“The Kingdom of Jesus and Atonement Theology: Friends or Foes?”

Bibliographic information:

Benjamin J. Burkholder, “The Kingdom of Jesus and Atonement Theology: Friends or Foes?” Biblical Theology Bulletin 55 (2022): 35-44.


Does maintaining that the Kingdom was central to Jesus’ ministry put one at odds with atonement theology? Some contemporary theologians have argued that these are mutually exclusive options, requiring one to choose between atonement theology and the Kingdom’s centrality in Jesus’ ministry. Lending credence to this claim is the fact that some advocates of atonement theology have provided accounts that suggest such a dichotomy might in fact be the case. This essay investigates one such example. As a hopeful contribution to this discussion, this essay first explores how the Kingdom and atonement appear in Mark’s presentation of Jesus. In addition to investigating some of the relevant Markan passages, this essay draws from the work of Schweitzer and Hengel to contend that it is indeed possible to affirm the centrality of the Kingdom in Jesus’ proclamation and still believe his death on the cross has an atoning function that serves the Kingdom’s arrival.


Biblical Theology Bulletin (website: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/01461079211044935)