Definite Atonement in Biblical, Historical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective

For the last several years, I’ve been corresponding with my friends David and Jonny Gibson about a 700-page book they’ve been editing on definite atonement.

David-Gibson Jonathan-Gibson

During this time, Mark Snoeberger and I have been editing a much smaller debate-book titled Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement: Three Views, with essays and responses by Grant R. Osborne, John S. Hammett, and Carl R. Trueman (B&H, forthcoming).


So I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book for several years:

David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson, eds. From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Biblical, Historical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 703 pp.

It doesn’t disappoint my high expectations. It’s amazing. It’s definitely the most thorough and compelling book describing and defending definite atonement. And best of all, it not only refutes other views and presents strong arguments for definite atonement; it addresses the issue with the right tone. It leads the reader to worship the triune God!

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What Is the Message of Each Book of the Bible?

I’m teaching a course at Bethlehem College & Seminary this fall to second-year seminary students called “New Testament Background and Message.” We are systematically working through the NT, and prior to each time we meet for class the students must summarize the theological message of a NT book in one clear, concise sentence. Then they must briefly unpack that sentence by showing how the book’s themes support that message. (And it takes a lot of work to do that well!)

NIVPBIt frustrates me when books and articles discuss the “theology” of a Bible book by presenting a bucket list of parallel motifs but without showing how they integrate as one coherent theological message. So I was delighted to see that the new NIV Proclamation Bible (ed. Lee Gatiss; cf. publisher page and 40-second video) includes a one-sentence summary of the message of every book of the Bible.

I disagree with many of these one-sentence summaries (which are rather uneven), but it’s still helpful to consider how others articulate the messages. These are from the introduction to each book of the Bible:

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Four Views on the Historical Adam

adamThis debate-book releases on December 10:

Matthew Barrett and Ardel B. Caneday, eds. Four Views on the Historical Adam. Counterpoints. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013. 288 pp.

I read an uncorrected proof of the book, so I won’t quote from it. But I’m happy to relay that it’s stimulating (as Counterpoints volumes usually are).

The book has three sections: [Read more…]