A journal of academic theology

The Atonement Paradigm: Does It Still Have Explanatory Value?

Until the mid-20th century, the reigning Western paradigm of Christian salvation was the Anselmian theory of Christ’s death as atoning for sinful humanity by paying a debt to God. Recent liberationist, feminist, and antimilitarist theologies strongly critique personal and structural violence, leading many to reject the atonement paradigm as sacralizing violence. This article argues that soteriologies should remain pluralistic. A model of salvation through sacrificial love, embodied on the cross, can still have transformative moral and political value if linked with a vibrant belief in the Incarnation and Resurrection