We are seeing some analysis of Wright that is every bit as amazing as Wright’s defense of Chalke. Just to point out the obvious, the fact that Wright has a long track record of teaching a vicarious penal substitutionary atonement is not a question that is dependent on anything he said in the last week. He may have apostatized (I don’t believe it, but it is logically possible) and he may not privately believe what he teaches publicly (don’t believe that either), but the question of his public teaching is to be settled by his public teaching. And for years thousands of readers (many of whom, like me, probably only recently heard the name “Chalke” and have read nothing by him) have learned that Christ died under the judicial wrath of God that we deserved so that for us who entrust ourselve to him there is now no condemnation.
Finally, I will point out the interesting fact that the defenders of penal substitution in replying to N. T. Wright, never implied nor hinted that he did not believe the orthodox position. If they are the great defenders of orthodoxy which Wright’s critics claim they are (and which I agree they are) then maybe we could all follow their example? Does it make sense to side with them and then attack Wright as a false teacher? Isn’t such an attack an implicit claim that the authors of Pierced for Our Transgressions have compromised the doctrine they are supposed to be defending? If Wright is such a notorious false teacher, then why didn’t they ever warn us…?
To repeat the main point here: Wright’s record as a teacher is a public fact not a subjective impression. He can start a new record if he wants, or he can teach things he doesn’t believe, but what he has taught is outside of his or anyone else’s control. It is simply there. He has taught the penal substitutionary view as clearly as anyone.