Eucharist and Atonement

  by Peter J. Leithart 2.19.16
Early Christians expended huge amounts of energy and intellectual subtlety in working out the implications of the gospel for their understanding of God and of Jesus. “Trinity” and “Christology” were the theological monuments of the patristic era. John MacIntyre (Shape of Soteriology) points out that we find nothing comparable on the question of the “relation of Christ's death to our redemption.” Neither creeds nor theologians produced “a full theory of atonement” but were content to “employ a selection of the biblical expressions to describe the relation between Christ's death and our salvation from sin.” When the creeds did mention the death of Jesus, they didn't link it to the forgiveness of sins (6).
MacIntyre thinks this “so very, very odd as to merit much more consideration than it is traditionally given in histories of soteriology.” How are we to explain this absence of formal attention to soteriology?


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