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Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution [Paperback]

By Steve Jeffery (Author), Michael Ovey (Author) & Andrew Sach (Author)
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Item description for Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution by Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey & Andrew Sach...

With the central Christian doctrine of penal substitution increasingly under attack, these authors articulate a series of responses to specific theological and cultural criticisms.

Publishers Description

The belief that Jesus died for us, suffering the wrath of his own Father in our place, has been the wellspring of hope for countless Christians through the ages. However, with an increasing number of theologians, church leaders, and even popular Christian books and magazines questioning this doctrine, which naysayers have described as a form of "cosmic child abuse," a fresh articulation and affirmation of penal substitution is needed. And Jeffery, Ovey, and Sach have responded here with clear exposition and analysis.

They make the case not only that the doctrine is clearly taught in Scripture, but that it has an impeccable pedigree and a central place in Christian theology, and that its neglect has serious consequences. The authors also systematically analyze over twenty specific objections that have been brought against penal substitution and charitably but firmly offer a defining declaration of the doctrine of the cross for any concerned reader.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Crossway Books
Pages   384
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.96" Width: 6.5" Height: 0.82"
Weight:   1.15 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2007
Publisher   Crossway Books/Good News
ISBN  1433501082  
ISBN13  9781433501081  

Availability  0 units.

More About Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey & Andrew Sach

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Steve Jeffery is a pastor at Holy Trinity, Lyonsdown, in North London. He has a MS and PhD in experimental physics from Oxford University.

Michael Ovey is principal of Oak Hill Theological College. He has a PhD in Trinitarian theology from King's College, London.

Andrew Sach is on the leadership team at St. Helen's Bishopsgate. He was previously a scientist before training at Oak Hill Theological College.

John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don't Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( P ) > Piper, John
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Soteriology

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Books > Theology > Systematic Theology > Soteiriology & Salvation
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Pierced For Our Transgressions?

Jesus Did Not Die For You Because You Were His Friend - A Review of Pierced for Our Transgressions  Jan 23, 2008
The book Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution is a timely and welcome resource to anyone engaged in the theological discussion concerning Christ's atonement. Everyone from pastors to church members, theological students to interested investigator's can find Steve Jeffery's, Michael Ovey's and Andrew Sach's treatment well worth the time to read - and own.

These authors set out to confront the relatively recent and influential criticism of the penal substitutionary aspect of Jesus Christ's atoning work; the classic view that Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners, with God imputing (or, ascribing) the guilt of our sins to Christ, and he, in our place, bore the punishment that we deserved. This doctrine has recently come under some criticism in a more influential and widespread way, and these authors set out to interact with the basic criticisms by establishing the reality of penal substitution from Scripture, then from Church history, and finally they engage with the typical arguments against affirming this doctrine head on.

Their first "line of attack" against the criticism of penal substitutionary atonement is to go straight to the Bible and ask the basic question, "Is it in there?" The succinctly and frankly write, "If God himself affirms penal substitution, if it is part of the explanation that he himself has given for why he sent his Son into the world, then we dare not maintain otherwise," (p. 33). They then proceed to look at various passages of Scripture: Exodus 12 and the Passover event; Leviticus 16 and the meaning of atonement within the sacrificial system; the concept as seen in the prophets, particularly Isaiah. What is amazing is even before they reach the New Testament passages, the authors have very adequately connected the concept of penal substitution to the bible and have drawn the connecting lines to Jesus Christ. They continue on, and go to the Gospels' witness, particularly that of Mark and John, and also to the letters of Paul and Peter. Their conclusion is that the Bible - not just one or two obscure references, but a significant thread throughout the Bible - points to the fact that God has expressed that salvation is through substitution, and this is seen ultimately in the person and work of Jesus Christ, who gave His life "as a ransom for many," (Mark 10:45).

This biblical framework is quickly followed by the building up of a theological framework, which the authors ascribe the doctrine of penal substitution a significant role, calling it the "centre of the [theological] jigsaw to complete a magnificent picture," (p. 148). Without this concept of salvation through penal substitution, there are many facets of the Bible that become improbable if not impossible to understand; such as the Holiness and graciousness of God, for one example.

