The Skinny on the Theological Debate: A good night out, a well organised event, a postmodern discussion (should one view of the atonement, one that might be suspiciously tainted by culture, be allowed to dominate and eliminate the other views, and exclude non-believers of the metanarrative as heretics?), a warm discussion by Steve, great points by Stuart a weak response from the other side . . . but it was not about winning or losing. It was more an exercise in how we deal with disagreement. And the losers were the people that unfairly slammed Steve and tried to ban him. Steve is clearly an evangelical, and should be allowed to ask a question without angry people pulling his books off shelves and calling for his resignation. I did leave a little early and was not there for the hostile takeover of the stage and whatever else might have happened there.
Best blog coverage is Graham who also has a link to Stuart’s paper
Si Johnston blogs about it but then he is biased towards Steve Chalke . . well he has to be, doesn’t he, when his girlfriend is Emily CHALKE, Steve’s daughter? Si recommends checking out Conrad’s blog post, and i can verify that Conrad is not dating anyone in the Chalke family.
Offical word from Evangelical Alliance Ekklesia (thanks Graham) who sponsored the event:
“Opening the debate, Rev Steve Chalke made it clear that he was not questioning that God hated sin, that God was angry about sin, or that human beings were reconciled to God through Jesus’ death on the cross. His disagreement, he said, was over the idea that God exacted a violent punishment on his son through the crucifixion. . . In an impassioned plea he talked about how his exploration, drawing on the work of New and Old Testament scholars, had led him to see aspects of Jesus which he suggested, the church, and he himself, had forgotten.
” Filling in gaps that other speakers left, Murray Williams mounted a clear case for why the idea of penal substitution had been developed by the church – something he suggested was due, at least in part, to its move from the “margins to the centre”, and into power in the forth century under the Roman Emperor Constantine.
Penal substitution, he said, was not a dominant idea in the early church, which had no formal doctrine of the atonement. It was, he suggested, only after Jesus victory on the cross over the powers became an embarrassment to a church which now found itself allied to the state, that the church emphasised other ideas such as penal substitution which were no challenge to political power. “