Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Participatory atonement

Thanks to Parablemania for the link to an interesting paper on models of atonement (PDF), arguing for the value of a participatory model. This is the kind of model I favor, as should be evident from my earlier post on Atonement analogies.


  1. I got the sense that the authors of the paper weren't offering the participatory model as an alternative to other views to be believed in exclusion of them but rather as an additional model to them, perhaps even a more important one for today's culture but not to remove the other models in any way.

  2. That's not how I read it Jeremy, given the strong critiques the authors made of the other views. Why did you read it that way? Perhaps there was something I missed.

  3. Whoops. I hit "post" before I was ready. Anyway, my reason for thinking that they reject deontological considerations arises from page 12 of the paper.

    "But what are we to make of those passages in which Paul does seem to endorse a deontological conception of sin...? ...Another option, which we prefer, is an argumentative reading of these passages, in which Paul’s use of deontic language is largely a dialectical device, forced on him by the rhetorical framework of the theological battles he is waging."

    i.e. the authors largely reject deontological considerations as anything but rhetorical devices. I'm not sure I buy that. I tend to see the moral overtones instead as reducible to or parasitic on the pre-existing relationships.

  4. The introduction and conclusion leave it open. The introduction announces that the paper's purpose includes arguing against a purely deontic or moral conception of sin. Current models seem to them (wrongly, I think) to be purely deontic.

    The conclusion then says that other models need not be dismissed entirely but that hybrid models are possible. I think they unfairly dismiss the traditional hybrid view as if its unwarranted emphasis on the deontic aspects is a totalizing effect. Morris, Packer, and other traditionalists are emphasizing the deontic aspects of the atonement because those are the aspects under attack. I don't think they doubt the relational aspects.