An in-depth study of how the forgiveness of sins emerged as a central theme of early Christian theology, through the New Testament and the writings of the Church Fathers.
Trade Information: JPOD
Available as: Paperback, ePub, Kindle, PDF
Specifications: 234x156mm, 434pp
Published: August 2016
Published: August 2016
Published: August 2016
In The Forgiveness of Sins, Tim Carter examines the significance of forgiveness in a New Testament context, delving deep into second-century Christian literature on sin and the role of the early church in mitigating it. This crucial spiritual issue is at the core of what it means to be Christian, and Carter's thorough and erudite examination of this theme is a necessity for any professional or amateur scholar of the early church.
His far-reaching analysis begins with St Luke, who is often accused of weakness on the subject of atonement, but who in fact uses the phrase "forgiveness of sins" more frequently than any other New Testament author. Carter explores patristic writers both heterodox and orthodox, such as Marcion, Justin Martyr and Origen. He also deepens our understanding of Second Temple Judaism and the theological context in which Christian ideas about atonement developed. Useful to both the academic and the pastoral theologian, The Forgiveness of Sins is a painstaking, clear-eyed exploration of what forgiveness meant not only to early Christians such as Tertullian, Irenaeus and Luke, but to Jesus himself, and what it means to Christians today.
2. God Alone Forgives
3. The Subject of Atonement
4. Prayer and Sacrifice
5. Interceding for Forgiveness
6. Exile and the Forgiveness of Sins
7. Labelling Sinners in Luke
8. 'No Forgiveness Without Bloodshed'
9. Three Layers of Forgiveness
10. No Longer Dying to Forgive Us
11. Too Hard to Forgive?
12. The Forgiveness of Sins and Baptism
13. A Baptism of Repentance
14. Who Can Forgive Sins But God Alone?
Index of Ancient Sources
Index of Subjects
Tim Carter is a Baptist minister and an Associate Research Fellow at the London School of Theology. His other writings include Paul and the Power of Sin: Redefining 'Beyond the Pale' (2002). A New Testament scholar, he finds academic research spiritually renewing, as well as a stimulant to his pastoral ministry.
"This is an important book. After all, it deals with a matter that, for any Christian, is of eternal significance. And it does so with great care: it is well researched and persuasively argued. The end product is rich in detail and well worth reading. I commend it."
William Atkinson, Senior Lecturer, London School of Theology
"This book is a remarkable achievement. Tim Carter has taken a fresh look at a vital issue at the heart of the Christian faith. His work is both thoroughly scholarly, showing great command of the source material, and fully accessible. The key matters are all addressed by drawing on the Hebrew Bible, other Jewish material, the New Testament and the writings of the early church, making appropriate use of some helpful innovative methods. The result is a thorough account of a significant doctrine, one which models an approach to thinking biblically about an important theological and pastoral question; it will be read with great profit by anyone who wants to understand what is meant by the forgiveness of sins and to reflect in greater depth on its implications."
Stephen Finamore, Principal of Bristol Baptist College
"Dr Tim Carter is a fine, thoughtful New Testament scholar. In this fascinating book he shares the fruits of long-term research on the theme of 'the forgiveness of sins' in the Old and New Testaments, and early Christian writings into the third century. Here is an in-depth investigation of a surprisingly neglected, but vital, theme in the New Testament and early Christianity – a theme that continues to be of vital importance today. Dr Carter's careful, patient discussion of a wide range of texts shows excellent awareness of key issues, and avoids brushing difficult questions under the exegetical carpet. This is notably so in Luke-Acts, where the large majority of New Testament uses of 'the forgiveness of sins' are found, and where Dr Carter brings a fresh and creative approach which is deeply rooted in the text. Readers will find their mind stimulated, their understanding enlarged, and their heart 'strangely warmed' by Dr Carter's fresh and helpful study."
Prof Steve Walton, Professorial Research Fellow at St Mary's University