- Hardcover: 544 pages
- Publisher: Crossway (August 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1581348126
- ISBN-13: 978-1581348125
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation (Foundations of Evangelical Theology) Hardcover – August 1, 2006
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"A very good book about that most distinctive and vital Christian doctrine: salvation in Christ. . . . I can imagine more than one teacher (myself included) considering the construction of an entire course around this book. . . . Moreover, Demarest's competence in several disciplines means the work would stretch even advanced students into that integration of biblical foundations, theology (including theology in its historical dimensions), and personal/ministry application for which we all surely long."
—Bob Robinson, Contributor, Bibliotheca Sacra
"A valuable contribution to the evangelical theological community. Lucid and readable, Demarest's work is an encyclopedic approach to the subject, which results in a good sourcebook on the major options in the hotly contested doctrines of soteriology. Demarest's treatment of such issues as lordship salvation, the nature of repentance, and various views of sanctification indicate his familiarity with the various options. Although no reader will agree with every theological position Demarest adopts, his explanations of views with which he disagrees seem fair. . . . It would make an excellent textbook for seminary or graduate courses in soteriology and a helpful addition to any pastor's library."
—Glenn Kreider, Professor of Theological Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary; Contributor, Bibliotheca Sacra
About the Author
Bruce Demarest (PhD, University of Manchester) is professor of spiritual formation at Denver Seminary, where he has taught since 1975, and a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, Theological Thinkers and Cultural Group, and Spiritual Formation Forum.
John S. Feinberg (PhD, University of Chicago) is department chair and professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author of Ethics for a Brave New World (with Paul D. Feinberg) and is general editor of Crossway’s Foundations of Evangelical Theology series.
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Top Customer Reviews
Given the breadth and scope of this book there really is much to commend. He covers a vast array of topics and treats them evenhandedly by citing primary sources for all the various views. The biblical / theological discussions reiterate what was written in the historical sections except for providing biblical and exegetical support for their conclusions. Demarest provides a lot of detail in looking at the Greek and Hebrew words, which relate to salvation and then places them within their biblical-theological context. The application sections are helpful reminders as to how to appropriate the teaching of God's saving grace to life.
The sections, which dealt with the historical considerations, were most helpful. Demarest clearly expounded the primary views held throughout the history of the church on the doctrine of salvation. There was however a tendency of repetition on these historical discussions. For instance he would explain the Arminian doctrine of election and use three or four different representatives giving a paragraph for each, but he ended up saying much of the same thing in each paragraph. The discussion could have been made more concise.
One small tidbit, which I found helpful, was his discussion on the legitimate and genuine preaching of the gospel to both the elect and the non-elect. Many have claimed that the free offer of the gospel cannot be genuine if it is offered to those who will not receive it. Demarest responds by pointing out its conditional nature: "The universal offer of the Gospel is not a sham nor a grand deception, for the reason that all who respond affirmatively will receive what God has promised. Deception or fraud occurs when what is promised is not given once the terms of the agreement have been properly satisfied." (219). By not believing one fails to meet the conditions of the gospel and therefore a genuine offer is rejected because of their being of the non-elect. I am sure that this will not satisfy many but I thought it was a helpful way of framing the debate.
In a work this size one will always find disagreement and here are a few random ones (in no order of importance). First, and most annoyingly, Demarest tries to turn Calvin into an Amyraldian. He assumes that Calvin holds to a universal atonement with a particular application. Unfortunately, he does not interact with those who have refuted this view (Helm & Muller). I believe Calvin was a Calvinist, although he did not speak in such terms, as did his predecessors. Such a break between Calvin and the Calvinists is not warranted by the historical data.
Secondly, Demarest has a unique view of the role of the Holy Spirit and regeneration in the Old Testament saints. He believes that they are saved, but not regenerated; redeemed through looking toward the death of Christ, but not indwelt by the Holy Spirit. While this is a complex question I was not satisfied with Demarest's answer. If union with Christ is necessary for salvation, and if the Spirit is necessary for union with Christ, then OT saints not having the Spirit could not be united to Christ. Therefore they could not be saved?
There are numerous other small disagreements here or there. He begins the book by stating that salvation is the central theme of the Bible. While I believe it is an important theme I nonetheless believe it is subordinate to a greater theme, namely Jesus Christ. Another disagreement is his view of predestination being only single (affirming election, denying reprobation). Biblically, theologically, and logically I believe that election and reprobation are two sides of the same coin - predestination. There are others but space being prohibitive these few will have to suffice.
Overall this is an excellent introduction to the doctrine of salvation. I believe that one of the best features of this book is its organizational structure. It is very well laid out for an introductory work and its argument is clear and easy to follow. Barring its few weakness, I would commend this work for those who desire to dig deeper into the great salvation, which is found in Jesus Christ alone. All praise is due to Christ's name for his merciful saving grace given unto those who are his!
I was very attracted to Demarest's methodology in this book. Each chapter is divided into sections which first ask highly engaging questions about the particular doctrine being discussed (regeneration, faith, justification, etc), then engages in a very good historical treatment, followed by an exposition of the view that Demarest personally favors, concluded by practical application and meaning of the doctrine. Demarest's historical theology treatment was consistently outstanding in each chapter. In fact, it could be argued that in some ways, Demarest's entire book is as much a historical theology book as it is a systematic theology text. But I found the historical theology sections of each chapter to be fantastic, and also to be very accurate in presenting the views of each doctrine held by the major theological camps within (and outside) Christianity.
This book is thorough in exploring and analyzing the Scripture passages that impact on the doctrine of salvation. Demarest is writing from a 'moderately reformed' perspective, although in many areas, I found Demarest to be solidly reformed with a few notable exceptions. The book is exhaustively documented, with nearly every chapter containing at least 70+ footnotes. The thoughts and positions of Calvin, Luther, Finney, Pelagius, Augustine, Barth, Spurgeon, Wesley and others, including a number of pivotal confessions and church councils are thoroughly looked at. Demarest's treatment of the original Greek and Hebrew is impressive, and the entire doctrine of salvation was covered in great detail, in my view.
I am providing this glowing review in spite of a couple disagreements I have with Demarest's positions here (putting faith before regeneration in the ordo salutis being the biggest one). It also seemed like there were an abnormally high number of typos in certain spots, especially in the footnotes. Lastly, the one small area where I thought Demarest was a bit sloppy was on the question of Christian unity in Chapter 8 and his unqualified tome on the need for all Christians of all stripes to work together. While it's hard to disagree with this sentiment, offering it up completely unqualified and without any guidelines for preserving doctrinal and personal purity in such cooperation struck me as a very incomplete and rather unguarded position that lurches far too close to the mushy ecumenism that most evangelicals (me included) have serious problems with, and rightly so.
But despite my disagreements with some of Demarest's presentation, I firmly believe this book to be a comprehensive and outstanding treatment of soteriology that serious students of theology should read and contemplate. Demarest has done the body of Christ a great service in putting together such an exhaustive treatment of this pivotal doctrine. Highly recommended.