The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
7 Points

Jesus Christ and the Penal Substitution Atonement Theory

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/9/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,307 times Debate No: 14730
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (47)
Votes (1)





Jesus Christ = Jesus of Nazareth (c. 5 BC/BCE – c. 30 AD/CE), also referred to as Jesus Christ or simply Jesus, is the central figure of Christianity. Most Christian denominations venerate him as God the Son incarnated and believe that he rose from the dead after being crucified.[6][7]

Penal Substitution Atonement Theory = Penal substitution (sometimes, esp. in older writings, called forensic theory)[1][2] is a theory of the atonement within Christian theology, especially associated with the Reformed tradition. It argues that Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished (penalised) in the place of sinners (substitution), thus satisfying the demands of justice so God can justly forgive the sins. It is thus a specific understanding of substitutionary atonement, where the substitutionary nature of Jesus' death is understood in the sense of a substitutionary punishment

PSAT = Penal Substitution Atonement Theory

Expectations of the debate

I as the Con will raise objections to the Penal Substitution Atonement Theory

My opponent Pro will advocate for Penal Substitution Atonement Theory and defend against my objections.

Terms of winning: If my objections and arguments are better, then I win, if Pros defense and arguments are better then they win.

VERY IMPORTANT !!!!!!! ---- > This is a debate based on arguments and reason, thus it is expected that you take time to understand the objection raised, and to show where its reasoning is faulty.

I ask that you don't accept this debate then try to change it.

If you have any problems or concerns with this debate, please refer to them in the comments section first, so we can come to an agreement and make any changes to the debate before starting the debate.


In order to maintain focus on the PSAT, and my objections I am willing to concede the following points to Pro.

1) Jesus Christ(whether God, man or both) died (either by crucification or other means)
2) Everyone is a sinner or most people are sinners (Either because they are born as such, or choose as such, or both)

Just because I concede these two points don't assume thats means I have conceded anything else.

Now seeing I have being super nice and already conceded these two points I ask that Pro debate in good faith and not resort to semantics or other such shenanigans in this debate.

Objection 1) The debt and payment of sin..........

A common analogy used is that of debt, where some one is in debt, and some one else pays for that debt. In the analogy debt = sin , Jesus = the payer of that debt, God = the one who is owed the debt.

Now, I have no objection say for instance to some one else paying some ones parking fine, I do not consider this a breach of justice. So at this point Con could say well there you go, you don't object in principle to some one else paying debt so you don't have an objection here. Well not so fast, the objection is raised because there is a HUGE difference between some one paying some one else parking fine, and some one paying for some one else's rape or murder.

Consider this example, some one is guilty of murder or rape or genocide etc, some one else steps in and offers to bear the punishment instead of the guilty, although a noble act, it would not matter, to allow the guilty to go free, while punishing the innocent, would be morally wrong, and no justice system that we regard as civilized would do it.

With this in mind, lets be clear, the claim that Jesus died for our sins, is not Jesus paying our parking fines, but rather our sins that are so great, that it requires God to send people to hell for eternity because of them.

In summary we would reject a justice system that let some one go unpunished and declared innocent who is guilty of rape, torture, murder, genocide etc, by punishing a volunteered innocent in the place of the guilty, thus we should reject Penal Substitution Atonement Theory.

I do have more objections, but I would rather see Pros reply to this objection first, after all we have 5 rounds.

I look forward to Pros response.


I thank my opponent for this debate and I want to thank him for conceding a third point within the comments.
3) Jesus Christ rose from the dead anywhere from 1 day to 1 month.

This allows for a debate specifically targeted to the PSAT rather than jumping around discussing if Jesus even rose from the dead.

The PSAT model is not a complete model of the cross. It is one aspect of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross from a Theological perspective.

To understand this analogy/model… it is necessary to have a full understanding of the concepts that support it.

***Rebuttal to Objection 1::
When we say penal substitution we are NOT saying that Jesus served all of our sentences for us. We deserve Hell for all of eternity.

Is Jesus serving those sentences in Torment right now? Is he Hell bound after the Judgment? Are they consecutive or concurrent sentences that He is serving for every single sin?

Of course neither. Jesus is no longer in Tartarus. He is Risen from the Dead. The death of one Righteous man is worth all the eternal sentences of unrighteous men in the history of the universe or so claims the bible.

