Why should we pay attention to Jesus? One reason is that Jesus brings a message of peace—challenging head on the human social dynamics that lead to violence and war.
This morning, I presented the sixth in my series of what will probably be thirteen sermons on Jesus. The sermon was called “What Matters Most?” and focused especially on Jesus’ “Sermon on the Plane” in Luke six.
The message of the first six chapters of Luke is that Jesus brings a message of an upside-down perspective on reality where the mighty are brought down and the vulnerable are lifted up. After reiterating his message of turned-around expectations in Luke 6:20-26, Jesus deepens his challenge even more by emphasizing that the human connection with God will be found in its most profound way when we love our enemies.
But is such love of enemies realistic? The sermon concludes with the story of nonviolent action at the center of the most successful phase of the American Civil Rights movement in the early 1960s.
One of the areas with the intense debate in recent Christian theology has been understandings of salvation. Much of the debate has focused on theories of the atonement, theologies of the cross, interpretations of theologians such as Anselm and Luther, views of the doctrines of Christian tradition.
Not so much attention has been paid to the biblical portrayals of salvation, except as viewed through the lenses of the various atonement theories. I have been working on a book that does indeed focus directly on biblical theology. I have gotten quite a bit done on this project; I am calling it: Mercy Not Sacrifice: The Bible’s Salvation Story. I mostly need yet to flesh out the chapter on salvation in the book of Revelation and to complete a concluding chapter, “Is There an Atonement Theory in This Story?”
Since I am focusing my energies elsewhere for the time being (and since I have struck out so far in my tentative attempts to find a publisher), I will post here on Peacetheology.net the manuscript as far as it has been developed.