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The Back Side of the Cross

An Atonement Theology for the Abused and Abandoned

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The cross is often portrayed as the means of salvation and forgiveness for sinners, but does it have anything to say to those who have been sinned against?

The Back Side of the Cross illustrates that models of Christ's atonement have powerful potential to speak to those who have been wronged, especially those who have been abused and abandoned in countless ways—those who cower at the 'back side' of the cross, wondering if they are included.

As victims of various kinds of abuse are beginning to come out of the shadows in cultural conversation and in the context of the church, The Back Side of the Cross is a timely book for several audiences. It is thoroughly rigorous and will interest theologians and their students; it also offers a very practical section for pastors and those who want to care for the wounded; and it can even speak to survivors themselves, as it offers true hope in the urgency of such real pain.

If you're looking for a book on atonement unlike any you've read, request The Back Side of the Cross today.

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The Back Side of the Cross on Amazon
Diane Leclerc at Northwest Nazarene University
Brent Peterson at Northwest Nazarene University

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Praise for The Back Side of the Cross

“This volume is a valuable, potent theological contribution to the growing body of literature focusing on the experiences, wisdom, and theological protest of the ‘sinned against,’ dismantling the focus of traditional atonement theologies and giving voice to so many of us who are survivors of violence.”
Elaine A. Heath, author of Healing the Wounds of Sexual Abuse: Reading the Bible with Survivors

“Leclerc and Peterson affirm our sinned-against brokenness and our hope of full redemption! Their prophetic voices are poignant and provocative in providing alternative theological perspectives that take survivors’ experiences and needs well into account. Although a work of theology, there are so many pastoral implications that offer brilliant helps to our everyday dilemmas of grief-stricken, abandoned, and abused parishioners. There is a balm in Gilead for those on the backside of the cross.”
Rondy Smith, founder and CEO, Rest Stop Ministries

“Contemporary social movements are raising a level of awareness to the suffering of victims in ways that were previously without precedent. Yet, part of what I see taking place in these movements is a society attempting to grapple with victimization in the absence of a theology that adequately addresses very complex issues. ... This book offers the kind of creative, astute, and well-timed theology so needed for such a time as this.”
Timothy R. Gaines, Trevecca Nazarene University

“There are very few resources that help us understand how trauma can have an impact on the spiritual life and experience of a survivor. ... This book helps bridge this gap. I have woven some of this book’s theology into my practice with clients. I have heard more than once ‘Why haven’t I ever heard this before?’ The insights offered by the authors will help pastors, clinicians, and survivors themselves work toward healing and wholeness.”
Julie Schmidt, LCSW

“This book will be important for educators and pastors; it will be timely for Christians everywhere. More narrowly, Leclerc and Peterson’s emphasis meets a pronounced need in Wesleyan circles, in which language of atonement and holiness focuses on freedom from sin but may leave out those who have experienced unwilling violation. Instead of perceiving the atonement primarily as freeing people from guilt, this book takes seriously that the cross represents hope and redemption for those sinned against.”
Kara Lyons Pardue, Point Loma Nazarene University

About the Authors

Diane Leclerc is Professor of Historical Theology at Northwest Nazarene University. Her own personal experiences and her extensive work with women in pastoral settings aids her in theological reflection on abuse and trauma.

Brent Peterson is Dean of the College of Theology and Christian Ministries and Professor of Theology at Northwest Nazarene University. He is a leading voice in the Wesleyan tradition on the sacraments, and founded the Wesleyan Liturgical Society.

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