Penal substitution is not saying that he is serving our sentences for us. It is saying that
- His righteous sacrifice
- His tasting of Death as a righteous man
- His death at the hands of an unjust system and human persecution
- His committing himself to the justice of God rather than man,
- His being vindicated and set free by the justice of God

….these things substituted for our deserved eternal death Penalty.

We can now be forgiven. The way is open for that forgiveness.

Objection 1 from my opponent (summarized):
1)"In summary we would reject a justice system that let some one go unpunished and declared innocent who is guilty of rape, torture, murder, genocide etc, by punishing a volunteered innocent in the place of the guilty, thus we should reject Penal Substitution Atonement Theory."
2)There is no others stated as yet.

This objection is not addressing the truth of the PSAT Model.

First, Jesus is not serving everyone's sentences.
Second point the PSAT model is not stating that the guilty go free. It is stating that the guilty can be forgiven upon repentance.

Though my opponent's definition of PSAT is not a comprehensive one it states a key point.
"so God can justly forgive the sins"
Jesus' Sacrifice was sufficient for the guilty to be forgiven not simply released.
It is not arbitrary and requires repentance and accepting the Covenant/Agreement God makes with those who accept the payment Jesus made.

We can derive a conceptual understanding within our own penal system that allows for forgiveness. It is called a parole board; it also is not just arbitrary in its judgment of letting people free early.

When a criminal offender commits a crime the judge allows for the possibility of change and potential release based upon the individual criminal and the intensity of the crime.

At the set time a parole board can give an early release based upon the repentance of the criminal. That criminal though guilty, can be forgiven the crime and set free.
We even can go further and our executive branch can give full pardon for the criminal (usually based upon an act of redemption or heroism), and can go so far as to even expunge a criminal record for the confirmed repentant and morally upright past criminal.
Society and the law consider that criminal a completely different person.

Forgiveness is very much a part of our justice system. This does not speak to the abuses or stupidity of our governors and the people involved only that the system is very reasonable and allows for forgiveness.

In a similar way, the forgiveness given to us by God is different than letting someone arbitrarily go free and being declared innocent. "Forgiveness" is the word used in the definition of the PSAT stated by my opponent.

To rectify the misunderstanding of my opponent and those who may feel the same, here is a very brief theological outline of what PSAT does:
1)We are guilty of Sin
2)Jesus makes a Penal Substitutionary Atonement with his sacrifice.
3)He is able to make that payment because He is laying His character on the line, His name and His goodness verifying that we have indeed changed.
4)This sacrifice enacts a blood covenant/agreement with our God.
5)We are required to confess our guilt, repent of our evil, put our old self to death and become a new person to ENTER into that covenant/agreement.
6)We are then declared forgiven and Justice has been served. If we do not perform what is stated in #5, above we do not enter into that conditional agreement.

**Having shown my opponents objection is outside of the address of the theory, I will layout a positive argument for the theory below utilizing a flaw in our own Penal system**

PSAT allows for God to be able to give forgiveness justly. Strictly speaking in our system of Justice we allow forgiveness for criminals to the determent of the victim.
If a rapist gets out after just a few years and the parole board is certain that he will not commit that act again, the victim can and most of the time will, feel that full justice was not served in those cases.
If I were raped I would also agree that just a couple of years is not justice. I would demand full payment. I would demand castration and life in prison but barring that at least the maximum penalty allowed by law.

That is where the Justice of God must be satisfied. The victims both God and Mankind must be justly satisfied while allowing for the forgiveness of the completely changed (repentant) criminal.

If our Parole Boards were to take the entire risk and lay their names, careers, fortunes on the line for each of the released prisoners stating they "completely affirm these criminals are no longer criminals" it would be one step closer.

The victim would NOT have satisfaction but they would have assurance.

The satisfaction comes in the fact that God who is perfectly just is not only willing to make that assurance for all of Heaven to allow the repentant criminals to run loose, he is also willing to give penal satisfaction by enacting a system by which He/God makes the payment for satisfaction. He makes a payment so that our release can be secured.

What does PSAT address?
1)Satisfaction of Justice must be applied for the victims
2)Assurance that the guilty being forgiven and released have indeed changed.
3)People are not static and those changed guilty offenders need forgiveness.

