I argue that youth pastors need to be constantly rethinking and evaluating the whys to what he/she is doing in YM. Youth pastors need to be thinking theologically. Bottom line our theology determines our YM methodology. Each of us have a core theology (consciously or unconsciously) that comes out of us when teaching, talking, programing, discipling, evangelizing, and connecting.
What theory of atonement do you endorse?
I am a Christus Victor atonement type of guy like NT Wright, Greg Boyd, Irenaeus, Gregory of Nyssa, Origen, and Gustav Aulen.
I specifically like how the CV model is about destroying the evil ways of the evil one. (1 Jn 3.8)
In The Nature of Atonement Boyd argues that: God defeated the devil and his cohorts (Heb 2.14, 1 Jn 3.8), revealed the definitive truth about Himself (Roman 5.8, cf. Jn 14.7-10); reconciled all things, including humans, to himself (2 Cor 5.18-19; Col 1.20-22); forgave us our sins (Acts 13.38; Eph 1.7); healed us from our sin-diseased nature (1 Peter 2.24); poured his Spirit on us and empowered us to live in relation to himself (Roman 8.2-16); and gave us an example to follow (Eph 5.1-2; 1 Pet 2.21).
Jesus indeed died as our substitute, bore our sin and guilt, was sacrificed for our forgiveness, and was punished by the father in our place ( Isa 53.4-5,10, Ro 3.23-25; 2 Cor5.21; Heb 2.17; 9.26; 1Jn 2.2)
The CV model is more focused on the cosmic and holistic salvation. It is all about redemption and restoration.
Is there 1 correct theory of the atonement?
No. I don’t think there is one correct view of the atonement. Although I have problems with the traditional views, namely moral influence model, penal substitutionary, and excursus.
Why do I have problems? Well the traditional views are more individualist, guilt-driven, concept of sin is one-sided, is that Jesus didn’t come to save us from the world, rather save us from our SIN, and more importantly the traditional view has an inability to relate to other contexts, e.g. the culture of shame in Asia and more of the collective types of cultures.
The atonement is such an ambiguous and mysterious event, so how do we communicate it to our students so they can get it?
We use metaphors coupled with how these metaphors are illustrated in our Biblical texts. In order to capture the richness of the cross/resurrection/ascension, a number of metaphors are needed. Some key terms that appear in atonement theories are: reconciliation, sacrifice, defeat of powers, and redemption.
Do we present to them all of the atonement theories or the theory we simply resonate with?
I think we need to present all models/theories to our students. We present each theory with its pros and cons, and let the students pray and think about what theory works for their theological understanding. Bottom line: the top four atonement theories are Christ-centered and have been with us for a while.
Suggested Reading List:
Green, J. B. and M. D. Baker. Recovering the Scandal of the Cross.
Thomas R. Schreiner, Gregory A. Boyd, Joel B. Green, and Bruce R. Reichenbach. The Nature of Atonement: The 4 Views.
NT Wright. Jesus and the Victory of God.