Posted tagged ‘salvation’

A Better Atonement

March 25, 2012

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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Who is Jesus?

November 6, 2009

Who do you believe Jesus is? Is there a right answer? When asked, Peter declares Jesus to be the son of God. Ok, most churches acknowledge that but they are still divided further. I am aware of at least seven different theological ideas of Jesus. Each one has a slightly (or sometimes hugely) different focus on the life and work of Jesus as well as how he saves the world. In America we largely hold the conservative protestant view that Jesus saved through his death on the cross. Other well-established Christian faiths, however, teach that the resurrection alone was the saving work. Some teach that it was Jesus’ incarnation and entry to the physical world that allowed salvation.

Brennan Manning asks, “How would you describe the Christ who is the still point of a turning world for so many people…?” I think that our description constantly changes as we grow and I wonder, if it does not change maybe that is an indication that we are not growing.

Personally, I would love to be able to understand more about how others see and understand Jesus. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how a church can reach out to other denominations within Christendom and, possibly more important, to those of other faiths. How can we reach out, not for the purpose of conversion but to partner as fellow faith-groups to help our community. How powerful could that be?

Heaven, Hell, & the Road to Get There…

August 15, 2009

I’ve been thinking a lot for several years about this but moreso in the last couple of months. I haven’t had much time to write lately but hopefully that will change.

Let me say that I believe completly in the saving work of Jesus’ death and resurection. Without that our faith is hopeless. Do you ever wonder if the father of the prodigal son spent all those years waiting patiently at the gate for the return of his son? I suspect that he spent his fair time fuming about the whole situation. That is, until he saw his son walk in, then his heart melted and he embraced him. I wonder why, then, we think that when we return to our father in heaven (who is much more perfect than any earthly father) he will snub some and send them away even if they have squandered their gifts.

I am not advocating a universalist theology, rather why would God not extend the offer of forgiveness to those facing judgement alone? I am reminded of Thomas. Jesus was gracious with him, showing him the proof he needed to see but also careful to praise those who believe without seeing. Is there real Biblical support of the snub position? I can think of a few things that might be offered as such and plan to review some of those soon.

If you have thoughts in the meantime please comment.