They then proceed to answer the criticism that the doctrine of penal substitution is a misguided doctrine that has been steering the historic church astray at least since the time of the Reformation. To answer this charge, Jeffrey, Sachs and Ovey present 23 distinct historical theologians and organization that have upheld the doctrine of penal substitution. Their historic pedigree ranges from Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), Athanasius (300-373 AD), Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 AD), John Calvin (1509-1564) and J.I. Packer (born 1926). Needless to say, they quite convincingly lay aside the misconception that the doctrine of penal substitution is a novel and misguided concept.

After they have built the case for penal substitution from the Bible, theology, pastoral/practical implications and also historical theology, the authors then begin to engage the specific points of debate. The address how the doctrine of penal substitution addresses and answers the criticisms regarding the Bible, the culture, violence, justice, our knowledge and right understanding of God, as well as our right understanding of the Christian life. I find this section of the book to be of immense value as a resource to draw from while in pastoral ministry. It is full of helpful and illuminating connections and points of response to some very common questions regarding faith and belief in Jesus Christ.

Some of you may be saying, "So what? Everything about this topic and book is only good for theology; what could it possibly mean for me in everyday life?" I actually had that same thought before reading this book. After reading it, I have found that this book is incredibly practical and applicable to my life, as well as anyone else's. One simple, but very penetrating sentence, that encapsulates the essence of this book, and what the doctrine of penal substitution upholds in its essence is this reality:

"The Lord Jesus Christ did not come into the world to meet with his friends. He came to die for his enemies." p. 152.

Pierced for Our Transgressions has helped me to see once again, the glory, wonder and sheer gracious love that is seen in Christ's death on the cross on my behalf. This cuts away at my pride, superiority and desire for that which would replace my longing for God and His honor. By seeing myself as at one time God's enemy, I can rejoice and bask in the finished and atoning work of Jesus Christ, who lived and died in my place, and welcomes me into the family of God.

This book is once again, well worth having on the bookshelf. Clear, compelling and comprehensive; I can't think of a better resource to draw upon when considering the glory of penal substitution and its impact on our lives and ministries.

A Line in the Sand  Dec 13, 2007
The doctrine of penal substitution doesn't, on the face of it, sound too glorious. It is a doctrine involving curse, punishment, blood and death. It is little wonder that people object to it so strenuously. Indeed, this teaching has been at the very center of a rift within the church--a rift that seems to be growing ever-wider and ever more visible. Once the realm of scholars cloistered away in the ivory towers of academia, the battle against this doctrine has recently reached the popular level and it has come under attack by influential and popular evangelical leaders. Needless to say, controversy has followed, and for good reason.

Pierced for our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution is the product of Steve Jeffery, Mike Ovey and Andrew Sach, all of whom are connected to Oak Hill Theological College in London, England. It carries a Foreword by John Piper.

The book is written for the serious and thoughtful general reader. Those who aspire to read nothing more complicated than Yancey or Lucado may find this a challenging, though surely enlightening, read. Those who tend towards works of serious theology will find it eminently readable. Those hoping for an exhaustive scholarly treatment of the subject will be disappointed.

The authors do not keep the reader waiting to learn what this doctrine entails. The first sentence of the first chapter is this: "The doctrine of penal substitution states that God gave himself in the person of his Son to suffer instead of us the death, punishment and curse due to fallen humanity as the penalty for sin." They say, rightly, that this understanding of the cross stands at the very center of the gospel message as given us in the Bible. What may seem so coarse, so vulgar, so bloody is, must be seen to be beautiful by those whose lives have been transformed by the victory won at so great a cost. It is, as per the book's subtitle, a glorious doctrine and one the church would do well to rediscover. While relatively few have renounced the doctrine, too few have even been explicitly aware of its existence.

