With contributions from a number of well-respected Reformed theologians and church leaders, this volume offers a comprehensive defense for the doctrine of limited atonement from historical, biblical, theological, and pastoral perspectives.
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About the Author
David Gibson (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is minister of Trinity Church in Aberdeen, Scotland. Previously he served as a staff worker for the Religious and Theological Studies Fellowship (part of UCCF) and as an assistant minister at High Church, Hilton, Aberdeen. Gibson is also a widely published author of articles and books such as Rich: The Reality of Encountering Jesus and Reading the Decree: Exegesis, Election and Christology in Calvin and Barth.
Jonathan Gibson (PhD, Cambridge University) is associate minister at Cambridge Presbyterian Church and assistant professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary. He is the author of historical and biblical articles in Themelios and Journal of Biblical Literature and regularly speaks at conferences in Australia and South Africa. Jonathan and his wife, Jackie, have two children.
J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.
Sinclair B. Ferguson(PhD, University of Aberdeen)is Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic TheologyatReformed Theological Seminary and the former senior minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia,South Carolina.He is the author of several books, the most recent being By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me. Sinclair and his wife, Dorothy, have four grown children.
Paul Helm (MA, Worcester College) is a teaching fellow at Regent College in Vancouver. He previously taught philosophy at the University of Liverpool and was was the J. I. Packer Chair of Theology at Regent College. He also publishes online at Helm's Deep. Paul is married to Angela, and they have five children.
Robert Letham(PhD, University of Aberdeen) is director of research and senior lecturer in systematic and historical theology at Wales Evangelical School of Theology. A Presbyterian minister with twenty-five years of pastoral experience, he is the author of books such as The Work of Christ; The Holy Trinity; and Union with Christ, and a range of articles published in encyclopedias and journals.
John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.organd the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for thirty-three years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than fifty books, including Desiring God;Don’t Waste Your Life;This Momentary Marriage;A Peculiar Glory;andReading the Bible Supernaturally.
Thomas R. Schreiner (MDiv and ThM, Western Conservative Baptist Seminary; PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and associate dean of the school of theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Carl R. Trueman(PhD, University of Aberdeen) is the Paul Woolley Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary and pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Ambler, Pennsylvania. He was editor of Themelios for nine years, has authored or edited more than a dozen books, and has contributed to multiple publicationsincluding the Dictionary of Historical Theology and The Cambridge Companion to Reformation Theology.
Lee Gatiss (PhD, Cambridge University) is the director of Church Society, a lecturer in church history at Union School of Theology, and a research fellow of the Jonathan Edwards Centre Africa at the University of the Free State, South Africa. He also serves as a member of the editorial board of Themelios and editor for the internet journal Theologian. Lee and his wife, Kerry, have three children.
Matthew S. Harmon (PhD, Wheaton College) is professor of New Testament studies at Grace College and Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. He was previously on staff with Cru for eight years and is the author of several books. Matthew and his wife, Kate, live in Warsaw, Indiana, and have two sons.
Michael A. G. Haykin (ThD, University of Toronto) is professor of church history and biblical spirituality at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. He has authored or edited more than twenty-five books, including Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church.
Alec Motyer (1924–2016) served as principal of Trinity Theological College in the United Kingdom, as well as pastor of several churches in England.
Stephen J. Wellum (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of Christian theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and editor of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. Stephen lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, Karen, and their five children.
Garry Williams (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the director of the John Owen Centre for Theological Study at London Theological Seminary in the United Kingdom, which provides theological teaching for pastors after their initial training. He is also a visiting professor of historical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Garry and his wife, Fiona, have four children.
Read an Excerpt
Sacred Theology and the Reading of the Divine Word
MAPPING THE DOCTRINE OF DEFINITE ATONEMENT
David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson
It is very common for persons, when they find a subject much disputed, especially if it is by those whom they account good men, immediately to conclude that it must be a subject of but little consequence, a mere matter of speculation. Upon such persons religious controversies have a very ill effect: for, finding difficulty attending the coming at the truth, and, at the same time, a disposition to neglect it, and to pursue other things; they readily avail themselves of what appears, to them, a plausible excuse, lay aside the inquiry, and sit down and indulge a spirit of scepticism. ... But, if all disputed subjects are to be reckoned matters of mere speculation, we shall have nothing of any real use left in religion.
