Below are many links to resources that explore the meaning and significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection for us. Obviously I don’t affirm everything in these posts (impossible since some strongly disagree with others). I’ll try to keep my peanut gallery comments to a minimum.

For summaries of atonement teaching, click here, here, here, here, here, or here.

There has been lots of controversy in evangelical circles lately, mostly revolving around the “penal substitution” view of the atonement, which teaches that God punished Jesus w/ the penalty for our sin so that God no longer must punish us.

There are two primary questions: (1) Is penal substitution biblically sound? (2) Is it the primary way we should view the cross? You can read about the controversy in Britain and the results of their symposium. Joel Green and Mark Baker’s book Recovering the Scandal of the Cross has played a significant role in the debate here in America.

Here are some explanations and defenses of this view by J. I. Packer, I. Howard Marshall, and John Piper (here, here, here). And here are some critiques from Mark Heim, Kim Fabricius, Derek Flood (here and here), and Greg Boyd.

Here is another defense by Mark Dever and a wise response from Scot McKnight. For more from Scot McKnight on penal substitution, click here, here, here, here, and here. Scot also reflects on some “postmodern” and “emerging” approaches to the atonement question here, here, here, and here.

Many voices plea for an allowance of multiple views with none held as the primary or central view. Here are a few: from Al Hsu and Ted Peters and Mark Baker. Also, Mike Morrell talks about moving beyond the “liberal vs conservative” debate and offers his own revisioning of atonement teaching.

Greg Boyd (not alone, but he’s played a big role in it) has brought the ancient “Christus Victor” back into the limelight. Click here for his explanation and defense. (This is probably one of the two or three most important links on here.) Greg reflects here on how Christus Victor and penal substitution might fit together. (Click here for another explanation of CV from Derek Flood.)

As expected, N. T. Wright brings needed clarity to the debate here and here. (If you listen to one person on this issue, listen to him. But listen closely, because he sometimes says things in ways that don’t initially make sense to us. This is sometimes used to question his views, to which I would ask: Have you ever read the Apostle Paul talk about Jesus’ death? Talk about confusing.)

For a radical critique based on Rene Girard’s work on “scapegoating,” click here, here, and here. (Remember that I don’t affirm all of the links I’m offering.)

For two pleas to remember to keep our atonement thinking centered on a Trinitarian view of God, click here and here (and also go read Barth’s Dogmatics in Outline).

For an Old Testament perspective that reminds us of the importance of the concept of covenant, click here.

For Mormon thinking on the atonement, click here, here, and here.

For questions about the “extent” of the atonement (the Arminian-Calvinist debate about “limited” or “unlimited”), click here, here, and here.

For a Christian Universalist’s perspective, click here and here.

For some good free PDF downloads from Mark Baker, click here.

This really is just a small sampling of what’s out there. If you know of anything else you’ve found helpful, please share the link in the comments!

Thanks, and enjoy.