Monday, 23 April 2007

Bishop of Durham attacks Conservative Evangelical defence of penal substitution

(Ed: this is a long and technical article by Tom Wright on the Fulcrum, 'Open Evangelical', website. I hope to blog about it later.)

[...] I hope it is now clear what I meant by saying that my main problem with Pierced for Our Transgressions is that it is hopelessly sub-biblical. My heart sinks when I read what the great contemporary heroes of conservative Christianity have said inside the front cover. Peter Adam from Melbourne says that the book shows how the cross integrates into the big themes of the Bible, whereas, if I am right, it is precisely the big themes of the Bible that have been ignored. Don Carson says that the book successfully refutes some people who ‘are not listening very carefully to what either Scripture or history says’, whereas it seems to me that it is the authors of this book who are not paying proper attention to Scripture itself. I was going to quote more – ‘its great strength lies in its comprehensive exegesis of the biblical text itself’, says one dear and good man; ‘they have a firm grasp of the biblical material’, says another; and so on, and so on. It becomes embarrassing. I have this unhappy sense that a large swathe of contemporary evangelicalism has (accidentally and unintentionally, of course) stopped its ears to the Bible, and hence to the God of the Bible, and is determinedly pursuing a course dictated by evangelical tradition rather than by scripture itself. And then they are surprised that those who do not fall within that tradition cannot hear what they are saying – and sometimes denounce them as unbelievers. Read more

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