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this about Calvin:After the reading of Scripture, which I ssrunuoetly inculcate, and more than any other I recommend that the Commentaries of Calvin be read For I affirm that in the interpretation of the Scriptures Calvin is incomparable, and that his Commentaries are more to be valued than anything that is handed down to us in the writings of the Fathers so much that I concede to him a certain spirit of prophecy in which he stands distinguished above others, above most, indeed, above all.All evangelical systematic theologies from this century teach the doctrine of penal substitution. Two examples should suffice. An entire chapter of Berkhof (1958) is devoted to the nature of the atonement, and to defending the doctrine of penal substitution from those opposed to it (interestingly, the objections covered by Berkhof include all those raised by Chalke). Grudem (1994, also available as Bible Doctrine, 1999) also devotes a whole chapter to the atonement and the importance of penal substitution. His summary is helpful: Christ's death met the four needs that we have as sinners:1. We deserve to die as the penalty for sin.2. We deserve to bear God's wrath against sin.3. We are separated from God by our sins.4. We are in bondage to sin and to the kingdom of Satan.These four needs are met by Christ's death in the following ways:1. Sacrifice. To pay the penalty of death that we deserved because of our sins, Christ died as a sacrifice for us. He has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself (Heb 9:26)2. Propitiation. To remove from us the wrath of God we deserved, Christ died as a propitiation for our sins. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10)3. Reconciliation 4. Redemption Bible Doctrine, p. 255Packer, also undoubtedly a gifted and widely influential evangelical scholar, taught (and still teaches!) the doctrine of penal substitution in opposition to the liberals of his day: When Paul tells us that God set forth Jesus to be a propitiation by his blood', his point is that what quenched God's wrath and so redeemed us from death was not Jesus's life or teaching, not his moral perfection nor his fidelity to the Father, as such, but the shedding of his blood in death. With the other New Testament writers, Paul always points to the death of Jesus as the atoning event, and explains the atonement in terms of representative substitution the innocent taking the place of the guilty, in the name and for the sake of the guilty, under the axe of God's judicial retribution. Packer, Knowing God, p. 210Finally, John Stott's Cross of Christ has this to say:It is God himself who in holy wrath needs to be propitiated, God himself who in holy love, undertook to do the propitiating, and God himself who in the person of his Son died for the propitiation of our sins. Thus God took his own loving initiative to appease his own righteous anger by bearing it his own self in his own Son when he took our place and died for us. There is no crudity here to evoke our ridicule, only the profundity of holy love to evoke our worship. Stott, Cross of Christ, p. 161Chalke's abandonment of the doctrine of penal substitution is nothing new, nor does it require the leading theologians of our day (such as Packer, Stott and Grudem) to specifically respond to Chalke when they have already spent a great deal of time and energy opposing Chalke's repackaged old errors in their own writings. Chalke differs from earlier liberals in only two respects that I can perceive: he has written a book that is easy to read and widely popular; and for reasons that I cannot fathom he still wishes to be considered an evangelical, despite having abandoned one of the hallmark doctrines of evangelicalism. Chalke's teachings have been opposed since the beginning of the church, and especially in the last few decades by men such as Packer and Stott.
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