How does Jesus save?

An alternative view of atonement

When I was born 60 years ago, debates about how Christ saves us tended to divide Protestants who thought about such matters at all into conservatives who defended some form of substitutionary atonement theory and liberals who were more apt to accept a kind of moral influence theory. Both those approaches were about 900 years old. In the years since, new accounts of Christ’s salvific work have been introduced or reintroduced, and the debates have generally grown angrier, at least from the liberal side. Those who defended substitutionary atonement were always ready to dismiss their opponents as heretics; now some of their opponents complain that a focus on substitutionary atonement leads to violence against women and to child abuse.

 

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