The Gospel according to the chairs

?????????This post is an addendum to my last post about the difference between our evangelical Penal Substitution view and the more ancient Christus Victor view of the atonement of Christ.

For proper context, please read that post first if you haven’t do so already.

I had mentioned that the Eastern Orthodox church never embraced our deeply held legal view of the atonement. In fact, it wasn’t until the 11th century that anyone believed it.

To help you understand the different views I’ve decided to include a video from an Orthodox leader–Subdeacon Steve Robinson, who uses chairs to illustrate the difference between penal-substitutionary atonement and the Eastern Orthodox understanding of Christ’s work on the cross. I think it will help you see why I think this is a better view.

By the way, I am not Eastern Orthodox, nor am I planning to switch over! 🙂 I am an evangelical Charismatic, so this more ancient view of the atonement was not my view for most of my Christian life. And that’s why I totally understand why it may take you time to absorb what I’m saying. It did for me. So, while I may disagree with a lot of what they might otherwise believe, I think they are spot-on with this point for the reasons I mentioned in the last post.

So, if you’re interested, take a few minutes to watch this video.

The Gospel According to Chairs
Eastern Orthodox view of atonement

If you would like other illustrations and views on the Christus Victor view of the atonement, I’ve given some video references below.

Brad Jersak (this is very good but a longer teaching on this illustration)

The Gospel in Chairs

Pastor Brian Zahnd (gives his version of this illustration)

The Gospel in Chairs

Greg Boyd (talks about the two views)

The Penal substitution atonement

The Atonement: the Deeper Magic

Forgiveness and Christus Victor

I will close with a quote from Pastor Zahnd, reiterating why this subject is important in helping us to get our view of a triune God–who is Love–straight in our minds…

God is like Jesus.
God has always been like Jesus.
There has never been a time when God was not like Jesus.


About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 41 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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3 Responses to The Gospel according to the chairs

  1. bullroarin says:

    Great post Mel.

    I like the chair analogy…it totally leaves us completely in the grace of God. Nothing to earn by our own efforts or righteousness. It is God pursuing us…not the other way around….Awesome!!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen, it is awesome. And it’s actually really GOOD news! Our Father is the One who always is pursuing us, always getting in front of us so we’ll look His way and receive His love. King David was overwhelmed by His relentless love toward him in Psalm 139. He said this Father’s thoughts toward Him were more than the sand, and even if he made his bed in Hades, He was still with Him. Yup, pretty awesome.
      Thanks for your comments, Dave. Much appreciated.

  2. Pingback: The Father did NOT abandon Jesus | In My Father's House

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