First Entry In My Blog:
Salvation being “purchased with blood” says something good about Jesus’ heroism but something horrible about God requiring such a price....
“Must absolutely be read and reflected on by all who preach and presume to teach others how to preach the Christian doctrine of salvation.” —Robert J. Daly, SJ, Boston College
Many ministers and faithful Christians instinctively recoil from “washed in the blood” theology, but they hesitate to discuss the subject. This book, by one of the world’s leading authorities on atonement doctrine, shows how the “purchased by the blood” idea is out of step with the teachings of Jesus, who said that God reaches the pure in heart without any sacrificial payment. The successors of Paul took the Apostle Paul’s sacrificial metaphors far too literally and turned them into an imagined “mechanics” of salvation in which God is “paid off.” Over the centuries, this manipulative idea has been the source of confusion and mischief, from the anti-Semitic superstitions of the Middle Ages, to the pedagogy of shame taught in many churches today. Our understanding of Christ will be enhanced if we can recover the original apostolic Christology, which was based on Christ as Creator and life-giver.
Stephen Finlan has a Ph.D. in Pauline theology from University of Durham (U.K.) and taught theology for fourteen years at Fordham, Drew, and other universities. His nine books include the highly acclaimed Problems with Atonement (2005), one of his four previous academic titles on the atonement doctrine. He is also the author of Bullying in the Churches (2015), The Family Metaphor in Jesus’ Teaching (2013), and co-editor of the groundbreaking Theôsis: Deification in Christian Theology (2006). He is the pastor at The First Church (UCC), West Bridgewater, MA.
“Stephen Finlan offers a lucid and thorough critique of the view that ‘Christ died for our sins’ is a central tenet of Christianity. . . Sacrificial metaphors, used in diverse ways by the Apostle Paul, had an afterlife in Christian theology, abetted by psychological and social needs. This will be a provocative and illuminating read for pastors and lay Christians alike.”
—Harold W. Attridge
Yale Divinity School
“Passionately rejecting those aspects of traditional atonement theory that turn God into a severe, sacrifice-demanding Father, and instead, pointing out the biblical evidence that reveals the original teaching of Jesus as emphasizing a generous and merciful loving God, Salvation Not Purchased must absolutely be read and reflected on by all who preach and presume to teach others how to preach the Christian doctrine of salvation.”
—Robert J. Daly, SJ
“By putting—and keeping—Jesus square at the center, Stephen Finlan gives us an extraordinarily helpful treatment of atonement theology. Salvation Not Purchased is concise and accessible, but also rich in detail and analytically strong.”
Eastern Mennonite University
“By exploring the Bible in its original languages and contexts, Finlan offers readers a gospel message that is truly good news from beginning to end. He presents these significant and provocative ideas with a pastoral heart and extends to his readers practical suggestions for living out the good news for the glory of God and for the furtherance of the divine kingdom. Salvation Not Purchased is beautifully written and accessible.”
—Sharon Baker Putt
“Finlan’s small book is a biblical theology approach of sorts, a plea for a decent, biblically based, liberal theology of salvation through Christ, and an interesting reflection on the psychologically damaging consequences of a conservative atonement theology.”
Stockholm School of Theology