Tag Archives: Tony Jones

“A Better Atonement: Beyond the Depraved Doctrine of Original Sin” by Tony Jones

Off and on over the last past few years I have been thinking about the different metaphors used in the Bible to describe why Jesus came to walk among humanity, died, rose again and etc. (the fancy theological word for this is the “atonement”). Interestingly enough I’m not the only person thinking about this issue as modern Jesus followers re-discover of the mystery of the atonement. Folks such as N.T. Wright, Scot McKnight, John Piper, Al Mohler and Brian McLaren are all offering their opinions on the subject – not to mention those from the mainline Protestant churches, Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Roman Catholic Church.

A big part of the reason why the atonement is such a big deal today is due to the increasing rift between neo- Calvinists evangelicals (John Piper, Al Mohler et al.) and the progressive evangelicals (N.T. Wright, Roger Olson, et al.). Add to this fire the growth of post-modern and post-post-modern Jesus followers who are looking at Christianity through different glasses/worldviews than their predecessor (Brian McLaren, David Fitch, Scot McKnight, et al.).

Knowing all this, I have every excited when I heard that Tony Jones had published an ebook on the atonement, “A Better Atonement: Beyond the Depraved Doctrine of Original Sin”. Tony, for those who don’t know, was a driving force in the emerging church movement of the past few decades and the author of the book “The New Christians: Dispatches From The Emergent Frontier”, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  He is also an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Theological School – meaning that he is a post-modern theologian scholar who, I was hoping, could bring some fresh air to the conversation.

And, to a certain extent, he does deliver – even though I disagree with his final conclusion, but I’m getting ahead of myself! 😛

The outline of the book is fairly simple with the first part being more biographical in the sense that Tony shares with the reader why he started on the journey of questioning the predominant Protestant view of the atonement (i.e. penal substitutionary atonement or PSA). After the ground work is laid, Tony shifts gears into laying out all the views of the atonement the church has held since the time of Jesus (all quotes are from Tony’s ebook):

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The New Christians: Dispatches From The Emergent Frontier By Tony Jones

tony jonesTony Jones is the theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, MN (Doug Pagitt’s church). Prior to this, he was the National Coordinator for the Emergent Village (2005-2008) as well the Young Adult leader for Colonial Church of Edina, MN (1997-2003). Jones holds degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div. in systematic theology/postmodern philosophy) and Princeton Theological Seminary (Ph.D in practical theology).  He currently lives in Edina, Minnesota,  and is active in the PTA and Cub Scouts as well as severing as a volunteer police chaplain (255).

The thesis of Jones’ book is fairly simple: to tell the story of the emerging church. That is, to tell the story of how the emerging movement started and what factors affected its growth and development.

To do this, Jones starts off chapter one by describing the “Old Country” dominated by mainline Protestant and evangelical churches. After describing the various problems on both the ‘right’ and ‘left,’ Jones describes the new “Frontier” being pushed open by the emerging church (chapter two). Throughout both of these chapters (as well as throughout the entire book), Jones makes liberal use of personal testimonies – highlighting the fact that the emerging movement is not about doctrine or church structure, but is about real people finding freedom in God to live hope filled lives. Continue reading The New Christians: Dispatches From The Emergent Frontier By Tony Jones