Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Executing God by Sharon Baker

This is a fabulous read!

I love it when theology professors explain multiple theories and viewpoints and then provide the strengths and weaknesses of each view before clearly providing an alternate option. My theology professor lectured this way and I thrived in his classes!

Baker tackles another controversial idea (previously, she debated hell) with the theological theory of atonement.

Now before you move on to another review, please understand that this book does not read at all like a college lecture. Everything about this book is about getting the information/ideas to you quickly and easily. Baker does a great job using everyday language. It almost feels like a conversation you'd have at your coffee table...almost because, come on, she's talking about Atonement!

Some of her theories may cause a few Christians to squirm - "did God send Jesus to die?" "if God forgives, why did Jesus have to die a brutal death? What does that say about forgiveness?" She asks these questions and so many more that kept me reading with joy! I love to be challenged in my long-held beliefs. Just because I may not agree with everything she writes doesn't mean I can't thoroughly enjoy her writing.

The basic premise for this book is Baker's faith in Jesus as the best representation of God. And if Jesus is the best representation of God, then how do we reconcile the God of compassion, love, and forgiveness we find in Jesus and the God who demands payment(death) in order to extend his forgiveness?

Proponents of substitutionary atonement theories will not enjoy this book. They may even deem Baker a heretic. But you have to give this book a shot. It would do any Bible scholar as well as general seeker good to explore the ideas presented here.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Westminster John Knox Press.

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