Over the Exiled Preacher. Garry Williams is the new director of the John Owen Centre at London Theological Seminary.
Guy didn't ask about Garry's Welsh connections. Personally, I think he's slipping.
Here's a taster:
GD: You have written on the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement. Why do you think that this teaching is so important?
GW: For so many reasons. Key of course is that the Bible teaches it and so we must too if we are to honour the Lord Jesus and rightly proclaim his saving work. Spiritually, clarity on the atonement grounds our assurance of the Lord’s forgiveness and favour – without it we are left with the burden of sin, which we know is intolerable. Theologically, it goes with the doctrine of God’s justice – if we redefine the atonement we are usually redefining the nature of God.
GD: Why do you think that the doctrine has become so unpopular in some supposedly evangelical circles?
GW: What we see often with a denial of penal substitution is a wholesale rewriting of a series of the more (humanly speaking) uncomfortable doctrines. Penal substitution is a glorious description of the love and mercy of God, but it also entails a belief in the retributive wrath of God, and that is always hard for people to accept. This is where the link to the doctrine of God is so important: the pressure often arises to redefine the atonement because a different god is wanted. This is obviously not the case for every critic of the doctrine, but many critics themselves rightly make the connection to the doctrine of God.