Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book Recommendation: “Redemption Accomplished and Applied” by John Murray

NOTE: For a few years now, I have been writing book recommendations for my church's monthly newsletter. I have decided that I would begin reposting some of them here on my blog. Note that these are not full-length reviews, but short blurbs on what I found helpful about the books and why I recommend others to read them. I hope this encourages you to check out the same books.

From the back of the book:
The atonement lies at the very center of the Christian faith. The free and sovereign love of God is the source of the accomplishment of redemption, as the Bible’s most familiar text (John 3:16) makes clear. 
For thoughtful Christians since the time of the Apostle Paul, this text has started, not ended, the discussion of redemption. Yet few recent interpreters have explored in depth the biblical passages dealing with the atonement as penetratingly or precisely as John Murray, who, until his death in 1975, was regarded by many as the foremost conservative theologian in the English-speaking world. 
In this enduring study of the atonement, Murray systematically explains the two sides of redemption: its accomplishment by Christ and its application to the life of the redeemed. In Part 1 Murray considers the necessity, nature, perfection, and extent of the atonement. In Part 2 Murray offers careful expositions of the scriptural teaching about calling, regeneration, faith and repentance, justification, adoption, sanctification perseverance, union with Christ and glorification.
I read this book while taking Systematic Theology classes under Prof. Kirk Wellum in Toronto Baptist Seminary, and this was my favourite among all my seminary textbooks. And it’s not because of its short length! Although small and only 192 pages long, it is densely packed with great information on the doctrine of salvation. This work is a classic treatment of the salvific work of God (especially as it relates to Jesus’ work on the cross) from a Reformed perspective. It is concise enough that readers are not drowned in lengthy theological arguments, yet comprehensive enough that the breadth of the biblical teaching on redemption is adequately covered. Murray’s contributions to the theology of redemption are helpful both to those who are still young in the faith and need to be grounded in the scriptural understanding of salvation, as well as more experienced Christians who wish to further their understanding of how God has accomplished His salvific work and has applied it to believers.

In keeping with the title, Murray has divided the book into two sections: Redemption Accomplished (which is 5 chapters long) and Redemption Applied (which is 10 chapters long). As noted in the preface, the second section of this book was originally a set of twenty two articles that the author wrote for The Presbyterian Guardian from 1952 to 1954.  It was later collected together and added to the first section to produce the current edition of the book, which has remained in more or less the same form since it first came out back in 1955.

For those looking for a biblical and logical exposition of Reformed theology that explains the key concepts underlying our belief concerning the doctrine of salvation, this is the best one-volume treatment of the issues. It is both highly informative and edifying, and belongs in every believer’s library.

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