Item description for In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement by J. I. Packer & Mark Dever...
Overview Combining three classic articles by J. I. Packer with a recent article by Mark Dever and a foreword by the four principals of Together for the Gospel, this compact yet penetrating anthology takes an unwavering, classically biblical stance on the increasingly controversial doctrine of substitutionary atonement.
An important anthology that reaffirms the classic doctrine of substitutionary atonement and counters the ongoing attacks against it.
If ever there was a time and a need for an enthusiastic reaffirmation of the biblical doctrine of substitutionary atonement, it is now. With this foundational tenet under widespread attack, J. I. Packer and Mark Dever's anthology plays an important role, issuing a clarion call to readers to stand firm in the truth.
In My Place Condemned He Stood combines three classic articles by Packer-"The Heart of the Gospel"; his Tyndale Biblical Theology Lecture, "What Did the Cross Achieve"; and his introductory essay to John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ-with Dever's recent article, "Nothing but the Blood." It also features a foreword by the four principals of Together for the Gospel: Dever, Ligon Duncan, C. J. Mahaney, and Al Mohler. Thoughtful readers looking for a compact classic on this increasingly controversial doctrine need look no farther than this penetrating volume.
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Studio: Crossway Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.42" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.55" Weight: 0.52 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2008
Publisher GOOD NEWS PUBLISHING #65
ISBN 1433502003 ISBN13 9781433502002
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More About J. I. Packer & Mark Dever
J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.
J. I. Packer currently resides in Vancouver, BC.
J. I. Packer has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement?
Very good, but... Feb 9, 2010
I finished In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement by J.L. Packer & Mark Dever which is a collection of essays defending the penal substitution model of the atonement. This very conservative book was free at the Kindle store. I liked it very much but for one essay which basically turned into a defensive and biting Calvinist rant. The first essay particularly was excellent.
A Treasured Book. Jun 14, 2009
Contained in this book are some of the greatest arguments for the victorious (aka limited)atonement of Christ. You're going to want to keep this as a reference as you engage in discussion about this topic. Packer is simply at his best, and Dever finishes with a very pastoral but enlightening essay. Well worth the money.
Must Reading for Every Christian Oct 23, 2008
The doctrine of the penal substitutionary atonement is falling on hard times. Modern day theologians, pastors, and people in the pew view the idea of penal substitution as something completely horrific and foreign to the teachings of Scripture. To think that God had to punish Christ in our place is something that seems strangely outside the teaching that God is love. Yet, at the heart of the Scriptures is the teaching that man has spurned God and now is not able to pay the penalty for his sin and therefore needs someone to pay the penalty for him. Only God can pay the penalty of sin that was committed against God. Therefore Christ must come and take our place. He is our substitute. This is the very heart of redemption.
J. I. Packer and Mark Dever have done the church a favour with this helpful collection of pieces on the topic of the atonement. Packer is the Board of Governors' professor of Theology at Regent College, Vancouver and Dever is senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington. Both men have contributed much for the cause of Christ in their years. Now, some of Packer's best teaching on the atonement, and Dever's highly acclaimed piece on the topic, appear together in one attractive and well priced book. Crossway should be commended for this release.
The genesis of this book comes out of that evangelical powerhouse foursome of Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, and C. J. Mahaney. These men are well known individually and as those at the heart of Together for the Gospel. Commenting on how important Packer's writing on the topic of the atonement had been in their lives, it was thought that these works needed to be released again for a new generation. Dever approached Packer on this and Packer agreed as long as Dever's article on the topic from Christianity Today was also included. He agreed, and In My Place Condemned He Stood was born.
Packer introduces the book with a brief look at atonement, penal substitution, and redemption and sets the stage for the other treatises in the book. In "The Heart of the Gospel" (originally a chapter from Packer's Knowing God) looks at the issue of propitiation ("averting God's anger by an offering") sets the stage for the need for penal substitution with the reality that God is angered at man and that anger needs to be appeased. It needs to be atoned for.
