Since then Andrew has posted seven times in response to this book: his first impressions; on the word hilasterion; on penal substitution in the early church; on a comparison with the Ransom from Satan model; and on the views of the atonement of Gregory Nazianzus, Athanasius, and Anselm and Aquinas – all these in just three days! He has certainly been busy, and is justifying his blog name Theo Geek. All very worthwhile background material, showing how one-sided is the evidence presented in the book.
And now his flatmate Reuben, a generally much less prolific blogger at Notions Incognito, has posted the first part of his full review of Pierced for Our Transgressions. The conclusion he comes to from chapter 2 is that there is indeed reasonable biblical evidence for the doctrine of penal substitution, but that this is much less widespread and certain than the authors claim, and there is no proper basis for their insistence that it is a central theme throughout the Bible. He also notes, concerning chapters 2 and 3, that they have “omitted all views and doctrines which do not fit with PS”; so effectively they presuppose rather than argue their point that “it is the foundation of all Christian theology”. His notes on chapter 5 reflect and summarise (but do not reference) what Andrew has written about the history of the doctrine. Reuben rounds up his review of Part I by agreeing with NT Wright’s assessment that the book is “deeply, profoundly, and disturbingly unbiblical.”
I look forward to the forthcoming second part of this review.
Andrew and Reuben are certainly getting value for money out of their shared copy of the book!