First, we were required ...'k.
to believe in the Atonement.
Then it was the Substitutionary Atonement
From there we moved to the Penal Substitutionary Atonement.
And now, we must believe in the Vicarious Penal Substitutionary Atonement. (it doesn’t even make a good acronym)
Were the thousands saved on the day of Pentecost really down with the Vicarious Penal Substitutionary Atonement? Was Peter, even?
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that none of the people at Pentecost spoke English, so they wouldn't have used any of those words to describe what they believed -- including the Apostles and Disciples (unless the gift of tongues manifested in Th.D. speak). But that said, did Christ die for our sins? I mean, was that part of the Gospel on Pentecost or not?
Because let me be clear about something: anyone who wants to say that the Gospel has evolved over time is, in my opinion, a dangerous person to the faith of others.
When Isaiah says this:
- 53:10Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for sin,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
The shame, really, is that we -- those who are in the faith 2000 years later -- have to use words like "Vicarious Penal Substitutionary Atonement" rather than "Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scripture". It is not a shame that we understand these things, but that we have to make the specific distinctions we do in order to refute the error of misguided men.
I would agree that we ought to try to preach the Gospel in as common a language as we can muster -- but the Gospel is not a cloud of mystery, something which settles on us with vague good tidings. It is God's plan which He has carried out through all of history for His glory and our salvation.
I think, in that case, we ought to be sure we are talking about what he did specifically rather than without a lot of concern for getting it right.