Big Question #3

Is there something really unique or revolutionary about our understanding of Christ’s atonement?

jesus atonement

The Christian world generally is struggling to understand Christ’s atonement. The old doctrines and explanations sound primitive and do not ring true to many would-be believers today.

Richard Rohr, the very influential Catholic teacher and theologian, points to what he sees as the limits and problems with a long-standing notion of  “substitutionary atonement.”  Rohr explains that, for most Christians, atonement is understood as

…a one-time transactional affair between Jesus and his Father, instead of an ongoing transformational lesson for the human soul and for all of history. I believe that Jesus’ death on the cross is a revelation of the infinite and participatory love of God, not some bloody payment required by God’s offended justice to rectify the problem of sin. Such a story line is way too small…

Rohr wants to see Christ’s atonement not as an event but as a redemptive process that plays out over time in the lives of individuals and in the broader “body of Christ.” (Read Rohr’s entire post here.)

We asked Terryl Givens, perhaps the most respected and influential theologian in today’s church, to explore what the restored gospel adds to our understanding. He gives this exquisite and expansive response: The Restored Gospel’s Radical Perspective on Atonement and Grace.

He then invites other important voices into the conversation, including this conversation with Spencer Fluhman.

Finally, Terryl and his wife, Fiona explore in this conversation themes from their wonderful book The Christ Who Heals: How God Restored the Truth that Saves Us.


Articles and videos on this question

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