I am a professor and I profess the Gospel of Peace. In our peace and justice issues class we have been going through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in order to lay a theological foundation for exploring various peace and justice issues that confront us in our world today. Yesterday we talked about Jesus’ atonement and how some views are more helpful than others in providing the basis for examining social justice issues. I began and ended with long quotes; here they are for the benefit of students and readers.
“The most helpful discussions of the meaning of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus are those that open it up, highlighting the mystery and fostering wonder before the inexpressible. Many of us grew up with a simple, clear teaching on the atonement that explained just what was going on between God and the world in Jesus’ death on the cross. When one begins to glimpse that what took place on the cross was not some legal transaction but a mystery of love, one can appreciate why the language, models, and metaphors found in the New Testament are so varied. All attempts to describe the indescribable are inadequate, but each makes its contribution.”
“One big problem with many ways of thinking about Christian theology is that they allow us to focus only on beliefs, only on doctrines, only on what we say we believe. This is why it has been possible for so many Christians over the years to proclaim our belief in Jesus as savior while at the same time fighting wars, owning slaves, abusing our children, and destroying the earth. Problematic doctrinal beliefs have taken the place of Jesus’ own life and message in the hierarchy of convictions for many Christians.”