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Saving Power: Theories of Atonement and Forms of the Church Paperback – September 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Jesus' death and resurrection are undeniably central to the Christian faith. But how, precisely, is their significance to be understood?

Concerned to reinvigorate the church's teaching on the cross, the resurrection, and salvation -- the atonement -- Peter Schmiechen here invites readers to rediscover the wealth of the Christian tradition. In "Saving Power he makes ample use of primary sources to unpack ten distinct theories of atonement, welcoming aspects of each rather than championing only one. Along the way, he demonstrates that while most Christians assume the basic theme of atonement to be sin and forgiveness, other powerful themes -- liberation from oppressive powers, reconciliation in the face of division, and the hope of resurrection in the face of death, for instance -- also deserve to be studied and preached.

Affirming orthodox teaching while offering a positive take on marginal views, "Saving Power is a crucial resource for anyone who seeks a fuller understanding of Christ's work.

About the Author

Peter Schmiechen is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ and the former president of Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is also the author of Christ the Reconciler: A Theology for Opposites, Differences and Enemies (Eerdmans) and The Gift the Promise: Becoming What We Are in Christ.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; First Edition edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802829856
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802829856
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,559,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Theories of atonement, expressions of how Jesus' life and death convey God's saving power, stand at the center of Christian theology, and also stand at the core of what it means to be church. So says Peter Schmiechen, in this expansive work of scholarship, Saving Power, about the atonement. Schmiechen sets out to survey the important ways that atonement has been understood, and then to analyze and evaluate the various expressions, on his way to outlining some of the essential components that make up a theory of atonement and, further, to layout out some central claims made across the various theories about what atonement has to say about God and about us.

Schmiechen lays out ten theories of atonement, divided up under four major headings. He also looks at a particuar figure or writing that typifies each view.

A. Christ Died for Us
1. Sacrifice (Hebrews)
2. Justification by Grace (Luther)
3. Penal Substitution (Charles Hodge)
B. Liberation from Sin, Death, and Demonic Powers
4. Liberation (Irenaeus, twentieth-century liberation theology)
C. The Purposes of God
5. Renewal of Creation (Athanasius)
6. Restoration of Creation (Anselm)
7. Christ the Goal of Creation (Schliermacher)
D. Reconciliation
8. Christ the Way to the Knowledge of God (H. R. Nieburh)
9. Christ the Reconciler (1 Corinthians 1-2)
10.
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Peter Schiechen does an amazing job in this book to outline 10 different atonement theories. He gives and outline and overview of each theory as well as addresses each of the different theories pro's and con's. In my opinion he does not seem to favor one theory over another, but seeks to write about the rich contribution that each theory brings to the study of the atonement. He highlighted many facts and aspects of the atonement I had never thought of before, even after 4 years at bible college. Overall I enjoyed this book greatly, and would recommend this to any one looking for a detailed yet concise book on atonement theories.
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