In our own Penal system we cannot have all three in fullness- Satisfaction, Assurance of Change and Forgiveness.
In God's system of Justice we obtain all three.

PSAT is NOT This (as stated above by my opponent):
1)Guilty person declared innocent
2)Volunteer innocent punished instead
Debate Round No. 1


I thank Pro for their response.

As Pro mentioned I had conceded another point that Jesus rose from the dead, to allow for PSAT to be focused on.

I am not going to rebut most of the points made by Pro, cause I don't think Pro is actually defending PSAT.

Pro says "Penal substitution is not saying that he is serving our sentences for us. It is saying that
- His righteous sacrifice
- His tasting of Death as a righteous man
- His death at the hands of an unjust system and human persecution
- His committing himself to the justice of God rather than man,
- His being vindicated and set free by the justice of God"

Pro is arguing that these unjust things that happened to Jesus is the same as penal substitution, I contend they are not. It seems to me what Pro is arguing here that cause Jesus suffered these unjust things, Jesus is owed compensation. With this compensation Jesus can pay the sin debt of others and thus God is satisfied. Even if this is true, this doesn't defend PSAT, cause PSAT makes very specific claims of how God is satisfied.

Here are some explanations of PSAT "Penal Substitution Atonement Theory = Penal substitution (sometimes, esp. in older writings, called forensic theory)[1][2] is a theory of the atonement within Christian theology, especially associated with the Reformed tradition. It argues that Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished (penalised) in the place of sinners (substitution), thus satisfying the demands of justice so God can justly forgive the sins. It is thus a specific understanding of substitutionary atonement, where the substitutionary nature of Jesus' death is understood in the sense of a substitutionary punishment"

Penal Substitution is a theological viewpoint within Christianity that maintains Jesus was legally punished in place of the sinners. That is, he took the place of the sinner. It is "penal" in that Christ suffered the penalty of the law, taking the "penalty" of the Law. It was substitutionary in that Christ took our place on the cross when he bore our sins (1 Pet. 2:24) and became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21).

"Penal substitutionary atonement refers to the doctrine that Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners. God imputed the guilt of our sins to Christ, and he, in our place, bore the punishment that we deserve"

Notice the difference between what PSAT is claiming, and what Pro is claiming. PSAT clearly states that Jesus was PUNISHED instead (the substitute) of the sinner.

As reformed arsenal has commented to you Pro..... "Penal Substitution Atonement Theory and Propitiatory Satisfaction Atonement Theory are not the same thing. You are arguing that Jesus did not serve our penalty, so you cannot be arguing for PSAT. You are arguing that Jesus being punished satisfied God's requirements for forgiveness, which is Propitiatory Satisfaction."

At this point I will see whether Pro will defend PSAT, or whether they still maintain that their view of PSAT is correct.


Sadly my opponent was lead astray by a spectator and I am now unable to thank my opponent for an effective rebuttal.

My opponents 1 Objection with two parts remains refutted:
"In summary we would reject a justice system that let some one go unpunished and declared innocent who is guilty of rape, torture, murder, genocide etc, by punishing a volunteered innocent in the place of the guilty, thus we should reject Penal Substitution Atonement Theory."

Refutation 1 fleshed out in my first round post:
R1) Jesus is not permanently in Hell due to his Penal substitution of our sins. He is currently in Heaven and ruling. He paid a Penal substitution to atone for our sins that was equivalent but not exact and he is now ruling Heaven because of it. No injustice from God the Father has occurred to Jesus' person.

**Points of note:
1st Note - If my opponent does not believe this is a part of every PSAT model viewpoint, He would need to prove that to be the case. He would need to assert a model that shows Jesus is serving our eternal punishment exactly as due. There are no PSAT advocates that do this. All viewpoints recognize the substitution was equivalent rather than exact and not permanent though our punishment was to be permanent/eternal.
2nd Note: My opponent did consent to Jesus' resurrection thus consenting that Jesus is not serving the exact sentence but an equivalent substitution penal sentence equivalently effective.

Refutation 2 fleshed out in my first round post:
R2) The guilty are not simply released but are forgiven when they accept the substitution and are no longer the past dead guilt ridden sinners but cleansed new individuals… attested before all of heaven by God.

Needless to say my opponent's objection no longer stands.

