The Cross In The New Testament: Two Theses In Conversation With Recent Literature (2000-2007) -- By: Jason B. Hood

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 71:2 (Fall 2009)
Article: The Cross In The New Testament: Two Theses In Conversation With Recent Literature (2000-2007)
Author: Jason B. Hood

The Cross In The New Testament:
Two Theses In Conversation With Recent Literature

Jason B. Hood

Jason B. Hood is scholar-in-residence at Christ UMC, Memphis, Tenn., and teaches at the Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies.

The significance of the cross in the NT and in Christian theology makes the cross a perennial target of scholarly and popular texts, particularly among evangelicals. An exploration of books on the cross published from 2000 to 2007 uncovers two aspects of the cross in the NT which are neglected in a number of works. This article does not constitute a full and adequate review of the texts in question. Rather, it is intended to function as an exploration of two significant gaps in response to recent study of the biblical message of the cross. In particular these theses are presented with the intent of highlighting intriguing angles for scholars as well as pastors concerned with “the state of the question,” particularly that which is often missing in evangelical and Reformed literature. Books published since the turn of the millennium will function as the primary conversation partners for the present article.

While the two proposals presented below fall under the umbrella of the cross in the NT, for the benefit of Linnaean readers, I will associate each proposal with one primary field of study: systematic theology or practical theology. Both of these fields function as a seed-bed for one particular aspect of the cross that is often neglected or misinterpreted in recent literature. In this respect, the present article transgresses the tidy boundaries of the collective theological establishment. At the outset I wish to acknowledge fully the significant limitations and increased possibility of errors in such a broad investigation.

I. Systematic Theology: Penal Substitutionary Atonement

Surely it is no surprise that systematic theology is the dominant category of discourse for books published on the cross, nor is it a surprise that penal substitution is the most discussed and debated aspect of the cross. The first of the two theses is as follows: The biblical doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement is the most assailed, most controversial, and most assured result of recent work on the cross.

The earliest book in the time frame in which we are interested, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross by Joel Green and Mark Baker, began the third millennium with an assault on penal substitution in 2000, followed by books by Denny Weaver and Anthony Bartlett in 2001. The assault is still going strong, with

2006 alone witnessing offerings from David Brondos, Mark Heim, Lar...

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