"The Word Alive committee, in good conscience, just didn't feel it would be appropriate, during that week, for Steve Chalke to be given a platform," said UCCF communications director Pod Bhogal. "Steve Chalke has made his dislike of penal substitution really, really clear, and … we didn't feel the nature of the atonement was one of those things you could agree to disagree over."
Keswick and UCCF (the U.K.'s sister body to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship) plan to launch a new Word Alive conference without Spring Harvest's sponsorship in 2008. World Alive has scheduled two strong proponents of substitution as speakers: Donald A. Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and John Piper, preaching pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis.
Here we go. D.A. Carson and John Piper are called in like the Calvary to save the day (and the church from supposedly false doctrine). Interestingly, in this same article, we read the insights of one of evangelicalism's greatest living theologians:
According to J. I. Packer, British-born board of governors' theologian at Regent College and CT senior editor, various biblical understandings of the atonement need not conflict. Rather, penal substitution, Christus Victor, and other Scriptural views of atonement work together to present a fully orbed picture of Christ's work.
"To omit any part of this story," Packer said, "is to distort and damage the gospel."
Let's remember Packer's words before we begin the next ugly round of Christian battles.
technorati: emerging church spiritual formation, theology