What Is Left of Biblical Christianity When Penal Substitutionary Atonement is Eliminated?

The Penal Substitutionary teaching of the Atonement (sometimes referred to as the Forensic theory of the Atonement) following Scripture, insists that Jesus Christ, consistent with the Covenant of Redemption, by His own choice, became obedient unto the sacrificial death of the Cross. In the doing of so, the Lord Christ satisfied, as a substitute, the just penal demands of God’s law against elect sinners with the consequence that the punishment that should have fallen on elect sinners is understood to have been fallen upon Christ. The whole idea is encapsulated in Peter’s phraseology that, “Christ died for sins once for all;  the just for the unjust.”

The centrality of this doctrine is so important that any denial of the Forensic theory of the Atonement leaves us with a Christianity that is completely redefined. Indeed, this is so much true that those who profess Christianity yet deny the penal substitutionary doctrine of the atonement profess a different Christianity than those who profess Christ while affirming the penal substitutionary atonement.  A different Christianity ensues when the Forensic doctrine of the atonement is deleted.

This also means that all who affirm a hypothetical universal atonement whereby Christ dies for all in theory but where the intent of the hypothetical universal atonement is limited by sovereign man confess a thoroughly different Christianity than those who submit to the Scriptures teaching of Penal substitutionary atonement where the intent of the atonement is limited by our Sovereign God.

Now, felicitous inconsistency sometimes keeps these different expressions from coming into the collision that they rightfully should be involved in but at the end of the day Christianity with a penal substitutionary atonement and Christianity without a penal substitutionary atonement are both Christianity the same way that Marxism without a Hegelian dialectic is the same as Marxism with a Hegelian dialectic.

As Dabney noted on this score,

“This issue is cardinal. As the Churches of all ages has understood the Scriptures, the whole plan of gospel redemption rests upon this substitution of Christ as its corner-stone. He who overthrows the corner-stone overthrows the building. The system which he rears without this foundation may be named Christianity by him, but it will be another building, his own handiwork, not that of God — another gospel.”

The cash value of this observation is that non Reformed churches (Holiness Churches, Lutheran Churches, Roman Catholic Churches, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Pentecostal Churches, and assorted Free Will Baptist Churches) teach a different Christianity than Reformed Churches. People would be do well to be aware of this

In the next few paragraphs I hope to explain why this is the case. I want to zero in on the impact upon other historic Christian theological doctrines that a denial of penal substitutionary atonement necessitates.

When we examine Theology proper we note that a denial of the Forensic doctrine of the atonement calls in to question God’s distributive justice. No substitutionary atonement means that God is not just and He is not just because the penalty that sin requires is never fully leveraged.  If Christ is not on the Cross bearing the just and exact penalty required due to the breaking of God’s law then God is not just in letting sin go unrequited as promised. God’s perfect holiness is also called into question. If sin is not visited with its just penalty then the character of God is seen as accommodating sin. Sin is not seen as sinful as it really is where sin is not visited with the full measure of penalty as taught in the penal substitutionary doctrine as it reflects Scripture.  All of this in turn calls in to question God’s immutability. If God was a perfect being in His justice, and holiness and then transmuted into a God who was not perfect in His justice and holiness as seen in not visiting sin with its full penal consequences then God’s un-changeableness is automatically called into question.

All of this then diminishes both our estimation of the majesty of God and the sinfulness of sin. The consequences of playing with the penal substitutionary doctrine of the atonement results in a diminished God and a lowered conception of sin as an infinite evil, which in turn results in exalted views of man and a correspondingly higher estimation of man’s goodness and his abilities.

As we look at the connection to soteriology we again see the hollowing out of Christianity by denying the penal substitutionary doctrine of the atonement.  When one denies that Christ paid the definite sin for a particular people, in the sense of Christ being the sin bearer, by way of imputation, for an atoned for people who were objectively justified by the finished work of Christ’s atonement one affirms a Messianic death that is uncertain and incomplete short of some necessary addition to complete that, at best, partial atonement. If it is denied that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to a particular people because of His penal satisfaction then original sin as imputed to sinners must also be denied. We know this because St. Paul teaches that one implies the other in Romans 5.

Also, as hinted at above, if the penal substitutionary doctrine of the atonement is denied than Justification must also likewise be denied. If Christ is not filling the laws demands for a particular people by His satisfactory death then Justification is a mirage and some other mechanism, besides Christ’s Forensic death, is the means by which we are redeemed.

