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A Better Atonement: Beyond the Depraved Doctrine of Original Sin Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Length: 46 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


"A Better Atonement should be required reading for all western Christians. Brief, clean in its line of argument, and engaging in its style of presentation, it carefully and faithfully takes on one of the -- if not the -- central questions in Christian conversation today." -Phyllis Tickle, author of Emergence Christianity

From the Author

For a long time, I've felt uncomfortable with the conventional ways that many Christians understand the atonement -- that is, why Jesus died on the cross. Or, more accurately, what was accomplished when Jesus died on the cross. The most common understanding of the atonement stems from the early church doctrine of "original sin," which I take to be a wholly unbiblical doctrine. In other words, our common view of the atonement is a solution in search of a problem -- the tail wagging the dog.
So, I went in search of other ways to understand the atonement. This book is what I found. It's an easy read, written in a way that anyone can understand. I hope it will be helpful to you, as it has been to me, to understand the power of the crucifixion and resurrection.

Product Details

  • File Size: 226 KB
  • Print Length: 46 pages
  • Publisher: The JoPa Group (March 18, 2012)
  • Publication Date: March 18, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007MD0AK8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,998 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Tony Jones (M.Div., Ph.D.) is a theologian, professor, and writer. His most recent book is, DID GOD KILL JESUS? SEARCHING FOR LOVE IN HISTORY'S MOST FAMOUS EXECUTION. Currently, he serves as theologian-in-residence at Solomon's Porch in Minneapolis, and teaches at Fuller Theological Seminary and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. Tony has written a dozen books on Christian ministry, spirituality, prayer, and new church movements. He lives in Minnesota with his wife, kids, and dogs.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Off and on over the last past few years I have been thinking about the different metaphors used in the Bible to describe why Jesus came to walk among humanity, died, rose again and etc. (the fancy theological word for this is the "atonement"). Interestingly enough I'm not the only person thinking about this issue as modern Jesus followers re-discover of the mystery of the atonement. Folks such as N.T. Wright, Scot McKnight, John Piper, Al Mohler and Brian McLaren are all offering their opinions on the subject - not to mention those from the mainline Protestant churches, Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Roman Catholic Church.

A big part of the reason why the atonement is such a big deal today is due to the increasing rift between neo- Calvinists evangelicals (John Piper, Al Mohler et al.) and the progressive evangelicals (N.T. Wright, Roger Olson, et al.). Add to this fire the growth of post-modern and post-post-modern Jesus followers who are looking at Christianity through different glasses/worldviews than their predecessor (Brian McLaren, David Fitch, Scot McKnight, et al.).

Knowing all this, I have every excited when I heard that Tony Jones had published an ebook on the atonement, "A Better Atonement: Beyond the Depraved Doctrine of Original Sin". Tony, for those who don't know, was a driving force in the emerging church movement of the past few decades and the author of the book The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
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For someone brought up in a fundamentalist church who has been struggling to move back into a relationship with Jesus against the odds there are many barriers, social, ethical and doctrinal. One of those barriers for me has been the doctrines of original sin and the atonement theory as taught to me. This book was very helpfully in providing a number of alternatives to the penal substitutionary theory of the atonement. While only one was new to me, I loved having them laid out side by side in such a clear way. This short book is a great resource for those of us non-theologians struggling to make fresh sense of our faith.
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"A Better Atonement" deals with three issues: 1) Tony's argument against the merits of Original Sin; 2) A review of the standard theories of atonement; 3) A brief offering of a "better atonement."

This ebook is meant for folks who have yet to explore a theology that doesn't begin and end with Original Sin and Penal Substitution Atonement theory. Tony does an adequate job of offering an Orthodox (Eastern that is) theological understanding that begins not with the Fall, but with the Triune God of love. Tony shows that there is a different, ancient, and orthodox starting place to think about the Atonement that differs from the "Four Spiritual Laws."

I wish Tony would have carried out the Orthodox understanding a bit more, and perhaps added some Barth or T. F. Torrance to support his arguments for "A Better Atonement." However, this is a good basic text regarding the doctrines of Original Sin, the Atonement, and Trinitarian theology. It would be great for a Bible study, Sunday School class, or one's personal theological library.
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Jones does a great job unpacking some traditional and contemporary views on the atonement and leaves plenty of room for the reader to harmonize ideas together. Whereas Original Sin, as defined by Jones in his first section, passes guilt of sin onto us making humans the object of God's wrath, Tony's revealed preference (over against Original Sin) is to see humans more as victims of a "godforsaken" experience (implicitly inherited from Adam) into which Christ enters incarnationally, bringing redemption through God's solidarity with people in their most godforsaken places.

This view, the "Solidarity theory," is in harmony with the theology of Jurgen Molmann (perhaps most exclusively), but I can think of a few other theologians who speak to it as well. Most notably, I'd say, N.T. Wright, who I'd usually pin as a Christus Victor guy, makes clear arguments for the "solidarity model" (I'm thinking of quotes from his book Christians at the Cross).

In his support for the Solidarity theory, Jones is totally speaking my language. And, as he allows, there's room for synchronization among various theories. For example, though Jones sees no real personal need for the Christus Victor model, presupposing a dependence on a specific "demonology," I see no need for such a presupposition. Christ's victory over powers and principalities needs not be cast in a demonological framework in order for it to have relevance. Cast it somewhere closer to home; perhaps in political, economic, and social realms (and there is a demonic quality to the injustices and dehumanization which occur in those realms as well). The curse of sin, that under which humans have been oppressed (call it godforsakenness or whatever), does it's worst to us all the time.
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