Why did Jesus die? What does it mean that Jesus died for our sins? Christian theology has been wrestling with these questions for centuries, and theologians have proposed lots of different answers and explanations in the form of theories of atonement. But most of these theories fall short when confronted by a contemporary, postmodern worldview. Many of these models come out of orthodox (rather than Free Church) traditions, so they also lack the distinctive elements that characterize Brethren ways of understanding God and the world. The Church of the Brethren is well known for its acts of service and discipleship in the nonviolent model of Jesus, but it has not produced much constructive theology. Cooperative Salvation attempts to remedy this situation by proposing a constructive Brethren model of atonement. It analyzes the diverse atonement models proposed throughout the Christian tradition, noting where they prove inadequate. To address the shortcomings of other models, this work draws on important claims of historical Anabaptist and Brethren theology while also incorporating ideas from feminist, liberation, and process theology in order to construct an understanding of atonement that contributes a contemporary Brethren voice to the centuries-long discussion of atonement.
Kathryn S. Eisenbise