Final Theological Paper (On The Atonement)
Instructions for the Final Theological Paper
The final assignment in the class is a theological paper on the atonement, i.e., the
ways in which the death of Jesus has been understood to be a saving event. In both
length and investment of time and effort, this is more than a reflection paper but less
than a full-blown research paper. It should entail serious theological engagement with
the concept of the atonement, the relevant biblical texts, and the secondary readings.
Here are some specifics:
(1) The length should be about 1500 words. With a 12-point font and 1 inch margins,
that should be about 4-5 pages. Please use double-spacing.
(2) The texts with which you should interact are the following:
• The Bible, especially relevant New Testament passages on the atonement
• Gregory A. Boyd and Paul R. Eddy, Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues
in Evangelical Theology, Chapter 7 on “The Atonement Debate.”
• Two readings from Alister E. McGrath, Theology: The Basic Readings, pp. 96-
98, 102-4. Note: This is not the textbook that we used in the first half of the
semester. I have scanned the relevant pages and posted them on Canvas.
• Finally, the textbook from the first half of the semester, Alister McGrath,
Theology: The Basics, chapter 5 on “Salvation,” has much material on the cross.
(3) You do not need to use footnotes nor include a bibliography. In-text notes are
sufficient. Your main sources are Boyd/Eddy, Across the Spectrum; McGrath,
Theology: The Basics; and McGrath, Theology: The Basic Readings. References to
these sources can use in-text, parenthetical notes. For example: (Boyd/Eddy, 132),
(McGrath, Theology, 56), or (McGrath, Readings, 97).
The readings in the 3
rd bullet above come from Rufinus of Aquileia, a patristic writer,
and Anselm of Canterbury, a medieval theologian. They relate to two different views of
the atonement. You may quote them briefly when you discuss those views.
Both Boyd / Eddy, chapter 7, and McGrath, Theology: The Basics, chapter 5, provide
helpful modern analyses of the atonement. You should refer to them in your paper.
(4) This paper uses the same format as the Boyd/Eddy Reflection Papers but should
be more thorough. Describe in some detail the three views of the atonement in
Boyd/Eddy. Include relevant references to the Bible and the additional readings.
Finally, articulate your own view of Jesus’ death, which may incorporate aspects of
one or more of the views in Boyd/Eddy.
(5) Proofread carefully. Use spellcheck and grammar software if you have them.
Remember to capitalize Old Testament, New Testament, Bible, Trinity, etc.