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Salvation Belongs to Our God – Celebrating the Bible’s Central Story

Author: Chris Wright
Published By: IVP Books (Nottingham)
Pages: 208
Price: £8.99
ISBN: 978 1 84474 514 2

Reviewed by Chris Skilton.

Chris Wright is a well-known teacher and author on biblical themes and currently International Director of the Langham Partnership International. He has written here an excellent summary of the doctrine of salvation, charted through a range of Old and New Testament texts.

The book takes as its text (and title) Revelation 7.9-10 and it is a good lens through which to examine salvation. The core message of the book is conservative (as one would expect from its origins and author) – that salvation is through Christ alone under a sovereign and gracious God. It is helpfully nuanced and argued in ways that enrich and do not diminish the central idea. While Wright is clear that individuals need the salvation that is to be found in Christ, he argues persuasively that this is holistic (not just about ‘saving souls’) and has a corporate dimension to it. He proposes this in what for me are the two central chapters of the book – “Salvation and God’s Covenant Blessing” (chapter 3), rooted in the covenant with Abraham (including along the way a very helpful distinction between blessing and prosperity); and “Salvation and God’s Covenant Story” (chapter 4), which considers salvation’s past, present and future dimensions. In the light of the excellent exposition of salvation and covenant theology in these chapters, it was good in Chapter 5 to have an equally careful exploration of the place of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper in salvation.

Several chapters include material about salvation and other faiths and the unevangelised, again sensitively handled from a conservative perspective. It might have been helpful to have brought this material together. And one quibble: the final chapter, “Salvation and the Lamb – salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ”, is the shortest chapter and feels like an afterthought which ‘must’ be included. I would have begun with this material and then in the light of that set out this clear, full and gracious study of a key biblical theme.

The book is comprehensive and thorough while being very accessible, not just for ministers, but for lay members of congregations wishing to explore and root their faith more deeply. Each of the seven chapters ends with helpful questions to reflect on – although it is not clear whether this is aimed primarily at individual or group use. The latter would work best if a group of people agreed to study a chapter in advance and it would serve a theological reading group well. I recommend this book as a valuable resource.

Chris Skilton

Archdeacon of Lambeth and Board Member of Ministry Today

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You are reading Issue 56 of Ministry Today, published in November 2012.

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