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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Books on the Penal Substitutionary Theory of the Atonement

This is a partial bibliography (books only) on the Penal Substitutionary Theory of the Atonement (PST). It will be updated as time goes forward.

In Favor of the PST

21st Century

The Vicarious, Sacrificial, Atoning Death of Jesus Christ by Steven Scherrer (2010)

Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus by D. A. Carson (2010)

Precious Blood: The Atoning Work of Christ ed. Richard Phillips (2009)

Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology by Mark Dever, et al. (2009)

The Atonement Debate edited by Derek Tidball and others (2008)

The Wondrous Cross by Stephen Holmes (2007)

Pierced for Our Transgressions by Steve Jeffery, Mike Ovey, and Andrew Sach (2007)

Aspects of the Atonement by I. Howard Marshall (2007)

The Great Exchange: My Sin for His Righteousness  by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington (2007)

In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement by J. I. Packer and Mark Dever (2007)

The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views ed. James K. Beilby (2006)

The Glory of the Atonement edited by Charles Hill and Frank James (2004)

Where Wrath and Mercy Meet edited by David Peterson (2001)

The Message of the Cross by Derek Tidball (2001)

20th Century

The Cross of Christ by John Stott (1986)

Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof (1938)

The Atonement and Modern Thought by Junius Benjamin Remensnyder (1905)

The Death of Christ by James Denney (1902)

19th Century

Christ Our Penal Substitute by R. L. Dabney (1897)

Dogmatic Theology, vol. II by William G. T. Shedd (1888)

Systematic Theology, vol. II by A. H. Strong (1886)

The Doctrine of Holy Scripture Respecting the Atonement by Thomas J. Crawford (1883)

The Atonement: In its Relations to the Covenant, the Priesthood, the Intercession of our Lord by Hugh Martin (1880)

The Atonement: the Congregational Union Lectures for 1875 by Robert William Dale

Systematic Theology, vol. II by Charles Hodge (1872)

The Atonement by A. A. Hodge (1868)

18th Century

The Christian's Reasonable Service, vol. I by Wilhelmus à Brakel (circa 1711)

17th Century

Discourses on Christ Crucified by Stephen Charnock (1684)

Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. II by Francis Turretin (1679-85)
A Dissertation on Divine Justice by John Owen (1658)

16th Century

Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book II, chapter 16 by John Calvin (1536)

Commentary on Galatians  (3:13) by Martin Luther (1535)

In Opposition to the PST

21st Century

The Biblical Revelation of the Cross by Norman McIlwain (2010)

Atonement: The Person and Work of Christ by Thomas F. Torrance (2009)

The Atonement Debate edited by Derek Tidball and others (2008)

Options on Atonement in Christian thought by Stephen Finlan (2007)

The Rhythm of Doctrine by John Colwell (2007)

Saved from Sacrifice: A Theology of the Cross  by S. Mark Heim (2006)

The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views ed. James K. Beilby (2006)

Cross and Covenant: Interpreting the Atonement for 21st Century Mission by Larry Shelton (2006)

Atonement for a Sinless Society by Alan Mann (2005)

Jesus and His Death: Historiography, the Historical Jesus, and Atonement theory by Scot McKnight

Consuming Passion: Why the Killing of Jesus Really Matters edited by Simon Barrow and Jonathan Bartley (2005)

Atonement, Christology and the Trinity: Making Sense of Christian Doctrine by Vincent Brummer (2005)

Problems With Atonement: The Origins Of, And Controversy About, The Atonement Doctrine by Stephen Finlan (2005)

The Background and Content of Paul's Cultic Atonement Metaphors by Stephen Finlan (2004)

The Non-Violent Atonement by J. Denny Weaver (2001)

Beyond Retribution: a New Testament Vision for Justice, Crime, and Punishment by Christopher  Marshall (2001)

Recovering the Scandal of the Cross by Joel Green and Mark Baker (2000)

20th Century

The Actuality of Atonement by Colin Gunton (1998)

Once and for All by Tom Smail (1998)

The Radical Evangelical by Nigel Wright (1996)

God's Just Vengeance by Timothy Gorringe (1996)

Atonement Today edited by John Goldingay (1995)

The Shape of Soteriology: Studies in the Doctrine of the Death of Christ by John McIntyre (1992)

