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Total Atonement: Trinitarian Participation in the Reconciliation of Humanity and Creation

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Total Atonement: Trinitarian Participation in the Reconciliation of Humanity and Creation

Total Atonement re-imagines the “apprehended mystery” of the atonement in light of the triune nature of God and the person and work of the incarnate Christ. W. Ross Hastings proposes participation as a theory or framework of atonement that holds all other models within it. He argues that God’s participation in humanity in order that humans might participate in God invites a total approach to the mystery of the atonement, that is, one that involves the whole Trinity, the whole person and history of Christ, and all the biblical motifs and theological models of atonement–– including penal substitution (properly nuanced to overcome its caricatures), Christus victor, satisfaction, vicarious life, and moral exemplar. Hastings re-examines the scope of the atonement in light of these Trinitarian, incarnational realities.



David Fergusson 

University of Edinburgh

In this clear and comprehensive discussion, W. Ross Hastings offers an account of the work of Jesus Christ in light of his participation in our human condition. Overcoming the difficulties generated by more one-dimensional approaches, he develops a capacious account that responds to recent criticism of substitutionary theories. This volume will be of much benefit to students in search of a deeper understanding of a vital theological subject. 

Darrell Johnson

Regent College

As I read this monumental work by my dear friend and brother Ross Hastings, the prayer of the apostle Paul keeps coming to mind ― 'that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breath and length and height and depth.' That is what this book helps me do, or begin to do! Ross opens up for us the totality of redemption, helping us bask in the kaleidoscopic wonder of the finished work of the cross. Ross helps us enter into 'total redemption,' by showing us how the cross addresses the totality of the human condition and need, by showing us how the one who dies on the cross embraces and becomes the totality of human sin, and by showing us how the totality of the Living God 'participates' (a word he loves) in the mystery of the cross. And Ross does this while engaging in a near total conversation with all who have tried to declare the finished-ness of the finished work of Jesus. I will be soaking in this volume for years to come!


Thomas H. McCall

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"Swimming against the current of much contemporary theology, Hastings challenges many common reductionisms. Instead, he offers a robust account of atonement, one that refuses to settle for unwarranted either-or's and instead insists upon the fullness of the gospel. The result is a Trinitarian doctrine according to which the atonement is both filial and juridical, functional and ontological. This is a wide-ranging and penetrating study that is both well-informed and pastorally sensitive."

Alan Torrance

University of St. Andrews

"Although the doctrine of the atonement is central to the Christian faith, few doctrinal loci are in greater need of conceptual clarity and theological insight that is, at the same time, seriously informed by exegesis. Throughout this impressive volume, Hastings’ grasp of biblical scholarship and the history of theology is well-served by the intellectual discipline bequeathed to him by his scientific past. The result is a fresh and deep-thinking exposition of the atonement that is tightly argued, clear-headed, and theologically constructive. The light Hastings sheds makes this not only an essential resource for students and teachers of theology, but a timely contribution that takes the whole debate forward."

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  1. Baxter, Jerrica. “Total Atonement: Trinitarian Participation in the Reconciliation of Humanity and Creation.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 63, no. 2 (June 2020): 407–10.

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