Moral-Example Theory Moral – Influence Theory

Moral-Example Theory Moral – Influence Theory

REL 301 Christian Theology
Final Exam
Due: February 9, 2021 at 9:30 pm
Note: Papers should have the following format:
• 12-point standard font
• Name, date, course, and Final Exam at the top of the page
• Three-to-Four pages of content (minimum—you may write more)
• Line-spacing: Double-spaced
• One-inch margins

Select one of the following theories of atonement that most closely resembles your experience of what
happens through the death and resurrection of Jesus that “saves” us. If you are not a believer, find someone
who is a believer, listen to their story, and then decide which theory of atonement best describes their
experience. If you are using another person’s story, you will write the part about personal experience from their
Note: The theories of atonement listed below may differ slightly from the corresponding theories in the
textbook; however, please select from one of the theories on this list. You may use material from the textbook
where the theories correspond to each other. There are also theories listed here that are NOT in the textbook.
Where possible, links have been included for further research.
Once you have selected the theory of atonement on which you will write, provide the following information:
1. Define or describe your chosen theory of atonement in your own words. Be specific about what “happens” to
the believer that brings about salvation. In other words, what is the catalyst that takes place that results in a
believer being saved? Another way to think about this question is determining what Jesus accomplishes on our
behalf. (10 points)
2. Describe any historic background (Names, Dates, Councils, or Church Traditions, if any) or scriptures that
point to this theory. In other words, put it in context and let me know from where this theory came. (5 points)
3. Using your personal testimony (or the testimony of someone you know), describe how you experienced the
gift of salvation through this particular view of the atonement. (5 points)
4. What difference does salvation through this in this manner have on how the believer lives? (5 points)
Note: Be sure to provide responses to each of the four items above!
Selected Theory:
• The Moral-Example Theory (or Moral-Influence Theory): Christ died to influence mankind toward moral
improvement. This theory denies that Christ died to satisfy any principle of divine justice, but teaches instead
that His death was designed to greatly impress mankind with a sense of God’s love, resulting in softening their
hearts and leading them to repentance. Thus, the Atonement is not directed towards God with the purpose of
maintaining His justice, but towards man with the purpose of persuading him to right action. Formulated by
Peter Abelard (1079-1142) partially in reaction against Anselm’s Satisfaction theory, this view was held by the
16th century Socinians. Versions of it can be found later in F. D. E. Schleiermacher (1768-1834) and Horace
Bushnell (1802-1876).
Course Textbook:
Jones, Beth Felker. Practicing Christian Doctrine: An Introduction to Thinking and Living Theologically. Grand
Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-8010-4933-0

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