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Religion Professor Ronald C. Highfield to Explore Latest Book on Atonement

October 21, 2021  | 1 min read

The New Adam: What the Early Church Can Teach Evangelicals (and Liberals) about the AtonementRonald C. Highfield, professor of religion in the Religion and Philosophy Division at Seaver College, will discuss his most recent book, The New Adam: What the Early Church Can Teach Evangelicals (and Liberals) about the Atonement, in the Surfboard Room at Payson Library in Malibu on Tuesday, October 26, at 4 PM. 

“We no longer live in a culture that supports Christian views as self-evident,” shares Highfield. “The words ‘sin’ and ‘atonement’—and their concepts—are among the most alien and misunderstood topics in our modern and postmodern culture. Therefore, it is urgent that we rethink them in a way that is true to their original meaning while also making sense to our contemporaries.”

In his book, Highfield reframes Christian teaching about the atonement and refers to biblical and traditional sources to explain why society’s frustration in trying to understand how Jesus's death satisfies God's judicial wrath is inevitable. Rather than viewing the atonement as the solution to God's problem of how to forgive sins while remaining perfectly just, he argues that the atonement is God's solution to society’s problem.

Highfield further explains that, “Many popular explanations of how Jesus saves, especially the role of his death on a Roman cross, appeal either to emotions of pity and gratitude or present a cold theory of how a just and wrathful God punished Jesus in our place to ‘pay’ for our sins. This book helps readers move past both of these dead ends and view Jesus as our representative and champion that frees us from our wretchedness and enables us to realize our greatness. He gives us a new beginning.”

This event is open to students, faculty, staff, and invited guests. For additional information about the lecture, visit the Pepperdine Libraries website.