Jesus Saves, But How?
A Few Visions of Atonement
 
I. One Savior, Why Not One Salvation?
Why no authoritative soteriology (account of salvation)?
Eucharist: The "Nicene" soteriology
When the sacraments fail, soteriology suffers

II. Atonement Group 1: Reparation

Jesus sacrificed to repair the divine-human relationship (Heb. 9:5, Ro. 3:25)
Popular in evangelical and Reformed Protestantism
Illustration: E.T.
Variation: Satisfaction (Anselm) (Heb. 2:14-17)
Variation: Penal/vicarious substitution (Calvin; The Fundamentals)
Weaknesses: What's just about Jesus suffering? Is God a sadist? Are all redeemed?

III. Atonement Group 2: Christus Victor
Jesus won! (Col. 2:14-15, Rev. 5:5)
Popular in the early Church and in Eastern Orthodoxy
Gustav Aulén's Christus Victor
Illustration: Prince of Egypt
Variations: Ransom theory; Christ the healer; Christ the liberator
Weaknesses: Wouldn't all sinners be conquered?

IV. Atonement Group 3: Moral Influence
Peter Abelard: Jesus evokes our love (Ro. 5:5-8, Acts 2:36-38, Heb. 12:1-12)
Popular in liberal Protestantism
Illustration: Spitfire Grill
Variation: Jesus reveals, and revelation saves (Barth; John 1:18, Rom. 12:2, Phil. 2:5)
Weaknesses: What "love" would crucifixion alone express? Is salvation just a feeling?

V. Is Salvation Coherent?
Divinization: Eastern Orthodox soteriology in summary
Is there harmony? Or is harmonization a cop-out?

VI. Locating Soteriologies in the Christ Events/Liturgical Year
1. Christmas: Incarnation/assumption
2. Baptism: Penitence/incorporation/empowerment
3. Lent: Conformation
4. Passover/Good Friday: Reparation
5. Holy Saturday: Ransom?
6. Easter: Victory
7. Pentecost: Moral influence/revelation