Next, we would have to say that if Christ’s penal substitutionary atonement is not true then the idea of faith alone is transmuted. In historic Christianity faith operates in salvation as entirely receptive and so not contributory. If Christ’s death is not penalty bearing, satisfactory, and substitutionary then faith is required to do work that is other than receptive. Indeed, our faith itself, as a work, as opposed to Christ’s righteousness, likely becomes that which is imputed to us as the ground of our justification.

The theological doctrine of Adoption becomes perverted when the Forensic doctrine of the Atonement is denied. If it is not Christ’s satisfaction that is the ground for our Adoption then it needs be that it is our performance that becomes the ground for our Adoption into the family of God.

The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is made raw by a denial of Christ substitutionary death. If Christ has not paid the full and complete penalty for our sins then there is no guarantee to bank upon that our continued status as “in Christ” means anything more than our continued merit worthy performance.

If Christ’s death is not penal, but only remedial, as some suggest then the whole doctrine of eternal damnation must be rejected. This kind of thinking insists that God’s love cannot allow for punishment and, by definition, can only be remedial. Thus Christianity becomes the handmaiden for Universalism as well as a faith system that disallows even eternal perdition for Satan and his fallen minions.

We therefore see that a Christianity that denies the Penal substitutionary doctine of the Atonement yields a Christianity where God is not Holy, Just, or Immutable. It yields a Christianity where sin is  not awful, and God is not big. The denial of the Forensic death of Christ — the just for the unjust — moves us from a theocentric soteriology to an anthropocentric soteriology.  Without the truth of the penal substitutionary atonement we lose gracious justification, gracious adoption, and gracious perseverance of the saints. Without the truth of the forensic doctrine of the atonement we embrace Universalism.

Now, as was said at the outset, there are many who do not embrace the penal substitutionary atonement who because of felicitous contradiction end up orthodox in areas where they should not be. Still the truth is that if people were consistent with their denial of the Forensic atonement they would be practicing a Christianity that would be filled with a content different than the Christianity of the Bible.

MacDonald and McAtee Contra McDurmon on Police Racism

Over at this link,

Study shows cops tase blacks more often than whites

McDurmon, the leader of the formerly Theonomic American Vision contends that white people have a problem with subconscious “racism.”

In this response I present evidence again that institutional theonomy and reconstruction is dead. Here we have the President of American Vision (Joel McDurmon) being reconstructed in the direction of Cultural Marxism.

JM writes,

It is a working thesis of mine that we still have a major problem with racism in this nation, and that since conservatives (and especially Christians) perpetually refuse to address the problems of race and power with both empathetic and biblical solutions, leftists continue to gain power through Marxist, class-warfare-type tactics in regard to race.

Bret responds,

Note that Joel’s great “working thesis” is the very same “working thesis” propounded by Al Sharpton, the Black Lives Matter terrorist organization, George Soros and his multitude of paid agitators, as well as every garden variety Social Justice Warrior one cares to name.

So, Joel’s great “working thesis” is the thesis of the left and Joel is telling us that unless we adopt his and the left’s great “working thesis” the result will be that the left will eventually win. So… in order to stop the left from winning we must let them win by adopting their “working thesis.”

JM writes,

Regarding the enduring racism: I believe a good amount of this is subconscious. In other words, one can exhibit racist behavior and do racist things without being a conscious or even secret racist—although some of these certainly exist, too. But the subconscious element works on several levels, and even pervades institutions, in my opinion.

Bret replies,

1.) The whole theory of “subconscious” itself is, at the very least, questionable, but I’m willing to go with it for the sake of argument.

2.) One could easily contend that all that Dr. McDurmon has given us thus far,  is a menu of Cultural Marxism as influenced by his subconscious. I don’t think that Dr. McDurmon is a self conscious Cultural Marxist but I do think he can exhibit Cultural Marxist behavior and does subconsciously hold Cultural Marxist convictions, and all of that because there is a subconscious element of Cultural Marxism at work in Dr. McDurmon on several levels. This is so true that I have concluded that it even pervades the institution of American Vision in my opinion.

JM writes,

Nowhere is this clearer than in criminal justice. This week, a report was released that showed yet another small window into this problem. In the first study of its kind, the facts show that police in Connecticut employ tasers more often against blacks and Hispanics than against whites.

State and police officials noted that many of the stun gun incidents occurred in urban areas, where minority populations are higher.

