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A Community Called Atonement: Living Theology (Living Theology #1) [Paperback]

By Scot McKnight (Author) & Tony Jones (Editor)
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Item description for A Community Called Atonement: Living Theology (Living Theology #1) by Scot McKnight & Tony Jones...

Asserting that the theory of atonement fundamentally shapes the life of the Christian and of the Church, a compelling examination of the doctrine of atonement invites readers to live out Christ's atonement as a way of life. Original.

Publishers Description
Over the centuries the church developed a number of metaphors, such as penal substitution or the ransom theory, to speak about Christ's death on the cross and the theological concept of the atonement. Yet too often, says Scot McKnight, Christians have held to the supremacy of one metaphor over against the others, to their detriment. He argues instead that to plumb the rich theological depths of the atonement, we must consider all the metaphors of atonement and ask whether they each serve a larger purpose.
A Community Called Atonement is a constructive theology that not only values the church's atonement metaphors but also asserts that the atonement fundamentally shapes the life of the Christian and of the church. That is, Christ identifies with humans to call us into a community that reflects God's love (the church)--but that community then has the responsibility to offer God's love to others through missional practices of justice and fellowship, living out its life together as the story of God's reconciliation. Scot McKnight thus offers an accessible, thought-provoking theology of atonement that engages the concerns of those in the emerging church conversation and will be of interest to all those in the church and academy who are listening in.

Citations And Professional Reviews
A Community Called Atonement: Living Theology (Living Theology #1) by Scot McKnight & Tony Jones has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Christianity Today - 05/01/2008 page 69
  • Library Journal - 11/01/2007 page 74

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Abingdon Press
Pages   177
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 3, 2007
Publisher   Abingdon Church Supplies
Series  Living Theology  
Series Number  1  
ISBN  0687645549  
ISBN13  9780687645541  

Availability  102 units.
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More About Scot McKnight & Tony Jones

Scot McKnight Scot McKnightis the Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary, Lombard, Illinois. His many other books includeThe Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others;A Community Called Atonement; and the NICNT commentary on James. He also writes the award-winningJesus Creedblog at"

Scot McKnight currently resides in Chicago, in the state of Illinois.

Scot McKnight has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Ancient Practices
  2. Biblical Guides
  3. Bringing the Bible to Life
  4. Comentarios Biblicos Con Aplicacion NVI
  5. Guides to New Testament Exegesis
  6. Library of New Testament Studies
  7. Living Theology
  8. Mersion: Emergent Village Resources for Communities of Faith
  9. NIV Application Commentary
  10. Rzim Critical Questions Discussion Guides
  11. Story of God Bible Commentaries
  12. Story of God Bible Commentary
  13. Studying the Historical Jesus

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about A Community Called Atonement: Living Theology?

a synthetic approach in understanding the atonement  Apr 13, 2010
I appreciate Mcknight's synthetic approach to understanding the atonement in the light of the contemporary discussions that often tend towards polarization and the hardening of categories. The various theories or metaphors are discussed in a concise way - satisfaction, ransom, penal substitution, representation, moral example, Christus Victor, recapitulation and so on - showing the inadequacies of each model as well as its strengths and contributions and how we need to hold them together for a more balanced and holistic view of the death and resurrection of Christ. It augurs well with the Emerging Churches' ethos of generous orthodoxy, which seeks to embrace rather than exclude a diversity of viewpoints in Christian faith and practices. In taking this approach, the church can thus find its way towards charity and unity of faith as well as a more humble, mature and fuller grasp of the mystery, that is the atonement. He devotes several chapters towards the end to fleshing out the outworking of such a synthetic approach and how it could shape the church in her mission, fellowship, worship and work of justice.

I reckon that the book will be useful to one has already entered the contemporary discussion of the atonement for some time and is trying to make sense of the various approaches and theories but will probably prove a little daunting to a new reader who is just getting acquainted with the subject and its historical understandings. Mcknight skilfully steers us away from the slanted portrayals of those theories which have come under fire in some circles and provides us with a more nuanced picture of them, especially the penal substitutionary theory. Some readers might be tempted to charge him for going out of his way to agree with these positions (which he does not really buy, if pressed) for the sake of diplomacy. I doubt this critique is fair and would like Mcknight and synthetic thinkers like him to continue to expand on this work and thereby demonstrate more fully from Scripture and good theology how we do really need 'all the clubs in one bag'. I think even if one goes away disagreeing, one stands to benefit from the charity, humility and even-handedness that characterizes the spirit with which he writes.
Catch them being right  Dec 13, 2008
The nature of the Atonement has, unfortunately, become a rather hot button issue in many theological circles. I say unfortunately by no means because I think it unimportant, but rather because of the tenor of the debate with all sides picking one atonement theory as 'biblical' and attacking the rest. This might be most true of the penal-substitution camp, because they are most invested in their theory and so also have the most to lose.

