Wednesday, February 27, 2008

An Atonement that Works

So this is insider Jesus language, but does the atonement "work"?
In other words, does it really change people? And if so, how?
Do people become more loving? More forgiving? More committed to working for justice (distributive justice--not retributive justice) in the world? Are they better neighbors? Automatically? Over time? By reciting some creedal statement?

These are the opening questions in Scot McKnight's book: A Community Called Atonement.

Some friends are discussing it on Josh Kleinfeld's blog (join the discussion here.).
Here's a great quote from the first chapter that I couldn't agree with more.

"I teach a generation of students that believes the credibility of the Christian faith is determined by claiming a confident (if humble) "Yes!" to each of those questions. This generation is tired of an old-fashioned atonement that does not make a difference, of an old-fashioned atonement theology that is for individual spiritual formation but not for ecclesial re-formation, and of an old-fashioned atonement theology that does not reconcile humans with humans...They believe atonement ought to make a difference in the here and now. Christians, they say, aren't perfect but they ought to be different--at least they ought to be if the atonement

I'm excited about the discussion.

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