The project on the Bible’s salvation story that I have been working on for some time has come to its conclusion (at least for the time being). I submitted a manuscript in early August, 2012, to Cascade Books. The book is under contract and hopefully will be published some time during the summer of 2013.
The book will be called Instead of Atonement: The Bible’s Salvation Story and Our Hope for Wholeness. I do challenge traditional atonement theology, in large part for the sake of advocating for Christian peace theology. The main focus of the book, though, is on the biblical narrative itself. I try to establish that the Bible as a whole follows a logic of mercy rather than the logic of retribution implied in mainstream atonement theology. I will leave it to a sequel to address the history of atonement theology in the post-biblical epoch and speak to the diversity among the atonement models.
For the purposes of this book, I use “atonement” as referring to the belief that Jesus’ death was a necessary component for the making of salvation available to humanity—a belief usually discussed under the rubric of “satisfaction theories.” My intent is not to discuss those theories but simply to pose a framework that I juxtapose with the actual biblical story—with the intent not so much to refute satisfaction views (that will come in the sequel) as simply to clarify the biblical salvation story.
I had posted earlier drafts of most of the chapters in the book on Peace Theology, along with a set of lectures from 2009 that summarized the project and a number of recent posts from my Thinking Pacifism blog on salvation—with some lively discussion triggered by responses to the posts.
To complete the circle, I am posting the recent drafts of the final two chapters: “Theology Through Revelation” that focuses on the book of Revelation and “Conclusion: Is There an Atonement Model in this Story?”