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Bad Doctrine in the Hands of an Angry Minister: A Review of Brian Zahnd's "Sinners In the Hands of a Loving God"

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Brian Zahnd has a bone to pick. By the title of his upcoming book, slated to release on August 15, you might think his bone is with puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards. The title of the book is Sinners In the Hands of a Loving God, a play on words against Edwards' sermon Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God, perhaps the most famous sermon ever preached on American soil. But Zahnd's bone isn't with Edwards. It's with the Bible.

Zahnd hates the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement. He has made no secret of this. I believe that if he and I were sitting next to one another, he would go, "Yup, I hate it." He agrees that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but he has a rather vague way of explaining that. Zahnd says, "We violently sinned our sins into Jesus." Okay, what does that mean? Where is that in the Bible?

The Bible says Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for sinners. God imputed the guilt for our sins onto His Son, and He bore the pun…