Description of author: Leon Morris is former principal of Ridley College in Australia and a prolific writer. He has written commentaries on the Gospels of Matthew and John. Perhaps his most important work is The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross.
Comments: The Biblical doctrine of the Atonement is central to the Christian faith. Man’s problem is that he has transgressed God’s law and is now separated from God. Man’s sin requires an atonement, if he will be restored to fellowship with God. From the beginning, God revealed that the shedding of blood is required for atonement (Gen. 3:21; Lev. 17:11). The concept of atonement is developed in great detail in the Old Testament sacrificial system. But this system only pointed to the one, true, perfect Atonement, namely Christ’s death on the Cross (see Hebrews 9-10). Leon Morris traces this development through the Scriptures in a topical way. In the eight chapters of this book, he progresses through the most important concepts related to the Atonement: Covenant (1); Sacrifice (2); The Day of Atonement (3); The Passover (4); Redemption (5); Reconciliation (6); Propitiation (7); and Justification (8). Perhaps the most important chapters in the book are the last two, since propitiation and justification have been especially under attack in the last century. He explains in a fairly simple, straightforward way the controversies over these terms. The book is written in a readable style that is more accessible for the one who has not been trained in theology or the Biblical languages. Perhaps the book is a little dated since it does not take into account the developments of the past twenty five years, particularly regarding the New Perspective on Paul which has recently invaded many of our colleges and seminaries. Still this is an excellent introduction to the concept of atonement in the Bible.