I am excited to announce that my new book, The Atonement: A Biblical, Theological, and Historical Study of the Cross of Christ (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2019), released Monday!

Click here for ordering options.

Drs. Danny Akin, Michael Bird, Craig Evans, John Peckham, and Brian Rosner were kind enough to write endorsements.

The book includes a 26 page Select Bibliography, followed by a Name, Subject, and Scripture Index.

The Table of Contents:

Atonement: Terminology and Concepts
Atonement in the Old Testament
Atonement in the New Testament
The Necessity of the Atonement
Atonement and Christology
The Intent, Extent, and Application of the Atonement
The Nature of the Atonement
Special Issues Concerning the Atonement
Historical Theories of the Atonement

Here is a preview of the first six paragraphs in the Introduction:

The cross of Christ is the centerpiece of Christianity, and from this hub emanate all the spokes of salvation. “Jesus’s cross stands not only at the climax of redemptive history but at the theological crossroads where a number of crucial Christian doctrines intersect.” The importance of the atonement is demonstrated in the many prophecies and types of the Old Testament focusing on the death of Christ as noted by 1 Peter 1:10–11.
Scripture demonstrates the central importance of the atonement. The Gospel writers themselves devote anywhere from 25 to 42 percent of their Gospels to the final week and death of Christ. No less than 175 direct references to the death of Christ occur in the New Testament.

The gospel itself centers around the cross of Christ. In what is unarguably the key text in the NT stating the gospel in the clearest of terms, Paul writes in 1 Cor 15:3–4, “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” The term “gospel” signifies and summarizes the good news message of both the person and work of Christ in God’s atoning and redemptive act to accomplish, ground, and implement his saving purpose for humanity.

As Martin Hengel explains, Christianity’s message fundamentally differed from the customary conceptions of atonement in the ancient world. Rather than individual crimes, the atonement dealt with the universal guilt for all humanity. God’s grace appeared, not as the heroic actions of a particular man, but from God himself through the unique God-man, Jesus Christ. Also distinct from first century culture was the eschatological character of the atonement.

There is a certain mystery to the atoning work of Christ. “One has sinned. Another has made satisfaction. The sinner does not make satisfaction; the Satisfier does not sin. This is an astonishing doctrine.” At noon on the day Christ died, God shrouded the cross in darkness. “Well might the sun in darkness hide, and shut its glories in; when God the mighty maker died for man, the creature’s sin.” As on the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament when the High Priest went behind the veil into the Holy of Holies where no human eye observed the pouring out of the blood on the altar, so the death of Christ is so marvelous and wonderful that that there will always be something of a mystery about it which no theologian can ever fully fathom. “But none of the ransomed ever knew how deep were the waters crossed; Nor how dark was the night which the Lord passed through ere he found his sheep that was lost.” As T. F. Torrance put it: “[T]he innermost mystery of atonement and intercession remains mystery: it cannot be spelled out, and it cannot be spied out.”

New Testament authors write of the atonement in historical, doctrinal, and doxological terms. The Gospel accounts address mostly the death of Christ in narrative fashion with little explication of how his death was an atonement for sins beyond the sacrificial substitutionary nature of it. Acts narrates the birth and growth of the early church through the preaching of the Apostles. This preaching is based on the fact of the atonement, but again, little explanation of the theology of the atonement is given. The letters of the New Testament tease out the doctrinal aspects of the atonement. Here we learn more about the atonement’s nature. Here also doxological aspects are evident in the hymnic and benedictory material of some of the letters. Finally, Revelation narrates the events in heaven surrounding the worship of Jesus, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, along with his second coming to earth and millennial reign. Here narrative merges into doxology:

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev 5:12)