My affirmative argument points summarized
Argument for PSAT:
PSAT accomplishes this
1)Satisfaction of Justice must be applied for the victims both God and Man through a Penal Substitute atoning for the guilty. (amended for clarity)
2)Assurance that the guilty being forgiven and released have indeed changed.
3)People are not static and those changed guilty offenders need forgiveness.

In our own Penal system we cannot have all three in fullness- Satisfaction, Assurance of Change and Forgiveness.
In God's system of Justice we obtain all three.

To address the accusation brought up in the last round that "I(Gileandos) am not Arguing PSAT"; (Wikipedia and theopedia are not theological guideposts for any denomination and not sound sources, Carm though actually Christian is an independent ministry and merely posting a definition on this particular link) These three sources feel like my opponent is merely googling for definitions rather than having solid theological framework teachings that he is able to argue from.

The resolution did not state PSAT as affirmed by such and such a person. It also did not state "what Con believes to be PSAT". There were no governing restrictions to a particular view of PSAT in the resolution. There was no assertion that mandated I hold to a Reformed View of PSAT.

I am not Calvinist and I do not argue from a Calvinist viewpoint but I shall quote the famous J.I. Packer and his 1973 Lecture on The logic of Penal Substitutionary atonement. This work clarifies misconceptions, discusses the top three views of PSAT and the logic of each, and tries to place forward the Calvinist version as accurate. Clearly there was more than one view in 1973, how much more so several decades later…

"First, the significance of penal substitution is not always stated as exactly as is desirable, so that the idea often gets misunderstood and caricatured by its critics; and I should like, if I can, to make such misunderstanding more difficult."

Here the author is joking/not joking but I posted this to show my audience that the subtleties of PSAT are not easily understood and can be mischaracterized just as easily.

And again J.I. Packer states…
"All this, being so, it might be hard to find an account of penal substitution which could safely be taken as standard or as fully representative, and it will certainly be more straight-forward if I venture an analysis of my own."

These quotes showing that the great J.I. Packer in 1973 recognized the misunderstandings and mischaracterizations….. thus my opponents attempt to dodge the refutation of his objection by appearing to make a complex issue appear simple…. is inaccurate.

I will leave my opponent to come to a more full understanding of PSAT by reading J.I. Packer's work but again I state that this is to lay out some clarities of PSAT and to reject my opponents latest assertion that somehow I am not arguing PSAT.

BY formal Definition I have already stated that Jesus Christ Paid for our sins through a Substitutionary Penal process of atonement. (PSAT)

**** The second work I would like to quote is the person who holds the Catholic standard view of this model and comes prior to any of the reformed viewpoints.

I agree with some of the things that J.I. Packer asserts and I agree with some of the objections. I do also assert many of the things within the Catholic View of PSAT.
Summa Theologica = Catholic Work by St. Thomas Aquinas

This catholic work is the modern origin and launch pad of my opponents analogy laid out in the first round of Sin being a debt. He lays out the Penal Debt that needs to be paid for both divine and human justice to be satisfied. He also lays out how Jesus substitutes for our penal satisfaction.

P2 Q87 A6
"Consequently it is evident that when the sinful or injurious act has ceased there still remains the debt of punishment. "

Definition of Penal = Punishable; inflicting of punishment

Thomas Aquinas lays out the base of all modern viewpoints of the PSAT Model.
P2 Q87 A6,A7,A8

Thomas Aquinas: P2 Q87 A6 R3
"Moreover punishment is requisite in order to restore the equality of justice…"

To Quote St. Thomas Aquinas directly on his view of Penal (punishment) Subsitutionary Atonement.
P2 Q87 A7 R3
"Christ bore a satisfactory punishment, not for His, but for our sins."
Christ bore (took/received) a satisfactory (atonement) Punishment (penal), not for His (Jesus'), but for our Sins (substitutionary)

Though Catholics like Evangelicals debate the elements within the Christological Atonement framework and its elements/variations, they all have their roots within Summa Theologica a medieval Catholic work which discusses PSAT and its objections from a Medieval perspective.

This is completely a Penal Substitutionary Atonement model.
The key differing elements in this Catholic View from the Reformed view are:
1)Due to this equivalent payment "Penance" of Christ, Penance is clear in scripture and in action and a Church doctrine for sinners.
2)There are three categorical sins, original, venial and mortal. This makes the Reformed advocates misunderstand many of the Catholic statements concerning a type of sin.
3)Reconciliation with God for the Catholic comes from our Will being in unity with His Will.
4)Christ's Merit allowed for the substitution to take place.

