Did God Kill Jesus?: Searching for Love in History’s Most Famous Execution by Tony Jones (Author)


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.

From the Back Cover

Christianity is about love (“God is love,” “Jesus loves me”), and Christians are to love self, neighbors, even enemies. So, when people are asked what Christians are known for today, why is “love” not listed?

Tony Jones, popular theologian, speaker, blogger, and a founder of the emergent church movement, claims that much of the fault can be placed at the foot of the church’s most common explanations of Jesus’ crucifixion. While the Bible and Christian experience tell us the cross is all about love, today’s most popular model for understanding the cross leaves us feeling guilty, ashamed, even unlovable, and thus disinclined to love others. How did the meaning of the cross change so radically from its biblical roots?

In Did God Kill Jesus? Jones takes us on an intriguing biblical and historical journey revealing just how this message of love was subverted and how it can be restored. He shows how many doctrines we think of as “biblical” were actually invented centuries later: how Augustine invented “original sin”; how Calvin added “guilt”; and how Anselm, an eleventh-century bishop, came up with the current majority view—God hates us sinners and so sent Jesus to be executed and pay our sin penalty so that God can pretend to see Jesus when looking at us. This is how we go from the Bible’s assurance that God loved us “while we still were sinners” to becoming “sinners in the hands of an angry God.” Jones argues that it should not be a surprise, then, that Christians feel guilty and unlovable—the very things the cross was meant to remedy.

Jones invites readers to join a movement to restore the cross as the potent symbol of love at the heart of the faith. By reconnecting us with what the Bible actually teaches and exploring how other traditions teach about Jesus’ death—as well as providing Jones’ own model—Did God Kill Jesus? will help us put love back at the center of what Christians believe and what they should be known for.

Tony Jones (M.Div., Ph.D.) is a theologian, professor, and writer. His most recent book is, DID GOD KILL JESUS? SEARCHING FOR LOVE IN HISTORY’S MOST FAMOUS EXECUTION. Currently, he serves as theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, and teaches at Fuller Theological Seminary and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. Tony has written a dozen books on Christian ministry, spirituality, prayer, and new church movements. He lives in Minnesota with his wife, kids, and dogs.

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Tony Jones Interview about Atonement: “Did God Kill Jesus?”

Adam interviewed Tony Jones about his upcoming book, “Did God Kill Jesus?” In the book, Tony uses the work of Rene Girard and Jurgen Moltmann. Adam and Tony discuss Girard, Moltman, and Atonement.

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