In The Cross and Salvation Bruce Bruce Demarest takes the reader step by step through the doctrines of salvation in order of their logical and temporal occurrence. He groups the book into six sections: 1) the plan of salvation which includes an introduction, grace, and election/predestination, 2) the provision of salvation, being the atonement, 3) the application of salvation, including the subjective aspects such as divine calling, conversion, and regeneration, and 4) the objective aspects such as union with Christ and justification, 5) the progress of salvation which is sanctification as well as preservation and perseverance, and finally, 6) the perfecting of salvation, which is glorification.
Within each section Demarest starts off by presenting the doctrine at hand’s history and significant theological views of the doctrine such as the Pelagian/Liberal view, the Semi-Pelagian (Catholic) view, Lutheran view, Weslyian/Arminian view, Neo-Orthodox (Karl Barth) view, Liberation view, Pentecostal view, Nazarene view, Keswick view, High Calvinist view, Moderately Reformed (or Calvinistic or Reformed Evangelicals) view, as well as other views. (However, which systems he talks about differs from one doctrine to the next, because some systems apply to certain doctrines and not others). This section is remarkable for many reason. For one, it lays a historical context for the reader. And secondly, it gives the reader a broad perspective on the doctrine and the various viewpoints concerning it, making the reader aware of false interpretations that might go unnoticed otherwise and possibly introducing the reader to various beliefs besides his own, which has several obvious benefits.
After the brief introduction and historical interpretation section, Demarest then goes on to give a rather detailed section on the proper biblical interpretation for each doctrine. Demarest does an excellent job supporting each point with more than enough scripture and interprets the texts of the Bible fairly and accurately in my opinion. As to the best of my knowledge at this time, I find myself in agreement with Demarest’s theology contained in this book minus a couple statements and conclusions here and there. It is fantastic work! He digs in deep, but he also is clear and understandable (which I believe tends to be most people’s fear concerning theology). And although it is an intellectual work and not one that seeks to amuse, I believe Christians would find the work interested as well.
Lastly, he finishes each doctrine with an application section. These are mediocre in my opinion. Yet this is Demarest’s way of showing how theology is applicable to our lives (and this reminds the reader that the study of scripture should not be absent of a consequent changed life). To this purpose he does a good job.
Personally, my favorite sections of the book were his chapters on election (he does an outstanding job handling the highly debated issue of election Biblically), sanctification, and definitely his chapter on conversion, specifically the subsection on Lordship salvation. The subsection on Lordship salvation was my favorite part of the entire book.
A great resource, tool, and read.
* Originally posted on former blog, I’m Calling Us Out.