The second section of A Community Called Atonement deals specifically with the images that are used to portray the atonement. The central thought is that the metaphors used to explain atonement should be seen as possibilities, not limitations. That means our explanations for the atonement should be seen as attempts to explain something that is more than can be expressed through a single image. Multiple looks can, and should, be taken at the atonement because the atonement is the key, not the explanations. McKnight puts it great in this quote:
“…if the result determines the problem because it is inherent to the metaphonr, the means of resolution each time is the same. Eikons are liberated, sacrificed for, justified, and reconcilled to god, self, others, and the world by one and the same act: the death of Jesus Christ.”
McKnight then contirbutes geniously to my growing thoughts about the process of salvation and sanctification. For a long time views on this process have been hyperPauline in perspective. McKnight does a great job of broadening this perspective without ignoring the Pauline contribution. It certainly got me excited that he spends some time on Irenaeus, the principle theologian concerning divizination and new creation. McKnight leans into an explanation of Christ as a second Adam (rather than a second Abraham) and spends time working this view through atonement theology.
The way McKnight does this is remarkable because he follows the life of Christ (incarnation, death, pentecost) and treats them all as atonement moments. Thus, McKnight moves the atonement from being somehting that happened toward something that happens all around us all the time.