The doctrine of definite atonement states that, in the death of Jesus Christ, the triune God intended to achieve the redemption of every person given to the Son by the Father in eternity past, and to apply the accomplishments of his sacrifice to each of them by the Spirit. The death of Christ was intended to win the salvation of God's people alone.
Definite atonement says something essential about Christ's death, but it does not say everything there is to say. There are many aspects of the atonement which need to be affirmed alongside its definite intent and nature: the sufficiency of Christ's death for all; the free and indiscriminate proclamation of the gospel to all; God's love for the non-elect and his salvific stance toward a fallen world; the atonement's implications for the entire cosmos and not simply the church. Definite atonement does not exhaust the meaning of the cross.
Nevertheless, the essays in this book contend that definite atonement is at the heart of the meaning of the cross. Often referred to as "limited atonement" or "particular redemption," this is a doctrine of the Reformed churches which is cherished as a profound explanation of the death of Christ. By revealing the Trinitarian nature of Christ's cross-work, definite atonement advances a rich explanation of how his sacrificial death has an objective and Godward direction. It displays salvation, in all its parts, as the shared intention and accomplishment of Father, Son, and Spirit. It is definite atonement which shows us that our salvation is a divine achievement, rendering redemption fully accomplished by the payment of sin's penalty on our behalf by our Savior. These points combine to suggest that the doctrine is a fitting and necessary corollary of penal substitutionary atonement.
To tie definite atonement to penal substitution immediately exposes the debate which attends the doctrine. Some within evangelicalism would deny that the nature of the atonement is both penal and definite. The explanation offered at the start of this chapter views the atonement through the lens of election and therefore as intended to save a specific set of people; it suggests the atonement is complete as a saving act; and it contends that accomplishment is bound together with application in the divine will. From within and without evangelicalism and Reformed theology, each of these aspects of definite atonement has courted controversy.
Many Christians protest that definite atonement simply flies in the face of the clear teaching of the Bible: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son" (John 3:16); "[Jesus Christ] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2); "[Christ Jesus] gave himself as a ransom for all" (1 Tim. 2:6). In 1610, when forty-six followers of Jacob Arminius (1559/1560–1609) challenged the Reformed orthodoxy of their day on the doctrine of the atonement — and so set in motion events which would lead to the Synod of Dort and the classic statement of definite atonement — they cited John 3:16 and 1 John 2:2 as proof that "Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, died for all men and for every man." More than a century later, John Wesley preached that "the whole tenor of the New Testament" was "flatly contrary" to definite atonement and that the doctrine contained "horrible blasphemies." It presented Christ as "an hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity" and represented God "as more cruel, false, and unjust than the devil!" In the modern era, D. Broughton Knox speaks for many when he claims that definite atonement is very simply "a textless doctrine." No biblical text states that Christ died only for his elect, but several texts state that he died for all. In vivid terms, "the doctrine of limited atonement truncates the gospel by sawing off the arms of the cross too close to the stake."
Objections also arise beyond the exegetical domain. R. T. Kendall wonders "how many Christians would ever come to the view of limited atonement merely by reading the Bible." This is part of his claim that "the traditional doctrine of limited atonement is arrived at by logic and the need to look for it rather than straightforward reading of the Scriptures." The suggestion is that this doctrine feeds off schemes of analytic precision foreign to the texture of the biblical narrative. For Karl Barth, the "grim doctrine of limited atonement follows logically from Calvin's doctrine of double-predestination," the implication being of course that what follows is as bleak as what precedes.