According to one review, the report “found that black men were about three times more likely to be Tased than simply warned. . . . For white men, the chance of being Tased or warned were about the same.”

Indeed, when wielding Taser against whites, only warnings were given in 40 percent of cases. When involving blacks, however, the number drops to only 19 percent.

In other words, whites get off with only warnings more than twice as often as blacks. With blacks, the vast majority of incidents—81 percent—go straight to tasing.

So whites get verbal warnings first, and blacks get something more like a hair-trigger. Shoot first, and let the Fraternal Order of Police lawyers answer questions later.

Bret responds,

If you probe into this Connecticut study you learn some interesting factoids.

1.) State and police officials noted that many of the stun gun incidents occurred in urban areas, where minority populations are higher. That being true one would expect a higher incident rate of stun guns being reported in these settings.

2.) Researches said it was likely the numbers were under-reported because many police departments did not report all uses of a taser. This suggests that the study cited by Dr. McDurmon is incomplete and is not completely reliable.

Now I’m going to appeal to the work of author Heather MacDonald who has written a well researched book titled, “The War on Cops: How The New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe.” I am doing so in order to dismiss Dr. McDurmon’s leaps of logic regarding racism in police forces around the nation.

MacDonald offers about this about some of this research that Joel refers to and calls it “junk science.”  Heather MacDonald offers,

The Obama Administration is now pushing a concept of implicit bias training on officers across the country. This is complete folly. It is based on junk science that has been recently completely disproven by a study, an extremely sophisticated study out of the University of Washington that found that cops actually hesitate longer to decide to shoot armed black suspects than armed white suspects and are less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white suspects.

This recent study blows apart the pre-existing implicit bias junk science, and yet the Obama Administration is now demanding that officers get sent to this training that is a waste of time because officers want good tactical training…. 

Heather MacDonald
Author — The War on Cops: How The New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe

JM presses on,

The nature of the study is also disarming of the common retort that, well, blacks just commit more crimes than whites, so obviously they have police interactions more often. Nope. This argument is wrong on so many levels, but is busted in this report because the data are presented as percentages of interactions within each race to begin with. In other words, all else being equal, the cops were more than twice as likely to give a warning to a white man as opposed to a black, and much more quick to use tasers when engaging blacks than whites. These are percentage rates, not bare numbers.

That statistic is damning no matter how you slice it.

Thus it reveals that there is some fundamental difference in how the same group of trained professionals (even our “finest,” after all) think, decide, and act in regard to blacks versus whites. Thus, whether these decisions are conscious or not, there is a pure racist element in our criminal justice system.

Bret responds,

Heather MacDonald counters McDurmon here on his whole “That statistic is damning no matter how you slice it,” quip.

“Well, let’s look at some of the numbers…. A larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths are the results of police killings than black homicide deaths. That is, 12 percent of all whites and Hispanics who die of homicide are killed by police officers. Four percent of all blacks, homicide victims, are killed by police officers. So if we’re going to have an Anti‑Cop Lives Matter movement it would make more sense to call it White and Hispanic Lives Matter.”

Heather MacDonald
Author — The War on Cops: How The New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe.

If Dr. McDurmon’s statistics are correct (a big if) then it can be easily suggested that the reason that the taser is used more often on blacks as opposed to whites is so that a handgun doesn’t have to be used. Personally, I would rather be tasered than shot. Regardless, this quote from MacDonald demonstrates that the racism that McDurmon is so concerned about just isn’t born out.

JM offers,

And this is only considering one narrow window of information: the use of tasers.

Bret responds,

And MacDonald gives us a broader window of information that contradicts Joel’s more narrow window.

JM adds,

The greatest irony of all in this study is perhaps the fact that we might look down upon those who got tased, whatever their race, as criminals who deserved it, when the only sure fact about lawbreaking that jumps out is in the reports themselves: there were some police departments who either underreported, or did not keep records at all, as the CT law demands! In at least one case, a department neglected (conveniently?) to report one taser incident in which a young man who was tased and happened to die from it.

In other words, the only clear admissions of lawbreaking here were on the part of the police departments—who also face absolutely zero consequences for their failure to follow the law.

If lawlessness exists in police department behavior, what makes you think anyone is safe, let alone a less-empowered minority?

Bret responds,

If the records where not kept at all then the study is hardly scientific. One cannot come to proper conclusions without all the data. The reasons that McDurmon gives for some departments not reporting are nothing but speculation on McDurmon’s part.

