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The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views Paperback – October 9, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (October 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830825703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830825707
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James K. Beilby (Ph.D., Marquette University) is professor of systematic and philosophical theology at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. His books include Why Bother With Truth? (with David Clark), Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views and The Meaning of the Atonement: Four Views (both with Paul Eddy), Naturalism Defeated?, For Faith and Clarity and Epistemology as Theology. His articles and essays have appeared in such publications as Faith and Philosophy, Philosophia Christi, Religious Studies, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, American Journal of Theology and Philosophy, Sophia and Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Paul R. Eddy (Ph.D., Marquette University) is Professor of Theology at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. His books include John Hick's Pluralist Philosophy of World Religions (Ashgate), Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology (with G. A. Boyd, Baker) and Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views (with James Beilby IVP).

Gregory A. Boyd (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary) is a pastor at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. Previously, he was a professor of theology at Bethel University, also in St. Paul. His books include Recovering the Real Jesus in an Age of Revisionist Replies, Letters from a Skeptic, God of the Possible, Repenting of Religion, Seeing is Believing, Escaping the Matrix, The Jesus Legend, Myth of a Christian Nation, Is God to Blame, God at War and Satan and the Problem of Evil.

Joel B. Green (B.S., M.Th., Ph.D.) is professor of New Testament interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary. He was vice president of academic affairs, provost and professor of New Testament interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Prior to his appointment at Asbury in 1997, he was associate professor of New Testament at the American Baptist Seminary of the West/Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.

His books include What about the Soul? Neuroscience and Christian Anthropology (Abingdon, 2004); Narrative Reading, Narrative Preaching: The Recovery of Narrative and Preaching the New Testament (Baker, 2003); Salvation (Chalice, 2003); Introducing the New Testament: Its Literature and Theology (with Paul Achtemeier and Marianne Meye Thompson, 2001); Beginning with Jesus: Christ in Scripture, the Church and Discipleship (2000); Recovering the Scandal of the Cross: Atonement in New Testament and Contemporary Contexts (with Mark Baker, 2000); Between Two Horizons: Spanning New Testament Studies and Systematic Theology (with Max Turner, 2000) and The Gospel of Luke in the New International Commentary on the New Testament (1997).

For over 20 years, Green has been the editor of Catalyst, a journal providing evangelical resources and perspectives to United Methodist seminarians. An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, he has pastored churches in Texas, Scotland and Northern California. He has also served on the boards of Berkeley Emergency Food and Housing Project, and RADIX magazine.

Bruce R. Reichenbach (Ph.D. Northwestern University) is a professor of philosophy at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has also been a visiting professor at Juniata College, Daystar University in Kenya and Morija Theological Seminary in Lesotho. He is the author or coauthor of a number books, including Introduction to Critical Thinking, On Behalf of God: A Christian Ethic for Biology (coauthored with V. Elving Anderson) and Evil and a Good God.

Thomas R. Schreiner is James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and associate dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. His other books include The Law and Its Fulfillment, Interpreting the Pauline Epistles and Romans.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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So, I thought, there must be something here worth investigating.
Maurice Hagar
Like most "four view" type books, this one presents extremely important information in a simple to understand format.
Searching for what the Bible actually says
There is also a tension present within the work regarding the "evangelical view" of the atonement.
Ched Spellman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
The atonement, broadly speaking, refers to the saving work of Jesus Christ.

It was John Wesley who once said, "Nothing in the Christian system is of greater consequence than the doctrine of the atonement."

If Wesley is correct, then the atonement is a Christian belief that deserves to be discussed.

_The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views_ (IVP Academic, 2006) seeks to give the Christian doctrine of atonement its proper due by fostering dialogue between four scholars, who hold as many interpretations of the atonement.

The four understandings/theories of the atonement under examination are:

1. The Christus Victor model: the atonement is a divine conflict and victory in which Jesus fights against and triumphs over the evil powers of the world.

2. The Penal Substitution model: "the Father, because of his love for human beings, sent his Son...to satisfy God's justice, so that Christ took the place of sinners. The punishment and penalty we deserved was laid on Jesus Christ instead of us, so that in the cross both God's holiness and love are manifested." (p. 67)

3. The Healing model: the atonement is primiarly a healing/restoration from sin and its resultant sickness.

4. The Kaleidoscopic model: the atonement is understood in multiple ways and no one theory has priority over the others.

None of the participants in the book disagrees as to whether the different theories are viable explanations of the atonement. Where the difference of opinion lies is in which theory is primary or foundational. The first three models purport to be foundational while the fourth model, the Kaleidoscopic view, claims that there is no foundational model.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Rachael on October 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
I found this to be an excellent comparitive study of different Christian views of Jesus' atonement. The authors are all strong scholars and come from diverse theological backgrounds. I found myself highlighting many sections of the text that helped make sense of Christian beliefs and interpretations on this issue. I highly recommend this book for people wanting to gain a better understanding of the different Christian views of what Jesus' death on the Cross accomplished and its purposes - you will come away enriched in your own understanding and more knowledgable of other Christian traditions' views.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Myers on May 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Bible College and Seminary I was taught the various views of the atonement. I remember hearing about the ransom theory, the satisfaction theory, the moral government theory, and the penal substitution substitution theory, and the example theory, but for some reason, I don't ever remember learning about the Christus Victor view. I went back and looked at my notes, and sure enough, not a word was said about it.

I am trying to figure out why. Was it because my professors didn't know about it? Or possibly they did know about it, but didn't think it was worth mentioning. Either way, it kind of ticks me off, because after reading this book, I believe that the Christus Victor view is correct. Why did nobody ever at least mention it or bring it up in class?

Oh well, I've learned about it now, thanks to this excellent book edited by Jamed Beilby and Paul Eddy. This book presents four views on the atonement (which are not all the possible views).

The introduction points out that there are three main paradigms that guide atonement perspectives. The first paradigm is the Christus Victor paradigm, which is Satanward in its approach so that Jesus is seen to be fighting against and triumphing over the devil and his works. The second paradigm is Godward in its focus so that the work of Christ on the cross is said to satisfy or appease something within the nature and character of God. The third paradigm is manward in focus so that the work of Christ is thought to accomplish something for humanity. All of the various theories about the atonement fall into one of these paradigms, and this book chose four theories to consider.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ched Spellman on September 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
When believers think of Christ's work on the cross, should their mental backdrop be a battlefield, a courtroom, an operating room, or perhaps all three? James Beilby and Paul Eddy, as editors of The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views, investigate this question as they seek to "foster dialogue between four different interpretations of the atonement" (20).

These interpretations are the Christus Victor view, the penal substitution view, the healing view, and the kaleidoscopic view, defended by Gregory Boyd, Thomas Schreiner, Bruce Reichenbach, and Joel Green, respectively. Each scholar provides an essay-length defense of their particular view, followed by a brief response by the other three participants. In their responses, each scholar is supposed to acknowledge similarities and demonstrate primary differences between their view and the one under consideration.

Noting the "complexities of the Christian view of the atonement" (9), Beilby and Eddy provide an introductory chapter that adumbrates the layout of the book and outlines the varying possible perspectives. In thinking about the atonement, they give three broad categories: the Christus Victor paradigm, the objective paradigm, and the subjective paradigm. Each of these "paradigms" is directed toward satisfying some individual, either Satan (Christus Victor), God (objective), or man (subjective 12, 14, 18). They argue that most of the perspectives on the atonement can be grouped under these broad categories. Regarding atonement metaphors, the editors assert that "all of the contributors represented in this book acknowledge that the New Testament provides a plethora of images by which to understand Christ's work" (21).
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