What to read on these hugely important topics:
One advantage of having a large library is that putting together bibliographies can become somewhat easy. That assumes of course that one has good book sense, one is aware of some of the better authors and titles available on a given topic, and one is able to assess and highlight some of the most worthwhile books.
It is hoped that I fit the bill here on this to some extent. If so, the bibliographies that I so enjoy putting together (and there are likely hundreds of them on this website), might be of some use to others. That is my aim at any rate. Many of my recommended reading lists have to do with theology and Christian thought, and this is one key area in this.
There would be tens of thousands – probably hundreds of thousands – of books on what Christ did at the cross, the nature of salvation, how we are to understand the atonement, and so on. And no wonder: this is the very core of the Christian faith, and is incredibly important, not just for Christians, but for everyone.
This brief bibliography of necessity is quite selective – with so many titles to choose from it has to be! But also, it reflects my own preferences and leanings. Thus almost all of the books found here are:
-those that I happen to own
-more or less from a conservative and/or evangelical perspective
-mainly of a more academic, scholarly orientation
-mainly recent titles: from the past half century or so
Thus the reader who is looking for just devotional books on these subjects, or volumes reflecting a theologically liberal perspective and so on will have to look elsewhere. And there are many thousands of older classics that could also have been included here, but that would have made this bibliography far too long and unwieldy.
Here then are over one hundred titles to be aware of:
Allen, David, The Extent of the Atonement: A Historical and Critical Review. B&H, 2016.
Allen, David, The Atonement: A Biblical, Theological, and Historical Study of the Cross of Christ. B&H, 2019.
Allen, David and Steve Lemke, eds., Whosoever Will: A Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism. B&H, 2010.
Alexander, Donald, ed., Christian Spirituality: Five Views on Sanctification. IVP, 1988.
Aulen, Gustaf, Christus Victor. Macmillian, 1969, 1978.
Barcley, William and Ligon Duncan, Gospel Clarity: Challenging the New Perspective on Paul. EP Books, 2010.
Barnes, Tom, Atonement Matters. Evangelical Press, 2008.
Barrett, Matthew, 40 Questions About Salvation. Kregel, 2018.
Barrett, Matthew, Salvation by Grace. P&R, 2013.
Barrett, Matthew, ed., The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands Or Falls: Justification in Biblical, Theological, Historical, and Pastoral Perspective. Crossway, 2019.
Bates, Matthew, Salvation by Allegiance Alone. Baker, 2017.
Beilby, James and Paul Eddt, eds., The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views. IVP, 2006.
Berkouwer, G.C., The Work of Christ. Eerdmans, 1965.
Bridges, Jerry and Bob Bevington, The Great Exchange. Crossway Books, 2007.
Carroll, John and Joel Green, eds., The Death of Jesus in Early Christianity. Hendrickson, 1995.
Carson, D. A., Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus. Crossway, 2010.
Carson, D. A., ed., Right With God: Justification in the Bible and the World. Baker, 1992.
Carson, D. A., Peter O’Brien and Seifrid, eds., Justification and Variegated Nomism: Vol. 1: The Complexities Of Second Temple Judaism. Baker, 2001.
Carson, D. A., Peter O’Brien and Seifrid, eds., Justification and Variegated Nomism: Vol. 2: The Paradoxes of Paul. Baker, 2004.
Cole, Graham, God the Peacemaker: How Atonement Brings Shalom. IVP, 2009.
Craig, Lane Craig, Atonement and the Death of Christ: An Exegetical, Historical, and Philosophical Exploration. Baylor University Press, 2020.
Demarest, Bruce, The Cross and Salvation. Crossway Books, 1997.
Douty, Norman, Did Christ Die Only for the Elect? A Treatise on the Extent of Christ’s Atonement. Wipf & Stock, 1978, 1998.
Driscoll, Mark, Death by Love. Crossway Books, 2008.
Erickson, Millard, How Shall They be Saved? Baker, 1996.
