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The Atonement: Its Meaning and Significance Paperback – May 6, 1984
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The Atonement was put together from the material in The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, but presented in a simpler, less technical form. We might think of it as the average Christian's version of Apostolic Preaching. It's a biblical study of the terms associated with the atonement--"the great words," to quote the introduction, "used to bring out the meaning of the cross."
Morris shows us the multi-faceted nature of the cross work of Christ as described through biblical words--justification, sacrifice, propitiation, redemption, and reconciliation, to list a few. Christ's death can be viewed through many lenses: as payment in exchange for freedom (redemption), as the turning of enemies into friends (reconciliation), or the turning away of wrath (propitiation), and more. Each perspective on this gracious act at the center of Christianity adds to our understanding of its significance.
What's more, even though it was written in the 1980s, drawing from research done in the 1950s, many of the arguments in The Atonement, especially those found in the chapter on propitiation, are applicable to current debates about the nature of the atonement.
The Atonement is on a very short list of basic theology books I'd recommend to any believer. It's of classic quality, but not difficult to read--and short enough for those who do a page count first and eliminate anything over 200 pages. And what's more important than understanding what Christ accomplished for us on the cross?
I learned that Covenants were made between people who represented people groups and nations. So in this way I could understand how God could make a covenant with Abraham and it covered all Israel. In the same way Jesus could then embody / represent Israel and stand in their place taking their punishment. Substitute and representative come together in Jesus. Morris believes that there is no Adamic covenant which will give some cause for concern. Morris was right to highlight that the new covenant would mean the forgiveness of sins, not just an annual reminder of them (Heb 10:4) but I wanted to know what forgiveness of sins might mean to a first century audience, not what we've read back into them from the 16th century reformation. The chapter on Sacrifice was good, but Morris found so many commonalities between the sacrifices that they all seemed to blend into one, and their distinction was lost. There was a lengthy discussion on rabbinic interpretations of the day of atonement, which provided a helpful insight into the the day of atonement come alive, but much of which was also unnecessary. Morris was right to go on to say that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross went further than the day of atonement. Jesus was like the priest securing access to God for his people, and forgiveness of sins not through the blood sacrifice of an animal but through his own blood. So his sacrifice was better!
Morris did not like the idea of Jesus as the passover lamb, he preferred to say that Jesus was our passover.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The doctrines stated in this book are solid as a rock. The only problem with reading it is that the author seems to restate the same thimPublished 19 months ago by Carol
Excellent book! The author was truly a man of God and his book is excellent and spot on! This is well written.Published 19 months ago by Douglas Tanner
If you are puzzled about the historic and ongoing dialogue about atonement, this is very helpful and concise. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Trice
A well written and documented explanation of atonement; one not usually taught or discussed in daily Bible classes or readings. Should be a must read for today's Christian.Published on August 9, 2009 by Jacqueline King
This book is horrible at treating the factor of history. This is only a theological treatise about Christ's work of salvation. Read morePublished on May 16, 2006 by Joseph Johnson