I'm hearing rumours that a battle is raging all around me and I was unaware of it. Something has pitted evangelical against evangelical and many have no choice but to watch the new and old theologians duke it out. The question that is coming to the fore is at the heart of Christian Theology. And it's this: What was the purpose of Christ's death? Was it so God could punish sin in his Son instead of punishing us? or Was Jesus on the Cross victoriously culminating the Incarnation by dying the worst of all possible deaths? The rift is deep over these two views. Apparently very deep.
My response (from completely outside the debate, you understand) is a simple (Shakespearian) "a plague on both your houses." Christ's call to us is one of obedience, not having correct theory. We are human, we are fascinated by our Father's world, by his Story, by his Nature etc. It's very natural. I love doing it. But what did Christ say to those he called, and presumably still says those he still calls? "The Kingdom of heaven is near; repent and believe the Good News." Also "Come, follow me." I'm indebted to Peter Davids for explaining that in the parlance of the times, those two commands are pretty nearly equal. So our primary call is to follow Jesus, not (primarily, again) to work out all the facts and hypotheses of how what he did for us works. Of course we will theorize anyways. He knows it. He made us this way. But sometime we will actually have to follow him and leave the rest to the One who really understands what it all means.