Some have suggested that ancient theologies of atonement-- specifically theories that involve Jesus' death as a sacrifice or as a substitution, or as providing satisfaction to God-- no longer speak to the human situation in the twenty-first century and they, therefore should be disregarded in favor of understandings that speak to current sensibilities. And while I believe wholeheartedly that the significance of Jesus' work should speak to current concerns that by no means requires a rejection of the theological wisdom that we have inherited through the centuries. In other words, the meaning of Paul's words that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture" (1 Cor. 15:3) cannot be understood in the twenty-first century if we cannot understand its meaning in previous centuries. So do I believe that classical atonement theories speak to the human condition today? Yes, indeed they do. I offer several reasons in defense of my position.
I offer my reasons here.