These differences cause a bit of confusion for the theological underpinnings of a reformed advocate, as statements are easily misunderstood. A lot of the Reformed traditions vary entirely in concept and background information from a Catholic Viewpoint.
Debate Round No. 2


Illegalcombatant forfeited this round.


I am again unable to thank my opponent for a rebuttal.
I hope and will pray that my opponent is safe… only too busy to post or comment.

I do want to address a few more things that surround the PSAT concern stated by my opponent.

I do feel very confidant my opponents Single Objection of PSAT being an unjust system and should be rejected as a system of justice... has been clearly refuted.

Below are two concepts for my opponent to better understand PSAT and to come a better understanding of the different viewpoints for existence. A commenter has continued to discuss this at length and challenge the multiple viewpoints. He continues to cite my statements as propitiatory satisfaction and has lead my opponent to the same argument. I post further down an article by Dr. Ian Shaw a reformed theologian that asserts the same as I do. Propitiatory satisfaction is an interlocking element to PSAT. It is how Jesus fulfilled the penal substitution.

My opponent did not in his first round or resolution make any statement that I needed to directly take the side of a single view of PSAT. I took the debate with an understanding there was no such restriction to a single denominational view or a single system of thought.

Thus, to clarify a more full understanding, all denominations hold to a Penal understanding of the Cross of Christ.

To start with the Catholics (Next the Arminianists):
Reparation (Penal Substitution) theology is quite prevalent but there are many Catholics who argue against any Penal aspects. That does not say, "there is NO Catholic PSAT", only that there is debate in the Catholic Church and differing views are held. (Same concept of the followers of Mary and those who appose the worship of Mary.)
"Although God might have condoned men's offences gratuitously if He had chosen to do so, yet in His Providence He did not do this; He judged it better to demand satisfaction for the injuries which man had done Him. It is better for man's education that wrong doing on his part should entail the necessity of making satisfaction. This satisfaction was made adequately to God by the Sufferings, Passion, and Death of Jesus Christ, made Man for us."

Here is an example of this in Catholic Practice
The First Sorrowful Mystery
1.Jesus comes with his disciples to Gethsemani: "Stay here, while I go yonder and pray."
2.Entering the garden with Peter, James, and John, Jesus prays, "My soul is sorrowful unto death."
3.Jesus sees the sins of all mankind, whose guilt He has taken upon Himself.
4.He sees the wrath of the Father which His sufferings must appease.
5.So great is his anguish that His sweat becomes as drops of blood falling to the ground.
6.An angel appears to Him from heaven to strengthen Him.
7."Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet, not My will but Yours be done."
8.Finding the disciples asleep: "Could you not watch one hour with me?"
9.Jesus is betrayed by Judas, cruelly bound and led away.
10.Father, by the merits of the agony of Jesus in the Garden, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Catholics do hold to a PSAT view but it is very different than a Reformed's version. Jesus is the propitiatory satisfier of God's Penal demand for reparations.

Sound incredibly... dead on... familiar?

The Arminian/Wesleyan/Protestant Anglican also hold to the PSAT but it differs from both the Catholic and the Reformed.(each of these three slashes do have subtle differences but I will lump them together due to much of their similarities'Justice-divine-is-satisfied'.htm
This link will need to be pasted to view.

Here is an article excerpt from Dr. Ian J. Shaw a REFORMED Historian Lecturing at International Christian College in Glasgow.

This reformed theologian recognizes that my arguments with the commentator are valid.
Propitiatory satisfaction is the resolution to the Penal substitution of Jesus to satisfy the justice of God. Dr Ian clearly states that there is no conflict between Propitiatory satisfaction and Penal substitution that even that Arminianists (such as myself) hold to both and teach both. Propitiatory satisfaction is indeed the fulfillment of the event of Penal substitution of Jesus Christ for us.
This is the view held by most in the Arminian camp today.

