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Publication Date: 2013
From marital infidelity to global war, the world is obviously broken, leaving people desperate to find an explanation for our universal sin problem. In the latest addition to the Theology in Community series, Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson have assembled an interdisciplinary team of evangelical thinkers to explore the biblical doctrine of sin from a variety of angles. Among other contributors, popular scholar D. A. Carson discusses the contemporary significance of sin; seasoned professor Paul House details sin in the Old Testament law, prophets, and writings; and New Testament expert Douglas Moo explores sin from Pauls vantage point. This team of top-notch scholars offers modern readers a comprehensive overview of this oft-neglected, biblical theme so that readers might learn to live better in a sinful world.
-J. I. Packer,
Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College
In this fine little volume, Morgan and Peterson provide an excellent one-stop treatment of the doctrine of sin. As we have come to expect with all of the volumes in the Theology in Community Series, Fallen treats the doctrine of sin biblically, theologically, historically, and pastorally. This text should work very nicely for undergraduate or graduate students.
Provost, Dean of Faculty, and Associate Professor of Theology and Culture, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Sin is seriousthats the thrust of this timely collection of essays and, more importantly, the teaching of the Scriptures. But in our postmodern society where there are no absolutes, and in an effort not to offend anyone concerning the issue of sin, we sometimes use other language: done wrong, erred, or made a mistake. Here is a bold book that encourages us not to be afraid to talk, preach, or teach concerning the Bibles understanding of sin and its effects both personally and societally. The Puritans were rightit is only when we have first grasped the depravity of the human heart that can we ever fully appreciate the greatness of the love of God in salvation.
Lecturer in New Testament and Greek, Oak Hill Theological College, London
Sin is the great spoiler. It spoils our relation to God, each other, ourselves, and our environment. This important volume shows not only that sin is the great spoiler but also how to understand sin biblically and to face the temptation that comes with it. Without this dark backdrop, the coming and cross of Christ make little sense. A team of excellent scholars has served the church so well in this work. I commend it highly.
-Graham A. Cole,
Anglican Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School
Homiletical in arrangement, exegetical in essence, theological in content, and contemporary in expression, Fallen meets the need of the contemporary church to reflect on an often overlooked essential of the biblical story line and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Starting with a fresh note of application, the contributors skillfully and pastorally move through the topic, showing biblical foundations and offering fresh applications for the church today. Fallen helps believers rejoice in sins defeat through the cross of Christ, discern sins traces and impact on contemporary society, and warn us as believers, as Luther did, that we are at the same time just and sinner. A must-read for pastors, seminary students, and lay persons eager to learn more about the foundations of the faith.
Associate Professor of Missions, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
The doctrine of sin has never been a very popular teaching, but it is an irreducible essential for every generation to grasp or else the gospel will be redefined or rejected. Counterfeit Christianity heralds a message about a God without wrath bringing people without sin into a kingdom without judgment. The removal of sin removes the very guts of what makes the gospel good news. The book you hold in your hands is the most far-reaching, well-rounded modern treatment of sin that I have ever read. I commend it very highly.
-Jason C. Meyer,
Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sin is the inconvenient truth, the bad news that we are tempted to hurry past in our rush to get to the good news of the gospel. The authors of Fallen do not rush past this hard subject; they examine it carefully, patiently, and thoroughly, in all its biblical, historical, systematic, and practical implications. Exceptionally well unified for a multi-author work, Fallen may be the most complete resource on the doctrine of sin in this generation and will certainly serve well as a comprehensive introduction to this neglected topic.
Associate Professor of Theology, Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University
mojoTexasAge: 35-44Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5A great book on sinNovember 4, 2013mojoTexasAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 4There has been a growing complaint amongst church critics that we don't speak about "sin" from the pulpit anymore. And it's no wonder! Sin is such a downer! Such a depressing subject. "Hey, the cross has removed the debt and placed you in the grace of God - you're free!"
"Now.... do you want to talk about sin?"
But if we have adopted the language "I am saved;" then it's probably a good idea to know what it is - that you have been saved from.
Editors Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson offer a wonderful treatise on the subject in their book: Fallen: A Theology of Sin. Is it light reading for the plane trip from Sacramento to Houston? Probably not. The book does read and feel like it's meant for seminary students and pastors - but also to be fair, it's not entirely a "chapter book."
Each chapter is written by an author or contributing editor who have each wrestled with a particular aspect of sin as a subject. In "Fallen" the contributors cover the fall, sin's origins, meanings, vocabulary, the significance of sin in the world, the role the law played in resolving sin and how we should think about sin today.
Together the contributors have assembled a wonderful resource that tackles a heavy subject without "feeling" heavy.
I highly recommend this text as a "return to" source for teaching and instruction.
Thank you to Crossway for this review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
JudeLondon, ONAge: 35-44Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5A gret resource on an oft-ignored topicOctober 26, 2013JudeLondon, ONAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5In Fallen: A Theology of Sin, Crossway and the editors Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson deliver another valuable and useful book to add to the Theology In Community series that has also given the church books on the deity of Christ, suffering, God's glory, and the kingdom of God. This is another treasure trove of practical information that exudes solid doctrinal teaching on the overlooked and under-studied topic of sin. I reviewed The Deity of Christ and found it immensely helpful and highly recommended; this volume follows suit.
