Case Study

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Part I


Briefly summarize each theory (5-6 sentences) Who developed it? What was the main point of the atonement? What Bible verses support this theory?


Briefly critique (4-6 sentences) each theory:

Do you agree with the theory? Why or why not? What is the strength? What is the weakness?

Bible Passages

List passages that support your position.

Ransom Theory: This is a theory that was developed within the Christian religion. The theory views the atonement of Christ as a ransom paid to Satan so that mankind can be saved from bondage. It is based on the belief that mankind was enslaved to Satan. The ransom theory views Satan to have more power which is not true[ CITATION Jam16 l 1033 ]. One of the factors that are seen in this theory is that Christ was sacrificed because of Satan.

This theory is unbiblical. It has very little support from the church. The ransom theory is based on the fact that man’s spirit was bonded to Satan. It recognizes Satan rather than recognizing God. The strength of this theory is that it accepts that man was sinful and needed redemption. The weakness is that the theory views Satan to be more powerful than he really is[ CITATION Jam16 l 1033 ].

Mark 10:45

Hebrews 2:14

Hebrews 10:12

Satisfaction Theory: The theory was developed by the Roman Catholic church. It is similar to the ransom theory. The difference is that in the satisfaction theory, the ransom was paid to God rather than Satan. Theologians believe that one or more deaths could not satisfy God’s requirements. For this reason God decided to sacrifice a divine being, Jesus Christ[ CITATION Jam16 l 1033 ].

This theory does not have any support from the Bible. The developers of this theory were just imagining of the nature of God and His intention to mankind[ CITATION Mar15 l 1033 ]. The only part that is clear is that of the nature of God. The theory recognizes God to be a superior spirit. The weakness of the theory is that it relates the atonement of Christ to the ancient sacrifice of animals.

2 Cor 5: 21

1 Peter 3:18

Hebrews 4:15

Governmental Theory

This theory is based on God’s law and attitude about sin. Mankind broke God’s law by sinning. Christ’s atonement acted like a substitute for the penalty of the sin. Through Christ’s death, God forgives those who repent their sins. This theory views man’s spiritual condition as one who has broken God’s moral laws.

This theory does not recognize the superiority complexity of Christ. This is against the gospel. Jesus Christ is a Messiah who unconditionally sacrificed His life to save mankind[ CITATION Mar15 l 1033 ]. Christ did not die on the cross because of the law but because of his love to mankind. This theory recognizes God to be more powerful. The shortfall of this theory is that it does not show if Christ paid the penalty of the actual sin[ CITATION ReK15 l 1033 ].

Acts 4:12

Romans 5:10

2 Cor 1:10

Socinian Theory

The theory was created by Laelius Socinus. The main point that is obtained from the theory is that the cross gives the best example on how to follow Jesus. Christians should follow the steps of Jesus Christ[ CITATION Jam16 l 1033 ].

It is true that the cross was the best way to show how much God loved His people. For this reason we believe that the theory is right. Through the cross Jesus showed His obedience to God. Christians should as well copy the example. LK 9:23, 1 peter 2:21

Moral Influence theory

The theory is based on God’s love to mankind. It states that the sole purpose of Christ atonement was to save mankind from sins. God sacrificed His only begotten son for the redemption of man from sin. The atonement of Christ was one way God wanted to show how much He loved mankind.

The theory focuses on God’s love to man. Biblically, the theory is correct because the major reason for atonement according to the bible was to bring salvation[ CITATION ReK15 l 1033 ]. The greatest command of God is love. This theory emphasizes on this commandment. The shortfall of this theory is that it focuses more on the teaching rather than the atonement of Christ.

1 John 2:2

Romans 3:25

Penal-Substitution Theory

The theory views the death of Christ as a substitute sacrifice God offered because of His love to mankind. Dying on the cross, Christ paid the penalty of sin. According to this theory man is spiritually dead. The only payment that can be made is having faith on Jesus Christ and accepting His substitution on the cross. It concluded by saying that every aspect of man such as emotions and man’s mind has been corrupted by sin[ CITATION Mar15 l 1033 ].

This theory goes hand in hand with the scripture. It views the nature of man as a sinner which is true. The theory puts it clear that the purpose of Christ was to pay the penalty of sin[ CITATION ReK15 l 1033 ]. The weakness of the theory is that it considered man to be spiritually dead which is not true. The atonement of Jesus meant forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 9:22

Romans 6:23

Part II

In one of the villages in New York, there lived a young girl by thename Grace. She was left as an orphan at a tender age. She had nomeans of survival. Raising even a single coin to go to school becamea problem. She got some aid from her relatives who later abandonedher before she completed her studies. Despite all the challenges shefaced, Grace never gave up. She opted to seek an alternative in anearby farm where she was employed as a house girl.

Surprisingly, this job did not last for one year she was sacked. Shewas left more stressed than before. Because she was a hard workinglady, she continued struggling day in day out. One day she cameacross her friend who she thought could help her find greenerpastures elsewhere. The friend suggested that she had a good payingjob though it had challenges. Grace having gone through hardchallenges, had no option but to comply. She was ready for anything.

