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Archive for February 9th, 2011

Though I am not particularly fond of most “three views”, “four views” or “counterpoint” kinds of books from my reading of them in the past, I would have to say that this particular work was pretty good. I thought the authors were all clear and stayed focused on the issue. It is a great survey on the atonement debate.¬† Each contributor was quite cable of presenting their perspective. The introductory chapters by the two editors James Beilby and Paul R. Eddy excellently summarizes the historical positions on the atonement in church history. I believed the lay person will be able to be caught up to speed with this introduction for what follows in the work. With the exception of Joel B. Green’s kaleidoscopic view, the other three positions (Christus Victor, healing and Penal substitutionary view) hold that there might be other motifs to the atonement besides the one they are advocating, but believed each of their respective theme is more “important” than the others. That is, their respective view best explains the other motifs. The Kaleidoscopic view instead see no need for other motifs to fit into one arch-perspective. After reading the work, I realized that further discussion of what each view means by their perspective is “important” might be fruitful in the discussion/debate, for it seems the Penal Substitutionary view understood his to be important in the sense of a logical priority of penal substitution to be a prerequisite to the other effects and outcomes of Christ work on the cross, while the Christus Victor and the healing view (which should really be called ‘wholistic shalom’ view in my opinion) understand importance to mean which motif best allow other motifs of Christ death on the cross to fit in. After the reading I also thought about how any future discussion between the various views might enjoy further progress by being conscious of theological methods used, and a biblical evaluation of the anthropology assumed in each perspective, since the atonement is shaped by it in how the atonement is supposed to be the solution that addresses the problem of man. I show my bias by saying that Thomas Schreiner’s presentation for penal substitutionary atonement is a great chapter, his exegetical background was helpful.

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