Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

18 Nov 2013

A New Book That Is Definitely Worth Checking Out

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This past week the good folks at Crossway sent me a copy of a new book that will likely stir the theological waters a bit. I’m referring to From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective, edited by David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson.

This hefty volume includes 23 essays written by Michael Haykin, Paul Helm, Carl Trueman, Tom Schreiner, Steve Wellum, Sinclair Ferguson, and John Piper among others. It also bears endorsements by J. I. Packer, D. A. Carson, David Wells, John Frame, Richard Gaffin, Ligon Duncan, and Kelly Kapic.

In the foreword, Packer identifies the book’s thesis: “As the Reformed faith and its pastoral corollaries is the true intellectual mainstream of Christianity, so the belief in definite, particular, and sovereignly effectual redemption…is its true intellectual center” (13). Packer then goes on to suggest that it is about time to lay the TULIP acronym to rest. In his opinion, the phrase “limited atonement” is overly negative and somewhat misleading and therefore should be replaced by the phrase “definite redemption” or as the book’s title suggests “definite atonement.” Agree or disagree with Packer and the other authors in this book, one will certainly find much meat to chew on in this 700-page volume on a subject that necessarily concerns not only the extent of the atonement but also the very nature of Christ’s work (see esp. chaps 17 and 23).

Table of Contents

1. Sacred Theology and the Reading of the Divine Word: Mapping the Doctrine of Definite Atonement (David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson)

I. Definite Atonement in Church History

2. “We Trust in the Saving Blood”: Definite Atonement in the Ancient Church (Michael A. G. Haykin)

3. “Sufficient for All, Efficient for Some”: Definite Atonement in the Medieval Church (David S. Hogg)

4. Calvin, Indefinite Language, and Definite Atonement (Paul Helm)

5. Blaming Beza: The Development of Definite Atonement in the Reformed Tradition (Raymond A. Blacketer)

6. The Synod of Dort and Definite Atonement (Lee Gatiss)

7. “Controversy on Universal Grace”: An Historical Survey of Moïse Amyraut’s Brief Traitté de la Predestination (Amar Djaballah)

8. Atonement and the Covenant of Redemption: John Owen on the Nature of Christ’s Satisfaction (Carl R. Trueman)

II. Definite Atonement in the Bible

9. “Because He Loved Your Forefathers”: Election, Atonement, and Intercession in the Pentateuch (Paul R. Williamson)

10. “Stricken for the Transgression of My People”: The Atoning Work of Isaiah’s Suffering Servant (J. Alec Motyer)

11. For the Glory of the Father and the Salvation of His People: Definite Atonement in the Synoptics and Johannine Literature (Matthew S. Harmon)

12. For Whom Did Christ Die? Particularism and Universalism in the Pauline Epistles (Jonathan Gibson)

13. The Glorious, Indivisible, Trinitarian Work of God in Christ: Definite Atonement in Paul’s Theology of Salvation (Jonathan Gibson)

14. “Problematic Texts” for Definite Atonement in the Pastoral and General Epistles (Thomas R. Schreiner)

III. Definite Atonement in Theological Perspective

15. Definite Atonement and the Divine Decree (Donald Macleod)

16. The Triune God, Incarnation, and Definite Atonement (Robert Letham)

17. The Definite Intent of Penal Substitutionary Atonement (Garry J. Williams)

18. Punishment God Cannot Twice Inflict: The Double Payment Argument Redivivus (Garry J. Williams)

19. The New Covenant Work of Christ: Priesthood, Atonement, and Intercession (Stephen J. Wellum)

20. Jesus Christ the Man: Toward a Theology of Definite Atonement (Henri A. G. Blocher)

IV. Definite Atonement in Pastoral Practice

21. Slain for the World? The “Uncomfortability” of the “Unevangelized” for a Universal Atonement (Daniel Strange)

22. “Blessèd Assurance, Jesus is Mine”? Definite Atonement and the Cure of Souls (Sinclair B. Ferguson)

23. “My Glory I Will Not Give to Another”: Preaching the Fullness of Definite Atonement to the Glory of God (John Piper)