The atonement is the crucial doctrine of the faith. Unless we are right here, it matters not, it seems to me, what we are like elsewhere.
That Christ "died for our sins according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor 15:3) is the...single most frequently used lens through which Christians in the New Testament sought to understand Jesus...Christ dying for our sins is the starting point for all further reflection about him, such as the incarnation and the Trinity...Atonement is the cornerstone of all theology, being the "stone that the builders rejected" which has now become the cornerstone (Matt 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7; quoting Paslm 118:22). The New Testament writers without exception understood the death of Christ as the fulcrum for all theology because it was the worst thing that could have happened and the best thing that could have happened...The content of theology is the power in the blood. It is the hub, made indefectibly strong by Christ's resurrection, from which all the spokes of theology derive.
Paul F.M. Zahl