Recovering the Scandal of the Cross: Atonement in New Testament and Contemporary Contexts

Recovering the Scandal of the Cross: Atonement in New Testament and Contemporary Contexts

by Joel B. Green
     
 

The cross is the defining symbol of the Christian faith. Yet the Roman cross was first and foremost an instrument of cruel, shameful and violent execution. Early Christians quickly recognized the atoning significance of the cross of Christ, and it resonated deeply with their experience of salvation. But the cross remained a blessing framed by scandal, an epochal

Overview

The cross is the defining symbol of the Christian faith. Yet the Roman cross was first and foremost an instrument of cruel, shameful and violent execution. Early Christians quickly recognized the atoning significance of the cross of Christ, and it resonated deeply with their experience of salvation. But the cross remained a blessing framed by scandal, an epochal and yet mysterious event irreducible to a single formulation.

As Joel Green and Mark Baker demonstrate, the New Testament displays a rich array of interpretations of the cross. These were shaped by the church in mission as it rooted the saving story of a scandalous cross in the language of everyday realities and relationships. But for many Christians today, not only has the true scandal of the cross been obscured, the variety of its New Testament interpretations have been reduced to subpoints in a single, controlling view of the atonement. Tragically, the way in which the atonement is frequently and popularly expressed now poses a new scandal, one that is foreign to the New Testament and poses needless obstacles to twenty-first century peoples and cultures.

At the heart of this book is a challenge for us to view afresh the variety of contextual understandings of the death of Christ in the New Testament and to reconsider how we can faithfully communicate with fresh models the atoning significance of the cross for specific contexts today. The authors explore how the atonement has been understood within a variety of contemporary contexts—both Western and non-Western—and show how we can enter into the thoroughly Christian mission of restating the saving scandal of the cross in our multicultural world of the twenty-first century.

Editorial Reviews

Stephen Travis
"Joel Green and Mark Baker offer a richly-textured interpretation which does justice both to the variety of models of atonement in the Bible and to the varieties of postmodern culture. This is thought-provoking theology for a mission context."
Roger E. Olson
"In the second edition of Recovering the Scandal of the Cross, Baker and Green continue the important conversation about the doctrine of the atonement by responding to new proposals and to critics of the book's first edition. . . . Most helpful is their insightful treatment of non-Western views of the cross which pushes forward evangelical attempts at cultural contextualization without sheer accommodation. Everyone interested in cutting-edge theological thinking about the atonement must read this second edition."
Frances S. Adeney
"By focusing on the importance of narrative context, language and metaphor, this book recaptures some of the mystery and complexity of New Testament views of atonement. Besides engaging recent debates on the salvific meaning of the crucifixion, this revised edition surveys New Testament, historical, and contemporary models of the atonement, revealing unintended side effects of a contemporary model of penal satisfaction. Scholars and pastors will gain from the insights of this clear and well-researched study—one that shows the necessity of doing theology that relates to the mission of the church in every context and generation."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780830815715
Publisher:
InterVarsity Press
Publication date:
08/28/2000
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Related Subjects

What People are saying about this

Frances S. Adeney
"By focusing on the importance of narrative context, language and metaphor, this book recaptures some of the mystery and complexity of New Testament views of atonement. Besides engaging recent debates on the salvific meaning of the crucifixion, this revised edition surveys New Testament, historical, and contemporary models of the atonement, revealing unintended side effects of a contemporary model of penal satisfaction. Scholars and pastors will gain from the insights of this clear and well-researched study--one that shows the necessity of doing theology that relates to the mission of the church in every context and generation."
Frances S. Adeney, William A. Benfield Jr. Professor of Evangelism and Global Mission, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Stephen Travis
"Joel Green and Mark Baker offer a richly-textured interpretation which does justice both to the variety of models of atonement in the Bible and to the varieties of postmodern culture. This is thought-provoking theology for a mission context."
Stephen Travis, formerly Vice-Principal of St. John's College, Nottingham UK
Roger E. Olson
"In the second edition of Recovering the Scandal of the Cross, Baker and Green continue the important conversation about the doctrine of the atonement by responding to new proposals and to critics of the book's first edition. . . . Most helpful is their insightful treatment of non-Western views of the cross which pushes forward evangelical attempts at cultural contextualization without sheer accommodation. Everyone interested in cutting-edge theological thinking about the atonement must read this second edition."
Roger E. Olson, professor of theology, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

Meet the Author

Joel B. Green (B.S., M.Th., Ph.D.) is professor of New Testament interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary. He was vice president of academic affairs, provost and professor of New Testament interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Prior to his appointment at Asbury in 1997, he was associate professor of New Testament at the American Baptist Seminary of the West/Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.
His books include What about the Soul? Neuroscience and Christian Anthropology (Abingdon, 2004); Narrative Reading, Narrative Preaching: The Recovery of Narrative and Preaching the New Testament (Baker, 2003); Salvation (Chalice, 2003); Introducing the New Testament: Its Literature and Theology (with Paul Achtemeier and Marianne Meye Thompson, 2001); Beginning with Jesus: Christ in Scripture, the Church and Discipleship (2000); Recovering the Scandal of the Cross: Atonement in New Testament and Contemporary Contexts (with Mark Baker, 2000); Between Two Horizons: Spanning New Testament Studies and Systematic Theology (with Max Turner, 2000) and The Gospel of Luke in the New International Commentary on the New Testament (1997).
For over 20 years, Green has been the editor of Catalyst, a journal providing evangelical resources and perspectives to United Methodist seminarians. An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, he has pastored churches in Texas, Scotland and Northern California. He has also served on the boards of Berkeley Emergency Food and Housing Project, and RADIX magazine.

Baker earned his Ph.D. in theology and ethics from Duke University. A theologian and Mennonite missionary, he has observed and ministered to the church in Honduras for ten years. Currently, Baker serves as associate professor of mission and theology at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary in Fresno, California.

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