The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views, Edited by James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy alt

The Nature of the Atonement

Four Views

Spectrum Multiview Book Series

Edited by James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy
Contributions by Gregory A. Boyd, Joel B. Green, Bruce Reichenbach, and Thomas R. Schreiner

The Nature of the Atonement
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 0 × 0 in
  • Published: August 20, 2009
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 7728
  • ISBN: 9780830877287

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A long history of biblical exegesis and theological reflection has shaped our understanding of the atonement today. The more prominent highlights of this history have acquired familiar names for the household of faith: Christus Victor, penal substitutionary, subjective, and governmental.

Recently the penal substitutionary view, and particularly its misappropriations, has been critiqued, and a lively debate has taken hold within evangelicalism. This Spectrum Multiview volume offers a "panel" discussion of four views of atonement maintained by four evangelical scholars. The proponents and their views are:

  • Gregory A. Boyd: Christus Victor view
  • Joel B. Green: Kaleidescopic view
  • Bruce R. Reichenbach: Healing view
  • Thomas R. Schreiner: Penal Substitutionary view

Following an introduction written by the editors, each participant first puts forth the case for their view. Each view is followed by responses from the other three participants, noting points of agreement as well as disagreement.

This is a book that will help Christians understand the issues, grasp the differences and proceed toward a clearer articulation of their understanding of the atonement.

Spectrum Multiview Books offer a range of viewpoints on contested topics within Christianity, giving contributors the opportunity to present their position and also respond to others in this dynamic publishing format.

"The directness of the responses is a strength of the book. It serves to highlight differences, expose weak points, and provide the reader with questions and issues to pursue. The book makes a positive contribution both through highlighting the diversity of thinking about the atonement within evangelicalism and through encouraging discussion about this diversity."

Mark D. Baker, Religious Studies Review, March 2010

"One strength of this study is its multifaceted scope. The book presents four views side by side and allows the reader quickly to see what the primary differences and similarities are between the various positions. By including defenses of positions by those who hold to these divergent views, this volume adds a valuable dimension to the evangelical discussion on the issue of the atonement."

Ched Spellman on Says Simpleton, April 11, 2008

"Those looking for evangelical and scripturally founded treatments of the atonement will find this book a lively register of current opinions."

Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 2007

"There are a number of reasons to applaud The Nature of the Atonement, not least its provocative and illuminating presentation. . . . If you are looking for a more focused discussion on the atonement--that is, in terms of today's evangelical milieu, The Nature of the Atonement can certainly serve as a fine forum for exploring essential matters of the Christian faith."

Kathleen Borres, Catholic Books Review,


The Atonement: An Introduction

1. Christus Victor View by Gregory A. Boyd
2. Penal Substitution View by Thomas R. Schreiner
3. Healing View by Bruce R. Reichenbach
4. Kaleidoscopic View by Joel B. Green



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James K. Beilby

James Beilby (PhD, Marquette University) is professor of systematic and philosophical theology at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of Thinking About Christian Apologetics and Epistemology as Theology, the editor of Naturalism Defeated?, and the coeditor of numerous volumes, including The Nature of the Atonement, Divine Foreknowledge, The Historical Jesus, and Justification. His written work has appeared in publications such as Faith and Philosophy, Philosophia Christi, Religious Studies, and Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Paul R. Eddy

Paul R. Eddy (Ph.D., Marquette University) is Professor of Theology at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. His books include John Hick's Pluralist Philosophy of World Religions (Ashgate), Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology (with G. A. Boyd, Baker) and Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views (with James Beilby IVP).