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What's Your Atonement Theory?

Thomas Whitley

My wife and I were having a discussion the other night about atonement theories and that prompted this post. What is your atonement theory? Here is a list of some popular ones:

- Gusat Aulen’s Christus-victor
- Irenaeus’ ransom or bait and switch
- Anselm’s idea of satisfying a debt
- Calvin’s idea of the appeasement of the wrath of God
- Luther’s Christ as the fishhook
- Hugo Grotius’ governmental view (God as governor)
- Abelard’s view that Christ’s love is the sole cause of redemption
- Horace Bushnell’s vicarious sacrifice

If you pick one of these, why? If you operate from a different theory of atonement what is it and why? I am curious because I am having difficulty finding these theories very meaningful for me.

If you have no idea what anything in the above list means, take this as your opportunity to research the different ideas about atonement. If you do understand the list, hopefully you can offer something constructive about one of the theories from the list above or offer some theory I haven’t listed.