Atonement and the New Perspective: The God of Israel, Covenant, and the Cross by Stephen Burnhope, published by Pickwick Publications, Eugene, OR: 2018; 245 pages
Who should read it?
Burnhope’s work is highly technical, so it may not be for the average reader. However, for the individual desiring a broad treatment of the main contributors to the discussion of the atonement, particularly from the evangelical perspective (see pages xiii-xv). Burnhope also works within a reformed worldview (though he does not clarify this in detail, see page ix), so it appeals to that audience as well.
Overall, the pastors who consider theology a vital component of their work would do well to read it. Though they may not agree with all of Burnhope’s conclusions (I myself do not), Burnhope presents an excellent overview of a variety of contributors to the discussion of atonement.
The book is laid out in a readable manner. The type and spacing provide ease on the eyes. The size of the text is perfect. It is not too large, nor is it too small. The footnote size is excellent as well. The book also includes a margin in which many notes can be marked. The binding allows it to lay flat, which enables easier study.
The Contents of the Book
Stephen Burnhope begins the book by discussing, at some length (xi-xxx), the atonement and the accompanying issues. By presenting an argument for a kaleidoscopic view, Burnhope attempts to broaden current scholarship’s understanding while not neglecting the Scriptures.
Chapter one covers the doctrine of the atonement (pages 1-53). Burnhope provides many materials, quotes, and questions on the past and present understanding of the atonement. He offers attention to the main contributors. I personally found this section very informative (I underlined on almost every page!).
Chapter two addresses the NPP concerning first century Judaism. This section requires a little more focus due to the broadness and unspecified descriptions of the NPP. As with his treatment of the atonement at large, Burnhope provides an airplane view of the main contributors of the NPP. Perhaps the most significant part of this chapter begins on 137 when Burnhope asks, “At what point, ten, can it be said that ‘everything changed’ and an identifiable ‘Christianity’ becomes separate and distinct from an identifiable ‘Judaism’?”
Chapter three focuses on the atonement in the NPP. This section, at least to me, is the hardest to read because of the technicality as well as the refocus. Dealing the election, the covenant, and supersessionist/non-supersessionist
The final chapter provides a way to maintain a conversation with the variety of atonement views. By emphasizing the atonement, sin and the reinterpretation of them all.
I do not agree with Burnhope’s conclusions, but I appreciate the peaceful nature and discussion I could have with Burnhope through his work. I also think pastors should read this because it covers a wide spectrum concerning atonement.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.