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Problems With Atonement: The Origins Of, And Controversy About, The Atonement Doctrine [Paperback]

By Stephen Finlan (Author)
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Item description for Problems With Atonement: The Origins Of, And Controversy About, The Atonement Doctrine by Stephen Finlan...

"Examines the origins and outcomes of the Christian doctrine of atonement : its biblical foundations, development, and theological questions surrounding it, including questions about its relationship to the Incarnation"--Provided by publisher.

Publishers Description

The origins of atonement are found in Paul's writings. Popular Christian theology has understood them to mean that God demanded a bloody victim to pay for human sin. In "Problems with Atonement" Stephen Finlan examines the Christian doctrine of atonement and current debates about it. He considers its biblical foundation in Pauline texts, the Old Testament background, and the theological questions under discussion about atonement. He provides ancient historical background and raises questions, such as whether the Incarnation must be understood through the lens of atonement.

Chapters are Chapter 1: Sacrifice and Scapegoat," "Chapter 2: Paul's Use of Cultic Imagery," "Chapter 3: Atonement afterPaul," "Chapter 4: Rationalizing the Atonement Doctrine," and "Chapter 5: The Incarnation."

"Stephen Finlan, PhD, is an adjunct professor of New Testament at Seton Hall University and Fordham University. He is the author of "The Background and Content of Paul's Cultic Atonement Metaphors" (Society of Biblical Culture, 2004).""

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Liturgical Press
Pages   144
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.02" Width: 6.14" Height: 0.32"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 28, 2005
Publisher   Liturgical Press
ISBN  0814652204  
ISBN13  9780814652206  

Availability  5 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 10:06.
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More About Stephen Finlan

Stephen Finlan I taught Theology and general Humanities at universities and seminaries for 13 years, but now I am the pastor of Mathewson Street United Methodist Church in Providence, RI. I am interested in preaching the gospel and in discovering the transforming power of the Spirit. I have a Ph.D. in Pauline Theology from University of Durham, and have been writing about Jesus, Paul, atonement, and theosis for many years. I have strongly held views on these subjects, but I also seek lively and varied debate from those who have other views. The "strongly held" aspect is probably seen in my _Problems with Atonement_, whle my "open to debate" aspect is seen in my _Options on Atonement_ and _The Apostle Paul_.

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3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Catholic
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Reviews - What do customers think about Problems With Atonement: The Origins Of, And Controversy About, The Atonement Doctrine?

Informative  Apr 29, 2008
It is so inspiring to see that most theologians do their homework when they write these books. Thank you for taking on such a controversial subject matter as Atonement and thank you for this most important and inspiring work.

Chris J. Trevino, ThD.
Recovering At-oon-ment from the Hands of Scholastics  Sep 23, 2007

"Few other doctrines go to the heart of the Christian faith like the Atonement. Congregations sing at the top of their lungs: 'My sin, not in part but the whole, has been nailed to the cross, so I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul' ! The priestly work of Christ separates Christianity from Judaism and Islam. Not surprisingly, the Cross has become the symbol for our faith (in Atonement)" Dr. Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, DC

Atonement in Today's Judaism:
On Rosh Hashanah, many rabbis struggle to explain to their post modern audiences one of the Bible's most painful tales; Abraham's Sacrifice of his Innocent son. The father of the Jewish people, and Judeo Christian faith, bound his beloved son Isaac placing him an a stone altar, raising a knife struggling to slaughter him since he dreamt the Lord asked him to present Isaac as a sacrifice, a pagan Mid eastern tradition of the time. The Genesis account is a centerpiece of the Jewish New Year celebration, serving to remind Jews that God blesses those who submit to a divine calling without questioning. Abraham is hailed as a hero for yielding to God's heartbreaking demand. "Some find the account terrifying, an evidence that Abraham's faith was blind, of ageing old fanatic. "In a way it's kind of a horror story... In our state of mind, if somebody hears a voice and goes out to sacrifice his son this man has to be put in a mental asylum," debates Rabbi E. Dreyfus of B'nai Yehuda.

