Defending Substitution: An Essay on Atonement in Paul

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Article number: 9780801049774, c11
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Defending Substitution

Author: Simon Gathercole

In recent decades, the church and academy have witnessed intense debates concerning the concept of penal substitution to describe Christ's atoning sacrifice. Some claim it promotes violence, glorifies suffering and death, and amounts to divine child abuse. Others argue it plays a pivotal role in classical Christian doctrine. Here world-renowned New Testament scholar Simon Gathercole offers an exegetical and historical defense of the traditional substitutionary view of the atonement. He provides critical analyses of various interpretations of the atonement and places New Testament teaching in its Old Testament and Greco-Roman contexts, demonstrating that the interpretation of atonement in the Pauline corpus must include substitution.

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  • The Importance of Substitution
  • Defining Substitution: Christ in Our Place
  • Criticism of Substitution
  1. Exegetical Challenges to Substitution
  • The Tübingen Understanding of Representative “Place-Taking”
  • Interchange in Christ
  • Apocalyptic Deliverance
  • The Omission or Downplaying of “Sins”
  • Conclusion
  1. “Christ Died for Our Sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3)
  • The Importance of 1 Corinthians 15:3–4
  • “According to the Scriptures”
  • Substitution in 1 Corinthians 15:3
  • Conclusion
  • Excursus: An Objection—Why, Then, Do Christians Still Die?
  1. The Vicarious Death of Christ and Classical Parallels (Rom 5:6–8)
  • The Translation of Romans 5:6–8
  • A Sketch of the Exegesis
  • Vicarious Deaths in Classical Tradition
  • The Comparison in Romans 5:6–8
  • Conclusion
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