Chapter 1 —Sacred Theology and the Reading of the Divine Word: Mapping the Doctrine of Definite Atonement
(David Gibson & Jonathan Gibson)
How is definite atonement to be defined, and why has it courted so much controversy?
More than simply setting the scene or summarizing the book’s content, this introductory chapter offers a fresh approach. In conversation with John Calvin’s theological method, it seeks to provide the reader with a framework for reading this volume and, more importantly, for reading the Bible and thinking theologically in relation to the atonement. A new methodology is proposed for approaching this sensitive topic. Definite atonement is a biblico-systematic doctrine that arises out of holding together the various biblical texts relating to the atonement, alongside synthesizing internally related doctrines (such as eschatology, election, union with Christ, christology, Trinitarianism and doxology). When this “domain of discourse” is respected, definite atonement emerges as the most plausible and coherent position to hold on the intent and nature of the atonement.