Past Event and Present Salvation: The Christian Idea of Atonement Paperback – 1 Oct 1989
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About the Author
Paul S. Fiddes is Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Oxford in England. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
In part 2, Fiddes covers (again despite the titles) images of the suffering servant, justice (St Anselm and penal substitution), victory, and the act of Love (St Abelard and moral influence) in exhaustive detail. The detail is good, even if Fiddes style is occasionally like eating three Weetabix with no milk.
My biggest complaint with this book is with this section only covering the usual four: what happens to all those potential millions who can’t get a grip on Christianity or the cross because none of these four are efficacious ? This is why I am personally interested in all of the other 40+ theories of the atonement that I have found: one can not have too many because if one doesn’t work, then there’s another that might. It’s a not very-Loving God that potentially cast people to an eternity without Love because one can’t understand through a very limited range of imagery. How about a Loving God that’s eager to share with us and so has as many doors open to His house as possible ?
Even a single chapter reminding us of the old ones that have been forgotten and bringing us new ones we haven’t heard of would have helped. Rather what we get is a detailed look at a well-worn path.
Such alternative views as they are, eg Barth, Tillich, Bernard of Clairvaux, Athanasius, Dillistone are a) spread about, b) very briefly covered. Fortunately the index is helpful here. Karkkainen’s “Christology: a Global Introduction” does a better job here by discussing each of its subjects in a self-contained chapter.
Part 3 looks at (in accordance with the titles this time) forgiveness, justice though political activity, and finally suffering. My big gripes here are a) the forgiveness chapter assumes we are interested in and are familiar with Shakespeare, b) the justice chapter again assumes that left-wing politics are more in tune with God than right-wing politics (don’t get me started, there isn’t room here), and c) the chapter on suffering is too short to be useful.
Yes, I have got something out of this book, but I’ve made notes on those sections and now it’s going out: which tells you all you need to know. It’s good starting point, but there are few indicators of how one grows beyond this.
It's not for absolute beginners, but good for medium knowledge people (like me!)
I did find myself having to re-read some bits to make sure I knew what he was saying. But on the whole excellent.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Fiddes does a good job in distinguishing between "objective" theories of atonement/salvation that describe what believers claim God has done to change the way things are in the universe, and "subjective" theories that stress an individual's appropriation of divine activity. He then synthesizes them well. Along with Michael Winter's "The Atonement" (Liturgical Press), I think this book is excellent background reading for anyone wanting to seriously explore Christian atonement theory, and it is free enough of academic jargon to be read by the general educated public.