Atonement and Incarnation: An Essay in Universalism and Particularity by Vernon White (1991)

Past Event and Present Salvation by Paul Fiddes (1989)

Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement by Gustaf Aulen (1931)

Dogmatic Theology: The Passion and Exaltation of Christ by Francis Joseph Hall (1918)

Instructions on the Atonement by Paul B. Bull (1916)

Anselm's Theory of the Atonement (The Bohlen Lectures) by George C. Foley (1908)

Atonement and Personality by Robert C. Moberly (1907)

The Christian Doctrine of Salvation by G. B. Stevens (1905)

The Doctrine of the Atonement and its Historical Evolution by Auguste Sabatier (1904)

The Christian Idea of Atonement by T. Vincent Tymms (1903)

The Atonement in Modern Religious Thought: a Theological Symposium, ed. Frédéric Louis Godet (1901)

19th Century

The Spiritual Principle of the Atonement by John Scott Lidgett (1897)

Atonement Soteriology: The Sacrificial, in contrast with the Penal, Substitutionary, and Merely Moral or Exemplary Theories of Propitiation by S. G. Burney (1888)

Discussions on the Atonement: Is it Vicarious? By George Jamieson (1887)

The Atonement by William Connor Magee (1887)

The Atonement in Christ by John Miley (1881)

The Vicarious Sacrifice: Grounded in Principles of Universal Obligation by Horace Bushnell (1866)

The Doctrine of Atonement by the Son of God by Henry Solly (1861)

The Nature of the Atonement by John McLeod Campbell (1856)

Discourses and Dissertations on the Scriptural Doctrines of Atonement by William Magee (1813)

18th Century

17th Century

A Defence of the Catholic Faith Concerning the Satisfaction of Christ Against Faustus Socinus by Hugo Grotius (1617)

16th Century

De Jesu Christo Servatore by Faustus Socinus (1574)


  1. Ken,

    What would you do if you are facing something like Hitchens? Only 1 year to live...Would you reconsider your ideas?

  2. John,

    It sounds like you consider salvation to be something like a fire insurance policy? Last year I had two deaths very close together--my only sibling and then 5 months later my dad. I thought a lot about the fact that I will probably never see them again. Yes, it would be great to think that I will but that seems like wishful thinking to me. I tend to believe that it is one reason why religion is so powerful. People have a hard time dealing with their own mortality and with the mortality of those they love.

  3. Ken,

    Thanks for the response, this must have been hard. If you don't mind my asking, were they aware of your position on christianity? I know a lot of times we keep these things hidden from ones we love/respect, out of concern for them.

  4. John,

    Yes they were and my brother attempted to convince me that I was wrong.

  5. Thanks Ken. I would just have a hard time accepting that my fate would be the same as some criminal or other such evil doer in the end. It seems kind of wrong in the end.

  6. Have you posted a simple summary of PST for the uninitiated?

    John said:
    'I would just have a hard time accepting that my fate would be the same as some criminal"

    Identical outcome for the individual doesn't implly identical consequences of individual lives. If you live a good life, raise children well, are kind to people, that will reveberate into the future in a way that is very different from some degenerate. One uplifts, one pollutes culture. No offense intendend, but I find the Christian granting so much significance to individual experiences after death very strange, almost narcissistic (not you in particular, just speaking generally). This pops up most frequently with people who strangely think that life has no meaning if it ends with death. Huh?

  7. BDK,

    Essentially the PST is evangelical Christianity's attempt to explain how the atonement works. IOW, what does it mean when the Bible says that "Jesus died for you." The key components of the theory are:

    1. Man is a sinner.
    2. God's holiness demands that sin be punished (he would cease to be holy if he merely excused sin).
    3. Jesus, who was God in the flesh, came into the world to pay the penalty that man's sin deserved.
    4. On the cross, he bore the punishment of sin as a substitute. Even though he was sinless, man's sin was "imputed" to him and he suffered the penalty that all men deserve.


  8. Why can't God just forgive as he wishes if he is both loving and omnipotent? I come at this differently, being a Muslim, but am I the only one who finds this mechanistic and in a sense impious, as if God were somehow subordinated to the (perceived) rules of his creation?

    Ironically, it reminds me of Process Theology in that it limits his (or her) power.

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