Yet another perspective on atonement

This one’s from Clark Williamson, whose work I’m a fan of. The article is called “Atonement Theologies and the Cross.” Williamson surveys some of the main atonement theories and defends a semi-Abelardian view by way of Luther and with a tip of the hat to Girard and process theology. He emphasizes that the cross is the revelation of God’s unchangeable love for us and God’s identification with a suffering creation. Personally, I have always found this to be the most devotionally meaningful way of looking at the cross, even though I recognize intellectually that there’s something to be said for other perspectives.

I don’t agree with everything in the article, but he makes a strong case and identifies some important questions we need to ask when thinking about this. For example, does Jesus constitute our reconciliation with God “such that we cannot be reconciled to God without him,” or does he “disclose to us that we have always been reconciled to God?” And does our atonement theology “place a foundational act of violence at the center of Christian ideas of salvation”? Williamson maintains that our atonement theory will depend in large part on what we are willing or unwilling to affirm about God. Worth a read.

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