Fesjo, J.V., Death in Adam, Life in Christ: The Doctrine of Imputation. Mentor, 2016.
Fesko, J.V., Justification: Understanding the Classic Reformed Doctrine. P&R, 2008.
Fluhrer, Gabriel, ed., Atonement. P&R, 2010.
Gaffin, Richard, By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation, 2nd ed. P&R, 2006, 2013.
Gathercole, Simon, Defending Substitution: An Essay on Atonement in Paul. Baker, 2015.
Gatiss, Lee, For Us and for Our Salvation: ‘Limited Atonement’ in the Bible, Doctrine, History, and Ministry. The Latimer Trust, 2012.
Gibson, David and Jonathan Gibson, eds., From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective. Crossway, 2013.
Green, Joel, Salvation. Chalice Press, 2004.
Green, Joel and Mark Baker, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross: Atonement in New Testament & Contemporary Contexts. IVP, 2000.
Hill, Charles and Frank James, eds., The Glory of the Atonement. IVP, 2004.
Holmes, Stephen, The Wondrous Cross: Atonement and Penal Substitution in the Bible and History. Paternoster, 2007.
Horne, Charles, Salvation. Moody Press, 1971.
Horton, Michael, For Calvinism. Zondervan, 2011.
Horton, Michael, Justification, 2 vols. Zondervan, 2018.
Horton, Michael, Putting Amazing Back into Grace: Embracing the Heart of the Gospel. Baker, 2002.
House, Paul and Gregory Thornbury, Who Will be Saved? Crossway Books, 2000.
Husbands, Mark and Daniel Treier, eds., Justification: What’s at Stake in the Current Debates. IVP, 2004.
Jeffery, Steve, Mike Ofrey and Andrew Sach, Pierced for our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution. IVP, 2007.
Johnson, Adam, ed., Five Views on the Extent of the Atonement. Zondervan, 2019.
Johnson, Gary and Guy Waters, ed., By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification. Crossway, 2007.
Johnson, Marcus Peter, One with Christ: An Evangelical Theology of Salvation. Crossway, 2013.
Kapic, Kelly, ed., Sanctification. IVP, 2014.
Keathley, Kenneth, Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach. B&H, 2010.
Letham, Robert, The Work of Christ. IVP, 1993.
Lightner, Robert, The Death Christ Died: A Biblical Case for Unlimited Atonement, 2nd ed. Kregel, 1967, 1998.
Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn, (edited by Christopher Catherwood), The Cross: God’s Way of Salvation. Crossway, 1986.
Macleod, Donald, Christ Crucified. IVP, 2014.
McCormack, Bruce, ed., Justification in Perspective. Baker, 2006.
McDonald, H. D., The Atonement of the Death of Christ. Baker, 1985.
McGrath, Alister, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, 4th ed. Cambridge University Press, 1986, 2020.
McGrath, Alister, Justification by Faith. Zondervan, 1988.
McGrath, Alister, Luther’s Theology of the Cross, 2nd ed. Wiley-Blackwell 1985, 2011.
Marshall, I. Howard, Aspects of the Atonement. Paternoster, 2007.
Morgan, Christopher and Robert Peterson, eds., Faith Comes by Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism. IVP, 2008.
Morris, Leon, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross. Eerdmans, 1955, 1980.
Morris, Leon, The Atonement. IVP, 1983.
Morris, Leon, The Cross in the New Testament. Eerdmans, 1965, 1980.
Murray, John, Redemption: Accomplished and Applied. Eerdmans, 1955.
Naselli, David and Mark Snoeberger, eds., Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement: Three Views. B&H, 2015.
Oden, Thomas, The Justification Reader. Eerdmans, 2002.
Oliphint, K. Scott, Justified in Christ. Mentor, 2007.
Olson, Roger, Against Calvinism. Zondervan, 2011.
Owen, John, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. Banner of Truth, 1647, 1967.
Packer, J. I. and Mark Dever, In My Place Condemned He Stood. Crossway, 2007.
