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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Penal Substitution is the key to understanding Protestant Evangelicalism.

Over at the CCC Blog I recently posted "Understanding Christ's Cry of Abandonment" and I began by 'predicting' that by Good Friday we'd see a flood of posts from well-educated Protestants (mostly Calvinist/Reformed) who were going to completely botch the meaning of "My God, Why have you abandoned me?" And it turned out, a number of Protestant outlets posted on precisely this.

As you read the following quotes, take note of how the Protestant understanding of the Cross (Penal Substitution), in which they openly speak of "Christ being damned to hell in our place," is directly linked to Justification by Faith Alone and is the heart of the Gospel as Protestants understand it. So if you want to improve your apologetics and dialogue with Protestants, you should be ready to talk about this issue. Even the average Evangelical you run into believes this stuff, they just don't realize this is what they're espousing with their "Just say the Sinner's Prayer" theology.

And now the quotes from famous conservative Protestant ministry blogs (with my highlights). Since it's about 2.5 pages of quotes, I have trimmed them only to cut down on size:

How much did prayer cost God?
March 30, 2015 by Justin Taylor [The Gospel Coalition blog network],

[Quoting Reformed Pastor Tim Keller:] The only time in all the gospels that Jesus Christ prays to God and doesn’t call him Father is on the cross, when he says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus lost his relationship with the Father so that we could have a relationship with God as father. Jesus Christ bore all the eternal punishment that our sins deserve. That is the cost of prayer. Jesus paid the price so God could be our father.
“My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?”  
Mar 30, 2015 by Dr. Pastor Joel Beeke [Ligonier Ministries],
Experiencing the full brunt of His Father’s wrath, Jesus cannot stay silent. He cries out: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Here Jesus descends into the essence of hell, the most extreme suffering ever experienced. It is a time so compacted, so infinite, so horrendous as to be incomprehensible and, seemingly, unsustainable. All the sins of the elect, and the hell that they deserve for eternity, are laid upon Him. With Jesus as our substitute, God’s wrath is satisfied and God can justify those who believe in Jesus (Rom. 3:26). You are immune to condemnation (Rom. 8:1) and to God’s anathema (Gal. 3:13) because Christ bore it for you in that outer darkness. 
This is a beautiful summary of the Protestant understanding of the Gospel. Jesus died in our place, we accept this by Faith Alone, and we can never lose our salvation.