Thursday, August 18, 2016

A review of the new book The Atonement of God

A review of the new book The Atonement of God - Building your Theology on a crucifixion of God, by JD Myers.

I have always struggled with the Savior attributes assigned to Jesus. Not rejecting the mainline theology being taught or espoused in most major denominations as a child, or even as an adult now, but always questioning. Overall I have never felt that emotional response to Jesus many in the Southern Baptist traditions have had, or that "time and date" being saved thing.  I grew up knowing the story, grew up in the church, I did not have to "accept Jesus into my heart" as they say because I was always aware of Him/God. Like air, no reason to acknowledge the obvious or make a big deal out of it.

I have found on my journey that others also feel this way, and its moreso now than it was some years ago.  Many taboo topics in religion are now super popular to discuss and right books about. Its hard in the religious south to talk about such things before because, pick your response "God is Soveriegn", "Omnipotent", etc. Which means of course they don't have the answers to its the default response and do not question it.

 So when I saw this book being offered that talks about the theology being built around the crucifixion, I bit on it.

I'm not going to give away the arguments of the book for you. I think you have to discover these things for yourself.  But J.D. Myers covers Three Common Views of the Atonement, which tend to overlap some, Penal Substitution Theory, Ransom view, and Moral Influence. He touches on these briefly and kind of goes into the questions behind the logic, or lack thereof , of each one.

Myers uses the terminology The Non-Violent View of the Atonement (I know, a little lack luster there) to describe, discuss and put forth his view of what the crucifixion means/meant to both the early church and to us today.  I'm not going into it but he uses a majority of the book to discuss it. I'm not certain I agree with it all so much, but its a different take.  If you get the book and read it he goes into a bit, for me, a far fetched interpretation of the whole Cain & Able thing ... and how it relates. I think its a stretch, but its not my book!

Its conversational in tone. He isn't heady (which I was thinking it might be a bit more of), but he uses quite a bit of quotes up front from CS Lewis who is a mainstay in Christianity to Walter Wink who stands on the very edge of the left side of the field theologically speaking.

I would say its an interesting read for a discussion starter. ~npp