How Does the Cross and Resurrection Provide Salvation?
“Recovering the Scandal of the Cross,” the book I co-authored with Joel Green, contends that if the New Testament writers use diverse images to proclaim the saving significance of the cross, then we should too! These two short articles uses real-life examples to show the value of using a variety of atonement explanations.
Viewing penal satisfaction theory as the one correct explanation of the atonement has made it difficult for many to see the diversity of images in the New Testament. It also impedes our ability to develop alternative contemporary images. I have written an article that points out some of the problems with using the image of penal substitution as the foundational explanation of the atonement, and offers an alternative foundational narrative of the atonement.
In relation to atonement theology many have made a double error. First, rather than allowing legal imagery of atonement to find its place in a broader foundational narrative of the atonement with other atonement imagery, they have turned the legal image into the foundational narrative. Secondly, rather than interpreting legal imagery of atonement through the lens of the biblical world and the biblical narrative they have interpreted it through the lens of the Western legal system.
Which Courtroom and What Narrative Shapes Your Atonement Theology?
How do we help people embrace a wider understanding of the cross and resurrection? In addition to offering in-depth biblical and theological explanations like those in “Recovering the Scandal of the Cross,” and sharing well developed contemporary images like those in “Proclaiming the Scandal of the Cross,” I have found it helpful to briefly list a variety of ways that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection provide salvation.
A List of Biblical Images of How the Cross Saves
Ten Ways the Cross Saves: Brief Explanations
A List of Fourteen Things that Jesus’ Death Accomplishes, as Seen in New Testament Texts
Shame and the Atonement
Many people have expressed appreciation for the discussion of shame and the cross in chapter seven of “Recovering the Scandal of the Cross.” Therefore, in “Proclaiming the Scandal of the Cross” I intentionally sought some examples of people proclaiming liberation from shame through the cross (chapters 12-15 in the book). In addition to those resources I wrote an essay contextualizing the message of liberation from shame:
The Saving Significance of the Cross in a Honduran Barrio
Mako Nagasawa has some helpful presentations on this topic.
Penal Substitution: Why it Doesn’t Work with Asian Americans
Beyond ‘Near’ and ‘Far’: Jesus Overcomes Shame and Alienation
Werner Mischke has written a booklet, with drawings, based on Luke 15. It is designed for believers to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people for whom honor and shame is vitally important.
Jayson Georges developed an evangelistic presentation for a Central Asian honor-shame context.
Jayson Georges has also compiled a great collection of resources and tools for ministers on his blog http://www.HonorShame.com. This link leads to a post I published on his site:
10 Ways the Cross Atones for Shame
Images of Atonement
The book, “Proclaiming the Scandal of the Cross” explores the need for contextualized atonement theology, offering creative examples of how the cross can be proclaimed today in culturally relevant and transformative ways. As I develop or encounter other contextualized images of atonement I will add them to this site.
- “Everything we Need,” Leah Jordache, Dec. 8, 2022
- “A Vannu Family Conversation,” Alex Janzen, Dec. 3, 2020
- “First Responder,” Phil Schmidt, March, 2020
- “Pool of Sludge,” Nick Chandler, December, 2018
- “Red Shiny Shoes,” Connie Nicholson, December, 2018
- “The World is a Poem and God is Speaking It,” Tyler Nunley, December, 2018
- “The Story of Hugo,” Aubrey Bisher, December, 2018
- Black Panther atonement metaphor – 3 minute sermon clip, Rich Villodas, 2018
- “Yesu & Left-Handed Shame: A Metaphoric Atonement Narrative for Asian-Americans in the LGBT Community,” Joshua Lee, 2016
- “Healing Honor,” Zech Hogan, 2015
- “To End Chaos: Atonement Beyond Forensics,” Mathieu Gnonhossou, 2013
- “Jesus and Harry Potter: Disarming the Powers,” Laura Neufeld, December, 2010
- “The Office,” Dan Whitmarsh, April 2010
- Lifehouse Everything Drama
- “The Pit,” Dan Whitmarsh, April 2009
- “Liberated from Darkness and Lies to Light and Truth: The Matrix as Metaphor of the Cross,” Michael VandenEnden, March 2009
- “The Kingdom of the Lion,” Danny Gray, December 2008
- “Aunt Lizzie’s Wedding: A Parable of Love,” Paulette Lovelace, June 2007
- “Blood Breaks the Barriers,” Daniel A. Bunker, April 2007
- “Freedom From the Cycle of Retaliation,” Scott Carolon, April 2007
- “Down a Slippery Slope,” Paulette Lovelace, April 2007
- “The Black Quilt,” Eliberto Mendoza, April 2007
- “The Saving Significance of the Cross in a Honduran Barrio,” Mark D. Baker, Mission Focus Annual Review 14 (2006) 59-81.