Packer goes on in "What Did the Cross Achieve? The Logic of Penal Substitution" (originally the Tyndale Biblical Theology Lecture in 1973) to survey approaches to viewing the death of Christ in the church. He concludes, that penal substitution is necessary and logical, because God's wrath needs to be appeased. Therefore the cross is directed at propitiating God first, and then second turns humankind toward Him. Penal substitution is completely logical when you look at the reality of sin and the sinner's relationship to God.
Next Dever looks at criticisms of penal substitution in "Nothing But the Blood." Dever's chapter is quite important to the book as a whole because it deals with the current issues and debates surrounding the atonement. It is good to interact with opposing views and identify where the current trends are going on a theological issue so one can better present the Scriptural teaching.
Finally, Packer's "Saved by His Precious Blood: An Introduction to John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ," is probably worth the price of the book. This was originally written as an introduction to Owen's book on the topic of limited atonement. Owen, and Packer, defends vigorously the teaching that Christ died for the elect. This article by Packer has been used in many a questioning mind to bring them fully over to the Calvinistic understanding of the atonement. It is a fitting look at how that penal substitutionary atonement is applied.
Dever and Packer conclude by expressing the reality that to be Christ-centered one must be cross-centered. Ligon Duncan rounds out the book with annotated reading lists on the topic of the atonement.
At the heart of the ministry is the atoning work of Christ. As Paul said, we preach Christ and Him crucified. No pastor, ministry leader, or Christian for that matter, can afford to not think through the scriptural teaching on the atonement. Particularly we need to see the reality of the death the unbeliever is in. Our synergistic approach to salvation, so prevalent in today's society, needs to be eradicated from our thoughts. Dead means dead. The unbeliever has no power to save himself or even to participate with God in saving him. He is dead in trespasses and sins. He has angered God and that anger needs to be appeased. The ultimate sacrifice necessary to appease the anger of an infinite God is in the matchless death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. He stood in our place condemned so we could be redeemed. He paid the penalty in our stead. This is the very foundation of salvation.
These issues are not abstract and scholarly. They are at the very heart of the Gospel message. As the Bliss wrote in his hymn, "Guilty, vile, and helpless we; Spotless Lamb of God was He; `Full atonement! Can it be? Hallelujah! What a Savior!" Hallelujah for the great lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world through his death on the cross. Praise the Lord that He stood in my place condemned so I might have salvation.
Packer and Dever have done an incredible service to the church. All believers no matter the theological persuasion need to read this book and meditate on the reality of the penal substitutionary atoning work of Christ. Cannot be more highly recommended!
"Hallelujah! What a Saviour!" Oct 22, 2008
When it comes to understanding the essence of salvation clarity is a rarity nowadays.
Christians (even us preachers) speak often and casually of "being saved", of having been "washed in the blood", or of "trusting Christ"; but many times, these are spiritual-sounding phrases void of any real meaning and depth.
The result of our modern, prepackaged presentations of the gospel (such as The Four Spiritual Laws) is that we have gained much in terms of convenience and brevity, but we've paid a high price in terms of understanding and appreciation. In an attempt to simplify the gospel, we have made the gospel simplistic.
In other words, we emphasize the "A, B, C's" of becoming a Christian but, once people do, we often neglect to emphasize the "D, E, F, G's" of being a Christian. This, in turn, puts added pressure on churches to "perform" and "entertain" a shallow audience rather than preach and edify a thoughtful congregation. It is a dizzying and unfortunate cycle.
If you were to ask the average Christian "What does it mean to be `washed in the blood'?" you would likely get a blank stare or fumbled answer in return. This is unfortunate. Our problem is not that the church suffers from believing in a limited atonement, but that the church today suffers from a limited understanding of the atonement. Both of these distress the church; but the latter does far more.
The atonement of Jesus Christ is the treasure chest of Christianity, but, sadly, many believers have merely a pocket change's worth of understanding. It is precisely for this reason that J.I. Packer and Mark Dever's book In My Place Condemned He Stood is so needed today.
