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The Atonement and the Modern Mind   By: (1856-1917)

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First Page:

THE ATONEMENT

AND

THE MODERN MIND

BY

JAMES DENNEY, D.D.

PROFESSOR OF NEW TESTAMENT LANGUAGE, LITERATURE, AND THEOLOGY

UNITED FREE CHURCH COLLEGE, GLASGOW

WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR

THE DEATH OF CHRIST STUDIES IN THEOLOGY THE EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS GOSPEL QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

LONDON

HODDER AND STOUGHTON

27 PATERNOSTER ROW

MCMIII

PREFACE

The three chapters which follow have already appeared in The Expositor , and may be regarded as a supplement to the writer's work on The Death of Christ: its place and interpretation in the New Testament . It was no part of his intention in that study to ask or to answer all the questions raised by New Testament teaching on the subject; but, partly from reviews of The Death of Christ , and still more from a considerable private correspondence to which the book gave rise, he became convinced that something further should be attempted to commend the truth to the mind and conscience of the time. The difficulties and misunderstandings connected with it spring, as far as they can be considered intellectual, mainly from two sources. Either the mind is preoccupied with a conception of the world which, whether men are conscious of it or not, forecloses all the questions which are raised by any doctrine of atonement, and makes them unmeaning; or it labours under some misconception as to what the New Testament actually teaches. Broadly speaking, the first of these conditions is considered in the first two chapters, and the second in the last. The title The Atonement and the Modern Mind might seem to promise a treatise, or even an elaborate system of theology; but though it would cover a work of vastly larger scope than the present, it is not inappropriate to any attempt, however humble, to help the mind in which we all live and move to reach a sympathetic comprehension of the central truth in the Christian religion. The purpose of the writer is evangelic, whatever may be said of his method; it is to commend the Atonement to the human mind, as that mind has been determined by the influences and experiences of modern times, and to win the mind for the truth of the Atonement.

With the exception of a few paragraphs, these pages were delivered as lectures to a summer school of Theology which met in Aberdeen, in June of this year. The school was organised by a committee of the Association of Former Students of the United Free Church College, Glasgow; and the writer, as a member and former President of the Association, desires to take the liberty of inscribing his work to his fellow students.

GLASGOW, September 1903.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

PRELIMINARY DEFINITION OF THE SUBJECT

CHAPTER II

SIN AND THE DIVINE REACTION AGAINST IT

CHAPTER III

CHRIST AND MAN IN THE ATONEMENT

CHAPTER I

PRELIMINARY DEFINITION OF THE SUBJECT

It will be admitted by most Christians that if the Atonement, quite apart from precise definitions of it, is anything to the mind, it is everything. It is the most profound of all truths, and the most recreative. It determines more than anything else our conceptions of God, of man, of history, and even of nature; it determines them, for we must bring them all in some way into accord with it. It is the inspiration of all thought, the impulse and the law of all action, the key, in the last resort, to all suffering. Whether we call it a fact or a truth, a power or a doctrine, it is that in which the differentia of Christianity, its peculiar and exclusive character, is specifically shown; it is the focus of revelation, the point at which we see deepest into the truth of God, and come most completely under its power. For those who recognise it at all it is Christianity in brief; it concentrates in itself, as in a germ of infinite potency, all that the wisdom, power and love of God mean in relation to sinful men... Continue reading book >>




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