Claims about the distorting role of logic in definite atonement are common, but they are made in different ways. In the nineteenth century, John McLeod Campbell, a Church of Scotland minister, was deposed from the ministry on heresy charges for teaching that Christ made a universal atonement and that assurance is of the essence of faith and necessary for salvation. In his work The Nature of the Atonement (1856), Campbell argued that Reformed theologians like John Owen and Jonathan Edwards wrongly began their thinking about the atonement with theological axioms such as "God is just." By starting there, the coming of Christ into the world is viewed as the revelation of God's justice as Christ dies for the elect only and not the reprobate. The universal proclamation of the gospel to all and the revelation that "God is love" are both jettisoned.
As a result, according to Campbell, definite atonement disfigures the doctrine of God. When Owen and Edwards "set forth justice as a necessary attribute of the divine nature, so that God must deal with all men according to its requirements, they represent mercy and love as not necessary, but arbitrary, and what, therefore, may find their expression in the history of only some men." God is necessarily just toward all, but only selectively loving toward some. All of this is pastorally disastrous, Campbell claimed, for definite atonement "takes away the warrant which the universality of the atonement gives to every man that hears the gospel to contemplate Christ with the personal appropriation of the words of the apostle, 'who loved me, and gave himself for me.'" The charge here is that definite atonement destroys not just the grounds of appeal to the unconverted but also the grounds of assurance for the believer. Can I really be sure that Christ died for me?
Campbell's work has proven influential. J. B. Torrance and T. F. Torrance both draw on his thinking to argue that definite atonement represents the worst kind of logical necessity in theology. J. B. Torrance argues that Christ vicariously took to himself the judgment facing all mankind. To deny this is "a sin against the incarnate love of God" and, for Torrance, parallel to the sin against the Holy Spirit. This reveals the key issue in his objections: in the incarnation, Jesus Christ is united with all humanity, not merely the elect, so that everything he achieves in his atonement he necessarily achieves for all. Torrance explicitly develops Campbell's stress on God as love in his innermost being: "love and justice are one in God, and they are one in all his dealings with his creatures, in creation, providence and redemption."
The opening words of our chapter view the atonement through the lens of election, and for Torrance this would simply confirm our captivity to Aristotelian logic. It makes divine election prior to divine grace, and so incarnation and atonement are formulated simply as "God's way of executing the eternal decrees — thereby 'logically' teaching that Christ died only for the elect, to secure infallibly the salvation of the elect."
It falls to individual writers throughout this book to engage with the substance of these arguments, as well as with other criticisms of definite atonement not outlined above. At this stage, however, we want to reflect on the purpose that such criticisms serve in our articulation of the doctrine.
Toward a Fresh Approach
Some reproaches of definite atonement misunderstand it, and others caricature it, but many are weighty and coherent, arising from a faithful desire to read Scripture wisely and to honor the goodness and love of God. Between them they touch on four interrelated aspects of the doctrine: its controversies and nuances in church history, its presence or absence in the Bible, its theological implications, and its pastoral consequences. This indicates that definite atonement has profound significance and a wide-ranging scope which requires a comprehensive treatment.
But the essays in this volume seek to do more than simply cover four distinct areas in which objections exist. Rather, our aim is to show that history, the Bible, theology, and pastoral practice combine together to provide a framework within which the doctrine of definite atonement is best articulated for today. They are not four separate windows through which we view the doctrine; rather, they are four mezzanine levels of the one house where definite atonement lives. By beginning with church history, we recognize that all contemporary reading of the Bible on the atonement is historically located. We are not hostages to past interpretations, nor do we need to pretend there is such a thing as tabula rasa (blank slate) exegesis. By carefully attending to Scripture, we seek to submit ourselves to what God has said. By moving from exegesis to theology, we claim that the diverse biblical parts demand the patient work of synthesis to portray the theological whole. By concluding with pastoral practice, we aim to show the implications of the Bible's teaching for the church's ministry and mission. So while the discipline of doctrinal thinking is never less than the ordering of all that the Bible has to say on a given subject, it is also much more.
