The Activist Impulse, there is no clear-cut evangelical or Anabaptist position on the atonement, and indeed, there is much cross-pollination between evangelical and Anabaptist thought on this issue. Many evangelicals and some Anabaptists remain convinced that satisfaction or penal substitution models constitute the only biblical or orthodox view, but this position is being challenged on multiple fronts. Some evangelicals, such as New Testament scholar Scot McKnight (A Community Called Atonement), argue for the use of a plurality of images and metaphors for the atonement. However, a growing number of scholars—evangelical and Anabaptist alike—are beginning to reject satisfaction or substitutionary models entirely. Anabaptist theologian J. Denny Weaver (The Nonviolent Atonement) has led this charge by arguing for a nonviolent, Christus Victor model of the atonement, which has sparked much debate among Anabaptists while at the same time resonating with the work of some prominent evangelical theologians, such as Gregory Boyd (God at War).
In the penultimate chapter of The Activist Impulse, "Beyond Anselm: A Biblical and Evangelical Case for Nonviolent Atonement," Kirk R. MacGregor cuts through this debate, offering a creative synthesis of Anselmian satisfaction theory and nonviolent Christus Victor and exemplar themes. He does so while surprisingly maintaining a commitment to the classic evangelical doctrine of biblical inerrancy by offering penetrating analyses of standard biblical texts pertaining to the atonement that challenge traditional readings. Indeed, MacGregor’s proffered solution challenges each end of the evangelical-Anabaptist spectrum, while drawing richly from them both. This chapter is notable for its combination of exegetical, philosophical, and theological sensitivity and astuteness. One may not agree with MacGregor's final model, but it is one that will need to be taken seriously by those involved in atonement debates.*
*The above paragraphs are slightly adapted from The Activist Impulse, 323-24.