Lots of fuss about Jeffrey John's comments around at the moment; see Ruth Gledhill's blog here - I'm very disappointed in Ruth, she displays a startling ignorance of Christian theology. As it happens, I preached on the topic today - in a way virtually identical to JJ - and at the end I was complimented on my sermon, which was apparently so unlike JJ's, as his was barely Christian....
A few basic points:
- there is no credal necessity for believing in the theory of penal substitution;
- the evidence for it being in Scripture is marginal (not non-existent - but there are much clearer reasons to reject it);
- it can't be understood without a proper understanding of OT sacrificial ritual - this is where Margaret Barker is so exciting;
- it is wrong to call penal substitution the 'traditional' teaching, for it is practically unknown before Calvin (I suspect unknowABLE); and
- the fact that it ties in so strongly with Modern philosophy makes it a good candidate for being a 'doctrine of men'.