01 April 2010

Three Perspectives on the Atonement

In William Tyndale's 1526 version of the New Testament, he gave an English translation of Romans 5:10-11 as follows:
For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son: much more, seeing we are reconciled, we shall be preserved by his life. Not only so, but we also joy in God by the means of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received this atonement.
Like many others of Tyndale’s memorable translations of scriptural phrases, this version becamethe basis for the historically dominant rendering of the text into English. In the English Bible, "atonement" is "the single word of Anglo-Saxon origin that describes a theological doctrine; other doctrinal words come from Latin, Hebrew, or Greek."

Tyndale’s use of the term “atonement” in his Bible translation was consistent with his theological view that the central mission of Jesus was:
“... to make us one with God: “One God, one Mediatour, that is to say aduocate, intercessor, or an atonemaker, between God and man.” “One mediatour Christ, ... and by that word understand an atonnemaker, a peacemaker.”
Gallagher further explains:
The original meaning also comes through in the various early Bible commentators. Note Udal’s comment on Ephesians 2:16 which makes the intended meaning of “atone” crystal clear: “And like as he made the Jewes and Gentiles at one betwene themselfes, euen so he made them bothe at one with God, that there should be nothing to break the attonement, but that the thynges in heauen and the thinges in earth should be ioined together as it wer into one body.”
In this article, I will examine three inseparable perspectives on the oneness made possible through the Atonement of Christ—viewing this central event of human history as a “happy homecoming,” as the “whole meaning of the law,” and as the means of becoming a “partaker of the divine nature.” ...

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