Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Atonement Applied

Evangelical Christians rightly confess that Jesus Christ is God, who came in the flesh, came into the world through the womb of a virgin, lived a completely sinless life, died as a substitute for sinners in a bloody mess on a Roman Cross, was raised bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is personally coming back. Any message that includes less than the above is not the Gospel.

Still, we often have trouble making application of these precious truths beyond the challenge to "be saved." In the end, the world responds to the statements above, not so much with disbelief, but instead with a resounding "so what?"

Mark Driscoll's newest book gives as clear an answer to that question as I have heard in some time.

Death by Love is a thorough exposition of the atonement of Jesus, and how the truth of His sacrifice changes lives, purifies hearts, removes guilt, and overcomes the myriad of struggles we all face. The book will be out early next month, but you can get a sneak peak if you want. It is practically pastoral, deeply missional, connected to the real world, and most important of all, faithful to the Biblical Gospel.

Also, check out the video below that tells just a few of the stories behind the book.


Ryan said...

Looks good! Thanks for the heads up. Is this book apart of the series of shorter books Driscoll talked about coming out soon?

Jason Vaughn said...

Looks really interesting. And the video is very Frank Miller/300 like.

Howie Luvzus said...

I'm glad he's come out with this book. Too many times, conservative Christians reduce the atonement to the penal substitutionary theory and miss out on all that Jesus accomplished on the cross.

Joel Rainey said...


Good to hear from you. Practically, I think you and I are in agreement on your point; that being that conservatives are sometimes guilty of pushing the atonement as a means of "getting people down the aisle" while totally ignoring its power to "get them through life."

At the same time, I don't think this is caused by an "overemphasis" on penal substitution. I think its caused by a misunderstanding of penal substitution. I for one would say that without substitutionary atonement in particular, there is no Gospel. That being the case, I don't see the various "atonement theories" that have been presented through history to be set against penal substitution, but rather, that penal substitution forms the basis for which all of the other atonement applications (redemption, christus victor, moral influence, etc.) have validity.

In other words, I don't see the various approaches to the atonement as set against each other, but rather complimenting each other, making up a multi-faceted jewel that is applicable to every area of life, but which has at its base a substitutionary crucifixion that acts as the propitiation neccesary to deal with our sin.

We may very well be on the same page here, but I just wanted to clarify where I'm coming from. I hope all is well where you are.

Jason, good observations. I hadn't even thought of the "Frank Miller look" but you are right. He has some very artsy and creative guys working at Mars Hill, and the result is always a faithful Gospel presentation that is effectively contextualized as it should be.