Conclusion >>
1)The rosary and the Catholic reparation theology
2)The reformed Dr. Ian clearly teaching that Propitiatory satisfaction is NOT in opposition to Penal Substitution but can go hand in hand.
3) The reformed J.I. Packer's lecture in 1973 on the differing views of PSAT
3)My own teachings and understandings of each denominations belief systems regarding Penal Substitution

These three show that my opponents Statements that I am arguing for Propitiatory satisfaction is clearly wrong. I am stating that Propitiatory satisfaction refutes his objections to Penal Substitution. Propitiatory satisfaction is NOT an opposing belief system but goes hand in hand and is a necessary next step to clearly understanding PSAT.

This shows that my opponents initial objection to God being unjust under a Penal substitution system is profoundly inaccurate.

Hopefully these layouts resolve some of the issues and complexities my opponent and the commentator tried to bring up.
Debate Round No. 3


Due to some bad time management by myself, I won't be making an argument this round, since I would rather give a considered argument on this topic than a rushed one.


I shall extend, I have refutted the one objection completely, have shown my opponents opinion that I was detailing prop sat only was completely from a missunderstanding of the two theological concepts and I hope for a sound rebuttal from my opponent.
Debate Round No. 4


Illegalcombatant forfeited this round.


I shall extend again,
As Stated; I have refutted the one objection completely, have shown my opponents opinion that I was detailing prop sat only was completely from a missunderstanding of the two theological concepts.

There has been no meaningful rebuttal from my opponent to the resolution of his single objection.
The Penal nature of Jesus' substitution for us remains a valid tenant of Christianity and a useful means for us to come to terms with God.
Debate Round No. 5
47 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Gileandos 7 years ago
Prop Sat refutes the "injustice" within my opponents argument but does not deny PSAT at all.

I am glad those sites and posts clarified your position.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 7 years ago
I didn't say that PS and PSAT are in opposition...

I don't think that any one view of the atonement is sufficient to explain what is happening on the Cross... what I said is that they are not the same thing.
Posted by Gileandos 7 years ago
I posted this directly in the debate but I believe this will bring far more clarity to my statements and your posted opposition to my statements.'Justice-divine-is-satisfied'.htm
You will have to paste the link.
Dr. Ian is a reformed theologian and clearly lays out the PS and PSAT are not in opposition to each other. PSAT and PS are very different things but are both held together for a complete view of the cross.

Between J.I. Packer and Dr. Ian I hope this will be more convincing that my statements have been.

I also hope these teachings coming from reformed theologians and not me, will bring more understanding and clarity to your viewpoint.

If they help you please let me know either in comments or in IM.
Posted by Gileandos 7 years ago
Much more clear and something I can sink my teach into.
Some key notes as I have been taught in Seminary.
The reformed version of PSAT directly addresses merit. The Synod of Dort addressed the "Mechanics" of the Passion of Christ and laid out that Christ's substitutionary sacrifice rested not at all on our merits but only on the Merit of Christ.
The resulting ramifications were Limited Atonement and unconditional election.

I fundamentaly Agree with the Catholic View of PSAT whereby a belief that Christ's Penal Substitutionary is unlimited and our personal Merits are completely in view of our entrance into Heaven.

The catholics have a PSAT viewpiont that meets all definitional requirements laid out by my opponent, whereby Jesus Christ substituted for our Sins in as a penal infliction. I am fully able to argue this my view due to the resolution and round 1 from my opponent.
There were no statements in my opponents proposition that the discussion was on the reformed view vs another view. I could even hold my personal view of PSAT and argue against his objections.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 7 years ago
I'm using the doctrinal formulas.

Council of Trent, Session 6, Chapter 7.
"our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies, for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, merited Justification for us by His most holy Passion on the wood of the cross, and made satisfaction for us unto God the Father." It goes on to say that we are made righteous because of this merit, which Christ earned on the cross. There is no talk of punishments being exhanged (which is at the CORE of Penal Substitution theory.) You cannot have a Penal Substitution Theory if there is no Penalty being Substituted.

The Penal Substitution theory was specifically posited at the Council of Dort because they didn't feel that Satisfaction, (Via Anselm or Aquinas) which was couched in commercial and economic terms where merit was almost a currency used to purchase admission into heaven, spoke strongly enough of the Penal Substitution on the cross. It is ridiculous to say that a theory that was formulated to correct Satisfaction Theory is essentially the same as Satisfaction Theory.

In the Catholic Church, if you teach Penal Substitution rather than Propitiatory Satisfaction... you are a heretic.
Posted by Gileandos 7 years ago
I avoid Wikipedia due to its constant innaccuracies from Atheistic input.... if you have source information, I would request that.

