Friday, 14 August 2009

In my place condemned I stood

In My Place Condemned I Stood is a book made up of four previously printed articles with a short introduction, conclusion and bibliography. Three of the four chapters are by J.I. Packer and the other one is a short 8 page article by Mark Dever. The whole book is about the doctrine of Jesus' penal substitutionary atonement.

The fist chapter is from the 18th chapter of Knowing God called The Heart of the Gospel. It argues for propitiation, that is God's wrath was satisfied by Jesus' death on the cross. This propitiation allows us to be at peace with God. This may sound like God is cruel but the chapter also stresses that is was Jesus' love for us that put him on the cross. He free to do it, so he did.

The second chapter is from an address Packer gave at Tyndale Biblical Theology called What Did the Cross Achieve? The Logic of Penal Substitution (read it online). This was a bit of a slog to read. Packer is slow to get into his argument on penal substitution and then looks at the words "substitution" and "penal". The idea of Jesus being our representation on the cross is upheld, but is argued that substitution is a better idea about the cross.

Mark Devers chapter is a short article from Christianity Today where he argues that many thing happen at the crucifixion of Jesus but the atonement is the most important aspect. He even references the previous chapter and gives us a short summary of part of it. This was a short and easy to read chapter and it won't take you long to read it online right now.

The last chapter is an introduction to a book by John Owen called The Death of Death in the Death of Christ (read the introduction and the book online). I read this chapter a few years ago and it really got me thinking about limited atonement (I waiver on to and fro on the point, one quote in Packers footnotes by Spurgeon puts me over the line). But having said that, the chapter is so much more than being about limited atonement. Packer lays out some historical background to the original Calvinism and Arminianism debate and then compares both positions and argues that the Calvinistic view of God and the gospel is bigger and better than the Arminianism. It is a good read to get you started to define your views.

This book can be a bit hard to understand in parts as Packer has some long sentences, but all in all this was a good book on what the death of Jesus achieved.


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