Other Articles in
Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021

Editorial: Hope against Hope by PAUL WELLS
Matthew Henry’s Preaching and Pastoral Ministry at Hackney, 1712–1714 by ALLAN M. HARMAN
The Homelessness Crisis and the Role of the Church by WILLIAM B. BOWES
On Christian Engagement with Digital Technologies: A Reformed Perspective by JEAN FRANCESCO A. L. GOMES
Criticism and Legitimacy of “Cultural Marxism”: Implications for Christian Witness in the Postmodern World by YANNICK IMBERT
Redeeming Redemption: Violence, Desecration, and Atonement by CHRISTOPHER D. STEED
Yasukuni Shrine, Japanese Christian Responses, and a Kuyperian Ecclesiological Perspective by SURYA HAREFA
Personal Evangelism or Social Reform? The Challenge to Brazilian Presbyterianism in the Nineteenth Century by BRUNO GONÇALVES ROSI
Reflections on COVID-19: From Psalm 80 by WILLIAM EDGAR
The Response of Christians and Churches in India to COVID-19 by MATTHEW EBENEZER
Plague and Sanctification: Indonesian Reflections by BILLY KRISTANTO and AUDY SANTOSO
The Pandemic and the Roman Catholic Church, Especially in Italy by LEONARDO DE CHIRICO
The Churches in The Netherlands and the Pandemic by HERMAN J. SELDERHUIS
The COVID-19 Pandemic in Nigeria by PHILIP TACHIN
The Church in the Midst of the Enduring Pandemic by PIERRE BERTHOUD
How Has COVID-19 Affected My Teaching at Westminster Theological Seminary? by TODD M. RESTER
Warfield, Bavinck, and Kuyper: Interview with Cornelis P. Venema and David Garner by PETER A. LILLBACK
Gratitude Needs a Giver: Why Political Science Needs Intelligent Design by BRIAN G. MATTSON
George Will’s The Conservative Sensibility by PETER A. LILLBACK
Book Review: Derek W. H. Thomas and John W. Tweeddale, eds. John Calvin: For a New Reformation by HERMAN J. SELDERHUIS
Book Review: Tom Holland. Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World by WILLIAM EDGAR
Book Review: Herman Bavinck. Christian Worldview by DANIEL SCHROCK
Book Review: Grant Wacker. One Soul at a Time: The Story of Billy Graham by BRANDON D. CROWE
Book Review: Stephen Tomkins. The Clapham Sect: How Wilberforce’s Circle Transformed Britain by PAUL WELLS
Book Review: Christian C. Sahner. Christian Martyrs under Islam: Religious Violence and the Making of the Muslim World by PAUL WELLS

REDEEMING REDEMPTION: VIOLENCE, DESECRATION, AND ATONEMENT

by CHRISTOPHER D. STEED in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021

DOI: https://doi.org/10.35285/ucc7.1.2021.art5



This article approaches the interface between atonement and violence as it picks up on the theme of atonement through the notion of valuable personhood. I argue that this is key to the
conundrum of how the death of Christ effects personal and societal transformation. Violence sets up an intense transaction and symbolic exchange in which the victims’ value is scraped from their faces by the perpetrators. This is “violence as desecration,” an intense degree of human devaluation. In this article we reflect on violence in our world, the specter of Cain the restless wanderer. We consider how the death of Christ (both its significance and its manner) can be understood in the context of a desecration of valuable personhood (both ours and God’s honor). Violence is a violation of the sacred. Lastly, we ask how, while remaining true to Reformed understandings of substitutionary atonement, we can use Jesus’s immersion into violence to say something profound at a public level about forgiveness and reconciliation in our world

Keywords
Violence, desecration, atonement, Cain, value, power, symbolic exchange
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