Instead of Atonement: The Bible's Salvation Story and Our Hope for Wholeness

Instead of Atonement: The Bible's Salvation Story and Our Hope for Wholeness

by Ted Grimsrud

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Overview

Description:
Do atonement theologies that focus on Jesus' death underwrite human violence? If so, we do well to rethink beliefs that this death is necessary to bring salvation. Focusing on the Bible's salvation story, Instead of Atonement argues for a logic of mercy to replace Christianity's traditional logic of retribution.

The book traces the Bible's main salvation story through God's liberating acts, the testimony of the prophets, and Jesus's life and teaching. It then takes a closer look at Jesus's death and argues that his death gains its meaning when it exposes violence in the cultural, religious, and political Powers. God's raising of Jesus completes the story and vindicates Jesus's life and teaching.

The book also examines the understandings of salvation in Romans and Revelation that reinforce the message that salvation is a gift of God and that Jesus's "work" has to do with his faithful life, his resistance to the Powers, and God's vindication of him through resurrection.

The book concludes that the "Bible's salvation story" provides a different way, instead of atonement, to understand salvation. In turn, this biblical understanding gives us today theological resources for a mercy-oriented approach to responding to wrongdoing, one that follows God's own model.


Endorsements:
"Against the assumption that Torah and the Prophets display a God of retribution, Grimsrud shows both picture God as merciful. Rather than dying because God demanded retribution for sin, Jesus died because the powers that opposed him--law, temple, empire--demanded retribution for breaking their rules. Many such challenges to the presumed biblical view of retribution make Instead of Atonement a welcome addition to recent arguments rejecting the prevailing acceptance of divine violence."
--J. Denny Weaver, author of The Nonviolent Atonement

"In the last quarter century, the theology and ethics of retributive justice have come under long-overdue critical scrutiny. Practical experiments in peacemaking and restorative justice are challenging conventional wisdom, animating social imagination, and inspiring radical revisions of traditional atonement soteriology. Ted Grimsrud--one of our most reliable first-world theologians--provides the most concise, readable, and compelling summary to date of the biblical case for the 'turn to restorative justice.' This book will help empower a revolutionary reclamation of a healing Christian faith for our violent times."
--Ched Myers, author of Binding the Strong Man


About the Contributor(s):
Ted Grimsrud is Professor of Theology and Peace Studies at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Among his books are Compassionate Eschatology: The Future as Friend (2011), God's Healing Strategy: An Introduction to the Main Themes of the Bible (2011), Theology as if Jesus Matters (2009), and Embodying the Way of Jesus: Anabaptist Convictions for the Twenty-First Century (2007).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620325025
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 03/28/2013
Pages: 270
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Ted Grimsrud is Professor of Theology and Peace Studies at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Among his books are Compassionate Eschatology: The Future as Friend (2011), God's Healing Strategy: An Introduction to the Main Themes of the Bible (2011), Theology as if Jesus Matters (2009), and Embodying the Way of Jesus: Anabaptist Convictions for the Twenty-First Century (2007).

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Introduction: "Gospel as Bad News"? Violence as a Theological Problem 1

Part 1 The Bible's Salvation Story 23

2 Salvation in the Old Testament: Healing, Law, and Sacrifice 27

3 Guardians for the Way of Wholeness: Salvation in the Prophets 49

4 Jesus's Teaching on Salvation: Believe the Good News 69

Part 2 Jesus's Death and Salvation 89

5 The Death of Jesus 91

6 Jesus's Death and the Powers: Cultural Exclusivism (Law) 111

7 Jesuss Death and the Powers: Religious Exclusivism (Temple) 130

8 Jesus's Death and the Powers: Political Authoritarianism (Empire) 149

9 Jesus Brings Salvation 169

10 God's Saving Justice: Paul on Salvation 186

11 Salvation through Revelation 207

12 Conclusion: Is There an Atonement Model in This Story? 226

Bibliography 243

Author Index 251

Scripture Index 255

Subject Index 265

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