The Extent of the Atonement: A Historical and Critical Review
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The Extent of the Atonement: A Historical and Critical Review

B&H Academic / 2016 / Hardcover

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CBD Stock No: WW643922


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While the history concerning the extent of Christ's atoning work on the cross is fascinating in its own right, dappled in its twists and turns, often either ignored or misunderstood, it is also among the most controversial questions in evangelical Christianity, fraught with potholes and pitfalls that have been the cause of division since the Reformation—not only between the Reformed and the non-Reformed but also within Reformed theology itself.

Driven by his own theological convictions and Baptist perspective, David L. Allen makes a historical, biblical, and theological case for universal atonement in The Extent of the Atonement: A Historical and Critical Review. This monumental work not only offers a comprehensive historical summary of the question of the atonement's extent from the Early Church Fathers to the present, but also includes the debates within Reformed Theology on the subject since the Reformation and within Baptist history and theology from the early 17th century to present.

The Extent of the Atonement integrates historical theology with exegesis, biblical and systematic theology, and practical theology, to demonstrate the unity between all moderate Calvinists, Arminians, and non-Calvinists on the specific issue of the extent of the atonement. Marshalling evidence from Scripture and history, and critiquing arguments for a limited atonement, Allen affirms that an unlimited atonement is the best understanding of Christ's saving work. He concludes by showing that an unlimited atonement provides the best foundation for evangelism, missions, and preaching.

Allen's tour de force on the atonement forwards not only an example of responsible theology and a faithful reading of Scripture, but also a challenge to pastors, scholars, and seminarians to discern the intent, extent, and application of Christ's atoning work on the cross. A must read for all who are interested in the question of what the cross achieves.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 848
Vendor: B&H Academic
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 10 X 7 X 1.75 (inches)
ISBN: 1433643928
ISBN-13: 9781433643927

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Author Bio

David L. Allen served as dean of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX, for 12 years and is currently dean of the School of Preaching, distinguished professor of preaching, George W. Truett Chair of Ministry, and director of the Center for Biblical Preaching at Southwestern.

Editorial Reviews

"The Extent of the Atonement offers a penetrating and perceptive treatment of a thorny, divisive theological issue. David Allen’s command of the subject as well as his ability to lay out clearly and fairly the competing theories and arguments is masterful. I found his critique of the doctrine of limited atonement fully persuasive. This book is must reading for all who want to understand better the Calvinism debate."

—Craig A. Evans, dean of the School of Christian Thought and John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins, Houston Baptist University

"The issue of limited atonement has proved a controversial matter for many years and one that is unlikely to disappear at any time in the near future. One of the reasons for this is that the question it seeks to answer is one which developed over time and has a number of subtle and sophisticated facets. . . . While David Allen and I disagree on the matter, this work is an irenic and learned contribution to the topic which carries the historical, and thus doctrinal, discussion forward in an extremely helpful way. I am thus happy to recommend this work of a friendly critic. It deserves wide readership and careful engagement."

—Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Chair of Church History and professor of church history, Westminster Theological Seminary

Product Reviews

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  1. Jimmy Reagan
    West Union, OH
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Important!
    January 23, 2017
    Jimmy Reagan
    West Union, OH
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Here is an encyclopedic treatment of the oft debated topic of the extent of the atonement. In particular, its a refutation of the limited atonement. To be sure, its focus is the atonement and not the totality of the Calvinistic system. This book really serves two distinct purposes. On the one hand, it makes a case for a universal atonement, while on the other hand, it presents an exhaustive history of what has been believed on the subject in the past.

    The historical research done is mind blowing. I can hardly believe the volume of pages of reading that wouldve had to have been done to pull it off. No matter which side of the issue you are on, you must appreciate all the historical research that has been marshaled into one place for us.

    Though I agree with the author in holding a universal atonement position, many things I learned here were a surprise to me. I already knew that there was no known precedent for the limited atonement in the church fathers, so my surprise came in the Reformation era. The biggest shock was that John Calvin himself did not hold to a limited atonement. In fact, we can find no historical proof of it before Beza. I was further shocked through the next several chapters to find several Calvinistic theologians that I knew did not hold to a limited atonement even if they did the other elements of Calvinistic theology.

    Mr. Allen, in my view, presented some compelling exegesis and logical argumentation throughout the book. I felt he was honest with what his research uncovered. If the theologian he studied made any statements positive toward a limited atonement, he readily admitted it. After reading this book, it will now be an encyclopedic resource for me when I want to look up a theologian to remember his position on the limited atonement.

    After he completed his historical review, he reviewed in-depth the most popular, common, new title presenting the limited atonement, From Heaven He Came and Sought Her. I felt he answered it beautifully, without superficiality or generality, and was quite successful. His closing chapter on why an unlimited atonement is important made an excellent conclusion.

    The only negative thing that I noticed in this fine title is that I fear it is more likely to rile than persuade his opponents. At times, he would take his opponents to task for being over-the-top in their statements and would turn around and be overly harsh to them on the same page. Remember it seems that way to me, and I was on his side as I read.

    Still, this book is a tremendous resource. It offers outstanding history and makes salient points that may be tough for those who hold to a limited atonement to answer. I highly recommend it.

    I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
  2. Jeff
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Excellent work
    December 27, 2016
    Jeff
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Great research which provides a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate.
  3. josh
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    not so much
    November 14, 2016
    josh
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    stick with "from heaven he came and sought her"
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