An important part of the Christian faith is the belief that Jesus was crucified on a cross and resurrected. We believe that through that act something powerful happened, not only to Jesus but also to our relationship with God. Yet the precise meaning of what happened is difficult to explain. From the disciples who witnessed it to the Christian community hundreds of years later, we have not been able to agree on its meaning.
For Christians, the attempt to explain the meaning of the cross is called atonement.
The purpose of this study is to encourage adolescents to learn about atonement by exploring the four atonement theories through Scripture and song and to think through the ramifications of their teaching. The main goal is to explore four understandings of the meaning of Jesus' death and what it means in terms of our relationship with God. Other goals are to identify which of these understandings have the most meaning for the youths; to encourage tolerance of Christians who believe differently; and to encourage personal responsibility toward a broken world by asking "who am I?" and "what am I going to be?" because the cross changes everything, including the direction of one's life.