Has some good discussions of atonement, with the conclusion that the way Jesus saves us is ultimately a mystery, and that atonement is really about incarnation more than about some theory about the cross. Thought-provoking. Some good quotes:
So, a weakness to the Penal/Substitutionary view is attempting to remove the mystery concerning what the death of Jesus actually accomplished. And particularly with the Penal view, I could imagine a parishioner might feel as if he got whiplash by being told that God’s wrath is so great, it must be appeased even in this way. But, by the way, God is also the prodigal son’s father waiting for you to return home with open arms. That will really jerk you around. This is one of the problems with how it is popularly taken. It presents God as someone who never really forgives. If you get off the hook, it’s because somebody paid for it. “While you—congregant in the pew—must forgive 70 times 7 times, I—God— must have my wrath appeased when someone messes up.”
It gives a terrible picture of God, and it isn’t reconcilable with Scripture or with what Jesus taught about or practiced about God, or what the relationship to God through the ages has meant for those who are alive in Christ. And, so, the human mind makes a model and says, “This is like that.” And then you are stuck with that if you don’t have a larger view
If I had to pick a weakness for all of them, it would be that each stops short of identifying the role of and importance of the incarnation—both that of Jesus and now, His ability to be incarnate in us. A good way of putting this is to say that atonement is basically incarnation. Incarnation is Christ coming into flesh to allow us to identify with Him in His life and ministry and on the cross and in life beyond the cross.
Each of these theories has a flaw in that it identifies something and says, “That’s the whole thing.” That is the underlying mistake when you try to take a fact and force it onto a theory. That’s attractive because human beings want to control the fact, and they do that by developing an image or theory that makes sense to them, given the whole background of their ideas and social realities.