“Throughout my sixty-three years as an evangelical believer, the penal substitutionary understanding of the cross of Christ has been a flashpoint of controversy and division among Protestants.
Since one’s belief about the atonement is bound up with one’s belief about the character of God, the terms of the gospel, and the Christian’s inner life, the intensity of the debate is understandable. If one view is right, others are more or less wrong, and the definition of Christianity itself comes to be at stake.
As I grow old I want to tell everyone who will listen: ‘I am so thankful for the penal substitutionary death of Christ. No hope without it.’
That is where I come now as I attempt this brief vindication of the best part of the best news that the world has ever heard.”
–J.I. Packer, “Penal Substitution Revisited,” In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007), 21-22.