We suggest that articulating definite atonement is similar to articulating doctrines like the Trinity or the two natures of Christ. The approach needs to be biblical, but not biblicist. No one text "proves" definite atonement, any more than one text "proves" the Trinity or the communion of attributes in christology. In the case of those doctrines, numerous texts are studied and their implications synthesized and their key terms explored in their biblical contexts and historical usage so that, taken as a whole, the doctrines of the Trinity or the two natures describe "a pattern of judgment present in the texts." With the unfolding of a coherent pattern, these doctrines emerge as the most compelling ways of naming the Christian God or understanding the person of Christ. Although no one text proves the doctrines, several texts teach their constituent parts.
So it is with definite atonement. It is not merely a "biblical" doctrine per se; nor is it a "systematic" construct based on logical or rationalist premises devoid of biblical moorings. Rather, definite atonement is a biblico-systematic doctrine that arises from careful exegesis of atonement texts and synthesis with internally related doctrines such as eschatology, election, union with Christ, christology, Trinitarianism, doxology, covenant, ecclesiology, and sacramentology. When both exegetical and theological "domains of discourse" are respected as such and taken together, then reductionist objections to definite atonement lose their force and this reading of the meaning of the death of Christ emerges as profound and faithful. This biblico-systematic approach can be viewed pictorially from two angles.
First, doctrinal construction resembles the production of a web. The doctrine of definite atonement arises from the attempt to hold together each canonical thread related to the atonement and the forming of the threads into a coherent framework of thought which faithfully maintains the parts and enables them to be seen in their truest light when viewed in relation to the whole. In much the same way that each strand of a spider's web is one thing when taken on its own, but another when viewed in its relation to other strands, so the different aspects of the doctrine of the atonement can be integrated to display powerful coherence. Kevin Vanhoozer captures the concept nicely in his suggestion that constructive theologies of the atonement should conceive of it as "triune covenantal mediation." For him, three biblical strands (doctrine of God, covenant theology, christology) combine to form one theological web. This volume, in the sum total of its parts, aims to be just such a web.
Second, by showing the relation of historical, exegetical, theological, and pastoral issues to each other, this volume is a map to and through the doctrine of definite atonement. Some of the most enduring theological thinking that the church has produced over the centuries has understood itself to be a doctrinal map produced from the biblical terrain in order to be a guide to the biblical terrain. John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion is widely regarded as a kind of theological textbook, or even as a pre-critical systematic theology. But this does not quite capture Calvin's own intention. In an introductory note to the reader of the Institutes, Calvin writes,
It has been my purpose in this labour to prepare and instruct candidates in sacred theology for the reading of the divine Word in order that they may be able both to have easy access to it and to advance in it without stumbling. For I believe I have so embraced the sum of religion in all its parts and have arranged it in such an order, that if anyone rightly grasps it, it will not be difficult for him to determine what he ought especially to seek in Scripture, and to what end he ought to relate its contents. If, after this road has, as it were, been paved, I shall publish any interpretations of Scripture, I shall always condense them, because I shall have no need to undertake long doctrinal discussions, and to digress into commonplaces. In this way the godly reader will be spared great annoyance and boredom, provided he approach Scripture armed with a knowledge of the present work, as a necessary tool.
It is clear that Calvin proposes his Institutes to pave a road through the Scriptures on which others may travel as they read the same Scriptures. Notice Calvin does not say he intends his work to instruct theological candidates in doctrine. The Institutes is certainly a doctrinal text. But Calvin intends to instruct theological candidates for their "reading of the divine Word." Mined from the Bible, shaped by the Bible, the Institutes is a map for the Bible.
Calvin's work illustrates how theological cartography functions and develops. It is not a conceptually alien guide to the Bible, nor is it meant to be a hermeneutical grid forced on top of the Bible. Where it functions well, a doctrinal map grows organically out of the biblical parts and enables a bird's-eye view of the canonical whole. But it is always constrained by the very thing it plots. Further exegesis is always capable of adjusting the shape of the map. Renewed attention to knotty problems, carefully analyzed in the actual terrain and closely studied on any given map, should always be capable of reconfiguring the map and altering the route one takes for the way ahead. This approach sets up a careful part-whole relationship, one in which the doctrine emerging from the texts is constantly examined against the texts to see if the developing whole is really consistent with the individual parts. Where the move to doctrinal synthesis is made too quickly, distortion occurs.
