Fortress Introduction to Salvation and the Cross. By David A. Brondos, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008. xiv and 220 pages. Paper. $20.00.
This book is a fine contribution to current discussions in soteriology, the inquiry into the nature of Christ's saving work. Brondos, Professor of Theology at the Theological Community of Mexico, systematically examines scriptural, patristic, medieval, reformation, modern, and postmodern theologies of the atonement. Specifically, he vividly details atonement perspectives in Isaiah, Luke, Paul, Irenaeus, Gregory of Nyssa, Anselm, Luther, Calvin, Albrecht Ritschl, Karl Barth, Rudolf Bultmann, Jon Sobrino, and Rosemary Radford Ruether.
For the most part, Brondos keeps an even-handed, balanced tone as he examines each thinker, though his interpretation of Paul, influenced by the "new perspective on Paul," sees Jesus' death not as salvific in itself but as Jesus' loyalty to Gods will for a new community embracing both Jews and Gentiles. Those who think that Paul's primary message was that Christ became sin for us will have misgivings with Brondos' interpretation of Paul. In spite of that, it should be noted that his overviews of the various theologians are quite helpful and accurate.
With respect to Isaiah, Brondos claims that God not only corrects the erring Israelites through discipline bur empowers them by "giving them his Spirit so as to transform them internally." Similar to his view of Paul, Brondos sees the Lukan conviction of redemption through Jesus' blood (Acts 20:28) as referring nor simply to Jesus' death, but to his "having been killed for his prophetic activity." Brandos makes it clear that Jesus, for Paul, is not a "substitute," dying in the place of sinners, but dying as identifying with sinners, ultimately so that others "may be incorporated into the community of faith."
Brondos' interpretations of the church fathers Irenaeus...