Winifred E. Weter Lecture for Meritorious Scholarship — April 10th

By: | Posted: February 21, 2014

weterThe annual Winifred E. Weter Faculty Award Lecture for Meritorious Scholarship provides a public platform form which the claims of the liberal arts in the Christian university are espoused. Delivered each year by a SPU faculty member selected by the Faculty Affairs Committee, the Weter Lecture honors Winifred E. Weter, SPU professor emerita of classics. Her teaching career spanning 40 years (1935-78-5) exemplifies a life of Christian character and integrity. Her love for the study of classical languages and literature inspired a similar enthusiasm in thousands of her students, and this lecture continues that tradition of inspiration.


The 2014 Winifred E. Weter Lecture

“Philosophical Reflections on the Atonement” – Dr. Steve Layman

Thursday, April 10, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Upper Gwinn Commons, SPU Campus


Stephen Layman has a BA from Calvin College and a Ph.D. in philosophy from UCLA. Before joining the faculty at Seattle Pacific University in 1986, he taught briefly at UCLA and Reed College, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Notre Dame (Center for the Philosophy of Religion). He is the author of three books: The Shape of the Good (University of Notre Dame Press, 1991), The Power of Logic (first edition, Mayfield, 1999), and Letters to Doubting Thomas: A Case for the Existence of God (Oxford University Press, 2007). In addition, he has authored a number of articles and essays, among them, “The Truth in ‘The Will to Believe’,” History of Philosophy Quarterly (October, 1987); “God and the Moral Order” Faith and Philosophy (July, 2002), “Faith Has Its Reasons,” in Thomas V. Morris, ed., God and the Philosophers (Oxford University Press, 1994), and “A Moral Argument for the Existence of God,” in Robert K. Garcia and Nathan L. King, eds., Is Goodness Without God Good Enough?A Debate on Faith, Secularism, and Ethics, (Lanham, MD; Rowman and Littlefield, 2009).


The 2014 Winifred E. Weter Lecture: According to the doctrine of the atonement, through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection we are somehow reconciled to God. This doctrine is proclaimed in the New Testament (e.g., 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 and Romans 5:8-11), but down through the ages, Christian thinkers have tried to explain it in many different ways. Those different ways are called “theories of the atonement” and they attempt to answer this question: “How do Christ’s life, death, and resurrection put us right with God?” Historically influential theories, such as the Ransom theory and the Punishment theory, are subject to standard criticisms. I will discuss a sample of the historically influential theories and a recent theory provided by the well-known Christian philosopher, Richard Swinburne. Finally, I’ll propose a theory of my own.

To listen to past Weter Lectures, please visit University iTunes or Digital Commons @ SPU.

PDF versions of past Weter Lectures

Stephen Layman, Ph.D.04-10-14 – Philosophical Reflections on the Atonement

Jeffrey Keuss, Ph.D. – 04-09-13 – Youth, Faith, and the Christian University after Moral Therapeutic Deism: A Reassessment of the National Study of Youth and Religion Findings in Light of Walter Brueggemann’s The Creative Word

Rebekah L.H. Rice, Ph.D. – 04-17-12 – Resurrection of the Body?: Physicalism and the Possibility of Life After Death

Paul R. Yost, Ph.D. – 04-18-11 – A Two-talent Servant in a Five-talent World: Christian vs. Secular Views of Human Potential

Benjamin J. McFarland, Ph.D. – 02-02-10 – The Chemical Constraints on Creation: Natural Theology and Narrative Resonance

Marcia Webb, M.Div., Ph.D. – 04-16-09 – Toward a Theology of Mental Illness

Frank Anthony Spina, Ph.D. – 04-10-08 – Multiplying Division: A Figural Reading of the Story of the Levite’s Concubine (Judges 19-21)

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