that can be remedied. For now, thanks for the fascinating sentence.