What happened on the cross? When Jesus suffered and died, what happened? Atonement theology often claims that the death was a sacrifice for the sins of the world. This statement becomes nuanced in contemporary theologies because surrogate suffering was used to oppress others, salvific violence has been used to justify the dehumanization of marginalized people and the cross itself was a symbol of colonialization. These contemporary theologians speak to the cross and the event of Christ's death with these critiques of traditional atonement theology and explore what salvation exists in the narratives of and about Jesus.
[...] Heim is speaking to his audience of privilege to make them aware of their own sins of scapegoating and convince them to stop their sinful actions of forcing surrogate suffering. Kwok Pui-lan speaks of Jesus' role differently. She puts forward a strong challenge to the symbol of the cross, is it possible for the formerly colonized, oppressed, subjugated subaltern to transform the symbol of Christ a symbol that has been used to justify colonization and domination into a symbol that affirms life, dignity and freedom?” This question speaks to her context. [...]
[...] This is where Williams shows her aim. She claims that Jesus came for a ministry of life, and that the example of his ministry as an example to be followed is redemption. It is not the death that gives salvation, it is not the suffering which gives salvation, it is the life and ministry where Jesus was able to find meaning and give meaning to others which gives salvation. Jesus conquered the temptation of sin in the wilderness, beating sin while he still was alive. [...]
[...] When communities adopt Jesus, they project values of their own culture on Jesus so he makes meaning for their situation and context. Kwok Pui-lan's aim in this theological endeavor is to provide a conversation and a means to answer the challenge of how can the image of the colonizers provide meaning and salvation for subjugated, oppressed, female, or other marginalized peoples. How does Jesus save? Does the salvific work of Jesus happen in a single event such as the death and suffering on the cross or in many moments such as the teachings and the ministry of Jesus or is it the salvation of assuming the Christ character in the ministry or symbols of the local culture and context. [...]
[...] Heim argues that this mass injustice was ended with Jesus. Since God was willing to step into the role of scapegoat, God's death was the deliverance from the need to scapegoat. God was the scapegoat. Jesus is the sacrifice to end all sacrifice. The Gospels tell the story through the eyes of the one wrongfully accused and condemned to die unjustly to appease the needs of society and show society the evils of the practice of scapegoating. Heim's point in all of this is that we are not saved by the sacrifice, but on the cross we are saved from sacrifice. [...]
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