A Better Atonement

Tony Jones‘ latest book is actually a collection of recent blog posts in which he discusses theories of atonement, that is, how we as humans are reconciled with God. The eBook brings all of these relevant posts together along with some new matierial.

In this book, you’ll find three sections. First, a discussion of the doctrine of original sin and why we should reject this. Second, a defense of an actual bodily death and resurrection of Jesus. Lastly, Tony takes a tour of several historical theories of atonement, discussing each in turn before suggesting his preferred theory.

I appreciate that he includes “a caveat: It must be noted… that atonement is not, nor has ever been, a topic of Christian orthodoxy.” Pointing out that none of the ecumenical councils dealt with atonement to clarify proper understanding and thereby not limiting the Christian faith to a single interpretation.

I have spent a fair amount of time in recent months studying atonement to resolve issues I have been thinking about. If you have questioned the theology or the rationale of the mainstream western belief in penal substitution I would highly recommend picking up this book. Right now it will only set you back $2.99 and if you have an Amazon Prime membership you can borrow it for free.


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2 Comments on “A Better Atonement”

  1. Ben Says:

    I’ll be interested to read his arguments against original sin and penal substitution. Those two things are at the center of Gospel proclamation at many pulpits today… and (as of right now) I still hold to both. That said, I don’t think that penal substitution is necessarily the exclusive or primary interpretation… and it has often been overemphasized and misunderstood. I heard Roger Olson say (on Homebrewed Christianity I think), “the message of penal substitution is that ‘love wins.'” (Problem is, this is what gets heard: you are a horrible person and God killed his son so he wouldn’t have to kill you).

    One other comment: dumping original sin sure changes the conversation regarding the historicity of Adam, doesn’t it?

    Nice post…. Keep ’em coming!

    • emergingjim Says:

      I don’t recall him writing specifically for or against the historicity of Adam and Eve which leaves the impression that he doesn’t. What he really gets at though is whether or not the condition of sin is a trait that is passed from parent to child throughout the human race.


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