I. Howard Marshall on penal substitution

Among contemporary evangelical (including trinitarian) theologians, much (often heated) discussion continues concerning whether or not the idea of "penal substitution" is a valid way to characterize the atonement. Some sweep it aside as hopelessly flawed. Others assert its validity even if they object to certain ideas attached to its use.

An influential theologian in the second camp is I. Howard Marshall (at left), who argues for penal substitution, but against certain biblically indefensible ideas that have come to be attached to the concept.

In "The Theology of the Atonement" (click here to download), Marshall does a good job of surveying the issue from the perspectives of the Bible and contemporary theological literature. He places the issue in a trinitarian context without sweeping it aside. See what you think of his viewpoints. I think it would have been helpful if he had said more about the incarnation (Jesus' vicarious humanity), and the NT metaphor of adoption (our inclusion with Jesus).