A Community Called Atonement

I’m living with Scott McKnight’s book, “A Community Called Atonement.”  Here are some of the things McKnight is saying in the first few chapters.

Where do we begin?  What does the atonement atone us from and what does it make us?  One cannot start with a single theory or in a single location for the atonement.  The atonement must begin somewhere but this somewhere encompasses many areas.  But first the atonement must start with Jesus. 

The atonement creates the kingdom of God.  The kingdom of God is “what God is doing in this world through the community of faith for the redemptive plans of God – including what God is doing in you and me” (pg. 9).  From here we are introduced to Luke’s gospel and how the kingdom of God is seen and experienced with the poor receiving justice, the blind receiving sight, the lame being able to walk again, etc.  The kingdom of God continues to be seen in the book of Acts when the early church continued to be empowered by the Spirit of God so that there would be equality, justice, and fellowship – the very things Jesus inaugurated and we are left with the idea that the kingdom of God continues to be seen and experienced through his people when they too practice equality, justice and fellowship.  Thus, the atonement creates the kingdom of God. 

Where else do we begin?  McKnight suggests we also start back at Genesis 1-2.  Our image (eikons) was distorted with sin and the atonement restores our image.  With this restoring we are now called to be in union with God, in community with other “eikons” and to be partners with God.  To read Genesis 1-2 through an atonement set of eyes is refreshing yet challenging.

The atonement also creates us into a worshipping community which can be classified as ambassadors of God.  As we become a community we become God’s representatives of what eternity is and will be.  We thus become performers of the gospel. 

To finish this section I quote McKnight,

Atonement is not just something done to us and for us, it is something we participate in – in this world, in the here and now.  It is not just something done, but something that is being done and something we do as we join God in the missio Dei (30-31).


Published in: on January 22, 2008 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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