FROM HEAVEN HE CAME AND SOUGHT HER: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective, David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson, Part 1

Published on July 3, 2014 by Jim Zaspel

unknown, 2013 | 704 pages

About the Editors

David Gibson (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is minister of Trinity Church in Aberdeen, Scotland. Previously he served as a staff worker for the Religious and Theological Studies Fellowship (part of UCCF) and as an assistant minister at High Church, Hilton, Aberdeen. Gibson is also a widely published author of articles and books such as Rich: The Reality of Encountering Jesus and Reading the Decree: Exegesis, Election and Christology in Calvin and Barth.

Jonathan Gibson is currently working on a PhD in Hebrew Studies at Cambridge University. He studied theology at Moore Theological College, Sydney, Australia, and is author of historical and biblical articles in Themelios and Journal of Biblical Literature, as well as “Obadiah” in the NIV Proclamation Bible.

The book surveys and defends the doctrine of definite atonement in essays from across the theological disciplines. While providing some interaction with alternative viewpoints, the main task here is to describe and elucidate the doctrine familiar to many readers in the Reformed tradition as the “L” in TULIP, “Limited Atonement.” Furthermore, the essays each seek to defend definite atonement through historical, biblical, theological, or pastoral studies. The result is a wide-ranging, comprehensive look at the question, For whom did Christ die?   

Because of the extended length and scope of From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, this is part one of two summaries covering the book. The table below shows the entire contents of the book, though this first summary will deal only with sections one and the first half of section two (chapters 1-11) – ie, historical and biblical matters.

Table of Contents

1.  Sacred Theology and the Reading of the Divine Word: Mapping the Doctrine of Definite Atonement
(David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson)

I. Definite Atonement in Church History
2.  “We Trust in the Saving Blood”: Definite Atonement in the Ancient Church
(Michael A. G. Haykin)
3.  “Sufficient for All, Efficient for Some”: Definite Atonement in the Medieval Church (
David S. Hogg)
4.  Calvin, Indefinite Language, and Definite Atonement
(Paul Helm)
5.  Blaming Beza: The Development of Definite Atonement in the Reformed Tradition 
(Raymond A. Blacketer)
6.  The Synod of Dort and Definite Atonement
(Lee Gatiss)
7.  “Controversy on Universal Grace”: A Historical Survey of Moïse Amyraut’s Brief Traitté de la Predestination
(Amar Djaballah)
8.  Atonement and the Covenant of Redemption: John Owen on the Nature of Christ’s Satisfaction
(Carl R. Trueman)

II. Definite Atonement in the Bible
9.  “Because He Loved Your Forefathers”: Election, Atonement, and Intercession in the Pentateuch
(Paul R. Williamson)
10.  “Stricken for the Transgression of My People”: The Atoning Work of Isaiah’s Suffering Servant
(J. Alec Motyer)
11.  For the Glory of the Father and the Salvation of His People: Definite Atonement in the Synoptics and Johannine Literature
(Matthew S. Harmon)
12.  For Whom Did Christ Die? Particularism and Universalism in the Pauline Epistles
(Jonathan Gibson)
13.  The Glorious, Indivisible, Trinitarian Work of God in Christ: Definite Atonement in Paul’s Theology of Salvation
(Jonathan Gibson)
14.  “Problematic Texts” for Definite Atonement in the Pastoral and General Epistles
(Thomas R. Schreiner)

III. Definite Atonement in Theological Perspective
15.  Definite Atonement and the Divine Decree
(Donald Macleod)
16.  The Triune God, Incarnation, and Definite Atonement
 (Robert Letham)
17.  The Definite Intent of Penal Substitutionary Atonement
(Garry J. Williams)
18.  Punishment God Cannot Twice Inflict: The Double Payment Argument Redivivus
(Garry J. Williams)
19.  The New Covenant Work of Christ: Priesthood, Atonement, and Intercession
(Stephen J. Wellum)
20.  Jesus Christ the Man: Toward a Theology of Definite Atonement
(Henri A. G. Blocher)

IV. Definite Atonement in Pastoral Practice

21.  Slain for the World? The “Uncomfortability” of the “Unevangelized” for a Universal Atonement
(Daniel Strange)
22.  “Blessèd Assurance, Jesus is Mine”? Definite Atonement and the Cure of Souls
(Sinclair B. Ferguson)
23.  “My Glory I Will Not Give to Another”: Preaching the Fullness of Definite Atonement to the Glory of God
(John Piper)

Book Summary

1.  Sacred Theology and the Reading of the Divine Word: Mapping the Doctrine of Definite Atonement (David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson)

The editors first lay out what is at stake in controversies surrounding the nature and scope of the atonement with a quotation from Andrew Fuller: “‘…But, if all disputed subjects are to be reckoned matters of mere speculation, we shall have nothing of any real use left in religion.’” By first defining the doctrine of definite atonement in this polemical context, the editors put forward their purpose: these are studies amounting to a defense which matters for the Christian faith. They then give their definition which will guide the ensuing studies:  

The doctrine of definite atonement states that, in the death of Jesus Christ, the …


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From Heaven He Came And Sought Her: Definite Atonement In Historical, Biblical, Theological, And Pastoral Perspective, Part 1

unknown, 2013 | 704 pages

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