Understanding the Atonement for the Mission of the Church

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John Driver

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At the very center of the Christian faith is Jesus, a crucified Messiah. All the wisdom and the power of God have been revealed in him. Apart from such wisdom and power no genuine Christian experience is possible. Unfortunately, Western Christianity has been so conditioned by Constantinian presuppositions that it has failed to take into account the centrality of the crucified Messiah. It has been far more preoccupied with worldly wisdom and worldly power than with faithfulness to the gospel of the kingdom. It has concentrated on the salvation of the individual soul but has frequently disregarded God's purpose to create a new humanity marked by sacrificial love and justice for the poor. In the classical theories on the atonement, the work of Christ was unrelated to God's intention to create a new humanity. Driver here demonstrates that the covenanted community of God's people is the essential context for understanding the atonement. The reconciling work of Christ creates a reconciling community where all the barriers that divide humankind break down. Driver's book is an invitation to look at the cross, not merely as the source of individual salvation, but as the place wherein begins the renewal of the creation - the new heavens and the new earth that God has promised and that the messianic community anticipates. May many readers heed its message! -C. Rene Padilla Buenos Aires


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