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A Community Called Atonement by Scot McKnight
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's review
May 20, 2011

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bookshelves: theology

There was much to disagree with in this book, such as the flattening out of the offense of sin to not be fundamentally against God, but everyone and everything. Therefore, what follows is not a theory of atonement that is the basis or fundamental to every other theory, but that each theory is equally as fundamental. The analogy McKnight often uses is a golf bag. You can't play a round of golf with one club (read, Penal Substitutionary Atonement), but you need all your clubs. Rather, the more biblical understanding, as I see it, is that PSA is the basis for every other theory, since I understand all sin being fundamentally and primarily against God and consequentially against everyone else.

McKnight does a good job of being sympathetic and fair-minded to more conservative evangelicals – though he at times falls into the trap of arguing against the lowest common denominator of his opponents, making many confessional and traditional Christians out to be floppy-haired evangelists.

But when McKnight is good, he is really good. He is often moving when talking about the cross. And he doesn't shy away from talking about the effects of sin, wrath, and the need of a substitute (though, as noted above, it's just not fundamental.) His insights into the gospel narratives (especially Mark) are wonderful and his writing style is very enjoyable.

There are lots of qualifications before I suggest the book, but I suggest it nevertheless.
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