The Atonement

*Disclaimer: I received this book from InterVarsity Press (IVPress, IVP) in exchange for an honest review.

Atonement: The Person and Work of Christ by Thomas F. Torrance, edited by Robert Walker, is a superlative work on the doctrine of the atonement, especially in the personhood and work of Jesus Christ as Savior. Incarnation is the prequel to this work, which I have no personally read, but have noticed wonderful reviews regarding both works. I will be adding a positive review for Atonement.

Atonement as a doctrine is highly contested. Whenever one talks about the atonement, questions of all variety arise. For whom did Christ die? Is it as effective as Scripture mentions? Did Christ substitute Himself on our behalf? Can we find hope in the atonement? So many of these questions, and more, are raised and pondered by many Christians. In this volume, Torrance deals with many of these questions one might ask. The reader will notice the supreme importance of the atonement event in Christian theology and to the centrality of the Christian Scriptures.

A sentence on the back cover reads, “Greatest Reformed theologian since Karl Barth.” Now, I have not read much of Barth (I know, shameful), but I have now read Torrance’s work and I am nothing short of impressed. This magnificent book (large in size for sure) touches the aspects of the atonement mentioned in the questions above. Atonement demonstrates how we find the Atonement in the Old Testament, of course how we find it in the New Testament, and how our hope is a secure hope in the eschatological atonement. That is, hope for every Christian in the end of days. So not only does Torrance discuss the soteriological aspects of the atonement (dealing with the ‘whom’) but also the end of days atonement for us to stand righteous before God and escaping the wrath to come.

Suffice it to say, I thoroughly appreciate this book. This is a Christocentric, thoroughly biblical, orthodox piece on the doctrine of the Atonement. Torrance presents his case and argues for the Christ-centeredness of the Atonement coherently and persuasively. It will be difficult to find a work of insurmountable depth and breadth as that of Torrance’s Atonement. I suggest every Christian interested in the topics of Christology or for the curious mind to read and digest this what this book has to say.

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