Instead Of Atonement Chapter 12: Conclusion: Is There An Atonement Model in this Story?

“For many Christians, the ‘biblical view’ of salvation centers on Jesus’s death. The doctrine of salvation (‘soteriology’) is defined in terms of how Jesus’s death makes salvation possible. It is linked closely with atonement, which is commonly defined as ‘how Christ accomplished our justification (i.e. being found just or righteous before God) through his sacrifice on the cross. I have attempted in this book to show that the Bible’s portrayal of salvation actually does not focus on Jesus’s death as the basis for reconciliation of humanity with God.” (AK location 6523)

“I argue that the biblical story of salvation portrays God as reaching out to human beings with mercy. The God of the Bible responds to human brokeness, violence, and sinfulness with healing love. In telling the salvation story in this way, the Bible refutes the logic of retribution.” (AK location 6535)

The basic argument starting at AK location 6546

“The point of the consequences is not punishment, nor is it that God is unable to forgive without the scale of justice being balanced. Rather, the consequences remind people that wholeness requires harmony with the God of the universe. The consequences themselves point toward God’s healing love that must be trusted in for it to heal.” (AK location 6591)

“Jesus’s death reveals the logic of retribution to be the tool of evil, not the God-ordained rule of the universe.” (AK location 6623)

“The differences between the Bible’s salvation story and atonement theology are significant enough to conclude that we do not find an atonement model in this story.” (AK location 6668)

“As David Brandos concludes, ‘Jesus’s death may have been seen as the center and starting point’ of traditional atonement theology. However, for the Bible ‘what was redemptive was the whole story, that is, all the events making up that story; the cross was redemptive only to the extent that it formed a part of that story.’ (AK location 6668)

Starting at AK location 6695, Grimsrud addresses some of the violence that is in fact in the Bible. He asks, “How should one who reads the Bible in light of the way of Jesus best understand these materials?”

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