Monday, January 18, 2010

The One and the many

"He stood where no one but Adam ever stood,
acting as one for many;
offering a ransom as one for many (Matt. 20:28);
shedding his blood as one for many (Matt. 26:28)."

George Smeaton
Christ's Doctrine of the Atonement
, p. 53

In my opinion every minister of the gospel should read Smeaton's two volumes on the atonement which were first published in the early 1870s and have been republished by the Banner of Truth.

You don't need to get much beyond the first fifty pages of Christ's doctrine of the atonement to realise that the twenty-first century "evangelical" alternatives to penal substitution, and the related reworking of the attributes of God as the lens through which we view the atonement, were well known in the Victorian era, were well weighed by this judicious Scottish theologian, and were well refuted by his able pen.

Beyond the polemic value of the work, which is considerable, lies its worth as a example of the marriage of the best exegetical theology and the warmth of genuine Christian piety.

If you want to get a better grasp of the biblical categories, terminology, and texts about the atonement, and if you want that survey to present the truth about Christ in such a way as to magnify him as the Saviour you need, you can do no better than to pick up and read the volumes of George Smeaton.

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