Did God Kill Jesus? (Hardcover)
Searching for Love in History's Most Famous Execution
HarperOne, 9780062297969, 304pp.
Publication Date: March 24, 2015
The popular Patheos blogger wants to restore the cross as primarily a symbol of God’s overwhelming love for us and to rescue Christians from the shame and guilt from seeing our situation as “sinners in the hands of an angry God,” which was an invention of the medieval church and became enshrined as orthodox Christianity.
Many Christians believe that God the Father demanded his only Son die a cruel, gruesome death to appease His wrath, since humanity is so irredeemably sinful and therefore repugnant to God. Tony Jones, popular progressive Christian blogger, author, and scholar, argues that this understanding is actually a medieval invention and not what the Bible really teaches. He looks beyond medieval convictions and liberates how we see Jesus’s death on the cross from this restrictive paradigm. Christians today must transcend the shame and guilt that have shaped conceptions of the human soul and made us fearful of God, and replace them with love, grace, and joyfulness, which better expresses what the cross is really about.
How we understand the cross reflects directly what kind of God we worship. By letting go of the wrathful God who cannot stand to be in our presence unless he pretends to see Jesus in our place, we discover the biblical God who reaches out to love and embrace us while “we were yet sinners.” Jones offers a positive, loving, inclusive interpretation of the faith that is both challenging and inspiring. Did God Kill Jesus? is essential reading for modern Christians.
About the Author
Tony Jones, M.DIV., PH.D., is theologian-in-residence at Solomon's Porch in Minneapolis. He teaches theology at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and Fuller Theological Seminary and writes the popular blog Theoblogy. Jones is the author of a dozen books, including The Sacred Way and The New Christians, and the editor of the Theology for the People series. He is a sought-after speaker and consultant in the areas of theology, the emerging church, and Christian spirituality. He lives in Minnesota with his three children and his spouse.
Praise For Did God Kill Jesus?: Searching for Love in History's Most Famous Execution…
— Adam Hamilton, author of Making Sense of the Bible
“This important, smart, readable, and ultimately beautiful book allows this generation to re-claim the cross as the place of God’s deepest love rather than the place of our deepest shame. Jones unlocks the chains of fear and shame that bind so much of Christianity and offers us instead, freedom.”
— Nadia Bolz-Weber, author of Pastrix
“I love this book—not because I agree with all of it, but because I agree with Jesus and it helped me see him more clearly. Tony Jones explores the great mystery of how one of the most offensive events in history has become the conduit of God’s love.”
— Shane Claiborne, author, activist, and follower of the executed and risen Jesus
“Did God Kill Jesus? is the one and only book I have ever seen on the Atonement that I can wholeheartedly recommend without reservation and with devout enthusiasm. Even-handed, historically complete, accessible to any reader who chooses to approach it, this is a masterful piece of work.”
— Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence
“This book might change how you think about the Cross, but it is much more likely that it will change how you pray your way toward the Cross. Jones concludes with Julian of Norwich feeling God’s presence and understanding the Cross as a source of peace—as you will, too.”
— Lauren F. Winner, author of Wearing God
“An extended exploration of one of Christian theology’s oldest, most vexing, intriguing, and important questions. Jones urges us to reject the most popular conventional answers and embrace better alternatives. You’ll be grateful for a chance to think alongside a passionate, inspiring theologian who writes with clarity, intensity, and relentless curiosity.”
— Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity
“If you love Jesus and the Bible, but don’t know what to do about a God whose default mode is disgust with humanity, who demands a payment for a debt we cannot pay, and who kills his Son to appease his anger, you need to read Did God Kill Jesus?.”
— Peter Enns, author of The Bible Tells Me So
“Engaging and accessible, written with the right mix of humility and conviction, Did God Kill Jesus? invites readers to wrestle with key questions about Christianity. I learned something new on every page and will be thinking about this one for a long, long time.”
— Rachel Held Evans, author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood and Searching for Sunday
“An exciting historical journey of understanding the death of Jesus with insights that are biblically sound, culturally astute, and contextually relevant. Jones moves us to reconsider our traditional means of seeing God, sin, Christ, and each other, leaving us with an indelible new sense of the meaning of the cross.”
— Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Ph.D., visiting researcher at Georgetown University and author of Embracing the Other and Colonialism, Han, and the Transformative Spirit
“Too often simple ignorance of our theological history traps us in dead ways of thinking. For some, all the questions surrounding atonement have been long settled, but for Jones-and a rising revolution of thoughtful Christians-faithfulness to the God of the present sometimes means we must betray the past.”
— Ryan Meeks, founding pastor of EastLake Church
“Tony has redeemed “redemption” for many today who, despite being put off by the blood-crazed, “vampire” vision of Christianity, desperately desire to discover the God of love in the egregious Golgotha. And Tony has done this with theological rigor and pastoral playfulness, with wisdom and wit.”
— Rev. José Francisco Morales, Director of Pastoral Formation, Disciples Seminary Foundation
“Jones draws from what we know to be the nature of God to conclude that the essence of atonement, the heart of Christianity, is not punishment or judgment for original sin, but love. Accessible, bold, and brilliant, this book should be read by everyone.”
— Sharon Tan, Vice President of Academic Affairs /Dean McVay Professor of Christian Ethics United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
“An important new book…a compelling theological appeal toward a more gracious, more biblically-sound meaning of the cross for us today…essential reading.”
“An accessible theological tour de force.”
— Adam Ericksen, Patheos
“One of those rare texts that is both informative and inspirational. It’s given me fresh eyes with which to see the crucifixion and a view of God that makes sense in and for the world in which we live.”
— J. Ryan Parker, Pop Theology