A Better Atonement: Beyond the Depraved Doctrine of Original Sin Kindle Edition
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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.
With the way that Christianity is taught in America (and the West in general), many of us who think through the teachings deeply come up with some puzzling questions:
-Why does an all-powerful God require the slaughter of his innocent Son? Couldn't he just forgive us? After all, his son's death "paying our debt of sin" is not the same as forgiveness -- it is a loving act, but forgiveness means wiping a debt clean with no payment.
-Don't most atonement ideas portray an angry God the Father against a loving Son who is trying to save us from his ticked off Dad?
-Are people really depraved and incapable of any good on their own?
Tony Jones tackles these difficult questions that would not be so difficult if we hadn't been brain-washed into an unbalanced approach to Christianity. I highly recommend this book as a primer to get you thinking differently. I've read it twice and it is the kind of book you could probably read in one or two short sittings. Being heavily influenced by Orthodoxy myself, I can gladly state that Tony doesn't give into new or "liberal" ideas regarding doctrine (he's a firm believer in the physical death and resurrection of Jesus, as well as the Trinity, which are all important to me as well).
You may find this whets your appitite for something a little different than what the Western Church teaches. If that is the case, I'd recommend this book as a follow up: The Orthodox Way