Over the centuries the church developed a number of metaphors, such as penal substitution or the ransom theory, to speak about Christ's death on the cross and the theological concept of the atonement. Yet too often, says Scot McKnight, Christians have held to the supremacy of one metaphor over against the others, to their detriment. He argues instead that to plumb the rich theological depths of the atonement, we must consider all the metaphors of atonement and ask whether they each serve a larger purpose.
A Community Called Atonement is a constructive theology that not only values the church's atonement metaphors but also asserts that the atonement fundamentally shapes the life of the Christian and of the church. That is, Christ identifies with humans to call us into a community that reflects God's love (the church)--but that community then has the responsibility to offer God's love to others through missional practices of justice and fellowship, living out its life together as the story of God's reconciliation. Scot McKnight thus offers an accessible, thought-provoking theology of atonement that engages the concerns of those in the emerging church conversation and will be of interest to all those in the church and academy who are listening in.
An Emerging View of Atonement
By Michael P. Clawson - December 11, 2007
I have to say that this book is an excellent start to Abingdon Press and Emergent Village's new "Living Theology" line. The did well to tap Scot McKnight to kick it off. Scot's main point throughout the whole book can be summed up by his use of the golf club metaphor. He describes atonement theories as golf clubs, and suggests that just as you wouldn't want to use only one club on the golf course for any and every situation, we likewise shouldn't limit ourselves to only one way to understand the significance of the atonement. He suggests that different atonement theories (e.g. recapitulation, Christus Victor, satisfaction, representation, penal substitution, etc.) are useful for answering different theological questions - for instance all the multiple ways that we are oppressed by sin. He points out that how we think the atonement solves the "problem" depends very much on what we think the problem is in the first place, and that if the problem is multifaceted, then it makes sense that... read more
By Joshua D. Brown "www.iamjoshbrown.com/blog" - November 20, 2007
So for those who aren't in my "white suburban men who like to sit around and talk about theology circle", you may not be familiar with a rather excellent blogger and every-man theologian, Scot McKnight. You don't get the title of being the most read "emerging church" person without being a well respected bloke with a moderate, generous voice. So when Emergent launched their new line of applicable theology books, Scot McKnight got the chance to articulate the church emerging's diversity of thought on the topic of the atonement.
The topic of the atonement has become somewhat of a flash point over the last few years among conservative evangelical leaders who critique (unfairly) "emergent-types" of being heretics because some are not as passionate about the penal substitutionary atonement being the only metaphor used when thinking about the life (meaning of) and death (purpose of) Christ. Much of this critique coming from the conservative camp centers on Steve Chalke's seminal... read more
Brilliant Overview of the Atonement
By Jonathan Pedrone - March 10, 2008
Scot McKnight is slowly finding his way to the top of reading lists for many interested in theology, and rightly so [he is quickly gaining ground on my reading list]. "A Community Called Atonement" is both a sweeping overview of the divergent theories of atonement, and a proposal for bringing the divergent views of atonement under a single umbrella of Christ's redeeming work in the world to restore cracked Eikons.
The atonement has too often been squeezed into a one size, one theory fits all box. Often times that box is determined by our denominational influence. McKnight points out that many atonement theories are seriously deficient because they lack any consideration or interaction with Christ's teaching of the Kingdom of God.
"Atonement theories have been shaped by the history of atonement theories, and that history has been dominated by Paul's letter to the Romans so one-sidedly that opening the door to the kingdom upsets the entire conversation." [Page... read more
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