Good Books on the Atonement

As we wait for our friend Rich Ryan to post his thoughts on 1 Timothy 4:10 I thought i would let you know what books i own in my library that discuss this very topic.  I have not had a chance to read all of these books in full yet but all of them have been recommended to me by various people.  Of course good systematic theology text books will cover this topic as well.

 1. History and Theology of Calvinism (by Curt Daniel)

2. By His Grace and For His Glory (by Tom Nettles)

3. For Whom Did Christ Die (By R.B. Kuiper)

4. The Death Christ Died (by Robert P. Lightner)

5. A Price For a People (by Tom Wells)

6. The Atonement: It’s meaning and significance (Leon Morris)

7. The Death of Death (By John Owen)

8. A Biblical Theology of the Doctrines of Sovereign Grace (George Zemek)

9. The Five Points of Calvinism (by Steele and Thomas)

 Our faithful ET readers also recommend:

10. The Cross of Christ (by John Stott)

11. The Cross and Salvation (by Bruce Demarest)

12 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for this list, Caleb. I’m always looking for an excuse to add to my library. Another valuable work to add to the list is Bruce Demarest’s The Cross and Salvation.

  2. Thank you for the list. I look forward to adding to my library as well. I was wondering, though, what about Stott’s Cross of Christ? That has been a tremendous resource for me on the atonement.

  3. […] Caleb Kolstad ( suggests some good books on the atonement. […]

  4. Brad- I have heard that is a great book but have never read nor do i own it. I like finding a good “excuse” as well.

    Ronjour- I think i may have read Stott’s book in seminary or college. I added it as well to my master list.

    Thanks for your faithful support gents!

  5. Don’t forget “The Doctrines of Grace” by Boice/Ryken. Probably one of the best introductions to the gospel of grace is John Cheeseman’s “Saving Grace” (Banner of Truth) which was originally written in 1972 along with N. T. Wright. Wright has sense disavowed the book but Cheeseman’s edition is excellent. Another lesser known but powerful volume is Tom Wells’ “A Price for a People” which is an exclusive look at what he calls “The meaning of Christ’s death.”

  6. Posted by Juan Z on April 25, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Great list now comes the fun part of hunting for the books.


  7. Posted by Chris Pixley on April 25, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    I too benfitted from Tom Well’s treatment of the atonement. It is brief, but well-written–ideal for a small group study.

  8. Posted by Michael on April 26, 2007 at 4:23 am

    Traditional Viewpoints:

    Grace: God’s Initiative, Our Response – Timothy George (rare, but brilliant…some have misinterpreted his ROSES, but as a loner, I prefer it over TULIP!)

    The Atonement Controversy in Welsh Theological Literature – Owen Thomas (as recommended by Phil Johnson in his “Nature of the Atonement” sermon)

    Chosen by God – R.C. Sproul (see also “Definite Atonement” chapter in Essential Truths of the Christian Faith)

    Chosen for Life – Sam Storms

    The Potter’s Freedom – James White

    Easy Chairs, Hard Words – Doug Wilson

    The Doctrines That Divide – Erwin Lutzer

    Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport – Richard Muow

    Why I Am Not an Arminian – Robert A. Peterson & Michael Williams

    “Particular Redemption” – Wayne Grudem (p.601-02, Systematic Theology)

    “Saved by His Precious Blood: An Introduction to John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ” – J.I. Packer (in The Quest for Godliness, chp. 8)… see also “Definite Redemption” chapter in Concise Theology

    “The Love of God and the Intent of the Atonement” (from The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, p.73-79) – D.A. Carson

    “What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism” – John Piper (from Bethlehem Baptist Church…and many sermons about the atonement!)

    Modified viewpoints:

    The Cross & Salvation – Bruce Demarest (one of my favorite books!)

    Calvin & the English Calvinists to 1649 – R.T. Kendall

    Calvinism & the Amyraut Heresy – Brian G. Armstrong

    Union with Christ & the Extent of the Atonement in Calvin –
    Kevin Kennedy

    Redemption Redeemed: A Puritan Defense of Unlimited Atonement – John Goodwin (rebuttal to Owen’s Death of Death…)

    The Extent of the Atonement – G. Michael Thomas

    Did Christ Die Only for the Elect? – Norman F. Douty

    “The Extent of the Atonement” – Millard Erickson (Chp. 40, Christian Theology)

    *The Extent of the Atonement (Outline) – Bruce Ware (brilliant)

    *The Extent of the Atonement (Outline) – Ron Rhodes

    “Unlimited/Limited Atonement” sermon by Mark Driscoll

    “The Emerging Church and Biblicist Theology” essay by Mark Driscoll (from Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches)

    *see also Randy Alcorn’s take on Limited Atonement at

    These are not all the resources on this subject (obviously), but this is a good list. Although I’m in the minority, I lean towards the modified viewpoint (don’t hate me!). I thought this discussion was great. Caleb did a great job keeping the viewpoints fair and balanced. God bless.

  9. Michael,

    Thanks for this wonderful list. I guess we have plenty of resources available to us these days.

    The Lord bless you,

  10. Posted by Scott Christensen on April 27, 2007 at 4:02 am

    Here are some other works on the Atonement that I believe are indispensible:

    Philip Ryken – “The Message of Salvation” (BST series)
    Derek Tidball – “The Message of the Cross” (BST series)
    David Peterson, et. al. – “Where Wrath and Mercy Meet”
    Paul Wells – “Cross Words: The Biblical Doctrine of the Atonement”

    Also helpful is:
    Roger T. Beckwith & Martin J Selman – “Sacrifice in the Bible”

    For more on Calvin’s view check out:
    Robert A. Peterson – “Calvin and the Atonement”

  11. Posted by Scott Christensen on April 27, 2007 at 4:07 am

    Note the books I mentioned deal with the nature of the atonement, not its extent, design, etc…

  12. Thanks Scott! We have more resources here than even Al Mohler could handle. :)

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