How’s Your Atonement?

Marc Chagall’s “Yellow Crucifixion,” which hung on Jürgen Moltmann’s wall as he wrote The Crucified God.

As you may know, I’m completing a book on the atonement. It’s called Did God Kill Jesus?, and it will be released on March 17, 2015. The first draft of the book is off to the publisher and a few friends for reading. Edits will happen over the next couple months, as will decisions about subtitle, cover, interior design, endorsements, etc. All pretty exciting stuff.

I’m currently teaching a reading seminar, “Theologies of Atonement,” at United Theological Seminary, and still reading and thinking about atonement. And I’m not the only one.

My first foray into wring about the atonement came with my ebook, A Better Atonement, published a couple years ago. Now Jason Micheli has done me the great honor of publishing an accompanying ebook, Preaching A Better Atonement. Therein, Jason lays out some of the versions of atonement in church history and gives sermon illustrations for each. It’s a great resource for Lent and Holy Week, all the proceeds go to the Guatemala Toilet Project, and it can hold you over until next March.

And just think, you can get Jason’s book and my A Better Atonement for less than 5 bucks!

God Is Not Eternal

Writing a book on the atonement is like peeling the layers of an onion. Everything theological dilemma you solve only brings up two more dilemmas. So it was that I needed to write a section in the book on God’s relationship to time, because it seemed to make no sense to talk about God’s relationship to Jesus’ crucifixion unless I could explain God’s relationship to time.

So a couple weeks back, I write a post arguing that God is not outside of time. When he read that, Keith DeRose sent me Nicholas Wolterstorff‘s classic essay, “God Everlasting” (in Contemporary Philosophy of Religion, New York: Oxford, 1982).

In that essay, Wolterstorff argues that God is not eternal, God is everlasting.

His argument proceeds thusly:

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Which Side of the Cross Are You On?

Scot McKnight made an interesting observation this week:

But the Abelardian and Girardian have an oft-missed sinister side, even if you may object to my saying so. In these theories we side with Christ and God and not those who put him to death. We end up being the good guys, the victims, while the bad guys — Roman and Jewish leaders, the gutless disciples, the whole damned human race — are the ones who put him there. We, on the other hand, know better. We’re innocent, they’re guilty.

Being that I’m writing a book on the atonement, this caught my eye. I’ve got chapters in the book on both the moral exemplar theory (Abelard) and the last scapegoat theory (Girard).

Scot is right, and wrong.

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Lay Your Sins on the E-Scapegoat!

We all want our sins atoned, right? On the eve of Yom Kippur, this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen. You can lay your sins on this escapegoat and then watch as your sins are sent out to Azazel, and pushed off the cliff:


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