Making Sense of Atonement: What Kind of Sense?

Cynthia S. W. Crysdale

Scholars in recent decades have attempted to re-think a theology of the Atonement, in light of feminist and pacifist critiques. This article addresses, not the substance of atonement but the question of whether and how the work of Christ does or does not make sense. I take the position that it does make sense as long as we qualify what kind of “sense” we are talking about. By developing a section of Bernard Lonergan’s 1958 address entitled “The Redemption” I examine different aspects of the “intelligibility” that we can ascribe to a robust theology of Atonement. In this way we can avoid some of the graver misunderstandings and pastoral mis-uses of the gospel message of redemption.