Does Jesse Morrell Deny the Penal Substitutionary Atonement of Christ?

“Jesse Morrell,
Do you deny the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross on behalf of guilty sinners like yourself? If so, give me chapter and verse in Scripture. I would love to converse with you about this.
Soli Deo Gloria!”


I believe in the Vicarious Substitutionary Governmental Atonement of Christ.

The atonement was not a substitution in penalty but a substitution for penalty. It was “passio vicaria” not “poena vicaria.” The penalty for our sins is eternal hell and this of course Christ did not suffer. He did not endure everlasting destruction. The atonement is a substitute for our penalty so that our penalty itself can be remitted in forgiveness by the mercy of God.

Heb. 9:22 says without the shedding of blood is no remission of sins. And Jesus said he shed his blood for the remission of sins. Romans 3:24-26 declares that we are justified freely by the grace of God through Jesus Christ (as opposed to being justified by justice) and that His atonement was a exhibition of the righteousness of God, publicly declaring His justification for remitting the penalty of sins, so that He remains true to justice even though He pardons transgressors. The atonement is the means through which God remains just to Himself, His law, and His universe, even though He remits the penalty that our sins deserve.

The atonement is a governmental substitution of the suffering of Christ for the penalty of sinners. His suffering on the cross takes the place of our damnation in hell, so that our sins can be forgiven and our penalty remitted by the grace and mercy of God. The atonement of Christ accomplishes the same governmental purpose that our damnation would have – the atonement fulfills the governmental office of our penalty as a substitute.

I am writing a book called The Vicarious Atonement of Christ which I hope to finish soon. It is a thorough biblical defense of the governmental substitutionary atonement and a refutation to the penal substitutionary atonement theory.

I will let everyone on Facebook know when the book is done.

God bless!


SEE ALSO: Theology Charts Illustrating the Governmental Atonement

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6 Responses to Does Jesse Morrell Deny the Penal Substitutionary Atonement of Christ?

  1. From my upcoming book:

    VICAR, n. In a general sense, a person deputed or authorized to perform the functions of another; a substitute in office.

    VICARIOUS, a. Acting for another; filling the place of another; as a vicarious agent or officer… Substituted in the place of another; as a vicarious sacrifice.

    SUBSTITUTE, n. To put in the place of another… One person put in the place of another to answer the same purpose… The orthodox creed of Christians is that Christ dies as the substitute of sinners… One thing put in the place of another.

    SUBSTITUTION, n. The act of putting one person or thing in the place of another to supply its place;

    INSTEAD, a compound of in and stead, place; but stead retains its character of a noun, and is followed by of; instead of, in the same manner as in the stead of… In the place or room of.

    – Noah Webster

    “That Christ’s sufferings, and especially his death, were vicarious, has been abundantly shown when treating the subject of atonement… Although Christ owed perfect obedience to the moral law for himself, and could not therefore obey as our substitute, yet since he perfectly obeyed, he owed no suffering to the law or to the Divine government on his own account. He could therefore suffer for us. That is, he could, to answer governmental purposes, substitute his death for the infliction of the penalty of the law on us. He could not perform works of supererogation, but he could endure sufferings of supererogation, in the sense that he did not owe them for himself. The doctrine of substitution, in the sense just named, appears everywhere in both Testaments. It is the leading idea, the prominent thought, lying upon the face of the whole scriptures.”

    – Charles Finney

  2. JP says:

    “The penalty for our sins is eternal hell and this of course Christ did not suffer.” Actually the wages of sin is death, which Christ did suffer.

    • Actually, the wages of sin is death is contrasted with the gift of God is eternal life. It is contrasted with eternal life because the death spoken of is eternal death. The Bible says He will punish with EVERLASTING destruction from the presence of the Lord. If mere physical death was the punishment our sins deserve Jesus didn’t have to die for us at all. We ourselves could just die physically (thus paying the penalty) and then go to heaven. And if physical death is the penalty of our sins, Jesus did not even save us from this penalty because even Saints die. What Jesus saves us from is hell and that is because hell is the punishment for our sins.

  3. Steve Thomas says:

    But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

    • Amen! His temporal bruising and wounding is a substitute for our eternal burning. His suffering in atonement takes the place of our punishment so that the penalty for our sins can be graciously remitted by the mercy of God.

  4. Let it never be said that I deny the vicarious substitutionary atonement….


    Jesus did not take our place in punishment. Rather, the atonement takes the place of punishment.

    The punishment we deserve is eternal hell (2 Thes. 1:9), but through His vicarious sacrifice our penalty can be remitted (Matt. 26:28).

    I have been falsely accused of denying vicarious substitutionary atonement and nothing is further from the truth.

    The atonement is instead of punishment. A ransom is substitutional, as one thing is exchanged for another. In the atonement, Christ and His suffering is exchanged for sinners and the damnation.

    Thus, vicarious substitutionary atonement.

    The problem is that the Penal Substitution camp thinks they have a monopoly on vicarious substitution, when they don’t. Denying the penal theory is not necessarily denying vicarious substitution.

    ~ Jesse Morrell

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