My most recent book, another debate-book, just released:
Andrew David Naselli and Mark A. Snoeberger, eds. Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement: 3 Views. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2015.
31-page sample PDF (front matter + introduction)
I explain more about the book in this 5-minute video:
This book presents a point-counterpoint exchange concerning God’s intention in sending Christ to die on the cross. All of the contributors recognize a substitutionary element in the atoning work of Christ, but they disagree over the nature and objects of that substitution.
One can scarcely think of a question debated more passionately than the one our little book addresses. Some of our readers can even now reflect on some acerbic quarrel about the extent of Christ’s atonement in which Christian restraint was wanting. So when Mark and I first floated a project that deliberately convened participants with conflicting perspectives on this topic, we wondered fleetingly whether the project might be a dreadful one. Our fears proved unwarranted as grace prevailed. We encountered some bumps along the way, but overall the project was delightful.
Our original band of three essayists morphed a bit and ended finally as a band of four:
Carl Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, brought his sprightly voice to the debate as champion of a definite atonement. He argues that Christ’s atoning work secured the redemption of his elect alone. While infinite in value, Christ’s death was intended for and applied strictly to those whom the Father had elected unconditionally in eternity past.
Grant Osborne, long-time Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, crafted an initial essay in defense of a general atonement, then, after some serious health difficulties, handed the baton to his colleague at TEDS, Tom McCall, Associate Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, who capably contributed responses to the other two positions. They argue that Christ’s atoning work provided atonement generally for all mankind. The application of that atoning work is conditioned, however, on each person’s willingness to receive it.
John Hammett, Professor of Systematic Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, rounded out the group with an apology for the multiple intentions view of Christ’s atonement. He argues that Christ’s atoning work had multiple intentions. Of these intentions two rise to the fore: (1) the intention to accomplish atonement for God’s elect and (2) the intention to provide atonement for all mankind.
“At one theological institution where I studied, we spoke of a certain style of debate: thesis, followed by antithesis, followed by personal abuse. This book does not adopt that style. The first obligation in serious theological polemics must be understanding both your own position and your opponents’ positions as thoroughly as possible, the more so if the topic is sensitive. That is the first strength of this book. The second is that it shows how, in debates over the extent (or intent!) of the atonement, the principal options are not two, but three, and how this third position, often connected with Amyraut, turns on the difficult notion of God having more than one will. In one sense this book breaks no new ground; it does not intend to. But I know no book that handles this subject with more scrupulous attention to fairness and accuracy in debate.”
—D. A. Carson, research professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; president, The Gospel Coalition
“The extent of the atonement has been debated by Christian theologians from the early Reformation through contemporary evangelical theology. This volume offers compelling presentations by outstanding representatives of three leading views— definite atonement, general atonement, and multi-intentions views of the atonement. The multiviews format of this book allows readers to come to a more well-informed understanding of their own perspective.”
—Steve W. Lemke, provost, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
“Here is a first-order discussion of a second-order doctrine. The contributors to this volume agree that the question of the extent of the atonement falls short of being placed in the top tier of doctrines central and non-negotiable to the Christian faith, yet they also rightly see the importance of this doctrine for faith and practice. Hence, the discussion here is spirited yet charitable, firm yet gracious. The quality of the discussion throughout is simply superb, as exegetical, historical, and theological considerations are put forth with clarity and scholarly acuteness. I strongly recommend a careful reading of this book, in light of the continued controversy surrounding this doctrine, and for the sake of our souls, as we seek to understand better the glory of Christ’s atonement for sinners.”
—Bruce A. Ware, T. Rupert and Lucille Coleman Professor of Christian Theology, Chairman of the Department of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary