Traditional view of atonement ‘cheapens God’s forgiveness’ says Steve Chalke

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Oasis founder Rev Steve Chalke has launched an attack on the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement (PSA) in his latest ‘Chalke Talk’ video.

Steve Chalke
Rev Steve Chalke argues against Penal Substitutionary Atonement.

Chalke, who leads Oasis Church Waterloo as well as heading up the community change charity, has previously described the doctrine – assumed by many evangelicals – that God punished Jesus on the cross instead of us as ‘cosmic child abuse’.

In his latest video, he says PSA removes God’s ability to forgive.

He says: ‘Why can’t God do what he asks us to be able to do; to freely forgive without demanding punishment first?’

He argues there is a contradiction between the teaching of Jesus to ‘love your enemies’ and the belief that God cannot forgive without venting his anger on Jesus.

Chalke says: ‘And, it gets even deeper than this. If God needs someone to “pay the price” for our sin, the question is does he ever really forgive anyone at all? Stop and think about it for a moment. If you owed someone a hundred pounds and they held you to it – refused to release you from the debt – unless or until someone else paid your bill for you, in what sense did they forgive your debt at all?’

He continues: ‘At the very heart of the strange belief that God had to punish someone in order to forgive us, is the fact that, if true, it implies that violence is, ultimately, the only final solution to injustice. And if that’s true, all that Jesus taught about a commitment to nonviolence as a part of what it means to follow him indicates that far from being “one” as he taught, there is a radical disagreement between Jesus and his father.’

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