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Product Details

  • Series: Living Theology (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 177 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (August 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0687645549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0687645541
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"McKnight isn't advocating a mushy `let's all get along' evasion of the issues, which are many and important. But he is seeking to practice what we preach whenever we preach atonement: that God calls us to reconcile with God, ourselves, one another, and all creation. That means that the way we treat one another when we disagree about atonement can't be separated from what we preach when we preach atonement. Theory and praxis are profoundly inseparable. At this critical time in history, I believe we need, not atonement wars (or other kinds of theo-combat), but rather mature and generative conversation on atonement, so we can together go back to the Scriptures and in their light savor the rich meaning of Christ's saving work. A Community Called Atonement joins books by Willard, Boersma, Green, Baker, and others as an excellent and accessible resource for this conversation, informed by both current and historical scholarship." -- ----Brian McLaren (brianmclaren.net) is an author, speaker, and former pastor active in the emergent conversation. His next book, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope, will be released October 2.

"Atonement theology, McKnight rightly insists, cannot operate with only one theory; it needs all of the biblical metaphors and each of the traditional atonement models. They all come together, he points out, in the patristic model of recapitulation--or, as he calls it, identification for incorporation. More than just being gutsy, orthodox, creative, as well as scholarly in character, this book actually atones; it models what it sets out to demonstrate, namely, that the church is summoned to work with God in his atoning work." -- Hans Boersma, J. I. Packer Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology, Regent College

"Few ideas are more central to Christian faith than the doctrine of atonement. And yet for too many atonement is merely that: a doctrine. In A Community Called Atonement, Scot McKnight takes the reader on a compelling, thorough, and creative exploration of the work of Christ and breathes into this doctrine a biblically robust understanding of God's intent for creation in Christ." -- Tim Keel, pastor of Jacob's Well Church and author of Intuitive Leadership: Embracing a Paradigm of Narrative, Metaphor, and Chaos

"It takes a village--or rather, an evangelical catholic community--to communicate everything McKnight wants to say about atonement. Sure both to stimulate imaginations and to raise hackles as it remixes biblical metaphors, integrates doctrine and praxis, and deconstructs one-sided theories of the saving significance of the cross, A Community Called Atonement may well turn out to be a theological manifesto called 'emergent.'" -- Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

About the Author

Scot McKnight is Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University in Chicago.

Customer Reviews

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I first read this book on a plane.
This a complex subject and unlike some other books I've read on the subject, I found McKnight to be clear, concise, and easy to follow.
David Lindsay
McKnight has written a classic book on the theory of the atonement.
Jonathan Pedrone

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. Clawson on December 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have to say that this book is an excellent start to Abingdon Press and Emergent Village's new "Living Theology" line. The did well to tap Scot McKnight to kick it off. Scot's main point throughout the whole book can be summed up by his use of the golf club metaphor. He describes atonement theories as golf clubs, and suggests that just as you wouldn't want to use only one club on the golf course for any and every situation, we likewise shouldn't limit ourselves to only one way to understand the significance of the atonement. He suggests that different atonement theories (e.g. recapitulation, Christus Victor, satisfaction, representation, penal substitution, etc.) are useful for answering different theological questions - for instance all the multiple ways that we are oppressed by sin. He points out that how we think the atonement solves the "problem" depends very much on what we think the problem is in the first place, and that if the problem is multifaceted, then it makes sense that the solution would be as well.

I think this "both/and" approach to atonement theories is a wonderful example of what those of us in the emerging church call "a generous orthodoxy" - in other words, embracing a multiplicity of perspectives and many different traditions of the church rather than defining our theology narrowly and excluding anyone who does not completely agree with us. And I think that Scot, as a theologian that has a foot in both the moderate evangelical world and in the emerging church, is an excellent "bridge" for traditionalists to start exploring broader possibilities while also keeping emergent folks connected to their heritage.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Joshua D. Brown on November 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
So for those who aren't in my "white suburban men who like to sit around and talk about theology circle", you may not be familiar with a rather excellent blogger and every-man theologian, Scot McKnight. You don't get the title of being the most read "emerging church" person without being a well respected bloke with a moderate, generous voice. So when Emergent launched their new line of applicable theology books, Scot McKnight got the chance to articulate the church emerging's diversity of thought on the topic of the atonement.

The topic of the atonement has become somewhat of a flash point over the last few years among conservative evangelical leaders who critique (unfairly) "emergent-types" of being heretics because some are not as passionate about the penal substitutionary atonement being the only metaphor used when thinking about the life (meaning of) and death (purpose of) Christ. Much of this critique coming from the conservative camp centers on Steve Chalke's seminal book The Lost Message of Jesus, in which he argues that the penal substitution is a poor metaphor to use solely and exclusively as a mean of explaining the message of Jesus.

In a nutshell, the penal substitution theory says that the life and death of Jesus was all about, solely, and strictly and related to God's wrath needing to be appeased. So in that vein "God" punished "Jesus" on behalf of "humanity". A common metaphor used was that God had a gun pointing at humanity but God made Jesus stand in front of the gun to take the bullet for us. You may recall Nick & I getting testy over Derek Webb dropping this on us during one of our podcasts. But I digress. Back to the review.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Pedrone VINE VOICE on March 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
Scot McKnight is slowly finding his way to the top of reading lists for many interested in theology, and rightly so [he is quickly gaining ground on my reading list]. "A Community Called Atonement" is both a sweeping overview of the divergent theories of atonement, and a proposal for bringing the divergent views of atonement under a single umbrella of Christ's redeeming work in the world to restore cracked Eikons.

The atonement has too often been squeezed into a one size, one theory fits all box. Often times that box is determined by our denominational influence. McKnight points out that many atonement theories are seriously deficient because they lack any consideration or interaction with Christ's teaching of the Kingdom of God.

"Atonement theories have been shaped by the history of atonement theories, and that history has been dominated by Paul's letter to the Romans so one-sidedly that opening the door to the kingdom upsets the entire conversation." [Page 9]

McKight purports that atonement can only be understood when it is seen through the lens of the work of God to restore cracked Eikons in all interpersonal relations. Atonement must be broadened out from an individual, sin remission only view, to a view that encompasses the work of the entire ecclesiastical community of believers.

Many of our atonement theories capitulate to the very thing that McKnight argues against. We view our problem in the world simply as individual sin. The remedy to this problem is simply an atonement theory that will cover our moral indiscretions, and restore our standing as right moral individuals. Sin however for McKnight goes beyond poor moral decisions.
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More About the Author

Born in Southern Illinois, came of age in Freeport, Illinois, attended college in Grand Rapids, MI, seminary at Trinity in Deerfield, IL.

Now a professor at North Park University.

Two children.

Kris, my wife, is a psychologist and the greatest woman on earth.

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