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The Atonement Debate: Papers from the London Symposium on the Theology of Atonement

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Recent days have seen a debate among evangelicals over how the death of Christ is to be interpreted. When a popular British evangelical leader appeared to denounce the idea that God was punishing Christ in our place on the cross as a “twisted version of events,” “morally dubious,” and a “huge barrier to faith” that should be rejected in favour of preaching only that God is love, major controversy was stirred. Many thought the idea of penal substitution was at the heart of the evangelical understanding of the cross, if not the only legitimate interpretation of the death of Christ. Yet for some time less popular evangelical theologians had been calling this traditional interpretation of the atonement into question. So, is the traditional evangelical view of penal substitution the biblical explanation of Christ’s death or one of many? Is it the non-negotiable heart of evangelical theology or a time-bound explanation that has outlived its usefulness? What does the cross say about the character of God, the nature of the law and sin, the meaning of grace, and our approach to missions?The public debate which resulted was often heated. In order to act as reconcilers, the Evangelical Alliance and the London School of Theology called for a symposium in which advocates of the different positions could engage with each other. The symposium, which was attended by some 200 participants, was held when the July 7th bombings took place in London and drew together many of Britain’s finest evangelical theologians. This book contains the collection of papers given at the symposium, supplemented by a few others for the sake of rounding out the agenda, and grouped in convenient sections.

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  • Focuses on the penal substitutionary interpretation of the Cross
  • Contains some of the papers given at the Lodon Symposium on the Theology of Atonement
  • Enables readers to explore the issues at stake in the debate about penal substitution more fully


  • Preface - Derek Tidball
  • Atonement, Evangelicalism and the Evangelical Alliance: the Present Debate in Context - David Hilborn
  • The Redemption of the Cross - Steve Chalke

Biblical Foundations

  • The Theology of the Atonement - I. Howard Marshall
  • Atonement in the Old Testament - Christopher J. H Wright
  • The Atonement in the New Testament - Geoffrey Grogan
  • Why Did Christ Die? An Exegesis of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 - Sue Groom
  • Penal Substitutionary Atonement in Paul: an Exegetical Study of Romans 3:25-26 - Rohintan K. Mody
  • The Atonement in Hebrews - Steve Motyer

Theological Contributions

  • Must We Imagine the Atonement in Penal Substitutionary Terms? Questions, Caveats and a Plea - Joel B. Green
  • Penal Substitution: a Response to Recent Criticisms - Garry Williams
  • Atonement Creation and Trinity - Graham Mcfarlane
  • The Logic of Penal Substitution Revisited - Oliver D. Crisp
  • Towards a Unified Theory of the Atonement - David T. Williams

Historical Perspectives

  • Bernard of Clairvaux: Theologian of the Cross - Tony Lane
  • Ransomed, Healed, Restored, Forgiven: Evangelical Accounts of the Atonement - Stephen R. Holmes
  • “Live Much Under the Shadow of the Cross”: Atonement and Evangelical Spirituality - Ian Randall

Contemporary Perspectives

  • The Message of the Cross Is Foolishness: Atonement in Womanist Theology; Towards a Black British Perspective - Lynette J. Mullings
  • Atonement in Contemporary Culture: Christ Symbolic Exchange and Death - Anna M. Robbins
  • Penal Substitution: a Pastoral Apologetic - Derek Tidball

In the Logos Reader Edition, this volume is enhanced to best fit the content. Scripture references are hand-tagged to integrate with powerful functionality in Logos Bible Software. Page milestones and internal citation tagging provide accurate points of reference. Search important words across resources to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive tools for reading digital content are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.


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    Digital list price: $14.99
    Save $3.00 (20%)

    Gathering interest