Archive for March, 2011

Scott McKnight’s “A Community Called Atonement”

Atonement Theology, or how we understand the meaning and consequence of the death of Jesus on a Roman cross has been a much discussed topic in the last decade. I believe this is a very good thing to be asking these big questions about what is at the very heart of the Christian Faith.

If my history is right, we have William Tyndale to thank for the coinage of our english word atonement.  Atonement being a concatenation of the words ‘At One’ to describe Christ’s work of restoring a good relationship — a reconciliation — between God and people.

If you are like me, you came out of a tradition that explained the totality of what Jesus did through the Cross strictly in Penal Substitutionary terms. This might have been the only lens in which you have seen what Christ has done for us. According to Wikipedia:

Penal substitution (sometimes, esp. in older writings, called forensic theory) is a theory of the atonement within Christian Theology, developed with the Reformed tradition. It argues that Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished (penalised) in the place of sinners (substitution), thus satisfying  the demands of justice so God can justly forgive the sins. It is thus a specific understanding of substitutionary atonement, where the substitutionary nature of Jesus’ death is understood in the sense of a substitutionary punishment.”

Along with this strict interpretation, the dots might not have been connected between Jesus “Kingdom”message and his death on a Roman cross.

In Scott McKnight’s book, “A Community Called Atonement: Living Theology“, he argues quite persuasively for a more comprehensive and varied understanding of the atoning work of Jesus. Scott begins his exploration and explanation of the atonement by likening the various New Testament atonement metaphors to the many golf-clubs that are needed in playing a good game of Golf. He says if we were to only use one club/metaphor for an exhaustive explanation of what is happening with Jesus going to the cross then we will be playing a very poor game of golf.

Scott explores the proper understanding or Metaphors; the reality to which they point as well as a metaphors limits . He explores the question, “What did Jesus think of his death?”  He gives good summary of the main atonement metaphor categories: Identification for Incorporation, Recapitulation, Ransom/Christus Victor, Satisfaction, Substituion, Representation, Penal Substitution.  I feel that Scott McKnight has done us all a great service by  framing the atonement in the manner that he has. Thank you. : )

 

Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” Newsweek Interview

Check out Rob Bell’s latest interview about his new book “Love Wins”
.

Watch live streaming video from lovewins at livestream.com

Rob Bell Video: Love Wins

Rob Bell has a new book that is coming out at the end of March, and already many are judging the book by its cover. I have to admit Bell is quite provocative at times, as can be seen in this short promotional video for his new book, “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.

Click here to watch it on You Tube.

I found out about the Bell’s new book only last week and decided to make my first blog entry here at Reading Theology about my plans to read and review the book as soon as it comes out without realizing what a buzz it would be on the Christian Blogosphere. It seems many are quick on the draw to declare Bell’s heretic status; a forgone conclusion before actually reading the book.

It appears one of the first to get the ball rolling was Justin Taylor at the Gospel Coalition. He started making many conclusions without having read the book. John Piper then tweeted @John Piper: Farewell Rob Bell. And then Piper followed up by linking to Justin’s Article.

To show you how big this past weeks events have become, consider that CNN is also reporting on it on their Belief Blog. Jason Boyett has an interesting perspective on this whole series of events. You can read Jason’s thoughts at Beliefnet.

You can visit Rob’s website at robbell.com to here it straight from the horses mouth. If you regard the testimony of either Greg Boyd or Eugene Peterson, then I ought to mention that they each contributed an endorsement for Rob Bell’s upcoming book.

“In the current religious climate in America, it isn’t easy to develop an imagination, a thoroughly biblical imagination, that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ in all people and all circumstances in love and for salvation. Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination. Love Wins accomplishes this without a trace of soft sentimentality and without compromising an inch of evangelical conviction in its proclamation of the good news that is most truly for all.”
– Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, and author of The Message and The Pastor

“Love Wins is a bold, prophetic and poetic masterpiece. I don’t know any writer who expresses the inexpressible love of God as powerfully and as beautifully as Rob Bell! Many will disagree with some of Rob’s perspectives, but no one who seriously engages this book will put it down unchanged. A ‘must read’ book!”
– Greg Boyd, senior pastor at Woodland Hills Church and author of The Myth of a Christian Nation

As I said in my post from last week. I am looking forward to Rob Bell’s new book. I will read it and THEN review it here on Reading Theology. Hope this is helpful! -Grace and Peace : )

The New Testament and the People of God

“The New Testament and the People of God” is the first of scholar N.T. Wright’s “Christian Origins and the Question of GodScholar N.T. Wright Historical Jesus Third Quest” series. In the NTPG Wright gives attention to detail, connecting all the dots to all your questions you’ve always wanted answered. The first 3rd of the book is necessary to give the basic philosophy and scope to his sketch of the historical Jesus. He lays out the historical background leading up to the 1st Century. He discusses the contrasting hopes and beliefs of the various Judaism’s on the scene at the time of Jesus.

He also gives insightful understanding to apocalyptic literature. He discusses the inter-testamental literature and and its influence upon the hopes and anticipations of those various Judaism’s as well. This is an excellent book, recommended to any one trying to understand the historical Jesus of Nazareth.


The Silas Diary: Gene Edwards

Gene Edwards has written a great series of books of which The Silas Diary (First-Century Diaries)
is the first. By the end of this book series you will have gone  along with the apostle Paul on his missionary journeys. When the last of the diaries are told you have read all of Paul’s letters which are now apart of the N.T. These books are great tools for exploring the likely history of the early church and placing Paul’s letters in a contextual backdrop which really helps give them a 3rd dimension of understanding.