Here’s a truncated version of the book review I turned in for my theology class:
Looks can be deceiving, and upon first glance, I would not have anticipated such breadth and depth to reside within the cover of John Murray’s petite text, Redemption Accomplished and Applied. Admittedly, I also did not expect that Murray would be able to carry on a discussion of redemption that was so consistently profitable, systematic, and concise. As I pressed on into this text, I was delighted and challenged by Murray’s presentation, motivated to draw ever closer to the treasures of the atonement described therein.
Murray has a knack for knowing when to switch gears in order to be better understood, and he rather effortlessly flows between academic language and writing that is more accessible to the average reader. It was a comfort to know that whenever I saw phrases like “in other words,” I was about to receive clarification on a rather heavy point the author did not want me to miss. That is one of the beauties of this text. Murray genuinely desires to get through to his audience, as the eternal weight of the subject matter demands it.
While other books on doctrine and theology can be somewhat convoluted and thick enough to use as an end table, Murray allows readers to gaze into his own meditations in a format that is neither daunting nor drab. His immediate goal is to impart knowledge and understanding so that gaps might be filled and what is out of joint might be corrected; his ultimate goal is that God would be glorified as joy and marvel in Christ’s redemptive accomplishment abounds.
The book is divided into two distinct parts, which lends to Murray’s sense of organization and linear thought. Part one addresses four aspects of Christ’s redemptive accomplishment—its necessity, its nature, its perfection, and its extent—while part two addresses the application of redemption in the life of the believer. In general, each chapter launches into a series of questions. Murray then seeks to respond to those questions through Scripture analysis in a very sequential and progressive fashion. Often times, these answers expose additional questions, which Murray also addresses with great detail and attention.
So what does a reader walk away with after investing time and thought into this book? Certainly more than can be portrayed or deliberated in this review! In his preface, Murray explains that his goal in writing this book is to bring facets of the truth of Christ’s redemptive accomplishment into clearer focus. I would say enthusiastically that Mr. Murray has achieved his goal. Though I will have to read this book a few more times before I will fully be able to wrap my head and heart around all that is explained, the author’s meticulous efforts have helped clarify a great deal relating to the atonement and its application in my life.
The doctrines and biblical truths set forth in Murray’s book incite awe, celebration, and humility. Part I lays the foundation for such a response, then Part II serves as icing on the cake as it informs the reader of the initial, continuous, and future activity of the Godhead in the life of the believer. In Hebrews chapter 10, the author discusses the full assurance of faith for the redeemed. I sense that my assurance has increased over the course of this semester. I believe the Holy Spirit has used this text to open my eyes to the intricacies of the truth to which I am holding fast, thus making my grip more firm and empowering me to wield that truth more accurately as I live out the gospel message.