Although this teaching can sound correct in appealing to the character of God as being so full of love that the Father couldn’t, and in fact did not, pour out His wrath on Jesus at the cross, it absolutely guts the heart of the Gospel, substitutionary atonement, and ultimately strips Christianity of all its unique meaning. Every heresy that has emerged in the history of the church is full of just enough truth to make it look palatable (this is the craftiness of the work of Satan), and yet it is the few drops of poison that are administered that make it spiritually deadly (in the eternal sense). Substitutionary atonement: that is on the cross, Jesus bore the guilt and blame (the wrath of God) for the sins of anyone who would believe in Him and are given the very righteousness Christ earned for them in His life and death, sealed with power in His historical resurrection.
Steve Chalke would have us believe the work of the cross was merely an expression of how far God was willing to go for us; now, it is that, and yet infinitely so much more! Of course it is that, but when the work of the cross is explained as we see it in Scripture, we see that it is redundant to even say that. This guy, Steve Chalke, is attacking the heart of the very divine act that has brought us peace with God, Christ actually and effectually bearing our eternal guilt, in our place, and giving us His perfect record so that we may stand before God and love Him for eternity. And this heresy is spreading like a wildfire among many who call themselves evangelicals even. He is quoted as saying in this article, how have we “‘come to believe that at the cross this God of love suddenly decides to vent his anger and wrath on his own Son?'” This is a blatant attack on the very Gospel itself. If Christ did not bear the wrath of God in our place (might I add, willingly), we would still be under eternal condemnation. This picture of God that emerges from theology like this is a picture simply of a God of love and not a God of justice. In addition, the picture of God he is painting is of a God who simply sweeps our sins under the rug and doesn’t deal with them. He is both fully a loving God and a just God, with all of His attributes reconciled in the work of the cross. O The Wonderful Cross!
This error has crept up once again as it has in the history of the church, just in our postmodern cultural context. We would all do well to pay very close attention to what we have seen and heard in the Scriptures, testified to us by the Holy Spirit.