A Review Article:“ From Heaven He Came And Sought Her: Definite Atonement In Historical, Biblical, Theological, And Pastoral Perspective” -- By: Matthew A. Postiff

Journal: Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal
Volume: DBSJ 19:0 (NA 2014)
Article: A Review Article:“ From Heaven He Came And Sought Her: Definite Atonement In Historical, Biblical, Theological, And Pastoral Perspective”
Author: Matthew A. Postiff


A Review Article:“
From Heaven He Came And Sought Her: Definite Atonement In Historical, Biblical, Theological, And Pastoral Perspective”

Matthew A. Postiff

Reviewed by Matthew A. Postiff1

From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective, ed. David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 703 pp. $50.00.

Theological Perspective Of Book And Reviewer

From Heaven’s authors come from a wide variety of backgrounds: Christian Reformed, evangelical, Presbyterian, Anglican, Southern Baptist, Free Church, and Reformed Baptist, among others. The authors are generally covenantal in their theological perspective.

Like the editors of From Heaven, this reviewer did not grow up believing in definite atonement (17). I reviewed the book from a four-point Calvinistic, dispensationalist viewpoint. As such, I read with a critical eye, hoping for a better understanding of definite atonement, looking for some questions to be answered, and seeing how my understanding of Scripture fared and could be sharpened. I was not disappointed, although the book did not cast a good light on my four-point view.

Summary And Evaluation

Starting with Packer’s foreword, the book rejects the descriptor “limited atonement” as inappropriate and unnecessarily negative (15, see also 121, 202, 207). The term “definite atonement” is adopted consistently throughout the book. Sinclair Ferguson writes, “The position adopted throughout this volume is that Christ died for the elect, and that the atonement he made, whatever its broader ramifications, was ‘definite,’ i.e., intended for specific individuals and essentially efficacious” (609).

From Heaven deals with definite atonement under four headings:

historical theology, biblical theology, systematic theology, and pastoral theology, and addresses the major objections against definite atonement as well as arguments in favor. Chapter 1 lays out the thesis of the book in four parts corresponding to those sections: definite atonement is not a recent invention, it is exegetically substantiated from the text of Scripture, it is the best systematic framework with which to understand all revelation about the atonement and its related doctrines, and finally, it best addresses pastoral concerns including the unevangelized, assurance of salvation, and the glory of God. The authors of this chapter explain that a goal of the book is to develop a theological map that shows clearly how the Bible supports definite atone...

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