I understand there is much overlapping language, but I pose to you that you are using very narrow definitions and that the Catholic Model of atonement is more than the satisfaction theory and the reformed Penal is more than the justice punishment swapping...

Would you agree that you are using very narrow definitions that are not asserted by everyone?
Posted by ReformedArsenal 7 years ago
Acquinas' Meritorious Satisfaction theory was affirmed as dogma at the Council of Trent in RESPONSE to Calvin's/Luther's Penal Substitution. (See Section titled: Further developments) Meritorious/Propitiatory Satisfaction is the dogma in the Catholic Church, so if you are teaching Penal Substitution... you are a Heretic and Anathema (according to the Catholic Church).

The two concepts have lots of overlapping language but are not the same. Penal Substitution has nothing to do with Merit. And Propitiatory Satisfaction has nothing to do with punishment.
Posted by Gileandos 7 years ago
You did not post your links, teacher or book showing your explanation and I need a comprehensive understanding thats explaining Propitiatory Satisfaction that you are drawing from.

I also have no problem with your statements. I agree with your statements. However, the fact that Penal overtones exist shows something.

Simply put there was no part of the debate specifying I needed to follow the Reformed concepts.

Satisfaction = the victims have been given justice.
The reformed Model holds to this same satisfaction.
Propitiation = appeasement of God
The reformed Model holds to this same appeasement of God's justice.

I agree that Penance and Merit come out of the Catholic models of Atonement.

To say that Catholics do not hold to a Penal Substitutionary Atonement Model is a false statement.
The Penal infliction (punishment) that Jesus took for us(substituted), satisfies the justice system (atonement) of God.

The Catholic Model is so much more than that statement, like merited penance due to the equivalency of the payment by Jesus, yes... on the other hand the reformed has different elements that come into that statement, such as non Meritorious, Limited atonement etc.

I realize that your categorizations are VERY Narrow and not following suite but that does nothing to the fact that I AM MEETING all definitions of PSAT.

Do you recognize you are using very narrow definitions in a large theological discussion?
Posted by ReformedArsenal 7 years ago
The Catholic Model, what Aquinas argues for, is Propitiatory Satisfaction. Propitiation is what happens when a God's demands are appeased. In the Catholic Model, propitiation is achieved through Merit. Each individual earns merit through their good works. There is a Treasury of Merit where the extra merit of Christ, Mary, and the Saints is stored (Extra being more merit than was required to get into heaven). This merit is then given to Christians through the Sacraments, particularly through Communion and Penance. This is their means of Propitiatory Satisfaction. In the Catholic Model, Christ died on the Cross to earn enough Merit to distribute to all Christians who would come to him. It is therefore Propitiatory Satisfaction. Aquinas' Theology has Penal Substitution overtones, but it is still clearly Propitiatory in nature. This transfer of merit is often known as Infused Righteousness, and the infusion happens over the course of the life (and through Purgatory) of a believer.

Penal Substitution however has no overtones of merit involved. Christ died in the place of sinners, was punished in the place of sinners, bore the wrath of God as a punishment in place of sinners. His death was the punishment we deserve. There is no merit involved, he did not earn the right to forgive us, earn the right to redeem us, or earn the right to rescue us. He was punished on our behalf so we do not have to be. Our punishment was imputed to him, and his reward was imputed to us. This is often known as Imputed Righteousness and is a one time event that happens at the conversion of a believer and does not need to happen again.
Posted by Gileandos 7 years ago
BTW so we are clear, more than just the Penal aspect of the atonement exists even in the reformed Model. J.I. Packer in fact argues for such.
Here is a tragic News event among the brethren.
"What we're in the process of, really, in the U.K. is a battle for the very definition of what is an evangelical," Warnock said. "And it's as simple as that."

According to J. I. Packer, British-born board of governors' theologian at Regent College and CT senior editor, various biblical understandings of the atonement need not conflict. Penal substitution is the mainstream, historic view of the church and the essential meaning of the Atonement, he said. Yet with penal substitution at the center, Christus Victor and other Scriptural views of atonement can work together to present a fully orbed picture of Christ's work.

"To omit any part of this story," Packer said, "is to distort and damage the gospel."
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