Today is finally here! After years of work, The Cross in Context: Reconsidering Biblical Metaphors of the Atonement is officially released!! (This is the second book I’m releasing this fall. Seek the face of God was published in September.)
To introduce you to the book, I should post an excerpt adapted from the Introduction. Please share the news with others!
Three objectives of this book
The cross in context has three interconnected objectives.
First of all, he tries to keep the unity of the church. It is common to compare the doctrine of the atonement to a multi-faceted diamond. The atoning work of Christ abounds in meaning. His wealth is incalculable. Nevertheless, Christians too often feel compelled to emphasize one aspect of the atonement over another. In doing so, a “theological team” is chosen. Debates over the “most central” or “most fundamental” theory of the atonement have long divided Christians.
While some authors attempt to mediate such debates, their explanations could perpetuate the problem. Theologians assume the validity of conventional and systematic theories of the atonement. They do not always sufficiently interact with or incorporate the wealth of knowledge provided by biblical scholars. These systematic treatises focus more on philosophical assumptions than on the inherent logic of the biblical narrative and its metaphors. Although many authors acknowledge the partial truth of various historical theories, their treatments always lead readers to favor one theory over another.
Some debates refuse to die. Pilate killed Jesus, but we theologians sacrifice the atonement.
A second objective is theological. In light of these differences, this book seeks to add clarity and cohesion amid the jumble of theories. It shows how biblical authors harmonize the various metaphors of atonement that cover the canon. As a result, readers will not pit one set of biblical texts against another. This broader perspective of Christ’s Atonement is both humble and hopeful. It can quiet the cackling and rattling that stifles true dialogue among Christians. It helps to reconcile theological camps and allows us to interpret the Bible more faithfully.
Third, this book helps readers contextualize the Bible’s teaching about the atonement.. It equips the church to explain the gospel of salvation in a meaningful way in various cultural contexts. Additionally, this volume lays the foundation for practitioners to better understand how the atonement affects various aspects of life.
An important result arises from this study. He highlights several ways in which honor and shame shape biblical passages that speak of atonement. These observations provide a more solid view of the work of Christ through the cross and open up new applications for the church.
Are we rejecting or reconciling theories?
Atonement is central to Christianity. Despite this fact, or perhaps even because of it, the atonement remains a persistent source of contention among theologians. For centuries, writers have offered theories to explain the meaning of Christ’s death. Scholars take sides in the debate whenever they defend their preferred view of Christ’s Atonement. Systematic theologians catalog an array of biblical texts to highlight the higher logic of their theological point of view.
Several recent books take a more accommodating approach. They focus on demonstrating how competing theories can coexist. Accordingly, the authors emphasize that popular theories, such as penal substitution and Christus Victor, are complementary and not mutually exclusive. Yet even in such cases, readers may invariably conclude that a theory is more “fundamental” or “central” to the doctrine. Accordingly, theologians create a hierarchy of atonement theories based on the logic of countless hidden assumptions.
Much of the literature that exists regarding the atonement is inaccessible to non-specialists. Most readers don’t have enough time or experience to grasp the nuanced arguments found in Bible study journals. Moreover, there is a discontinuity between the way many Old Testament scholars describe the atonement in the Pentateuch, for example, and the treatments provided by systematic theologians, who synthesize texts from disparate contexts to construct a theology of atonement.
Many hail the move away from atonement debates; however, both / and solutions are inadequate unless we can explain How? ‘Or’ What the Bible integrates the various aspects of Christ’s atonement. A new approach is needed.
In this book, I propose a way to reconcile popular theories of atonement that sometimes seem to conflict or at least have tension. To do this, we will consider the influence of context on our understanding of the atonement. The biblical narrative uses several metaphors that help us find the intersection of the biblical text with contemporary contexts. The biblical account has an inherent logic that gets lost amid endless theoretical debates.
You want to know more ? Go pre-order now and spread the word with others. Thanks!!
 This post adapts part of the introduction to The cross in context (IVP, 2022).