Fuller Atonement Conference

Rich Mouw, President of Fuller Seminary and notable theologian, hosted four professors at a conference on the atonement — the issues continue to swirl around atonement. The four speakers were Daniel Kirk, Leanne Van Dyk, Vince Bacote and me. Besides being on Fuller’s marvelous seminary and seeing friends — like David Moore and Kurt Fredrickson — it was a special opportunity to put together some ideas I’ve been pondering on atonement. So here are the six theses I developed in the lecture, but they do not add up — nor did I suggest so — to a full theory of atonement. I have published more complete presentations (Jesus and His Death, A Community called Atonement), but this was just some theses for the conversation:

Thesis #1: Atonement in the Old Testament does not get one into the covenant but instead is the way the elect maintain their relationship with YHWH.

Thesis #2: Atonement did not drive the conversations of Jesus.

Thesis #3: Atonement did not drive the gospel tradition or the gospel sermons in the Book of Acts.

Thesis #4: No atonement theory is central.

Thesis #5: American evangelicalism’s populist gospel is not only driven by an atonement theory but it requires that atonement theory to create the experience it considers valid. That atonement theory is penal substitution.

Thesis #6: Atonement theory must fit into the Bible’s fundamental Story.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://relevancy22@blogspot.com Russ

    Scott, is there a link to hear this series over the Internet? Thx.

  • James Petticrew

    This has huge implications for evangelicalism and it’s self understanding, If we go with David Bebbington’s definition of evangelicalism which includes a focus on the cross and conversion. Do you think Evangelicalism as it currently exists could survive this change in thinking about the atonement?

  • jon

    The folks at Fuller said they would be posting the whole conversation on their Vimeo page – it’s not up yet but you can keep an eye out for it here: http://vimeo.com/fullerseminary

  • MikeK

    Sorry I missed you last week; there’s only so much one can do. Plus attending the annual Missiology Lectures from your buddy Soong-Chan Rah were required for us…btw, what’s up with the NPTS invasion? :D


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