My review of a recent book on the atonement

I’d like to recommend a recent book on the atonement (the meaning and significance of the death of Jesus) by Jeremy R. Treat. It’s entitled The Crucified King: Atonement and Kingdom in Biblical and Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014).

Its main argument that cross and kingdom are intrinsically linked is an important one, and the author presents his case convincingly and clearly. The book delves into both biblical and systematic theology and is well researched and highly readable.

More controversially, the book stresses the importance of the penal substitutionary view of the atonement (both for cross and kingdom), tracing this theme throughout Scripture and explicating its internal theo-logic.

Here is my official review of the book, published in the McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry 15 (2013-14):

Here is a brief summary statement from my review (see the link above for the full review):

Treat succeeds in convincingly demonstrating his central thesis that the kingdom and the cross belong together and are mutually informing realities. His contention that Christ the King suffered and died a substitutionary death on the cross in order to inaugurate the kingdom of God on earth (one that is hidden and cruciform, yet perceived in faith to be the power and wisdom of God) is both refreshing and compelling. He presents strong evidence from Scripture and tradition to support his position.

However, Treat’s secondary argument concerning the logical relations between atonement metaphors, and especially his insistence on the primacy of penal substitution, is far less convincing. His view may turn out to be true, but his argument does not sufficiently demonstrate it.  . . .

. . . Despite these critical comments, I highly recommend The Crucified King to all who wish to engage atonement theology and kingdom theology seriously.

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