In his book on the atonement Hugh Martin has a chapter on the relationship of the atonement to Christ’s intercession. Laying aside the names in the following quote for our purpose here, I find Martin’s questions to these views on the atonement that exclude penal substitution to be devastating. If you think Martin is being unfair, the question remains, “What is the content of Christ’s intercession in each of these alternate views?”
What imaginable connection is there between Atonement and Intercession on the theory of Example or of Martyrdom? “I have shown them an Example, and ratified the evidence of truth by Martyrdom. Therefore keep, through thine own name, those whom thou hast given me?”
Or on the theory of MAURICE? “I have submitted to Self-sacrifice,—to a death of Self-denial. Therefore forgive and sanctify the particular persons whom now I designate and point out!”
Or on the wild dream of ROBERSTON? “I have fallen a prey to that ‘law of being,’ vicarious sacrifice,—‘approaching the whirling wheel till I was torn in pieces.’ Therefore—!” Therefore—what? Abrogate the law of being? Or?—Stop the wheel!
Or what connection is there on the scheme of BUSHNELL? “I have given a Display of the principles of thy Government, suitable and applicable to every human being. Therefore on some men, on certain persons, let they Government bear in leniency and mercy!”
Or on that of YOUNG? “I have finished a work fitted and designed to exert a Moral Influence on sinners. Therefore let me have influence with God!”
Or what connection is there on the scheme of DR BALMER? “I have achieved an undertaking which bears on the welfare of each and every one of the human race precisely and exactly as it bears on any. Therefore I plead that it shall be made to have a wholly different bearing on some from that which it shall have on others!”
Are these such reasonings as men will dare to put into the lips of the Wisdom and Logos of God?