Take, for example, the issue of what it means for God to love the world (John 3:16). A. W. Pink's treatment of divine sovereignty in salvation goes awry with the suggestion that God's self-giving love for the "world" in John 3:16 refers to his love for the elect. Such an interpretation not only assigns meaning to an individual word clearly different from what the text actually says, but the nature of God's love and the universal offer of Christ to all also warp under the weight of the paradigm. Similarly, Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears understand definite atonement to entail a limiting of God's love to the elect. Arguing for "unlimited limited atonement, or modified Calvinism," they ask, "If the five-point Calvinist is right and no payment has been made for the non-elect, then how can God genuinely love the world and desire the salvation of all?" For Pink, the effective provision of salvation for the elect requires a limitation of God's love to the elect; for Driscoll and Breshears, the effective payment of sin's penalty for all requires the expansion of God's love identically for all. In neither case are the several different ways in which the Bible depicts God's love allowed to stand together in relation to its different objects (his world, his people) and its different expressions (intra-Trinitarian, providential, universal, particular, conditional). For these writers a conception of the atonement either mandates, or is mandated by, a singular conception of God's love.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "From Heaven He Came and Sought Her"
Copyright © 2013 David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson.
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Table of Contents
Foreword (J. I. Packer) 13
1 Sacred Theology and the Reading of the Divine Word Mapping the Doctrine of Definite Atonement David Gibson Jonathan Gibson 33
I Definite Atonement in Church History
2 "We Trust in the Saving Blood" Definite Atonement in the Ancient Church Michael A. G. Haykin 57
3 "Sufficient for All, Efficient for Some" Definite Atonement in the Medieval Church David S. Hogg 75
4 Calvin, Indefinite Language, and Definite Atonement Paul Helm 97
5 Blaming Beza The Development of Definite Atonement in the Reformed Tradition Raymond A. Blacketer 121
6 The Synod of Dort and Definite Atonement Lee Gatiss 143
7 Controversy on Universal GraceA Historical Survey of Moïse Amyrant's Brief Traitté de la Predestination Amar Djaballah 165
8 Atonement and the Covenant of Redemption John Owen on the Nature of Christ's Satisfaction Carl R. Trueman 201
II Definite Atonement in the Bible
9 "Because He Loved Your Forefathers" Election, Atonement, and Intercession in the Pentateuch Paul R. Williamson 227
10 "Stricken for the Transgression of My People" The Atoning Work of Isaiah's Suffering Servant J. Alec Motyer 247
11 For the Glory of the Father and the Salvation of His People Definite Atonement in the Synoptics and Johannine Literature Matthew S. Harmon 267
12 For Whom Did Christ Die? Particularism and Universalism in the Pauline Epistles Jonathan Gibson 289
13 The Glorious, Indivisible, Trinitarian Work of God in Christ Definite Atonement in Paul's Theology of Salvation Jonathan Gibson 331
14 "Problematic Texts" for Definite Atonement in the Pastoral and General Epistles Thomas R. Schreiner 375
III Definite Atonement in Theological Perspective
15 Definite Atonement and the Divine Decree Donald Macleod 401
16 The Triune God, Incarnation, and Definite Atonement Robert Letham 437
17 The Definite Intent of Penal Substitutionary Atonement Garry J. Williams 461
18 Punishment God Cannot Twice Inflict The Double Payment Argument Redivivus Garry J. Williams 483
19 The New Covenant Work of Christ Priesthood, Atonement, and Intercession Stephen J. Wellum 517
20 Jesus Christ the Man Toward a Systematic Theology of Definite Atonement Henri A. G. Blocher 541
IV Definite Atonement in Pastoral Practice
21 Slain for the World? The "Uncomfortability" of the "Unevangelized" for a Universal Atonement Daniel Strange 585
22 "Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine"? Definite Atonement and the Cure of Souls Sinclair B. Ferguson 607
23 "My Glory I Will Not Give to Another" Preaching the Fullness of Definite Atonement to the Glory of God John Piper 633
Select Bibliography 668
Index of Biblical References 675
Index of Names 690
Index of Subjects 697
What People are Saying About This
“A massive product of exact and well-informed scholarship . . . with landmark significance. . . . I give this book top marks for its range of solid scholarship, cogency of argument, warmth of style, and zeal for the true glory of God. I recommend it most highly.”
