The Errors of Aulen’s Christus Victor Model

*The following is the conclusion to a review I did of Gustaf Aulen’s Christus Victor. Therefore it is lacking a bit in context, but still important for anyone who is privy to the issues.*

Because Jesus was God and man one cannot argue that the Atonement involved a total God-to-man movement or a total man-to-God movement; one must affirm that it was both.  Through the Incarnation God moved to man and through the Atonement the God-man moved back to God.  Gustaf Aulen’s dichotomy between what he terms the classic view and the Latin view of the Atonement is unwarranted.  Anselm, for sure, reinterpreted the ransom theory but still saw Christ’s sacrifice as a victory over the devil.  Luther was liberated by the story of Christ overcoming the Law and death, but he also understood Christ’s sacrifice to include punishment for man’s transgressing of the Law.  Because Aulen sets up the classic view as a model in opposition to the other historical understandings of the Atonement he falls into the error of generalization, thus creating false dichotomies between historical figures and their words.  This also leads him to an overall neglect of the humanity of Christ, thus presenting a rather Docetic picture of the Atonement. Continue reading “The Errors of Aulen’s Christus Victor Model”

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The Necessity of Penal Substitution

Gerald O’Collins and many other modern scholars hate the idea of Christ’s death as Penal Substitution. O’Collins states,

“… the way Aquinas adjusted Anselm’s theory of satisfaction helped open the door to a sad version of redemption: Christ as a penal substitute who was personally burdened with the sins of humanity, judged, condemned, and deservedly punished in our place.” [1]

Most people see this atonement model as being too violent. If God would punish his own Son in such a violent way then he must be an inherently angry God. Continue reading “The Necessity of Penal Substitution”