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The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views

Paul R. Eddy


At times each contributor could be charged with proof-texting, citing scripture with no context in order to give credence to their stance, but in their defense the limitations of this work did not allow for exhaustive exegesis of each biblical text. Redemptively, in many cases, the authors did provide footnotes with references to scholarly sources for further investigation of the manner in which the text was interpreted. More alarming, though, is the lack of reflection on the Holy Spirit within each view, which is indicative of a larger problem in contemporary theological thought. In general, atonement theories suffer by ignoring the Spirit’s involvement in the atonement, more specifically at the cross. The book further substantiates that theological reflection in this area is greatly needed.

Overall The Nature of the Atonement is a valuable contribution and a worthy read for individuals who desire to increase or refresh their understanding of atonement theory. Pastors and lay people, particularly, may find it beneficial towards expanding their understanding of the multiplicity of Christian thought, although it may be challenging for some who are not accustomed to diverse theological perspectives. This book would be a great discussion piece for adult Sunday school classes, adult small groups, or undergraduate university classrooms. It gives an accurate and balanced overview of this debated doctrine, showing the complexities and challenges of the issue in a respectful and good-natured manner.

Reviewed by David Bradnick

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Category: Fall 2007, In Depth

About the Author: David Bradnick, Ph.D. Theological Studies (Regent University School of Divinity), is an instructor in the philosophy department at Stevenson University and York College of Pennsylvania. His dissertation is titled "Loosing and Binding the Spirits: An Emergentist Theology of the Demonic" (2015).

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