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College
“I cannot imagine that this book could have been published twenty-five years ago: there were not at that time enough well-informed theologians working in the Reformed heritage to produce a volume of such clarity and competence. Whatever side you hold in this debate, henceforth you dare not venture into the discussion without thoughtfully reading this book, which, mercifully, makes argument by stereotype and reductionism a great deal more difficult. Above all, this book will elicit adoration as its readers ponder afresh what Jesus achieved on the cross.”
D. A. Carson,Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Cofounder, The Gospel Coalition
“The topic is worthy enough. Yet the lineup of contributors to this volume makes this, in my view, the most impressive defense of definite atonement in over a century. Beyond rehearsing traditional arguments, first-rate historical, biblical, and systematic theologians bring fresh angles and exegesis to bear. From Heaven He Came and Sought Her is a gift that will no doubt keep on giving for generations to come.”
Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California; author, Justification (New Studies in Dogmatics)
“This is the definitive study. It is careful, comprehensive, deep, pastoral, and thoroughly persuasive.”
David F. Wells, Distinguished Senior Research Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; author, The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-Lovers, Marketers and Emergents in the Postmodern World
“There is a conventional wisdom that seems to believe definite atonement is the weakest of the five heads of doctrine confessed at the Synod of Dort. But you may come away from this book believing it is the strongest, in its historical attestation, biblical basis, and spiritual blessing. Written by first-rate exegetes and theologians, this book covers all the difficult issues and emerges with a highly persuasive and attractive case. Highly recommended!”
John M. Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando
“For whom did Christ die? This volume makes a fresh and impressively comprehensive case for definite atonement as the answer true to Scripture. It shows convincingly, through multi-authored contributions, (1) that the issues of the extent of the atonement and its nature cannot be separatedpenal substitution, at the heart of why Christ had to die, stands or falls with definite atonement; and (2) how definite atonement alone provides for a gospel offer of salvation from sin that is genuinely free. In engaging various opposing views on this much-disputed topic, the editors seek to do so in a constructive and irenic spirit, an effort in which they and the other authors have succeeded admirably.”
Richard B. Gaffin Jr., Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary
“This book is formidable and persuasive. Those familiar with the terrain will recognize that the editors know exactly the key issues and figures in this debate. And none of the authors who follow disappoint. The tone is calm and courteous, the scholarship rigorous and relentless, the argument clear and compelling. This penetrating discussion takes into account the major modern academic criticisms of definite atonement (Barth, the Torrances, Armstrong, Kendall, and others) as well as more popular critiques (Clifford, Driscoll and Breshears). An impressive team of scholars adorns this subject and aims to help Christians toward a deeper gratitude to God for his grace, a greater assurance of salvation, a sweeter fellowship with Christ, stronger affections in their worship of him, more love for people and superior courage and sacrifice in witness and service, and indeed to propel us into the global work of missions with compassion and confidence.”
J. Ligon Duncan III, Chancellor, CEO, and John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary
“Whether you are sympathetic to or suspicious of definite atonement, this book will surprise you. Here are historical details, exegetical links, theological observations, and pastoral perspectives that are fresh and fascinating, even though there is also plenty that will prove controversial. From Heaven He Came and Sought Her offers the fullest and most nuanced treatment on definite atonement I know, and will richly add to the substance and quality of future conversations about the intent of the atonement. Whether you think that you agree or disagree with the authors, wrestling with these essays is well worth your time.”
Kelly M. Kapic, author, Embodied Hope; Professor of Theological Studies, Covenant College