In recent decades, the church and academy have witnessed intense debates concerning the concept of penal substitution to describe Christ's atoning sacrifice. Some claim it promotes violence, glorifies suffering and death, and amounts to divine child abuse. Others argue it plays a pivotal role in classical Christian doctrine. Here world-renowned New Testament scholar Simon Gathercole offers an exegetical and historical defense of the traditional substitutionary view of the atonement. He provides critical analyses of various interpretations of the atonement and places New Testament teaching in its Old Testament and Greco-Roman contexts, demonstrating that the interpretation of atonement in the Pauline corpus must include substitution.
Simon Gathercole (PhD, University of Durham) is senior lecturer in New Testament studies in the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge and Fellow and director of studies in theology at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, England. A leading British New Testament scholar, he has written several groundbreaking books.