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7. Calvin’s Concept of Penal Substitution: Acknowledgement and Challenge

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the core logic and arguments of penal substitution and makes three points of suggestions. First, it deals with the scope of the penal substitutionary perspective in light of the hermeneutical difficulty. Second, it discusses the most essential reality of the cross, considering that the difficulties are deeper than hermeneutical issues, and further relates it to the affirmative value of the idea of penal substitution. Third, the chapter suggests that the understanding of the nature of God revealed on the cross should be balanced with ideas and concepts collected from the scriptures' own world. Calvin's views are discussed at the end of each section. Calvin's concept of penal substitution is revisited with acknowledgement as well as challenge. His idea of punishment, along with that of substitution, is most faithful and undeviating to the harsh, costly reality of Christ's death.

Keywords:Christ's death; John Calvin; penal substitution



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