If God Be for Us: Toward a Theology of Atonement and Christian Life from a Black Queer Perspective

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0002-7219-6140
Evans, Jason, Religious Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Jones, Paul, University of Virginia

This dissertation argues that extant Black (male) liberation, womanist, and queer theologians’ critiques of the Christian doctrine of atonement fail to speak sufficiently to the lives of Black SGL/LGBTIQA+ Christians. While these authors rightly criticize the cis-heteropatriarchal theologies of African American Christian churches, none offer a robust constructive and systematic account of the saving work of Christ. As such, the critique of racism, patriarchy, cisnormativity, and heteronormativity is not yet been paired with a positive account of the atonement.

If God Be for Us aims to address this lacuna in scholarship. This dissertation considers the person and work of Jesus Christ through a critical engagement with key texts by Karl Barth, James H. Cone, Delores S. Williams, and JoAnne Marie Terrell. Drawing insights from each author, it then develops an account of Jesus Christ that contests the cisnormative and heteropatriarchal religious and cultural logics that legitimate the social, political, and physical deaths of Black SGL/LGBTIQA+ people often deemed to be deviant, inherently sinful, and non-human. It argues, specifically, that Christ’s self-offering is the means by which Christ unites Black SGL/LGBTIQA+ lives to himself and takes them up into the very life of the triune God such that they are fully reconciled, justified, sanctified, and liberated. Finally, the dissertation argues that the saving power of the triune God grounds a liberative Christian ethic of human freedom for Black SGL/LGBTIQA+ lives as the risen Christ through the Spirit empowers them to bear witness to the joy of salvation before the church and world. The overall result is a constructive Black queer theology of atonement and Christian life.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Christian theology, Black theology, Womanist theology, Black queer theology, atonement, Christian life, James H. Cone, Delores S. Williams, Karl Barth, JoAnne Marie Terrell
Sponsoring Agency:
Jefferson Scholars FoundationLouisville Institute
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