endurance of the suffering which was to expiate the sins of men.? His sighing when he cured the deaf man ( <410734>Mark 7:34) and his weeping at the grave of Lazarus ( <431135>John 11:35) were caused by the anticipatory realization that he was one with the humanity which was under the curse and that he too had ?become a curse for us? ( <480313>Galatians 3:13). The great error of Bushnell is his denial of the objective necessity and effect of Jesus? death and all Scripture, which points to an influence of the atonement outside of us is a refutation of his theory.
(f) This theory confounds God?s method of saving men with men?s experience of being saved. It makes the atonement itself consist of its effects in the believer?s union with Christ and the purifying influence of that union upon the character and life.
Stevens, in his Doctrine of Salvation, makes this mistake. He says: ?The old forms of the doctrine of the atonement, that the suffering of Christ was necessary to appease the wrath of God and induce him to forgive. To satisfy the law of God and enable him to forgive or to move upon man?s heart to induce him to accept forgiveness have all proved inadequate. Yet to reject the passion of Christ is to reject the chief element of power in Christianity. To me the words ?eternal atonement? denote the dateless passion of God on account of sin. They mean that God is, by his very nature, a sin-bearer, that sin grieves and wounds his heart, and that he sorrows and suffers in consequence of it. It results from the divine love, alike from its holiness and from its sympathy, that ?in our affliction he is afflicted.? Atonement on its ?God-ward side? is a name for the grief and pain inflicted by sin upon the paternal heart of God. Of us divine Sorrow for sin, the afflictions of Christ are a revelation. In the bitter grief and anguish which he experienced on account of sin we see reflected the pain and sorrow which sin brings to the divine love.?
All this is well said, with the exception that holiness is regarded as a form of love and the primary offense of sin is regarded as the grieving of the Father?s heart. Dr. Stevens fails to consider that if love were supreme there would be nothing to prevent unholy tolerance of sin. Because holiness is supreme, love is conditioned thereby. It is holiness and not love that connects suffering with sin, and requires that the Redeemer should suffer. Dr. Stevens asserts that the theories hitherto current in Protestant churches and the theory for which he pleads are ?forever irreconcilable?; they are ?based on radically different conceptions of God.? The British Weekly, Nov. 16, 1905 ? ?The doctrine of the atonement is not the doctrine that salvation is deliverance from sin. This deliverance is the work of God, a work the motive of which is God?s love for men and these
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