This heady conversation among serious theologians who are good humored, agile, and erudite is a model for how the church thinks. The topic of atonement remains a mystery beyond formulation, which of course is why the church has never pronounced definitively on the theme. In the meantime the pondering of these theologians lets us see (1) how faithful thinking is done, (2) how thick the claim of Christ is, and (3) how serious generous interpretation is generative of new possibility. This is a welcome conversation that sketches out imaginative scenarios for future work. The practice of this book is one of deep faith and bold thinking, just what the church must now undertake in fresh ways.
—Walter Brueggemann, William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament,
Columbia Theological Seminary
Jesus’ death bears many meanings in Scripture and Christian interpretation, including the defeat of Satan, forgiveness of sins, demonstration of love, creation of community, sign of solidarity, and start of the eschaton. In this book, eminent scholars N. T. Wright and Simon Gathercole—having already written books on Christ’s cross—speak, spout, split, and specify these many meanings in amazing ways. Enlivened by queries from the floor, their conversation concludes without closure, and yet this slender volume offers entrée into today’s atonement debates. Stewart’s introduction and concluding bibliography further enhance its value as a starting point for those just dipping their toes into the ocean of literature on Jesus’ death.
—Michael McClymond, Professor of Modern Christianity,
Saint Louis University
Reading this enthralling book deepens and remolds our understanding of the cross of Jesus. Wright’s holistic atonement is truly enlightening, Gathercole’s substitutionary atonement is thought provoking, and Stewart’s view of the Lord’s Supper is enriching. This book must be read by all Christians who tussle with different atonement theories.
—Andrew S. Park, author of Triune Atonement,