Reconciles a Christian understanding of salvation with Christian ethics
In this substantial study Darrin W. Snyder Belousek offers a comprehensive and critical examination of penal substitution, the most widely accepted evangelical Protestant theory of atonement, and presents a biblically grounded, theologically orthodox alternative.
Attending to all of the relevant biblical texts and engaging with the full spectrum of scholarship, Belousek systematically develops a biblical theory of atonement that centers on restorative -- rather than retributive -- justice. He also shows how Christian thinking on atonement correlates with major global concerns such as economic justice, capital punishment, "the war on terror," and ethnic and religious conflicts. Thorough and clearly structured, this book demonstrates how a return to biblical cruciformity can radically transform Christian mission, social justice, and peacemaking.
Read more about the book in a blog post by Belousek on EerdWord
Christopher D. Marshall
-- Victoria University of Wellington
"The most comprehensive and persuasive biblical critique of penal substitution currently available (and possibly ever written). Belousek analyzes in detail virtually every nut and bolt in the edifice of penal atonement theology as it is presented in current mainstream evangelicalism and does so with the kind of exegetical precision and theological commitment necessary to command a hearing from those he critiques. This is exactly the kind of book I would like to have on my shelves so that when someone asks me, 'What about Isaiah 53?' or 'What about God's wrath?' or 'What about no forgiveness without the shedding of blood?', I would know where to turn for a carefully reasoned answer."
Willard M. Swartley
-- Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
"Belousek's writing is engaging and persuasive, demonstrating clear logic, theological acuity, and good organization. . . . The literature on atonement has mushroomed in the last decade, but I had not read -- until now -- an author who presents a coherent, constructive understanding within orthodoxy that clearly explains, not assumes, why an alternative conception to that of satisfaction-penal is better and also more faithful to Scripture. Belousek does just that."
"Darrin Belousek critiques the common evangelical understanding of Jesus' death with keen philosophical insight and exegetical rigor sufficient to unsettle even the most studied proponent of evangelicalism's standard soteriology. He forces readers to scrutinize their unexamined presuppositions about the significance of the incarnation and the necessity of the cross in God's plan of salvation. If for no other reason than that, Belousek's case deserves a broad hearing among evangelicals. Moreover, he fairly and lucidly treats penal substitution's strongest advocates, devoting almost as much space to clarifying the claims of soteriology in question as he does to deconstructing them — something that makes this volume uniquely edifying among works of its kind."