Lecture: Ben Myers on the Patristic model of Atonement

Here is another lecture, this time from Ben Myers, on the atonement: addressing the logic of just how the death of Christ saves us.  It comes as a surprise to many evangelical Protestants (at least it did to me) that the way the Early Church Fathers most often talked about how Jesus' death and Resurrection save us was rather different than what you find in most evangelical preaching and hymnody.  I actually believe that the Bible gives several complimentary perspectives on that question that are all valid (so don't take my sharing of this video to mean I am dismissing other views of the cross and the atonement, for I frequently use other ways - including some 'substitutionary' models - of talking about it myself).

The way that the Fathers often (though not exclusively) talked about the atonement of Christ has come to be known as "Christus Victor."  Basically, through the cross Christ gave himself over to death [the consequence (Rom. 3:23) of sin] which he could do as a real man; but because he was also God, very Life Himself, his very presence overwhelmed and destroyed death.  The clearest Biblical reference you can find to this idea is Acts 2:24-28 where we are told "it was impossible for death to hold Christ" precisely because of his unique relationship to God the Father.  This idea is behind other passages too that talk about Christ "defeating" death by his own Life (such at 1 Cor. 15).

It also clarifies the phrase of the Apostles' Creed (much neglected by Methodists) that Christ descended into Hades, which means (among other things) that he fully entered into death precisely in order to overwhelm it by his life.

The Fathers worked out the implications of that basic idea in detail, and that is what this lecture from Ben Myers is all about.  It is a very good lecture laying out the inner logic of this theory of the atonement.  I think during the Q & A afterwards there are a couple of things that - to my Wesleyan way of thinking - he could have said to better clarify some of the "difficulties" that are mentioned regarding this (and any) theory of the atonement.  But maybe he thought of what he could have said on his way home.  That how it usually goes with me.  

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