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SFTS professor wins best first book award

Presbyterian Writers Guild’s Angell Award goes to Gregory A. Love

April 15, 2011

Headshot of the Rev. Gregory A. Love

The Rev. Gregory A. Love

LOUISVILLE

The Rev. Gregory A. Love, associate professor of systematic theology at San Francisco Theological Seminary, has been named winner of the 2011 Angell Award by the Presbyterian Writers Guild (PWG).

The award is given by the PWG each year for the best first book published the previous calendar year by a Presbyterian writer. The award was established in 1996 by an endowment from the late Jim Angell.

Love’s book ― Love, Violence, and the Cross: How the Nonviolent God Saves Us through the Cross of Christ ― was chosen from among 19 entries published in 2010. It was published by Cascade Books/Wipf and Stock.

“The central theme of this book is to articulate an alternative to the prevalent ‘penal substitutionary atonement’ interpretation of the crucifixion,” the Angell Award judges stated.  “It presents a competent challenge to substitutionary atonement, a reasonable presentation of two modern theological alternatives, and a fair, good effort to create an alternative view of the crucifixion with the framework of Christian orthodoxy.” 

In submitting his book, Love said: “The book attempts to explain how God can save us through Christ’s actions, including his death on Good Friday, in ways that make sense to people in the pews, and in ways that support perceiving God as non-violent. It makes use of stories from literature, movies, history and the news to bring theological ideas to life.”

Love is an M.Div. and Ph.D. graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and is a minister member of San Francisco Presbytery. He attends First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo, Calif. (near the SFTS campus) “when I am not teaching in Bay Area churches.”

He will be leading a weeklong exploration of his book for recent SFTS graduates at Zephyr Point Conference Center at Lake Tahoe in mid-July. 

Previous Angell Award winners (for books published in the previous year) are:

2010 — Rebecca Barnes-Davies, Louisville, 50 Ways to Help Save the Earth:  How You and Your Church Can Help Make a Difference (Westminster John Knox Press)

2009 — Linda Raymond Ellison and Bill Ellison, Louisville, Like Jacob's Well: The Very Human History of Highland Presbyterian Church (Beechmont Press).

2008 — Mary Frances Chupick Bennett, Kerrville, Texas, Invitation to Cat Spring: From European Tyranny to Freedom to Civil War (AuthorHouse).

2007 — Bud Frimoth, Portland, Ore., Bring in the Clowns: A Metaphor for Ministry (Pleasant Word, a division of Wine Press).

2006 — Laurel McKay Horton, Seneca, S.C., Mary Black's Family Quilts: Memory and Meaning in Everyday Life (University of South Carolina Press).

2005 — John H. Barden, Fulton, Mo., 'Postle Jack Tales, Gospel Images in New Appalachian Folktales (KiwE Publishing, Ltd).

2004 — Ruth Linnea Whitney, Port Townsend, Wash., Slim (Southern Methodist University Press).

2003 — Carol J. Morrison, North Bend, Wash., Catching On: Love With an Avid Fly Fisher (Freestone Press).

2002 — Gary Charles, Alexandria, Va., The Bold Alternative: Staying in Church in the 21st Century (Geneva Press).

2001 — Stephen P. McCutchan, Winston-Salem, N.C., Experiencing the Psalms: Weaving the  Psalms into Your Ministry and Faith.

2000 — James O. Chatham, Louisville, Ky., Sundays Down South: A Pastor's Stories, (University of Mississippi Press).

1999 — Cathy Cummings Chisholm, Vandalia, Ill., Landscapes of the Heart (Bridge Resources).

1998 — Duke Robinson, Oakland, Calif., Good Intentions: The Nine Unconscious Mistakes of Nice People, (Warner Books).

1997 — Bard Young, Nashville, Tenn., The Snake of God (Black Belt Press).

1996 — Shelly E. Cochran, Rochester, N.Y., The Pastor's Underground Guide to the Revised Common Lectionary (Chalice Press).

  1. The question this book examines is a false distinction: "non-violence is the only way to perceive God so how could such a God use a violent means to save?" God is clearly not "non-violent" as any reading of life on this planet illustrates. We simply do not grasp how damning sin is to our soul and so we presume that cleansing it from our destiny must of necessity require a "non-violent" means that we can comprehend.

    by Virginia Gentleman

    October 20, 2012

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