Pacifism’s theory of the atonement

“In drawing ethical implications from the death of Jesus, the pacifist tradition focuses on an exemplary theory of the atonement (i.e., the life of Jesus seen as an example for believers), but overlooks the implications of the penal, substitutionary dimensions of the New Testament teachings. The result is an imbalanced view of the cross, one that gives too little weight to the requirements of divine justice.”  John J. Davis, Evangelical Ethics

In other words, we certainly follow the example of the suffering Christ on the cross (1 Peter 2:21-25), but we also recognize that God demands justice. The cross was also a demonstration of the righteousness and justice of God in the condemnation of sin in Christ (Romans 3:24-26). Drawing an entire ethic from one aspect of Christ on the cross inadequately reflects the full biblical teaching on the subject.

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