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  1. John M Kight
    Michigan
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great Introduction to the Atonement Debate
    May 25, 2015
    John M Kight
    Michigan
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    There are essentially two characteristics of a productive debate dialog: (1) a focused topic of conversation, and (2) a healthy and respectful discussion. Like many of the previous volumes in the Perspectives series, Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement: Three Views executes this reality masterfully.

    The discussion begins with a helpful introduction to the debate by Mark Snoeberger, and concludes with a much appreciated summary by Andrew Naselli. Snoeberger ushers the reader into the discussion by detailing the importance of the topic, or lack thereof (p. 1), as well as the primary question of discussionFor whom was Christ a substitute? (p. 6). This is an important point to note because the book is narrowly focused upon the substitutional aspect of the atonement within the views of atonement that affirm penal substitution, and thus is limited to a specific vein of the Protestant conversation (p. 6). Naselli closes the book with a brief summary, including helpful charts, and identifies 10 Ways to Create Unhealthy Schism over the Extent of the Atonement (p. 216227). This is a helpful and much appreciated reminder as the reader exits the written discussion.

    Between the introduction and conclusion the reader finds three essays and the corresponding responses by the opposing authors: (1) Definite Atonement, (2) General Atonement, and (3) Multi-Intentions Atonement. First, Carl Truman defends the Definite Atonement (limited atonement) position, arguing that the question of the extent of the atonement is merely an inference deduced from its nature and efficacy (p. 21). For Truman the debate rests heavily upon the nature of Christs mediation, specifically as it relates to the unity of the intention that undergirds his priestly work of sacrifice and intercession (p. 22). Second, Grant Osborne defends the General Atonement (universal atonement) position, arguing that, Christ has died sufficiently for all but efficiently for those who find faith in his atoning death (p. 8182). Osborne presents a solid defense of his position, discussing both the positive and negative arguments for General Atonement. Third, John Hammett defends the Multi-Intentions Atonement (hypothetical universal atonement) position, arguing that the atonement is both universal (or general), particular (or limited), and cosmic. Hammett offers a fitting contribution to the discussion and the placement appears intentional, as much of Hammetts essay provides an additional perspective upon the earlier arguments presented by Truman and Osborne.

    In short, Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement: Three Views provides what it promises to deliver. The discussion is narrowly focused and the authors stay within this framework extremely well. Regardless of ones level of investment, this book will prove to be a beneficial introduction to the ongoing dialog. The only complaint (apart from the theological disagreements intentionally avoided in this review) is the lack of a bibliography for further investigation on the various positions. Of course, this information can be found in the footnotes, which I would highly recommend that the reader avoid overlooking.

    **I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**
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