Parry, Robin and Christopher Partridge, Universal Salvation? The Current Debate. Eerdmans, 2004.
Peace, Richard, Conversion in the New Testament: Paul and the Twelve. Eerdmans, 1999.
Peterson, David, ed., Where Wrath and Mercy Meet. Paternoster, 2001.
Peterson, Robert, Salvation Accomplished by the Son: The Work of Christ. Crossway, 2011.
Picirilli, Robert, Grace, Faith, Free Will: Contrasting Views of Salvation: Calvinism. Randall House, 2002.
Piper, John, Counted Righteous in Christ. Crossway, 2002.
Piper, John, The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright. Crossway, 2007.
Radmacher, Earl, Salvation. Word, 2000.
Reisinger, John, Limited Atonement. New Covenant Media, 2002.
Robinson, Martin, Why the Cross? Monarch, 2000.
Rutledge, Fleming, The Crucifixion. Eerdmans, 2015.
Ryken, Philip Graham, The Message of Salvation. IVP, 2001.
Schreiner, Thomas, Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification. Zondervan, 2015.
Seifrid, Mark, Christ, Our Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Justification. IVP, 2000.
Sell, Alan, The Great Debate: Calvinism, Arminianism, and Salvation. Baker, 1982.
Sproul, R. C., Faith Alone. Baker, 1995, 2017.
Sproul, R. C., The Truth of the Cross. P&R, 2007.
Stackhouse, John, ed., What Does It Mean To Be Saved? Baker, 2002.
Stott, John, The Cross of Christ. IVP, 1986.
Tidball, Derek, The Message of the Cross. IVP, 2001.
Tidball, Derek, David Hilborn and Justin Thacker, eds., The Atonement Debate. Zondervan, 2008.
Tiessen, Terrance, Who Can Be Saved?: Reassessing Salvation in Christ and World Religions. IVP, 2004.
Torrance, Thomas, Atonement. IVP, 2009.
Vickers, Brian, Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Imputation. Crossway Books, 2006.
Vidu, Adonis, Atonement, Law, and Justice. Baker, 2014.
Waters, Guy Prentiss, Justification and the New Perspective on Paul. Presbyterian and Reformed, 2004.
Wells, David, The Search for Salvation. IVP, 1978.
Wells, David, Turning to God: Biblical Conversion in the Modern World. Baker, 1989.
Wells, Paul, Cross Words: The Biblical Doctrine of the Atonement. Christian Focus, 2006.
White, James, The God Who Justifies. Bethany House, 2007.
Wright, N. T., The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. HarperOne, 2016.
Wright, N. T., Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision. SPCK, 2009.
Most folks have thrown up their hands by now and said, ‘Too much! Too many titles!’ OK, in order to help you narrow things down a bit, let me mention some of the more highly recommended books. And let me do this by highlighting a few authors who I think are always reliable and helpful on these issues. They would perhaps be: Barrett, Carson, McGrath, Morris, Sproul, and Stott. But most of the titles on this list can more or less be recommended.
Let me finish with four quotes – two by Charles Spurgeon and two by Fleming Rutledge:
“Leave out the cross, and you have killed off the Gospel of Jesus. Atonement by the blood of Jesus is not an arm of Christian truth; it is the heart of it.” Spurgeon
“Jesus has borne the death penalty on our behalf. Behold the wonder! There He hangs upon the cross! This is the greatest sight you will ever see. Son of God and Son of Man, there He hangs, bearing pains unutterable, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. Oh, the glory of that sight!” Spurgeon
“Christianity is unique. The world’s religions have certain traits in common, but until the gospel of Jesus Christ burst upon the Mediterranean world, no one in the history of human imagination had conceived of such a thing as the worship of a crucified man.” Rutledge
“The cross, incomparably vindicated by the Resurrection, is the novum, the new factor in human experience, the definitive and world-changing act of God, that makes the New Testament proclamation unique in all the world.” Rutledge