Category Archives: Death of Jesus

Noteworthy Book – From Heaven He Came and Sought Her (eds. David Gibson & Jonathan Gibson)

Of the so-called five points of Calvinism (often represented with the acronym TULIP), the most frequently rejected one is “limited atonement.” More accurately referred to as “definite atonement” or “particular redemption” the idea is that:

In the death of Jesus Christ, the triune God intended to achieve the redemption of every person given to the Son by the Father in eternity past, and to apply the accomplishment of his sacrifice to each of them by the Spirit. The death of Christ was intended to win the salvation of God’s people alone. (p. 33)

The classic defense and explanation of this doctrine is the tome by the great Puritan John Owen entitled The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, originally written in 1648. In a 1959 reprint of this classic, J.I. Packer wrote a lengthy introduction that came to be a classic in its own right.

Despite the value of these two pieces, a robust explanation and defense of definite atonement was still needed. That has now been remedied with the release of From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective. Edited by David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson, this book is now the go-to resource for definite atonement. Over 20 different scholars and pastors contributed to the volume, including Henri Blocher, Sinclair Ferguson, Alec Motyer, John Piper, Tom Schreiner, and Carl Trueman. They even let me contribute a chapter (“For the Glory of the Father and the Salvation of His People: Definite Atonement in the Synoptics and Johannine Literature”).

Crossway has built a nice website for the book here that includes a list of contributors, a brief summary of each chapter, and endorsements from folks such as Lig Duncan, Doug Wilson, D.A. Carson, Michael Horton, David Wells, and John Frame. There is even a Twitter feed (@defatonement) and Facebook page dedicated to the book.

To whet your appetite, here is an introductory video:

May God use this book to deepen people’s love for the one who loved them and gave his life for them (Gal 2:20)!

The Death of Jesus

The darkness fought, compelled the sun to flee,
And like a conquering army swiftly trod
Across the land, blind fear this despot’s rod.
The noon-day dark illumined tyranny.
Still worse, abandonment by Deity
Brought black despair more deadly than blood
That ran off with his life. “My God, my God,”
Cried Jesus, “why have you forsaken me?”
     The silence thundered. Heaven’s quiet reigned
     Supreme, a shocking, deafening, haunting swell.
     Because from answering Jesus, God refrained,
     I shall not cry, as he, this cry from hell.
The cry of desolation, black as night,
Shines forth across the world as brilliant light.

-Taken from D.A. Carson, Holy Sonnets of the Twentieth Century (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994), 51.