N. T. Wright and Penal Substitution

N. T. Wright has written an essay in which he “strongly” affirms penal substitutionary atonement. Adrian Warnock has thoughts on how this relates to the theological controversy in the UK. Justin Taylor quotes important excerpts from an insightful review by D. A. Carson on one of Wright’s recent books.

Wright claims to “strongly” affirm penal substation, but he never says that Christ satisfies the just wrath of God against sin. He rejects the caricature of a vengeful Father, but vengeance is not the same thing as just wrath. Wright speaks of Jesus absorbing evil and dying in place of his people, but he seems to carefully avoid stating that Jesus satisfied the just wrath of God against sin, which is at the heart of the traditional understanding of penal substitionary atonement. We are left wondering whether or not he thinks that God feels personal wrath against sin, and whether he includes this in his understanding of penal substitution. If he does not, even though he claims to strongly affirm the doctrine, one must wonder whether he is affirming what most others who affirm it mean by it.

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