This 188 page book, published by Crossway, is filled to the brim with a robust theology of the atonement, that, when properly filtered, will fuel a robust doxology of praise. This compilation of articles (primarily from Packer's previous works) provides a thoughtful, consistent look at the atonement and its meaning for the church. Those who want to dive deep in understanding the richness of Christ's death on their behalf will want to read this book, and do so with a highlighter in hand.Allow me share my analysis of this book, in terms of: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.
1. This book sounds a resounding call to place God, once again, at the center of the gospel, not man.
Listen to the average Sunday morning church invitation, and it's easy to see that man is now on the throne instead of God. We are bent on giving people what they want, rather than giving them what they need. And what they need is to understand that wrath and judgment awaits every sinner, and the only hope of escape is found in the nail-pierced hands of Jesus. This book reminds us that God, not man, must be high and lifted up in our preaching, worship, and churches if the gospel is going to be effective and life-changing.
2. This book offers a convincing defense of substitutionary atonement as a historical, Biblical, and absolutely essential doctrine of the faith.
This is probably the best part of the book. The idea of a "substitutionary atonement" is a foreign concept to many Christians, when, it should be a comfortable, old friend. In chapter two, Packer gives a thorough Biblical explanation that at the heart of the gospel lies in two parts: Christ dealing with His Father on our behalf (by His death quenching God's wrath for sin) and Christ dealing with us on His Father's behalf (giving to us forgiveness and an "alien righteousness", as Luther called it.) Packer takes the complex theological ideas of propitiation, expiation, and substitution and makes them understandable. He asserts that Jesus did not live and die merely as our example but, instead, as our only hope. As the old saying goes, "We owed a debt we could not pay and Christ paid a debt He didn't owe." The book rightly affirms, as the old hymn says,
"Because the sinless Savior died, My guilty soul is counted free, For God is the just is satisfied, To look on Him and pardon me."
This is the glory of the atonement that every Christian should celebrate.
3. This book highlights many of the theologically rich (and more importantly, theologically accurate) hymns and songs of Christian worship.
This was one of the most enjoyable, unanticipated portions of the book. With so many bad Christian worship songs today, it's refreshing to hear good ones. The book is sprinkled throughout with excerpts from many well-known (and some, not so well-known) hymns of the church that express an accurate appreciation for Christ's death. Hymns by Watts, Wesley, and other great writers add a poetic and refreshing escape from what is often a theologically dense read. If we would sing and meditate on the words of these rich songs, we would fulfill God' command to teach one another through songs, hymns, and spiritual songs. (Colossians 3:16) This is a very nice touch to this book.
4. This book includes an extremely useful and diverse bibliography for further study.
I don't usually make it my practice to read bibliographies, but the last chapter of this book, compiled by Ligon Duncan, includes a very profitable bibliography. What I particularly like about it is that it includes a wide range of categories, such as: Short, Popular Introductions, Sermons, Systematic Theologies, and Pastoral Applications. Furthermore, Duncan includes a "Top Ten List" of popular, devotional writings about the atonement. So, whether you are a layman, minister or seminary professor; there are recommendations that anyone could benefit from. In addition, there is a chronological listing of major works on the atonement as well as a collection of historical confessions and creeds about the atonement (with website addresses). It is quite possibly one of the most unique, diverse, and helpful bibliographies I've ever read. I wish more books would learn a lesson from Duncan's approach.
1. The overly technical and highly philosophical discussion of the "didactic thought models" of Scripture on pages 54-68 is more confusing than helpful.
Before Packer launches into his defense of a substitutionary atonement, he gives a rather technical explanation of some of his theological underpinnings. This section seems out of place to me. I certainly understand what Packer is saying here, I just do not see the need for it in this book.
