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Faith & Religion

Atonement questions

Maggi’s recent posting maggi dawn: Chalke-gate commenting on the atonement raises some good points.

In reading it I started to think why is it that we don’t talk about it or think more deeply about the atonement in our communities? Is it the subject we’re too afraid to touch on for there’s too much emotional investment in it? What happens in our churches if someone asks for nuances or details of the inherited understanding? What aspects of the atonement are lost or downplayed?

My understanding of theology and church history reminds me that models of the atonement are often shaped by the culture that they are articulated in. That each tries to grasp an aspect of the atonement that helps make sense of the world around us. And not only that but those models give hope to those within the culture of the day.

A helpful overview of atonement models discussed within the context of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” can be found here: Martin Sutherland’s Understanding Atonement. in Reality Magazine – Issue 62.

1 Comment

  1. Mate, I don’t think we do much theologising at congregational level…look at the titles of many sermons / Sunday themes. More often than not they’re either self-help, therapeutic, or expositional with no significant focus on the big hermeneutical questions (cultural engagement / “so-what” kinds of questions)raised by such things as the atonement. You easily name a whole raft of Christian “doctrines” which are not addressed in any meaningful way, and in many regards their absence (and a real focus on their everyday implications and practicalities) has made congregational life, missional praxis, and discipleship the weaker….sorry for the rant.

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