Posted by: chuckbumgardner | January 24, 2010

Garrett, Systematic Theology, part 8: “The Work of Christ”

James Leo Garrett, Systematic Theology: Biblical, Historical, and Evangelical, 2 vols. (North Richland Hills, TX: BIBAL Press, 2000), 2:3-130.

The work of Christ on the cross served as a sacrifice, fulfilling the OT sacrifices; it was a propitiation, removing divine wrath; and it was substitutionary for sinners, not merely representative.  Garrett gives an overview of various theories of the atonement and finds value in a number of them, preferring to “think in terms of a composite exposition of the saving work of Jesus Christ” instead of espousing one particular theory (2:57).  In discussing the extent of the saving work of Christ, Garrett holds to a universal atonement.  Further, he denies the notion that the atonement includes bodily healing, and regarding a “descent into Hades” affirms only that Christ was present in Hades between death and resurrection, finding no clear biblical support for the idea that he offered salvation to those in the realm of the dead.

Garrett treats Christ’s exaltation as including his resurrection, ascension, and session.  Christ was raised from the dead in a spiritual body, and in so doing was identified as the powerful Son of God and vindicated by the Father, among other consequences.  Subsequently, he ascended to heaven where he now rules over all and intercedes for his people.


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