Exploring the Meaning of the Atonement: Getting Our Bearings (Part 1)

Dr. Richard Hughes, director of the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College

On Saturday, November 12, the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College will host its annual conference. This year’s conference will focus on “Exploring the Meaning of the Atonement.”

The Search for Piety and Obedience will — as it did for last year’s conference on “Tradition: Burden or Blessing?” here and here — provide coverage of Saturday’s event.

Even more than that, this week the blog will serve as a place for some preliminary thoughts on the topic of atonement and its relevance to the Brethren in Christ Church and its theological traditions.

For today’s installment, let’s get our bearings by considering the Sider Institute’s conference overview, via the fall 2011 newsletter of the Brethren in Christ Historical Society:

Three speakers will approach the conference theme from three different perspectives.

John Arthur Brubaker will explore “Historic Perspectives on the Atonement Among the Brethren in Christ.”

Ron Sider, professor of theology, holistic ministry, and public policy at Palmer Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and the founding director of Evangelicals for Social Action, will discuss “Traditional Views of the Atonement.”

Finally, Robin Collins, professor of philosophy at Messiah College, will explore “The Non-Violent Atonement.”

Following these presentations, pastors and other participants will have the opportunity to discuss in small group settings the implications of what they have heard in the formal presentations.

I’m looking forward to conversing with other Brethren in Christ people — especially pastors — on this issue. Too often, atonement theology becomes a conversation for the seminary and the college/university. What does the topic of atonement mean for the “people in the pew,” and those who lead them?


About Devin Manzullo-Thomas

Father to Lucas. Husband to Katie. Prof and administrator at Messiah College. PhD student at Temple University. Member of Grantham BIC.
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