Norm MathersFollow

Document Type



Biblical Studies | Christianity | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Dr. Mathers is available at


The New Testament doctrine of reconciliation has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. The historical result has been a faulty understanding of the Pauline model of reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. Both Aulen’s Christus Victor and Barth’s Humanity of God have stopped at general reconciliation. It is through Christ’s death that the world has been reconcilied to God and God to the world. No offer of salvation is necessary. The failed understanding of the meaning of reconciliation has led to focus on the horizontal relationship of reconciliation between individuals and peoples of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Some support is found in Ephesians 2:14-18. However, the vertical personal relationship between God and man is omitted ( 2 Cor. 5:20-21). Modern attempts to reconstruct the historical Jesus account fail to give adequate emphasis to his death. Reconciliation mustn’t be thought of as concluded. The text of 2 Corinthians 5:20 argues for personal reconciliation to God. The God of 2 Corinthians 5:20 is explained to be Christ in 5:21. This second part of the doctrine of reconciliation is omitted.