The third section of McKnight’s book on atonement theologies takes time to look at the development of atonement theology through Jesus, Paul and the early theologians.
In the section on Jesus, McKnight talks about the choice to have the crucifixion of Christ tied to the Passover rather than the Day of Atonement. It has great implications concerning the metaphors that God was using to communicate to mankind. McKnights continued pursuit of the use of metaphors is insightful.
Then Pauline atonement theology is considered. Paul tended to lean on judicial metaphors and McKnight deals with the benefits and limitations of atonement theology developing through a judicial metaphor.
Finally, McKnight works through Irenaeus and Athanasius, early theologians who are often overlooked (Two men who, I believe, could contribute greatly to a reformation of holiness theology to make it relevant to today’s culture.). Unfortunately, the people who have paid the most attention to Irenaus and Athanasius have created cults by taking their thoughts to ridiculous extremes. McKnight does a splendid job trying to take back these great theologians from cultic nutjobs.