After a while, Grace was introduced into the business. Unexpectedly,the business was all about prostitution. Grace was in a dilemma butshe still opted for the job since all she wanted was money for hersurvival and schooling. Grace worked in the business for some time,but the outcome was never as she expected. It was so sad to herrealization that she had contracted a deadly disease.

The challenges became more devastating than before. At this point,Grace had no money for medication, survival or even school fees. Shewas so frustrated that she quitted the job. She was discouraged upto the point that she wanted to commit suicide because she had losthope in life. By good luck, a Good Samaritan came her way who tookher to his church. On that day Grace gave her testimony in church.The congregation was touched by the story. They offered to supporther in all ways.

From the above story, Christians should learn that God is alwaysthere in times of problems. They should never give up in life. Lifeis full of challenges and Christians should be ready to face thesechallenges[ CITATION Mar15 l 1033 ]. Christians should pray forGod’s intervention. From the story of Grace, Christians shouldlearn that everything happens for a reason.

God loves His people. He does not despise anyone, and for thatreason, He gave His only child on the cross. Christ was ready to bearthe sins of mankind so that the mission of God can be accomplished.The mission of salvation, God was so faithful, and He is always inHis plans. Christians should put all their trust in God[ CITATION Cri12 l 1033 ].In the story, Grace lost hope after the death of her parents.

God is the provider He gives His people food to eat, clothes to wearand a place to stay. God is a protector he protects His people fromdiseases, from enemies and evil spirits. Through the atonementtheories, Christians can learn the plans of God to mankind[ CITATION Mar15 l 1033 ].God is not choosy, He loves all the people equally, be it one hasmoney or not.

Grace, after going through so many challenges in life she opted tocommit suicide. This was a wrong decision. Christians should acceptthat there are so many challenges in life. The challenges are meantto test one’s faith in God they are not meant to alienate one fromtrusting in God[ CITATION Dub15 l 1033 ]. Many times Christians facechallenges as the case of Grace. The option that comes to their mindis suicide. God forbid and may those who have those plans in theirmind be forgiven. Jesus died on the cross as a penalty for our sins.How should it be paid back? Is it through money? No. The Bible saysthe only way Christians can pay the penalty is by believing andcommitting their lives to God.

Does God punish His people? Is the death of Grace’s parent apunishment? Was she supposed to give up in life after the death ofher parents? The Bible says that God loves His people he is alwaysready to forgive those people who repent their sins. God is merciful,caring and faithful. He keeps His promises[ CITATION Mar15 l 1033 ].Dying of Grace’s parents was not a punishment that was God’splan. God’s plans are always right they should not be compromised.When Christians die while trusting in Christ, they are just sleepingwaiting for the second coming of Christ.

Christians should be good Samaritans. They should help one another intimes of trouble. Those people who help the fellows in need have areward that is preserved for them. In the story, Grace was rejectedby her relatives they denied paying school fees for her. This is nota good character trait of a real Christian. Christians should emulatea good example of the fellow that took Grace to church and offeredsupport. Besides, Christians should be very careful with the peoplethey associate with. Grace, in the story, chose a wrong friend whoended ruining her life. Christians should always pray for God’sintervention. It may be very hard to know who is a good or a badfriend[ CITATION Cri12 l 1033 ].

At the cross, a ransom was paid. This ransom was meant to deliver manfrom sin into God’s grace. The man was a sinner who deservedprosecution, but because of God’s plans for redemption for many, Heoffered Christ as a sacrifice[ CITATION Dub15 l 1033 ]. Christiansshould think big about this God’s ransom. They should not taketheir lives for granted. They should live with a purpose of servingthe Lord. Christians should repent their sins, put their trust inGod. They should remember that atonement of Christ never meant thatHe took power from Satan but the power was His and still is God.

The atonement of Christ was meant to bring positive moral change tohumanity. From the story, we realize that Grace opted to indulgeherself in an immoral act. Yes, she made the wrong choice, but theBible says, the atonement of Christ was meant to save humanity fromimmoral behavior[ CITATION Mar15 l 1033 ]. She was not supposed togive up since Christ died on the cross because of her sins.Christians should live a morally upright life. They should lead byexample and discourage the behaviors that do not please God.

In conclusion, the bodies are the temples of God. This is where theHoly Spirit resides. Christians should respect the temple of God. Itshould not be used for business purposes but rather spreading thegospel of God. Christians should humble themselves for the Bible saysthose who humble themselves shall inherit the kingdom of God[ CITATION Dub15 l 1033 ].Christians should always be prayerful, in times of trouble and intimes of happiness. They should go to church and share the gospel andgoodness of God to others. It is through the church that Grace wasrescued and her life was changed. As Christians move close to God,they are assured of receiving God’s blessings.


Crisp, O., &amp Sweeney, D. (2012). The Moral Government of God: Jonathan Edwards and Joseph Bellamy on the Atonement. Oxford: The Courses of the New England Theology.

Duby, S. (2015). Atonement, Impassibility and the Communicatio Operationum. International Journal of Systematic Theology, 284-295.

James, M. (2016). Example Theory (or the Socinian View). Evidence Unseen, 3-4.

Mark, M. (2015). The Meaning of Atonement. Atonement, 10-19.

Re/Knew Org. (2015). 10 Problems with the Penal Substitution. Penal Substitution, 24-27.

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