Not too long ago, an argument broke out on a thread in the BTWN facebook group where Sam Shamoun, Anti-Muslim apologist at Answering-Islam.org, was arguing against a few people on the issue of Particular Redemption (Limited Atonement). When pressed on why he believed it, one person claimed they believed it because they believe in Substitutionary Atonement. Shamoun challenged this person to debate the issue, saying:
I declined to debate the issue because there is nothing to debate. The doctrine of the substitutionary atonement is central to Christianity. The guy he was speaking to, however, pressed further on the issue.
Shamoun responded by saying that he actually does reject Substitutionary Atonement after having formerly believed and taught it. He then gave his opponent his E-Mail in order to set up the debate, then made a remark about him “blindly believing it”. He also claimed that David Wood of Acts 17 Apologetics also held this view.
Substitutionary Atonement is one of the clearest doctrines in all of Scripture. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) says,
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Isaiah 53 clearly teaches Substitutionary Atonement. Verses 4-6 say,
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
1 Peter 2:24 (ESV) says,
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Furthermore, Substitutionary Atonement is essentially the Gospel. This beautiful doctrine teaches that Christ took the wrath of God upon Himself in our place. Our sin was accredited to His account and His righteousness was given to us. Jesus died as a substitute and we get to go free. That is the Gospel. To reject it is to chase a false gospel, which is no gospel at all and has no power to save.
[Contributed by Brandon Hines]
*Update: Sam Shamoun has denied rejecting Substitutionary Atonement. However, he has not explained the comments that he made in the BTWN group. I have previously tried to contact him myself two times, but he was instantly hostile and I was blocked both times. Shamoun appears to be speaking out of both sides of his mouth, and the only way I can reconcile the two statements is to say he is lying, grossly inconsistent, double minded, or quick to change his mind. If he wants to deny rejecting Substitutionary Atonement, he needs to explain why he admitted to rejecting it elsewhere. Pray for him.