Monthly Archives: July 2019

Retrospective Introduction to the Foregoing Premial Atonement Bibliography

The foregoing “Bibliography of Most Significant Contributors to Recovering the New Testament Premial-Justice Doctrine of the Atonement, Its Exegetical Basis, Plus Doctrinal and Ethical Ramifications” is intended as an aid to researching key insights that have either become marginalized to a greater or lesser degree, or even virtually forgotten by the “mainstream.”  The dominant penal theory has increasingly hogged the stage and relativized other “aspects,” “themes,” “metaphors,” “theories,” “doctrines,” etc. of the Atonement…except itself, of course, for which it often claims an exceptional centrality, despite its stiff attempts at looking friendly.  This pivotal claim is quite spurious.  The presumption is easily exposed wherever the virtue of patient exegetical and historical research is at a premium.  And did I mention honesty?  By that I don’t mean mere loyalty to what one conscientiously holds to be true, but a rigorous attachment to the primal authority of the Biblical Scriptures and a profound respect for the way the Holy Spirit has chosen to use human words to elaborate concepts, be they in narrative, poetic, proverbial, visionary, parabolic, or didactic forms.  As I unfolded a bit at the outset of this blog site (see the “About” link at the very top), a concordant hermeneutic is the method of choice for the long haul; it steadily nudges the student toward healthy doubt and conscientious suspicion concerning the welter of human cultural traditions that have insinuated themselves into  historical attempts at doctrinal systematization.  Such alien assumptions have served to divide the unity of Christ’s body into factions, and thus weaken the impact of the unitary Truth once-for-all deposited with the saints in holy Scripture.

As I have stated and defended elsewhere, the domineering “penal substitution” conception of the Atonement is thoroughly incorrect at its very core.  Other prevalent schools of thought concerning the Atonement certainly have their weaknesses, but their heart is often in the right place.  But it is precisely the heart of penal theories (in their several varieties) of the Atonement that cannot be justified from Scripture.  If you have explored previous blogs, you know why it has become necessary for me to break from the pack on this key issue, and eschew all compromise.

This bibliography does hope to make a start at being comprehensive about collecting such works in English as contribute worthily to this end, including also untranslated works in other languages that are alleged, on good authority, to explore similar or compatible lines of thought.  For a few entries, I have added annotations.  This may eventually become desirable for others, as had indeed been my original intention.  But for starters, just getting down “on paper” (which now runs to 118 pages in hard copy) the works presently known to me, which tend in a premial direction, seems quite sufficient to get the ball rolling!  I hope you find this undertaking worth your efforts at using it productively.  I hope to be correcting, augmenting, deleting, and detailing it regularly from now on.  There’s nothing perfect under the sun, and this is a perfect example!

For further introductory information, please see the March 11th, 2019 post, “Celebrating the Seventh Anniversary of the Premial Atonement Blog!”

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