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Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution Paperback – October 23, 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Steve Jeffery is a pastor at Holy Trinity, Lyonsdown, in North London. He has a MS and PhD in experimental physics from Oxford University.

Michael Ovey is principal of Oak Hill Theological College. He has a PhD in Trinitarian theology from King’s College, London.

Andrew Sach is on the leadership team at St. Helen's Bishopsgate. He was previously a scientist before training at Oak Hill Theological College.

John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (October 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433501082
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433501081
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Gensheer on January 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
The book Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution is a timely and welcome resource to anyone engaged in the theological discussion concerning Christ's atonement. Everyone from pastors to church members, theological students to interested investigator's can find Steve Jeffery's, Michael Ovey's and Andrew Sach's treatment well worth the time to read - and own.

These authors set out to confront the relatively recent and influential criticism of the penal substitutionary aspect of Jesus Christ's atoning work; the classic view that Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners, with God imputing (or, ascribing) the guilt of our sins to Christ, and he, in our place, bore the punishment that we deserved. This doctrine has recently come under some criticism in a more influential and widespread way, and these authors set out to interact with the basic criticisms by establishing the reality of penal substitution from Scripture, then from Church history, and finally they engage with the typical arguments against affirming this doctrine head on.

Their first "line of attack" against the criticism of penal substitutionary atonement is to go straight to the Bible and ask the basic question, "Is it in there?" The succinctly and frankly write, "If God himself affirms penal substitution, if it is part of the explanation that he himself has given for why he sent his Son into the world, then we dare not maintain otherwise," (p. 33). They then proceed to look at various passages of Scripture: Exodus 12 and the Passover event; Leviticus 16 and the meaning of atonement within the sacrificial system; the concept as seen in the prophets, particularly Isaiah.
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Format: Paperback
"Pierced for Our Transgressions" is a very thorough exploration and defense of the traditional Christian doctrine of penal substitution (that is, that on the cross Jesus willingly absorbed the punishment for the sins of the faithful in their place).

Part 1 of the book contains a nearly exhaustive compilation and exegeses of Biblical support for the doctrine. It was to this part that I felt most indebted; I saw this doctrine to be irrefutable as the book explored the many times that Jesus' death is explicitly described as penal & substitutionary, not to mention the way the doctrine fits in like a puzzle piece to overall Biblical themes. Also of great help to me was the historical retrospective of many great fathers of the faith, which demonstrated that penal substitution has been the predominant atonement theory since the early church.

Part 2 is a very detailed response to every significant argument against penal substitution that the authors have encountered (and there are a lot more arguments against it than I ever could have imagined).

This book is very in-depth, yet quite accessible. The average layman would be able to follow the theological discussion (although I don't know many who would care to!). I feel the issues raised in this book are very important for every believer, however "Pierced for Our Transgressions" is fairly long and quite thorough, and so many Christians might feel like tackling shorter books on the subject, first.

Although I thought a few sections seemed hastily edited and I felt that the authors' usage of Trinitarian theory to defend penal substitution relied too little on biblical sources, this book is nonetheless an unparalleled discussion of the subject, and sure to be the quintessential reference for all future discussions of atonement theory.
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Format: Paperback
The doctrine of penal substitution doesn't, on the face of it, sound too glorious. It is a doctrine involving curse, punishment, blood and death. It is little wonder that people object to it so strenuously. Indeed, this teaching has been at the very center of a rift within the church--a rift that seems to be growing ever-wider and ever more visible. Once the realm of scholars cloistered away in the ivory towers of academia, the battle against this doctrine has recently reached the popular level and it has come under attack by influential and popular evangelical leaders. Needless to say, controversy has followed, and for good reason.

Pierced for our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution is the product of Steve Jeffery, Mike Ovey and Andrew Sach, all of whom are connected to Oak Hill Theological College in London, England. It carries a Foreword by John Piper.

The book is written for the serious and thoughtful general reader. Those who aspire to read nothing more complicated than Yancey or Lucado may find this a challenging, though surely enlightening, read. Those who tend towards works of serious theology will find it eminently readable. Those hoping for an exhaustive scholarly treatment of the subject will be disappointed.

The authors do not keep the reader waiting to learn what this doctrine entails. The first sentence of the first chapter is this: "The doctrine of penal substitution states that God gave himself in the person of his Son to suffer instead of us the death, punishment and curse due to fallen humanity as the penalty for sin." They say, rightly, that this understanding of the cross stands at the very center of the gospel message as given us in the Bible.
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