Review Of Mann, “Atonement For A Sinless Society” (2nd Ed.) -- By: Robert D. Falconer
Conspectus 23:1 (March 2017) p. 157
Review Of Mann, “Atonement For A Sinless Society” (2nd Ed.)
Mann A 2015. Atonement for a Sinless Society (2nd ed.). Eugene: Cascade Books.
1. Introduction To The Author
Alan Mann works in education, supporting children with complex special educational needs. He is a graduate of The London School of Theology (LST) where he studied for a Bachelor of Theology and a postgraduate course in Hermeneutics and Biblical Interpretation. Mann has worked for a number of UK-based Christian leaders and organisations, and has contributed to numerous books, magazines and online publications. For several years he served as an Open Learning Tutor for LST, specialising in Christianity in Contemporary Culture and Theology of the Poor. He lives in the UK with his family. In addition to Atonement for a Sinless Society, Mann has authored the following books: The Lost Message of Jesus (2004, co-authored with Steve Chalke), A Permanent Becoming: A Contemporary Look at the Fruit of
Conspectus 23:1 (March 2017) p. 158
the Spirit (2008), and Different Eyes: The Art of Living Beautifully (2010, co-authored with Steve Chalke)2.
2. The Purpose Of The Book
In very simple terms, Mann’s book, Atonement for a Sinless Society, offers to do just that, to show how the atoning work of Christ might be applied to such a society that does not acknowledge sin. That is, how is the atonement relevant for a society where the concept of sin is irrelevant, at least in traditional Christian terms?
Mann likens it to speaking a foreign language. When the story of the Cross of Christ is told, often it is told in a ‘foreign cultural language’ that is difficult for others to understand and accept, not because the cross of Christ is irrelevant, but because language itself is irrelevant. The book encourages us not to persist in thinking of the atonement in narrow terms by presenting its significance in out-dated expressions.
It is not that the language we used to speak of the atonement was unfruitful or incomprehensible, but rather that society has changed in such a way that if we continue to use the same language, for the majority of people the atonement will be confusing, unpalatable and loathsome. Therefore, we should not be overconfident that we have pinned down the meaning of the atonement and how we ought to express it.
Mann uses the example of Pentecost to illustrate the purpose of his book. People were surprised by the message of Jesus being preached by ...
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