The book's content falls in two parts. In the first the authors make the case for penal substitution, looking to the Bible, to associated theology, to its pastoral importance and to its long historical pedigree in the Christian faith. In the second part they turn to the critics, answering the charges that have been lodged against the doctrine. While there is much value to be mined in the latter half, it is the former that is of most profound importance. It is here that the doctrine is laid out, it is here that it is defended. We see that this doctrine is found in both Testaments and that it is foundational to our understanding of Jesus' mission, both in the way it was foreshadowed in the Old Testament through sacrifice and prophecy and in the way it was fulfilled and applied in the New. Though the authors are unable to provide an exhaustive treatment, something which could easily run to several volumes, they do provide a valuable overview of this doctrine's biblical basis. They turn next to this doctrine's place in the wider context of Christian theology, showing how it is inexorably connected to other Christian doctrine. After touching on the pastoral implications of maintaining the place of this doctrine, anticipating the charge that this theology is but a modern addition to Christianity, they defend it historically, showing how it has a historical pedigree that spans the two thousand years of church history. Finally, with the theology firmly in place, they move deliberately and confidently through objection after objection, charge after charge, responding to the critics of this doctrine. They are nothing if not thorough.

Endorsed by a veritable who's who of conservative evangelicals, this book is sure to clearly delineate the divide between those who hold to the historic Protestant position on this doctrine and those who do not. It has already done this in the U.K. and has begun to do the same now that it's available on this side of the Atlantic. I pray that it is widely read, widely studied and widely influential. Jeffery, Ovey and Sach have done the church a service with this volume. I'm grateful for it and commend it to you.
Clear, Comprehensive and Compelling:: a faithful defense of penal substitution  Nov 29, 2007
When something lives up to its hype it is special. It doesn't happen often, but when it does I get excited. This was the case when I was reading Pierced for our Transgressions. I just kept saying, "this is great stuff!"

For starters the task at hand is one that ignites passion in my own soul, as the subtitle says, "Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution." This is a book that overtly sets out to refresh believers with the ever sparkling diamond of person and work of Christ.

The first thing you notice after the striking cover page of thorns is the army of endorsements. There are just pages and pages of contemporary pastors, theologians and songwriters who are excited about this book. John Piper writes the forward and fires you up to be impressed and amazed at the glory of the atonement.

The authors, all of whom are British and associated with Oak Hill Theological College in London, are able and ardent defenders of the doctrine of penal substitution. They write with in a clear, comprehensive and compelling style. For those who may not be familiar with the authors they reminded me of a combination of D.A. Carson and Wayne Grudem, through their scholarly but at the same time succinct and devotional style.

As far as the structure, the book is divided up in 2 major sections, Part 1: Making the Case, and Part 2: Answering the Critics.

I really enjoyed the biblical examination of penal substitution. The authors stroll through the Scriptures and examine the glorious landscape of the atonement.

The authors define penal substitution in the following way, "The doctrine of penal substitution states that God gave himself in the person of his Son to suffer instead of us the death, punishment and curse due to fallen humanity as the penalty for sin."

Throughout the intensely theological biblical examination of penal substitution the authors unpack several author important corollary themes that help us understand the necessity of penal substitution. They point to the fall of humanity as a "decreation" and show how all sin is ultimately idolatrous, calling it "false faith." This false faith is "delusional, undermining our ability to think rightly particularly about is a willed commitment....beyond a merely rational impairment, so that we actually desire what is evil."

A high point in the book for me was the section on the relationship within the Trinity with respect to the atonement. We see the "Generosity within the Trinity" through the Father giving the Son that he may give the ransomed to the Son (cf. John 6).

Since the authors are presenting the doctrine as a biblical doctrine in the face of no small amount of contemporary attacks it is helpful for them to show that this doctrine of penal substitution is nothing new. They cite church history as an auxiliary in proving their case, but they are careful not to elevate history to a unbiblical level of authority: "We are interested in whether penal substitution is biblical, not whether it is traditional, and the accumulated testimony of the all the theologians in the world means nothing against the authority of the Bible....Although we do not look to previous generations as a source of authority, they are a valuable source of wisdom."

The authors then trace "The Historical Pedigree of Penal Substitution" from Justin Martyr to Athanasius to John Calvin to Charles Spurgeon to John Stott to John Murray to other contemporary teachers such as John Piper and Wayne Grudem. This an informative and encouraging section.

