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Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement: 3 Views


Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement presents a point-counterpoint exchange concerning God’s intention in sending Christ to die on the cross. All three contributors recognize a substitutionary element in the atoning work of Christ, but disagree over the nature and objects of that substitution.

Carl Trueman (Westminster Theological Seminary) argues that Christ’s atoning work secured the redemption of his elect alone. While infinite in value, Christ’s death was intended for and applied strictly to those whom the Father had elected unconditionally in eternity past.

John Hammett (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) argues that Christ’s atoning work had multiple intentions. Of these intentions two rise to the fore: (1) the intention to accomplish atonement for God’s elect and (2) the intention to provide atonement for all mankind.

Grant Osborne (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) argues that Christ’s atoning work provided atonement generally for all mankind. The application of that atoning work is conditioned, however, on each person’s willingness to receive it.

(From the Publisher’s Website)


Why did I want to read this book?

I enjoy robust theological discussion. This book provides that. The atonement is an important doctrine and I wanted to better understand it. These men have helped me grasp it a little better. The three main contributors have all contributed to my study of scripture in the past and I was looking forward to how they would interact. They have argued their positions as scholars and gentlemen. B&H academic published this book and I have found their publications in recent years to be profitable for ministry. This book is no exception.

What did this book accomplish?

This book explains three different views of the atonement in the evangelical church today. Those views include the two most prevalent, definite and  general, as well as a multiple-intention view. While I respect the two authors I disagree with, I was strengthened in the view that I had before reading this book. Carl Trueman presented an overview of how definite atonement fits with Jesus’ mission to save His people and the plan that includes the harmonious work of the Trinity in redemption. Grant Osbourne presented various verses that seemed to teach a limited atonement and then moved to verses that seemed to teach a general atonement with the conclusion that he believes a general atonement is to be preferred based on the biblical evidence. John Hammett presented a view that allows him to see both a general and particular atonement as the best way to understand the biblical evidence. He also presents a cosmic view that both of his opponents pretty much agree with. After each presentation, the other two are allowed to respond. This may have actually been the most helpful in that real and not perceived arguments were dealt with.

What did I come away with from this book?

These men have shown me how to disagree on a secondary issue in a gracious way. That is to engage the argument and not vilify the person. I believe this to be a Christ honoring way to engage our brothers and sisters with whom we disagree. As I stated above, this book strengthened my viewpoint on this issue both by the biblical evidence presented and by hearing the opposition. This, I believe, is the great strength of these perspective books. I came away from this book with a deeper respect for the three main contributors. May God continue to bless His church with more men who will study as these men have to feed His sheep. Thanks you B&H for this excellent book.

Book Details:


  • Editors: Andrew David Naselli and Mark A. Snoeberger
  • Publisher: B&H Academic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Page Count: 256
  • ISBN#: 9781433669712
  • List Price: $24.99



Where to Buy:






Disclaimer: I received this book from B&H in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Categories: Uncategorized
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