Saturday, May 19, 2012

Atonement at Ground Zero

From the winter of 2010 through the spring of 2012, I worked on a book that is now titled Atonement at Ground Zero: Revisiting the Epicenter of Faith (Wipf and Stock, 2012). It just hit the publisher's catalog yesterday, and should be on Amazon and Barnes & Noble soon.

I wrote this book in an effort to struggle with the question, Why did Jesus die? There is much to found in our various doctrinal grids to attempt to answer that question theologically, but what happens when you attempt to press back to the ground zero of the events surrounding Jesus' death? Would the witnesses to his execution agree with our theological interpretations?

So in Atonement at Ground Zero I look back at the New Testament to help us imagine and hear the responses of the various witnesses. Through Jesus' friends and family, the community of Israel, the Romans, and through Jesus himself, we discover an interesting and surprising weave of experiences and expectations.

My hope is that this is a book that joins in with other (more qualified) voices that want to expand rather than restrict the doctrine of the atonement, but also that it will be a book that helps us communicate the richness of what God has done in Jesus Christ for the sake of the world. So it becomes, in essence, a preaching book that seeks to help others to embrace and speak of new images that lead people into the expansive mystery of God's love for the world.

My desire is that it would help followers of Jesus—-pastors, leaders, and others who care about communicating the good news of Jesus Christ--to find new language that launches from the old, and to learn to employ new images that mean as much to our culture as the former ones did in cultures now long past.

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