Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! Great Series! Not for Beginners!, April 6, 2011
This review is from: The Work of Christ (Contours of Christian Theology) (Paperback)
Letham's book is a classic. This is an essential volume in an important series (Contours of Christian Theology). I have read a few other books in this series and each of them has proved helpful and enriching, including E. Clowney's The Church and S. Ferguson's The Holy Spirit. All three wonderful books.

The Work of Christ is divided into four parts. In part one, Letham lays the groundwork for the rest of the book. Parts 2, 3, and 4 deal with Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King, respectively. The appendix "The Intent of the Atonement" is worth the price of the book. In it, Letham outlines the post-Reformation debate surrounding the doctrine of atonement.

He highlights four distinct positions:

1. Universalism, the view that all are saved; Christ died with the intention of atoning for all people without exception and that the outcome of his saving work is that all without exception are saved.
2. J. Arminius' view that Christ died with the intention of saving all people without exception. Not all, however, are saved.
3. Limited Atonement, the view that the efficacy of the atonement was limited to the elect; Christ died with the intention of atoning for the elect only.
4. M. Amyraut's view of hypothetical universalism which maintains that Christ died for all without exception. God in his foreknowledge, however, recognizing that all would not trust Christ, decreed to save a certain number.

Letham's book highlights what is at stake in the debate over the atonement: Who spends eternity with Christ and how?

This book is not for beginners. This is a dense theological text. Yet this book serves as an essential volume for those serious students dealing with the intricacies of this all-important doctrine.
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