Did Jesus have to be punished for our sin?

One of the push back arguments against Penal Substitution is that it is making God dependent upon something. Why should we say that God “has to punish sin.” God does not have to do anything at all, he is sovereign isn’t he? The accusation here is that Penal Substitution would compromise God’s aseity. God is compelled to act.

It’s a little bit ironic that when you look at those who have aligned themselves against penal substitution that they also tend to be suspicious of classical theism criticising concepts like aseity and impassibility, seeing them as going against a loving God. There’s a leaning towards Open Theism and the God who suffers. Continue reading


Why Penal Substitution Matters

I write first and foremost as a pastor. I’m aware from my own context and from other pastors that day to day ministry means we are looking after people who at any one time may be Continue reading

God’s Wrath or God’s Love – responding to Steve Chalke again

Steve Chalke has been posting a series of short talks to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In episode 33 he returns to the theme of his book, The Lost Message of Jesus.  In this article, I want to pick up on some of the claims/arguments he makes in the video.

In this video, Chalke has in his sights the doctrine of Penal Substitutionary atonement.  This is the doctrine that on the cross, Jesus took our place (substitution), bearing the penalty for our sin (penal) so that we can be reconciled to God (Atonement).

Here are the key arguments he makes with my responses Continue reading

Does the Old Testament encourage abortion?

Two Bible passages have been used to suggest that the Bible encourages abortion. The first is Exodus 21:22 which says:

22 “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. “

The second is Numbers 5:11-31 which is about when a husband believes that his wife has been unfaithful but there isn’t objective evidence.  In this case, the woman is given water mixed with a little dust and with the words of a curse dipped into it. If she is guilty then this is the curse:

“‘the Lord make you a curse and an oath among your people, when the Lord makes your thigh fall away and your body swell. 22 May this water that brings the curse pass into your bowels and make your womb swell and your thigh fall away.’”[1]

Let’s take these in turn Continue reading

Life and Death Decisions, Lawyers, Judges and family

This year has seen two very sad high profile medical cases relating to the treatment of seriously ill children, Charlie Garde and Alfie Evans. In the second case, the Christian Legal Centre got involved. As they explain here, they did so in order to ensure that a family were supported and had advocates speaking for them. Continue reading

Who is anti-Semitism a problem for?

I wrote a little while back about anti-Semitism.  I also had a little disagreement with a Christian news editor who tweeted the image at the heart of part of the recent political controversy (the painting removed in Tower Hamlets). It was my view that republishing the offending image was unnecessary we don’t need to show something for people to know it is wrong (you didn’t find people publishing examples of the type of pornography that Damien Green was alleged to have on his computer).  The response I got back was that people needed to see the image in order to decide for themselves whether it was anti-Semitic. Continue reading

The Day Inbetween

It’s Saturday, the day after Good Friday.  Jesus is in the tomb. The women can’t do anything because it is the Sabbath. They are bound by their religious beliefs to keep God’s Law. The disciples are bound by fear, they are terrified and in hiding. They are carrying a weight of shame and guilt. Continue reading