Noting Two Books

While I don’t have time at the moment to pen reviews on them, I wanted to flag two books that I recently finished reading:

The first is Scott McKnight’s, A Community Called Atonement (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007).

This is the first book that I’ve read that unashamedly identifies itself as representative of the family called ‘emerging’. If this book is where emerging theology is currently at (or at least its most erudite representatives), then I’m encouraged about where it might be going. Respectful of the tradition without being bound to it, and open to the fruits of contemporary scholarship, McKnight encourages the church to see itself, its theology and its mission as part of the one action of God and to see the atonement as the way of God with the world, certainly secured in the specific action of the cross, but not limited to those dark hours. While not all will be convinced at every point, this would make a great book for a small study group to work through together.

Of considerably more significance and depth is Donald M. MacKinnon’s, Borderlands of Theology and Other Essays (ed. George W. Roberts and Donovan E. Smucker; Philadelphia/New York: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1968).

One word for this book: Brilliant! The first seven chapters in particular are must reading. A favourite quote: ‘Christian theology may be much more than it realizes the victim of the victory won in the person of Plato by the philosophers over the poets, and in particular the tragedians. It is true that Aristotle sought to modify the significance of this victory; but he failed to reverse it …’. And again: ‘A doctrine of the atonement is the projection of a raw piece of human history in a way calculated to admit the man (sic) who attends to it to some perception of its inwardness and universal significance, to some glimpse indeed of the way in which it expresses and conveys the will of God for his creation. But such a doctrine inevitably fails if it encourages the believer to avert his attention from the element of sheer waste, the reality of Christ’s failure’.

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