Paul Petter Waldenström
Important to the understanding of the work of Christ is the meaning of his death on the cross. Paul Petter Waldenström, a pietist and early Covenant leader, believed in the principle work of the atonement as our reconciliation to God. For him, Jesus’ death is not a penal substitution for God’s wrath but a demonstration of God’s love for human beings, changing the heart of sinners, winning victory over death, evil and Satan.
The key to a person’s understanding of atonement lays with the translation of the word “hilasterion” (Romans 3:24-26) as either propitiation or expiation. The translation of this word makes the fundamental difference between describing Christ’s atoning work as either the appeasement of the wrath of God or the rectification of sin.
Waldenström believed the cross is the penultimate demonstration of God’s love. It is the suffering servant - Jesus - who has died out of love for his children. Waldenström gave the church a gift in helping challenge a more judicial understanding of the work of Christ prevalent at the time.