In the second section the authors set out to interact with the opposing arguments against penal substitution. In each case they quote directly from the dissenting sources and seem to engage carefully and fairly with the respective arguments. I found this section to be a clinic on how to think and interact with arguments biblically. It was outstanding.

Each of the answers average only a few pages. Some of the arguments included are:

`Penal Substitution is not important enough to be a source of division'

`Penal Substitution rests on unbiblical ideas of sacrifice'

`The violence involved in Penal Substitution amounts to cosmic child abuse'

`The retributive violence involved in penal substitution contradicts Jesus' message of peace and love'

`It is unjust to punish an innocent person, even if he is willing to be punished'

`Penal Substitution does not work, for the penalty Christ suffered was not equivalent to that due to us'

`Penal Substitution relies on an unbiblical view of an angry God that is incompatible with this love'

`Penal Substitution legitimates violence and encourages the passive acceptance of unjust suffering'

Over and over again I marked up my book with "This is good." Or "YES!" I will return to these pages regularly.

Finally, I commend the authors for their efforts in making this book pastoral. The overall tone of the book is pastoral, however, they go out of their way to address sections to pastors. Within the context of unpacking the biblical teaching of penal substitution they insert a valuable chapter entitled, "Exploring the implications: the pastoral importance of penal substation" and then in conclusion to the work they provide an appendix entitled "A personal note to preachers." Again, I really appreciate the effort of the writers to connect the dots of the importance of penal substitution and then lovingly bounce the ball to the pastor to shepherd like the doctrine matters and like it is under attack.

I tend to not be one to oversell something for the obvious reason that people will inevitably be disappointed. However, in the case of Pierced for our Transgressions I do not have this fear. If you are a pastor you need to read this book. If you are not a pastor but are a believer who wants to understand the cross better, you should read this book. It may well be the one of the best books I have ever read. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
The Isle of Pelagius Rises Out Of The Miry Clay  Nov 3, 2007
A beautiful resurrection of British belief and Blighty faithfulness.

Proposed in this book, is the complete and unabridged, biblical and Reformed view of the penal substitutionary death of Christ Jesus. This Work of Christ interweaves with the Doctrine of Atonement, which is the foundation for justification thru Christ by grace alone.

This encouraging modern effort receives a ringing endorsement from a score of Prostestant/Reformed theologians, scholars and pastors. It is a timely and adequate rebuttal to the challenge from the New Perspective-fold, who have sought to strain the doctrine of Justification in Paul's theology. PFOT challenges the wrong perspective that has taken hold of the church and the theological confusion that it ministers, stating afresh the importance of the cardinal truth of Christ's work and Person.

'The Bible depicts sin in uncompromising terms. Sin is stubborn (Romans 7) rebellion against God's rightful authority, flagrant transgression of His holy law, wanton perversion of His good creation. Sin despises the sacrifice of God the Son and grieves the Holy Spirit. Sin is adultery with a sinful world and unfaithfulness to our loving heavenly Father; the self-exalting, self-destruction of a proud humanity that turns away from the Source of life, breath and everything else - and in its foolishness claims to be wise.' pg 158

The recent rise in the development of critical/textual theology may appear to offer more to the biblical believer. Yet, when their whole system of exegesis/hermeneutics is unraveled, revealed is their absolute denial of Scripture's divine origin.

'In order to appreciate the teaching in Leviticus, we need to realize that Exodus raises a profound question, 'How can a holy God dwell in the midst of a sinful people?' Yet the sinfulness of God's people renders His closeness problematic, even dangerous. Limits are to be put around Mt Sinai so that the people do not draw too close to the Lord (Ex 19). If they do, they will perish (v21).' pg 42

'Nadab and Abihu attempted to approach God in an inappropriate way and their deaths underline that the problem of a sinful people sustaining a relationship with a holy God is serious indeed (Lev. 10:3). What (one) fails to appreciate is that God's wrath would be seen far more often if it were not for the successful operation of the sacrifices set forth by God to deal with it.' pg 47

As thru grace, Christ's vicarious death prevents God's continued judgment in all manner of ways today, for God (and Moses) dealt with the sinner (purged) and dealt with the sin (sacrificed), preventing divine genocide on a truly biblical scale!

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