Penal Substitution & Violent Atonement!
Just recently, in April 2007, Dr. Albert Mohler wrote, "Last week, with the cross and resurrection of Christ prominent in many public conversations, several figures launched direct attacks upon the idea of penal substitution. Most notably, The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey John of the Church of England rejected the doctrine as 'repulsive' and 'insane'. Following in this line, Dr. Giles Fraser, Vicar of Putney, affirmed John's argument. Mark Dever dares to have Slogan as 'Nothing But the Blood,' saying, "More and more evangelicals believe Christ's atoning death is merely a grotesque creation of the medieval imagination. Really? While Dr. Mohler concludes, "The Atonement protects us from our native tendency to replace religion with morality and God's grace with legalism. Apart from Christ's atoning work, we would be forever guilty, ashamed, and condemned before God. But not everyone these days sees it that way."

A Short History of Atonement:
Atonement in Orthodoxy, is all about sanctification and transfiguration, humanity becomes 'divine' by participating' in God. In Alexandrine Orthodoxy, where the Epistle to the Hebrews, played a central theological theme, the intercessory character of our Lord (high-priestly office) is transferred to the heavenly condition and work of Christ, where the relation of Christ's work to man's condition is still continued in the heavenly place. The atonement of Christ, initiated our participation in eternal life, by making the Father known to us, John 17:3. In progressive transformation, our unity with the Father was based on John 17:11 "... may we become united in You and You in us. "Thus Your saying will be fulfilled, That they all may be one with Us." The Coptic Liturgy of Saint Cyril.

Western Christianity Atoning :
In Late antiquity Roman Catholicity the main atonement models in use as an emerging novel concept were conceived as Christ's work, presented to God as an oblation. While Ransom was universally dominant over this period, with Christ as teacher being taken for granted, and Christ-as-gift popping up occasionally. Anselm, challenging Christus Victor/Ransom-from-Satan drew up a theological version of the Satisfaction thesis (Christ the gift) to replace it. The offense given to God by human disobedience was made up for by Christ's faithful obedience to God. Peter Abelard who objected vigorously to Anselm's reasoning, attempted to reinvigorate the Christ-as-Teacher model, which became "The Imitation of Christ" in thomas Kempis classic.

Reformers Inherit Anselm:
From this point on, Western Christianity generally dropped the ransom model and became split between Satisfaction and Moral Exemplar. Anselm's satisfaction thesis was based on the idea of God as a Feudal Lord, acting according to social standards to accept Christ's faithfulness, as a substitution for our disobedience. His ideas were reshaped, as society passed out of feudalism, using a legal paradigm of "Penal Substitution". This added to Satisfaction the idea of Christ suffering for deleting our punishment.
The Reformers adopted the Penal Substitution theology of their day wholeheartedly. Original Sin was strengthened by them back to the Augustinian view, and predestination teachings were reinstated. Lutheran salvation by 'faith alone' while works were annexed as auxiliary 'sanctification' which became tangible to the salvation process. "Justification' was redefined, to mean a righteous status declared by God that was adverse to our state of sinfulness.

Finlan's Problems wuith Atonement:
Dr. Finlan, Problems with Atonement, has three theological milestones, quoted hereunder:
"Atonement theologies confirm two fundamental and universal instincts about life and divinity: the belief that nothing is free, that there must be give-and-take in the spiritual economy as there is in the material; and secondly, the intuition that ritual establishes order. (pp. 80)
"The problem is not what all this says about Jesus but what it says about God: if God wants to save, why is such intercession necessary? Why should Jesus' pleading for humanity only be effective after he had been murdered? It does us no good to perceive Jesus as heroic if we are forced to view God as sadistic." (pp. 97)
"...atonement is interwined with many important and essential Christian teachings such as the compassion of God, the fact of the divine Incarnation, and the certainty of eventual vindication of the just. Many people instinctively fear the loss of these belief if atonement is surrendered." (pp. 116)

A Jesuit Scholarly Review:
"By 'Atonement' Finlan means those secondary doctrines or theories that, at their bizarre worst, entail 'God as sacrifice-demander and Jesus as punishment-bearer,' and at their best with their overemphasis on the implications on judicial, cultic, economic, social or other metaphors, manage to veil or even undercut the mystery of God's self communication in Jesus." Robert Daly, S.J.