McKnight in 'A Community Called Atonement' carefully, clearly, and eruditely steers a path which while placing a heavy emphasis on penal-substitution, shows that the Atonement is bigger than any of our theories and so all of them have a place in explaining the deep mystery of God's atoning work.

I appreciate the richness of the Atonement so much more after reading this book, and liked McKnight's focus on 'catching other people being right' instead of the usual 'find one area your opponent is wrong and drill that into the ground' approach one often sees.

Also, I think his argument that the atonement is something to be lived in our relationship with God, others, and the world (rather than only believed) is quite a valuable insight.

The Atonement in Missional Focus  Oct 19, 2008
Scot McKnight's A Community Called Atonement (Abingdon, 2007) is one of the most important Christian books of the year. McKnight's work shows how each model of atonement theology has a biblical basis and a rightful place in discussions about the meaning of Christ's death and resurrection.

If you ever tire of seeing the beauty of the atonement mired in abstract theological debate, you will love this book. If you prize one model of the atonement at the exclusion of all others, you will hate this book.

A Community Called Atonement is not a treatise on how the atonement leads to mission; it is about how the atonement breathes mission. McKnight masterfully weaves the biblical stories and theology of the atonement into missional focus - showing how each model of the atonement serves a purpose in the mission of the Church.

Of particular interest to me was the way Scot shines light on important moments for the atonement. While obviously centered on the cross and resurrection, Scot's theology of the atonement takes in Christmas and Pentecost too.

I appreciate Scot's willingness to formulate the doctrine of penal substitution in a thoroughly biblical way, avoiding the misconceptions and caricatures while maintaining its essence. Even though penal substitution may be out of fashion for many in the Emerging circles who will pick up this book, Scot refuses to dismiss this model, since he finds it clearly expressed in the biblical text.

Yet, Scot maintains (over against many proponents of penal substitution) that the atonement cannot be reduced to one theory. He holds many theories in tension, likening them to golf clubs in a golf bag. He believes that identification for incorporation is the most important motif of the atonement, as it incorporates all the others.

Read this book. The last section on "Atonement Praxis: Who Does Atonement?" is helpful in answering the "So What?" question that many laypeople ask regarding the atonement. McKnight's work is thorough, fair, and gives weight to the biblical witness in all its glory. You will come away from this book with a wonderful sense of how big the atonement is and how great is God's love for this fallen world.
extremely helpful book  May 27, 2008
've been looking forward to scot's book for a long time, as atonement theory has been one of the handful of theological areas i've really wrestled with in the past several years. it's a particularly sticky area to wrestle in, when you speak to teenagers as i do; because i'm constantly needing to talk about the gospel. that's great -- i love talking about the gospel. but i don't want to be dishonest about what i believe and only say words i've said in the past because they're easy to say and no one will be bothered.

so... the basic premise of this book is that there are multiple metaphors of multiple theological explanations of atonement in scripture, and we need them all. penal substitutionary atonement (the primary understanding i grew up with for what took place at the cross) is only one of many helpful and important metaphors for understanding atonement. first, it was really helpful for me to think of these various explanations (theologies, you might call them) as metaphors. i guess i knew that; but it was a helpful reminder. evangelicals don't tend to talk about penal substitution as a metaphor; it seems it's usually talked about in more literal terms.

it was also helpful to get a better understanding on the other, equally-valid and important (not only important to us, but important to paul and in whole of scripture) metaphors. mcknight talks about them as clubs in a golf bag: one would never go golfing with one club. you need the whole bag, but each is useful (even best) in different circumstances. .

while not a purely academic book, it's a weighty book in terms of language and ideas; so i took a couple months to pick through it, bit by bit (while readying other books alongside).
Every Christian person should read this.  May 19, 2008
First let clarify and say that every Christian should this, though not every Christian person may easy follow. I think this book is a great time invested, but it can be "heady" at times and one may need a good grasp on OT history in order to really gain the full meaning of this book.

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