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)
Pastor Brian Zahnd (gives his version of this illustration)
Greg Boyd (talks about the two views)
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.