A few days ago I finished reading a book by Scot McKnight called "A Community Called Atonement". Overall this book has two over arching arguments:
1) Penal Substitutionary Atonement needs to be placed with other atonement theories in so much that they all have something to offer but they all lack in some way. Therefor we need a community of atonement theories.
2) Everything the Church does should be in in and through the lens of Atonement. The Church should be a working to help reconcile humanity with God, neighbor, self and the world. Thus the church should be a Community called Atonement.
While I think this is a good read it was nothing that anyone at Brite Divinity has not encountered. This is not a knock on the quality book, rather it is just an acknowledgment that I think McKnight has articulated clearly something that many seminary graduates have heard. McKnight does it very well.
For instance, he raises this question:
"We need to reconsider why it was that Jesus chose Passover (a night of celebrating and remembering liberation) rather than Yom Kippup, the Day of Atonement (a day of affliction and a day when sins were atoned for). Why does he choose this night to take his stand for what his death meant? Why die on Passover instead of Yom Kippur?"
I think this is an interesting question to help the reader reassess the dominance of Penal Substitutionary Atonement in Christian circles. Why wouldn't Jesus pick Yom Kippur to put his death in context? Perhaps Jesus saw his death in light of Passover (liberation) rather than Yom Kippur (Atonement)?
Just a question to think about.