Christianity is about love ("God is love," "Jesus loves me"), and Christians are to love self, neighbors, even enemies. So, when people are asked what Christians are known for today, why is "love" not listed?
Tony Jones, popular theologian, speaker, blogger, and a founder of the emergent church movement, claims that much of the fault can be placed at the foot of the church's most common explanations of Jesus' crucifixion. While the Bible and Christian experience tell us the cross is all about love, today's most popular model for understanding the cross leaves us feeling guilty, ashamed, even unlovable, and thus disinclined to love others. How did the meaning of the cross change so radically from its biblical roots?
In Did God Kill Jesus? Jones takes us on an intriguing biblical and historical journey revealing just how this message of love was subverted and how it can be restored. He shows how many doctrines we think of as "biblical" were actually invented centuries later: how Augustine invented "original sin"; how Calvin added "guilt"; and how Anselm, an eleventh-century bishop, came up with the current majority view—God hates us sinners and so sent Jesus to be executed and pay our sin penalty so that God can pretend to see Jesus when looking at us. This is how we go from the Bible's assurance that God loved us "while we still were sinners" to becoming "sinners in the hands of an angry God." Jones argues that it should not be a surprise, then, that Christians feel guilty and unlovable—the very things the cross was meant to remedy.
Jones invites readers to join a movement to restore the cross as the potent symbol of love at the heart of the faith. By reconnecting us with what the Bible actually teaches and exploring how other traditions teach about Jesus' death—as well as providing Jones' own model—Did God Kill Jesus? will help us put love back at the center of what Christians believe and what they should be known for.