As McDurmon is trying to make the case that the Police are inherently racist, being themselves part of a racist culture let us consider these stats that speak against that narrative that Joel’s trying to spin,

“If we’re going to talk about race and policing, let’s talk about cop killings. Over the last decade, black males made up 40 percent of all cop killers, even though they’re six percent of the population. It turns out… that a police officer is 18-and-a-half times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is likely to be killed by a police officer.”

Heather MacDonald
Author — The War on Cops: How The New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe

And McDurmon suggests that we have a problem with white racism?

McDurmon finishes by citing a book he’s read that supports his conclusions and then extrapolates from that book’s bad solutions to the conclusion that Christians better respond to the problems of white racism lest socialism is forced upon us by those who demand it. The problem here is that Joel is suggesting that we better give in to socialists demands or socialists will win.

If you want to read that section you can access the link provided at the begininng. Suffice it to say, that I don’t agree with the narrative that the left and McDurmon is trying to spin on this subject.

McDurmon insists that if we end up with more socialism that it will be our fault because as Christians we did not answer the problems of racism and segregation. The problem with McDurmon’s appeal is that his metanarrative is not established as unquestionable. MacDonald suggests, and other publications, like “The Color of Crime,” agree that our problem with racism is a black on white racism.

McDurmon has bought into the Cultural Marxist narrative. It is not a narrative that Christians should be buying into.

A Few Words On Hillary, E-Mail Servers, & The God State

Today, the FBI Director, James Comey, made it clear that his department would not indict, because they could not indict, Hillary Clinton for her Email server crimes whereby she compromised State security. After Attorney General Lorretta Lynch last week made known that she would follow the FBI’s advice this means that once again, a Clinton walks away from something that if a non-Clinton had perpetrated they’d  be held culpable. Witness Gen. David Petraeus’ conviction for essentially the same crimes for which Hillary will not be indicted.

I am not interested in spending any time in the entrails of Comey’s decision. Suffice it to understand that he doubtless knows that Clinton enemies have a habit of disappearing when about to slap the Clinton mafiosi family.  What I am interested in doing is bringing out a theological point in connection to this event that I doubt you’ll read anywhere else.

This event where Hillary skates above the law once again proves that one way to locate the God in any given social order is to locate the person or institution which can not be held responsible. One characteristic of being god or a god figure is the fact that there is no one to whom you can be held responsible to for anything that you do.

This is true of the God of the Bible, the only true God. God is not answerable to anyone. This is where Arminians make their error by constantly trying to make God answerable to themselves. God is not answerable to anyone save Himself and He is under no compulsion to actually provide answers for His actions. One of the perks of being God is that you are not answerable to the non-gods. This was demonstrated in the account in the book of Job. When you read the book of Job you see that Job has all kinds of questions about God’s actions. You also see that Job never gets an answer to any of those questions demanding that God be accountable to Job. What Job gets from God, in terms of answers, is basically, I’m God and I owe you no answers.

This is how it should be between the Creator and the creature. God is not responsible to the creature and owes no answer to the creature about anything He does.

And this is exactly how the Federal Leviathan is acting in this Hillary affair. The State is God and Hillary, as the likely soon incarnation of the State, is not answerable to anyone. She could commit cold-blooded murder on FOX News as broadcast across the world and she would not be held responsible, because the God or god concept of any social order by definition can not be held responsible. So, when we see Hillary not being indicted for what she is clearly guilty of it is merely another case proving whereby the State takes itself as being the God of the social order and so not responsible to any law to which mere mortals are responsible.

This demonstrates that we live in a social order where Rex Lex applies to the State and its key minions. Rex Lex means that the King is above the law, or that the King is not responsible to the Law. The same is true for a God, of course. Hillary, as a minion of the God State, and likely soon to be the incarnation of the State as President,  is above the law.

This, in turn, clearly demonstrates that we do not live in a nation ruled by law but rather we live in a nation ruled by men. Which, of course, means that law is applicable only depending upon how well you are or are not connected to people who can make the ramifications of the law go away for those who know them.

The next implication of this is, that since we do not live by the rule of law but by the rule of men, we are no longer responsible to the law. Now, we may still obey what is called the law because we can be hurt by the rule of men who decide to apply the law haphazardly but if the law is not uniformly applied to all men then no men are responsible to a law that has lost all its legitimacy because it is not really law as seen in the fact that it is indiscriminately applied.