Stephen Finlan:
Dr. Finlan wrote his Dissertation in Pauline Theology, to the University of Durham, UK. His investigation of "The Background and Content of Paul's Cultic Atonement Metaphors," gave him the inspiration to examine the writings of the Church Fathers. He authored "Opinions on Atonement in Christian Thought," a sequel to this original study, and co-authored with Vlad Kharlamov, "Theosis, Deification in Christian Theology."

Presented to Dr. Hany Mikhail in apprecciation of his book, "Divine Justice, Life not Death, Forgiveness not Retribution, 1997

The Background And Content Of Paul's Cultic Atonement Metaphors (Academia Biblica (Society of Biblical Literature) (Paper))
The Atonement: The Origins of the Doctrine in the New Testament
The Book which put Ansalmic Atonement in the Docks  Sep 22, 2007

"If the forensic model of justification argues that through faith we are declared righteous, while in actuality we are not made righteous, this new reading of Luther argues that through faith we participate in the whole Christ, who in his divine person communicates the righteousness of God." Myk Habits, Reforming Theosis

History of Salvation:
Salvation was a central theme in the thought, teaching, and writings of the Church Fathers since the apostolic times. We can follow the trail from second Clement, Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians, the epistle of Barnabas, and the shepherd of Hermas. While Clement addresses salvation as justification, he also writes on sanctification. Irenaeus on atonement(Adversus Haereses) writes,"God became man, and it was the Lord himself who saved us." Tertulian expounded Irenaeus on 'Atonement by Incarnation' in Adv. Marcionem ii, 27. Clement of Alexandria started its salvific tradition in the work of Christ; Salvation by the example of love in the incarnation and passion (Quis Dives Salvetur). In contra Celsum, Origen initiates the Alexandrine deification as exemplified in Christ's humanity, exploring most issues in present day salvation theology, including the Orthodox deification as the culmination of Salvation. Didaskalex

Incarnation for Atonement:
In the closing chapter of his study, Dr. Finlan writes, "Atonement too, was a common category of religious belief. Atonement is not unique in Christianity. It was able to catch on in Christianity because it drew upon a pool of ideas common to the religions of the region... When the incarnation gets attached to old notions of punishment, a collective stain of sin, and God responding to ritual, then the incarnation gets taken over by concepts of atonement." He then concludes,"Neither is it only the incarnation the incarnation and Passion of the cross by which this marvelous exchange has been effected, but also by the entire human life of Christ, most especially by the essentially impassible Word's adoption of human Passion."

Problems with Atonement:
It was Didaskalex, my this site Friend, who proposed to me reading Stephen's 'Problems with Atonement', before reviewing his other book on Theosis. Stephen Finlan, who looked for Theosis through participation with the divine, has ultimately uncovered what Atonement by the Loving Lord means in the Apostolic Church of the Fathers, thus joining the company of the great Alexandrine Soteriologists. Ansalm's legal satisfaction concept has been now put in the docks of Theological clarifications and amendments.
In reply to Finlan's own exclamation, that calls for support, pp. 81, "Is my interpretation overly modernizing and negative about atonement?," I say that yours is a revival of the basic concept of atonement by uniting with God in Jesus Christ, atonement by incarnation. Your refreshing study is a compelling classic, that expounded a positive sense of the original docterine At-oon-ment, being one with the Lord.

Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement

Options on Atonement in Christian Thought
One with God: Salvation As Deification and Justification (Unitas Books)

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