Somehow this little gem had escaped my notice. I just came across it recently, and noticing the subject and the contributors I immediately ordered a copy for myself. Here’s what awaited me:
1. The Necessity of the Atonement
2. The Nature of the Atonement: Reconciliation
John R. De Witt
3. The Nature of the Atonement: Propitiation
James M. Boice
4. The Atonement and the Purpose of God
John R. Gerstner
5. Sacrifice and Satisfaction
6. The Language of the Marketplace
James M. Boice
7. Christ, the Sin-Bearer
8. Preaching the Cross
What can I say? It is a collection of essays expounding the most wonderful subject – the very best news – in all the world by some of today’s finest and Reformed theologians. Packer’s “The Necessity of the Atonement” is worth the price of the book. But then so is Sinclair Ferguson’s “Christ, the Sin-Bearer,” an exposition of Isaiah 53. James Boice’s chapter on Propitiation is on the mark, but his “The Language of the Marketplace” is even better. Gerstner does an excellent job displaying the cross of Christ within the larger context of God’s saving purpose (i.e, the “five points” of Calvinism), a remarkably well condensed volume of theology in itself. And Alistair Begg’s survey of the value of cross-centered preaching is insightful and invigorating.
Preachers must major on the cross of Christ so that (as Begg points out) God’s people may constantly glory in it and so that the unconverted may be humbled by it and brought to faith in the Lord Jesus. As Begg expands, the preaching of the cross, 1) establishes the gravity of sin, 2) declares to the unbeliever the absolute necessity of grace, and 3) declares to the unbeliever the opportunity of faith. What else should possibly take central place in Christian preaching?
This subject is not for the lost only – every Christian needs to understand the cross-work of Christ more fully, and this collection of essays serves eminently well to that end. The essays are substantive, rich, warm, “popular” level, and easily accessible to the average Christian reader. What a marvelous thing if every church member would read and digest these chapters!
Fred G. Zaspel
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