Let us be clear here. This kind of action whereby the God-State escapes being held responsible by the law, communicates again that the Government we live under no longer is legitimate. We are living under a illegal Government. As such we owe this illegitimate State no obedience. We still might render obedience up for several reasons, but we do not owe a illegitimate State obedience.

Another couple of points before summing up. Those who are servants of the one true God go out of their way to expose the false gods walking upon the earth. There was a time when Christian clergy would not be silent in the face to an action by the God State where, as in this case, it would seek up to take up the prerogatives of God walking on the earth. For example, when Herod had his brother’s wife that was an act that implied his thinking of being above the law and John the Baptist as God’s man let him have. How many clergy across America will inveigh against the State as false god this Sunday?

Finally, this once again points to the fact that Theocracy is an inescapable category.  All States reflect and descend from some God or god concept. Sometimes, as in this case, the State is its own God concept.

So, today,

1) We learn once again that the State see’s itself as God walking on the earth. As God it cannot be held responsible for its actions. Gods, by definition, are not responsible to anyone.

2.) We learn that the modern State, like Kings of old, are above the law.

3.) We learn that the current State is a illegitimate as well as immoral god. As such the citizenry owes it no obedience.

Christians who cannot see this are involved in State-olatry regardless whatever intentions they may have.

Independence Day 2016

Our Military is now spelled L – G – B – Q – T
Our soldiers don’t know whether to sit or stand to pee
Never mind all that … it’s Independence Day
Time to celebrate our “Freedom” in the gay ole USA

They charge a fee to suck out the baby parts
Then they charge a fee for harvested baby hearts
They make a profit coming and going at the American abortion mill
But none of that is important boys, cuz Independence is a thrill

So, it’s Hey Ho a Derrio, the surreal has found a place
The flag’s draped upon the Cross in the Church’s Holy Space
The Vet is now the Church’s newly worshiped Saint
Honored for driving Humvees that turned children into paint

Independence day is a day when we are in a celebratory fickle
Never mind Dresden, and Hiroshima as Nuclear pop sickle
You have to realize it all had to be done
Without it where would be the Independence fun?

Did Ike kill a million unarmed Krauts fencing them in camps?
Did Allied soldiers rape a harvest of unwilling German “tramps”?
Did ole FDR conspire with Uncle Joe to make Eastern Europe pay?
What the hell does it matter son … It’s Independence Day?

So, it’s Hey Ho a Derrio, the surreal has found a place
The flag’s draped upon the Cross in the Church’s Holy Space
The Vet is now the Church’s newly worshiped and feted Saint
Honored for driving Humvees that turned children into paint

Strike up the Band and pass more of that yummy potato salad
Let’s hear another legend in our great American ballads
Tell the one about Sherman’s great march to the sea
When rape and pillage and starvation was the price for being free

I especially like the one where women and children were returned
In operation Keel Haul so that they could be executed and burned
Don’t forget the Yankee prisons where due process was a joke
After all, if you want to make an omelette you gotta break some yolks.

So, it’s Hey Ho a Derrio, the surreal has found a place
The flag’s draped upon the Cross in the Church’s Holy Space
The Vet is now the Church’s newly worshiped and feted Saint
Honored for driving Humvees that turned children into paint

Meandering Thoughts On The One and The Many

Diversity absolutized would end in the uniformity of absolute diversity.  In point of fact absolute diversity is impossible since sameness must exist in order to identify diversity. In a world of absolute diversity one could not recognize diversity because in order to measure diversity there has to be a corresponding idea of sameness in order to measure diversity. Hence absolute diversity leads to uniformity. If everything is different than nothing can be different because no continuity would exist between the differentiated things in order to know recognize and identify differentiation. If diversity is absolutized so that uniformity is allegedly eclipsed than the consequence is a absolute uniformity of differentiation where everything is the same because nothing is the same.

In the same way Uniformity absolutized is the end of uniformity. If there is no determinative way or manner in which uniformity can be distinguished from differentiation then how could we possibly know if there is uniformity? Uniformity requires the reality of differentiation in order to be able to identify uniformity. If everything is the same nothing is the same. If everything is Macaroni and Cheese than how can we know what Macaroni and Cheese is if there nothing to differentiate it from anything else?

Uniformity and diversity need each other because without each other neither can exist or find meaning as Uniformity nor as diversity.

Of course the denial of Uniformity and diversity is a denial of the God of the Bible and without the God of the Bible no meaning can be located anywhere. God is the Transcendent One and Many which gives meaning to all the Immanent One and Many’s.