New Book: Aspects of the Atonement

Well the first of books I selected for my birthday Amazon gift card arrived today.  

I. Howard Marshall’s Aspects of the Atonement: Cross and Resurrection in the Reconciling of God and Humanity. Authentic Media, 2007, Paternoster, 2008. 137 pages. 

Product Description

The Christian understanding of the meaning of the death of Jesus Christ and its relationship to the salvation of sinful humanity is currently the subject of intense debate and criticism. In the first two chapters Howard Marshall discusses the nature of the human plight in relation to the judgment of God and then offers a nuanced defense of the doctrine of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ for sinners. The third chapter examines the place of the resurrection of Christ as an integral part of the process whereby sinners are put in the right with God. In the final chapter Marshall argues that in our communication of the gospel today the New Testament concept of reconciliation may be the most comprehensive and apt expression of the lasting significance of the death of Christ. The papers are expanded versions of the 2006 series of Chuen King Lectures given in the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  (bold italics mine)

I know there was a flurry of debate in the last year (or so) on the blogshpere and among bibliobloggers over various aspects of the Atonement with most folks critiquing the long held Penal-Substitutionary-Atonement (PSA) theory, which many are abandoning (or have long since abandoned) for the currently more popular Christus Victor (CV) theory of the Atonement.  As I understand it, the Bishop of Durham has lead the way in this new exodus.  

I decided to get Marshall’s book so I could learn from a premier NT scholar on the Atonement and see what I can learn from it.  It is a thin book (137 pages-Amazon is wrong on this) so it should not take too long to read and I trust it will be a blessing. 

The Chapters are as follows: 

  1. The Penalty of Sin – this chapter discusses issues of judgement, wrath, and punishment interating with Henri Blocher and Alan Mann.  He also confronts Steve Chalke’s claims of “cosmic child abuse.”
  2. The Substitutionary Death of Jesus – this chapter discusses the nature of the atonement and interacts with P. T. Forsyth.  
  3. “Raised for our Justification” – this chapter discusses the place of (and theology of) the resurrection in the atonement seeking to contribute to this infrequently discussed but important topic interacting with Richard Gaffin and M. D. Hooker.
  4. Reconciliation: It’s Centrality and Relevance – this chapter discusses the issue of reconciliation in light of the atonement interacting with Peter Stuhlmacher and Ralph P. Martin.  

I really look forward to the read and will review as able.