Saturday, April 7, 2012

Book Review: It Is Well

It is Well: Expositions on Substitutionary Atonement. Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence. 2010. Crossway. 224 pages.

It is Well is a great little book with a great little premise. A whole book devoted to discussing the substitutionary atonement, a book dedicated to illustrating it, supporting it, proving it, using scripture after scripture after scripture. Each chapter focuses on a specific text in the Bible.

The Passover, Exodus 12
The Day of Atonement Leviticus 16
Crushed For Our Iniquities Crushed For Our Iniquities Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Ransom for Many: Mark 10:45
Forsaken: Mark 15:33-34
To Save the World: John 3:14-18
Better That One Man Die: John 11:47-52
Propitiation: Romans 3:21-26
Delivered Over to Death for Our Sins: Romans 4:25
Justified By His Blood: Romans 5:8-10
Condemned Sin: Romans 8:1-4
Becoming a Curse for Us: Galatians 3:10-13
Bore Our Sins In His Body on the Tree: 1 Peter 2:21-25
Christ Died For Sins 1 Peter 3:18

The book in many ways seeks to defend this view of the atonement against its critics new and old. (Though the focus is on new critics.) These arguments are important overall, but they're not necessarily practical. I'll clarify. It is very, very, very important that you and I know what the cross means, what Jesus' death on the cross means. There is no truth more vital for us as believers to know. Truly. The atonement definitely matters in how we live our lives, because our beliefs about the cross, about atonement, about the works and person of Jesus Christ MATTER. But is following along with the arguments--with the new critics equally important to each and every believer? It is very, very important that each person knows the truth and can discern the truth from a lie. But is it important that believers read up on each and every lie that comes about? For some the answer would be, Yes, of course! For others, it's not likely to come up. I believe that some people are definitely called to defend the faith, to write persuasively and biblically about important doctrines. I do think the truth is worth standing up for. And I think pastors and teachers especially should know and be aware. But this book isn't necessarily the first choice I'd recommend to just anyone.

I did like this one. I think I read it the wrong way though. So if you're considering this one, let me tell you true, TAKE YOUR TIME. Do not rush through this one. Definitely don't try to read it all in one week. Don't read one essay after another after another after another. These essays, these chapters, should be taken slowly so that their messages can be absorbed.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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