Packer discusses, at length, what he calls the "methodological preliminaries" that explain and govern how he has come to his conclusions about the atonement. It would be like asking someone, "Do you want ice cream?" and they respond with a 30 minute explanation of how that question, when spoken from your lips, vibrated the air which echoed in their ear canal, being reinterpreted by their brain as concepts which, in turn, the brain assigned specific meaning which was then processed and reorganized in such a way that, having factored their current appetite and intended eating schedule, was analyzed to an extent that they responded in a refusal of the offer which was being made - when in fact all they had to say was, "No." This section is a theological rabbit trail of the most complex kind that adds little to the overall thrust and point of the chapter (or book).
That isn't to say it's an altogether unprofitable section to read. In fact, one of the most stunning and memorable statements of the entire book is found in these pages. Packer is explaining how, even Paul, saw God and Christ's work at Calvary as a great mystery that we will never comprehend, but should seek to appreciate. He writes,
"...even when working under divine inspiration as Paul did, is to recognize that he is, as it were, gazing into the sun whose very brightness makes it impossible for him to fully see it; so that at the end of the day he has to admit that God is much more to him than theories can ever contain, and to humble himself in adoration..."
Nuggets like that make this section worth reading, but the reader should be warned that it is a tedious section through which to trudge.
1. Packer's portion of this book sets forth an unwavering insistence that anything less than a full-robust, allegiance to 5-Point Calvinism is not the true gospel.
This is my biggest "beef" with this book.
I knew, coming into it, that it would undoubtedly have strong Calvinistic moorings (which, is not always a bad thing); however, I wasn't prepared for how unwavering Packer is on his insistence in it. He asserts that unless 5-Point Calvinism is understood and believed in the mind of the preacher, no matter how he presents the gospel, he is presenting a sub-gospel. In fact, speaking about a less than 5-Point approach, Packer expressly says,
"this set of half-truths is something other than the Biblical gospel."
Being Amyraldian (sometimes commonly called a "4-Point Calvinist"), I had a hard time swallowing statements like this. It seems that Packer is a slave to the system. He even writes that
"Calvinism is thus theism, religion, and evangelicalism; all in their purest and most highly developed form."
I mean no disrespect to Dr. Packer, but that sounds like theological snobbery to me.
It's true that Calvinism is a coherent and consistent system in which each point hinges on the previous idea and gives logical rise to the following one. Calvinism is like a theological chain, each link is connected to the other links. The problem with this is that our allegiance should be to the Bible and not a system. Our beliefs should rise and fall with the landscape of Scripture, not logic. The Bible teaches that the atonement is limited in the sense that people do indeed die and go to hell. However, the Scripture undeniably affirms that
"He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only, but also for those of the whole world." (1 John 2:2).
Given Packer's lengthy discussion of what propitiation means, he conveniently skips this verse altogether in the book. Packer argues that it is logically inconsistent to believe, as I do, in an atonement that is available to all but efficacious only to those that believe. But that is what the Bible teaches, and I would rather be a Biblicist with theological mystery than a Calvinist with "all the answers".
OVERALL CONCLUSION: A-
In My Place Condemned He Stood is a very good book. It's not a great book (given what I've mentioned above), but it is a thoroughly good one that will be beneficial to those that take the time read and digest it. In short, reading this book is like eating watermelon. Sure, the occasional Calvinistic seed needs to be spit out, but for the most part, it's juicy, sweet, and thoroughly satisfying. (Of course, I will concede that if you are a Calvinist brother or sister...you will thoroughly enjoy EVERY aspect of this book!)
While the great doctrines of redemption fill the bottomless ocean that is salvation, most Christians have merely dipped their toes into the froth of its tide. What we need to do, instead, is immerse ourselves, that is, dive deep and see the colorful and beautiful landscape that lies underneath the surface of our salvation. We truly need to "celebrate the glory of the atonement" and this book will help any Christian do just that.
Penal Substitution Sep 30, 2008
I thank J.I Packer for his timely , cogent & relentless defense & presentation of the substitutionary & propitiatory death of Christ on the cross. It is refreshing to know that there are scholars that are committed to Christ on the highest levels of scholarship. Thank The Lord that they don't simply keep it to themselves but share it with the world.