The books first chapter is written by world renowned scholar D. A. Carson. This theological heavyweight considers the intrinsic and contemporary significance of sin and in all too typical fashion his work is both helpful and enjoyable. I am particularly fond of authors whose writing reminds me of their preaching; in the sentences and paragraphs I could almost hear Dr. Carson's talks on the same topic. Carson represents sin as it is understood in the Bible and reflects on our society's spiritual poverty as a result of being bereft of this knowledge.
Chapters 2 and 3 are written by Paul R. House. This is my first acquaintance with his writing but it will assuredly not be my last. In chapter 2, House discusses the treatment of sin in the Old Testament Law while noting how incomplete such an endeavour will be in the small space allotted. Nevertheless, House offers a summary that is beneficial and enriching. House looks at the definitions of sin the Law offers and traces the themes surrounding sin in the texts under consideration. In chapter 3, House moves on to discuss the treatment of sin in the prophets. This chapter looks at contributions towards the Old Testament's teaching on sin from each book of the Former Prophets as well as highlighting the books of the Latter Prophets and their demonstration of the universal scope of sin. I appreciated his contribution to the discussion and will not hesitate to read more of his work if the opportunity arises.
Robert W. Yarborough is passed the baton and endeavours to investigate sin in the New Testament without interacting with any of the writings of Paul. He considers the indirect evidence of sin from these books by investigating invitations to repent as well as instances of conversion. He adds to his observations a concise summary of 2 word groups associated with sin; the hamartia word group and the adikia word group. This chapter was artfully written and its presentation helps with an understanding of sin that has breadth and depth.
Concerning chapter 5, I'll get right to the point: Douglas J. Moo's chapter entitled Sin in Paul is alone worth the price of the book. I do not consider myself overly intelligent, but I do consider myself fairly well-read. However, this chapter provided me with some "wow" moments; I encountered ideas and explanations that I had never come across before. The style is winsome and the content is top tier. Moo deals with the vocabulary of sin, the nature of sin, the larger environment of sin, and the consequences of sin among other topics the apostle to the Gentiles grappled with in his writings. To belabour the point, in my copy there is an almost unhelpful amount of marginalia, underlining, circling and highlighting; I might have been better off noting what was not extremely helpful. If for this chapter alone, buy the book!
Christopher Morgan, in the sixth chapter, looks at sin with the metanarrative of the Bible in mind. He considers sin in light of creation, the fall, redemption and the consummation. This section offers the reader a wide-ranging assessment of sin in Scripture. This chapter contains several lists and charts that are excellent summaries and provide me, as a teacher, with valuable tools.
A very delightful and informative presentation of sin in historical theology is Gerald Bray's contribution to this collection. Chapter 7 offers an intriguing perusal of sin through the ages of church history. Bray writes in a manner that is easy to read and the information he conveys captivated my attention.
Chapter 8 contains a thorough exposition of what a theology of sin for today should look like. His explanation and investigation into sin in its pre-fall context was fascinating and memorable. Of note, this chapter contained some memorable illustrations that I intend on using in some sermons in the near future.
Sydney H. T. Page investigates the relationship between Satan and sin and evil. He looks at Satan's roles in regards to sin; tempter, deceiver, accuser, afflicter. But he also reminds the reader of the defeat of Satan, sin, and evil through the work of Christ on Calvary.
The next chapter, the tenth, is practical and pastoral and perceptive in regards to its topic; temptation. The author, Davis B. Calhoun, produces a wide range of encouraging and informative quotes from church history. After the Moo chapter, this was the most edifying chapter as it adroitly answered numerous question about temptation: What is temptation?; What does the bible say about temptation?; How could Jesus be tempted?; What are the source or causes of temptation?; How do the world, the flesh, and the devil tempt us?; When does temptation become sin?; How can we overcome temptation?; What happens when we Confess our sins?; and what are the results of temptation? As is obvious, Calhoun covers a lot of ground and he does so in an engaging way.
Finally, the smooth and soothing prose of this chapter, courtesy of Bryan Chapell, is reminiscent of his excellent verbal communication skills. Entitled aptly Repentance That Sings, this final section offers are harmonious finish to the book. Though delivering a comfortable read, this chapter was, for me, very convicting. Though I enjoyed the skilful writing, I could feel the God's thumb of conviction gently pressing on my heart as the chapter progressed. The editors prove their worth by choosing this chapter to end on; it was full of practical application and powerful motivation to take our own sin seriously and, by the grace and mercy of God, deal with it.
I highly recommend this book as valuable resource on the doctrine of sin. Its able authors deliver another valuable contribution to the Theology in Community series. Let these words of D. A. Carson convey the importance of understanding sin and the value of a book such as Fallen: "It is impossible to gain a deep grasp of what the cross achieves without plunging into a deep grasp of what sin is" (22).
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review.