December 13, 2018 Editor

J. Denny Weaver, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001/2011. 246 pages


While a student at Regent College in the mid-seventies, there was something I knew to be defective in my evangelical pietistic upbringing – glaringly absent actually in two previous years of evangelism on the streets of West Berlin.  Clark Pinnock’s “The Politics of Jesus” course taught at inter-term supplied the first piece: the socio-political application of the Gospel.  Pinnock also pointed towards, but did not fully present (and has since rejected), a second missing piece: a nonviolent reading of the atonement that was vigorously biblical, traditional, and Good-News-With-Teeth in a world drenched in violence.  The book under review, at last for me, is that missing piece.

What the author argues is an understanding of atonement he dubs “narrative Christus Victor”.  He readily admits its contextual particularity, saying:

It cannot be claimed that narrative Christus Victor is the ultimate atonement image and that our problem of how best to articulate the saving work of Christ has now been definitively solved for the remainder of life on earth (p. 228). 

He writes at the outset:

The working assumption in development of this model is that the rejection of violence, whether the direct violence of the sword or the systemic violence of racism or sexism, should be visible in expressions of Christology and atonement….  Thus proposing narrative Christus Victor as a non-violent atonement motif also poses a fundamental challenge to and ultimately a rejection of satisfaction atonement (p. 7).

Please click on: The Nonviolent Atonement

Subjects: nonviolent atonement


Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.

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