Jesus came to make atonement.
If you agree with that statement how would you answer the following question?
If a person believes that Jesus died for them and rose from the dead, admits they're a sinner, thanks God for forgiving them, and starts to trust and obey Jesus, are they a Christian?
I'd answer yes. No matter what else that person may believe, the answer to that question has to be yes. The innocent died for the guilty. Jesus was innocent, we are guilty. If we believe that, and we have begun to trust Jesus, we have entered into God's salvation. Because Jesus died, we don't have to suffer in hell. Atonement has been made. (For an in-depth look at what the Bible teaches about atonement, see Atonement, Justice, and Peace: The Message of the Cross and the Mission of the Church by Darrin W. Snyder Belousek. This may be the most in-depth book on the atonement ever written.)
With that in mind see if you can answer the three questions below.
These questions are for those who believe (as I do) that God became a man and died, and that his physical body was raised back to life (see The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona). And just to be crystal clear, each of the three questions is about someone who has accepted that as true. *
1. If a person believes that Jesus died for them and rose from the dead, admits they're a sinner, thanks God for forgiving them, and starts to trust and obey Jesus, has atonement been made between that person and God, even if they accept a theory of atonement other than penal substitutionary atonement? (Note: A person cannot reject the Gospel and partake in God’s salvation.)
2. Is that same person a Christian, if they believe that the view of atonement explained in the video below has the most biblical support?*
3. Is a person saved if they have accepted that Jesus died and rose from the dead for them, confessed their sins, thanked God for forgiving them, and started to trust and obey Jesus, but believes that the theory of atonement with the most biblical support is outlined in outlined in George MacDonald’s sermon Justice?
These questions are important because penal substitutionary atonement not only lacks biblical support, it completely misrepresents the God of the Bible. See 10 Problems with the Penal Substitution View of the Atonement by Greg Boyd.
Did Jesus die to appease the wrath of God the Father? Or did he die to propitiate man’s wrath toward God? The following video takes an in-depth look at the verses which are used to support penal substitutionary atonement.
Note: I have not stated which view of atonement I believe is true. (The view of atonement presented in the second video on this page is mistaken. However, many genuine Christians have believed it. Only in a figurative way, is the view right.) "So why the questions?" If that question crossed your mind, you might not grasp the importance of these three questions until you've read Atonement, Justice, and Peace: The Message of the Cross and the Mission of the Church by Darrin W. Snyder Belousek.
*The video about what the early Christians believed is not entirely accurate. Bercot (the speaker) mentions the book Christus Victor by Gustaf Aulén; which is not entirely accurate either. However, Aulén does explain how the satisfaction model of atonement came to be dominant, and is therefore worth reading. I share this video only to introduce the topic and encourage Christians to take a closer look.