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William Atkinson: The Spiritual Death of Jesus

Again, with his usual precision, the author takes the reader through a full discussion of the interpretation of key texts, such as Matt. 12:40; Acts 2:24-31; Rom. 10:7 and Eph. 4:9.

The book is intended to be read by those concerned with exegesis. It is not inspirational reading, but takes concentrated thought. It intends to give the reader a wider view of the discussions concerning spiritual death, the strengths and weaknesses of those discussions, and then moves that discussion along to where the church is today.

This book is an invaluable resource for the Pentecostal and charismatic world.

I believe this book is an invaluable resource for the Pentecostal and charismatic world, for it serves as a call to accuracy in biblical understanding, especially because the influence of JDS teaching has gone far and wide. As I read through the book, I was convinced the author is not driven by any personal agenda except to find the truth. Errors in foundations lead to errors in living and experience.

The author’s discussions are full, well researched and documented. This is well worth the time to absorb, especially if the reader is concerned about how to interpret certain texts of scripture. The reader, however, will find little practical help, as the book is written with theology in view. It will be to others to provide help for those who may have been shipwrecked by the erroneous assumptions pointed out in this book.

Having been involved with this discussion several decades ago myself, I fully appreciate the author’s current assessment, research, and concur with his conclusions. To this date, the teaching still is controversial, espoused by many who do not understand the implications of what they teach.

The author asks if this teaching can be labeled as heresy. Not quite going that far, he does conclude it is sub-orthodox and aberrant. While he has drawn together and interacted with the thoughts of many other authors in his research, he stays true to the text as it stands, not as he wants the texts to say. With professionalism and precision, he weighs the texts and various interpretations for what they are.

It is the author’s conclusion that the teaching of JDS is to be avoided, as it raises far more questions than it seeks to answer.

Reviewed by Eugene Smith


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Category: Biblical Studies, Fall 2015

About the Author: Eugene Smith currently pastors a church in Northern Ireland. He spent over thirteen years in global ministry, constantly travelling from country to country as a missionary teacher, participating in pastors’ seminars, conferences, Bible schools and church services. Eugene has a strong burden that Spirit and Word be brought together to speak with one voice.

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