the (absence of) vicarious atonement in the early church fathers

365:117 Incarnation of a Cat

Incarnation of a Cat (Photo credit: angelsk) – no idea, but hey….

There is no trace, as we have seen, of the notions of vicarious satisfaction, in the sense of our sins being imputed to Christ and His obedience imputed to us, which some of the Reformers made the very essence of Christianity; or, again, of the kindred notion that God was angry with His Son for our sakes, and inflicted on Him the punishment due to us; nor is Isaiah’s prophecy interpreted in this sense, as afterwards by Luther; on the contrary, there is much which expressly negatives this line of thought. There is no mention of the justice of God, in the forensic sense of the word; the Incarnation is invariably and exclusively ascribed to His love; the term satisfaction does not occur in this connection at all, and where Christ is said to suffer for us, ὑπὲρ (not ἀντί) is the word always used. It is not the payment of a debt, as in St. Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo, but the restoration of our fallen nature, that is prominent in the minds of these writers, as the main object of the Incarnation. They always speak, with Scripture, of our being reconciled to God, not of God being reconciled to us1

What?

No!!!!!

Yes, you Protestant heretics, oh yes.

Enhanced by Zemanta
  1. Henry Nutcombe Oxenham, The Catholic Doctrine of the Atonement: An Historical Inquiry into Its Development in the Church: With an Introduction on the Principle of Theological Developments (Second Edition.; London: Wm. H. Allen & Co., 1869), 112–113.

Post By Joel L. Watts (10,153 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

Connect

One thought on “the (absence of) vicarious atonement in the early church fathers

Leave a Reply, Please!