Even as theologians have become more critical of classic theories of atonement, biblical scholars have continued to rely upon such theories as a basis for interpreting Paul's teaching regarding salvation and the cross. In this vital volume, Brondos looks to the recent advances in New Testament scholarship to argue for an alternative understanding of Paul's doctrine of salvation and the cross.
Paul, says Brondos, understood Jesus' death primarily as the consequence of his mission: to serve as God's instrument to bring about the long-awaited redemption of Israel, in which Gentiles throughout the world would also be included. For Paul, Jesus' death is salvific not because it satisfies some necessary condition for human salvation, as most doctrines of the atonement have traditionally maintained, nor because it effects some change in the situation of human beings or the world in general. Rather, Jesus' God responded to Jesus' faithfulness unto death by raising him, thereby ensuring that all the divine promises of salvation would be fulfilled through him.
Jesus' death forms part of an overarching story culminating in the redemption of Israel and the world. It is this story, and in particular what preceded and followed Jesus' death on the cross, that makes that death redemptive for Paul.
Brondos offers a fresh rereading of the Gospels, Acts, and the Pauline letters that will spur others to reread and rethink these texts. His argument raises significant challenges to those who caricature Paul as the inventor of Christianity, as will as to those who follow the 'New Perspective on Paul.' This book will serve as a valuable stimulus for exegetical and theological clarification regarding the atonement, the story of redemption, and the Christian view of time.
—Mark Reasoner, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Bethel University; author of Romans in Full Circle: A History of Interpretation
David Brondos is Professor of Theology at the Theological Community of Mexico, an ecumenical consortium of seminaries in Mexico City, where he teaches systematic theology and Biblical studies.