I haven’t been writing essays for this blog for a while. That’s because I’ve been trying to finish my latest book. It’s been over 5 years in the making, but I am almost finished! Within a week or two I will turn it over to my publisher, Cascade Press.
I’d like your help in choosing a title.
This book is about how Jesus saves human beings from everything that keeps us from becoming what we were created to be, that is, true images of God. In traditional terms, Jesus saves from sin, death, and the devil. I argue that the traditional and still popular evangelical doctrine of penal substitution—that God punished Jesus instead of us—is wrong and incomprehensible to our contemporaries, church or unchurched The liberal Protestant theory that Jesus “saves” only through the influence of his example is also wrong. That theory is too weak to deal the power of sin, evil, and death that dominates our world. I argue that Paul—and the church fathers Irenaeus and Athanasius—thought differently about the atonement. They see the atonement as recreating humanity and uniting us to God through Jesus’s life, activity, death and resurrection. The traditional theological terms for this way thinking are theosis—a Greek word meaning the process of becoming God or God-like—and recapitulation. That is, Jesus repeated or summed up the history of broken humanity and got it right. He rewrote history so that—to put it in common speech—it has a happy ending. And that happy ending is that we are raise to such glory that the church fathers called it deification. That is, we are given divine qualities like immortality, glory, and incorruptibility, to use Paul’s list in 1 Corinthians 15.
The titles below reflect my indecision between titles that use the vocabulary of theology and those with more popular appeal.
Titles that appeal to the theologically literate:
- The Second Adam: Atonement Theology Beyond Penal Substitution
- The New Adam: Atonement Theology Beyond Penal Substitution
- The New Adam: Why the Early Church Got the Atonement Right and Evangelicals and Liberals Get it Wrong
- The Atonement: Why Paul, Irenaeus, and Athanasius Got it Right and Evangelicals and Liberals Get it Wrong
Titles that appeal also to the non-theologically literate reader:
- A New Beginning: How Jesus Rescues Us from Sin, Death, and the Devil
- A New Beginning: How Jesus Removes Our Guilt, Heals Our Wounds, Defeats Our Enemies, and Raises Us to Glory
Which of these titles do you think would make someone want to read this book?
Thanks for your help!