Steve West at Books at a Glance has summarized Stephen Wellum’s new book, Christ Alone: The Uniqueness of Jesus as Savior. This book is part of The Five Solas Series, edited by Matthew Barrett. Stephen Wellum is professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and editor of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. He has authored and co-authored several books, including God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ.
If you enjoy this book summary then also take a look at the recent conversation between Stephen Wellum and Matthew Barrett in “Luther at 500” about Christology.
Christ Alone is part of Zondervan’s 5 Solas Series. In this book, Wellum treats solus Christus biblically, historically, and theologically, as well as discussing the relevance of the doctrine in the contemporary life of the church. The uniqueness of Christ is presented, and the absolute necessity and sufficiency of Christ’s work alone is defended.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Biblical Identity of Jesus Christ
Chapter 2 The Self-Witness of Christ: God the Son Incarnate
Chapter 3 The Apostolic Witness to Christ: God the Son Incarnate
Chapter 4 From Incarnation to Atonement: An Exclusive Identity for an All-Sufficient Work
Chapter 5 The Threefold Office of Christ Alone: Our Prophet, Priest, King
Chapter 6 The Cross-Work of Christ in Historical Perspective
Chapter 7 The Cross of Our All-Sufficient Savior: Penal Substitution, Part 1
Chapter 8 The Cross of Our Glorious Redeemer: Penal Substitution, Part 2
Chapter 9 Chalcedonian Unity: Agreement on Christ’s Exclusive Identity in the Reformation
Chapter 10 The Sufficiency of Christ: The Reformation’s Disagreement with Rome
Chapter 11 The Loss of Christ’s Exclusivity: Our Current Challenge
Chapter 12 Reaffirming Christ Alone Today
Chapter 1: The Biblical Identity of Jesus Christ
The Bible presents Christ’s person and work in a variety of ways. He is at the center of God’s unfolding revelation, he is Lord and Savior, and he alone is able to accomplish salvation because he is God the Son incarnate. Christ is absolutely necessary for salvation because he is the only one who can save. The only way that God could save sinners was through the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of the Son. Today many people are trying to create Jesus in their own image, but we must see Jesus through special revelation, and this means beginning with God. The Bible reveals God as the triune Creator-Covenant Lord. God is unlike everything else; he is absolutely unique. He is holy and marked by covenant love. Salvation is by Christ alone because he is the second person in the Trinity, of the same essence as the Father. He is appointed as our covenant representative and mediator of redemption. The Son is fully God and becomes fully human, living under and fulfilling the covenant. Adam failed in his covenant obligation; the last Adam fulfills all covenant obedience, and also lays down his life as a substitutionary atonement for covenant breakers. God’s perfect, holy nature entails that he must punish sin, and God’s intention for human beings was that they would be faithful to him in covenant. Their failure to do this, however, necessitates that their sins be punished. If there is to be salvation, there must be a perfect man who is completely faithful to God’s covenant so that he can be a fitting representative and substitute, but he must also share in God’s lordship and divine nature. Only God can save sinners, and God saves sinners through the work of his incarnate Son. The covenant structure of the Bible, combined with the full data concerning salvation and the Messiah, can only be fulfilled by the incarnate Son. God’s kingdom is tied to the inauguration of the new covenant. God must act unilaterally to save, since no one else can, and yet it is promised that salvation will come through a new David, the Messiah. Only the Lord, and only an obedient Son, can fulfill the biblical storyline, and this is exactly how the NT identifies Christ. Jesus is David’s great son the Messiah, and he is also the sovereign, saving covenant Lord.
Chapter 2: The Self-Witness of Christ: God the Son Incarnate
John’s Gospel begins by presenting the Word, who is God and is in relationship with God. The Word is God—God the Son—and the Word takes on flesh. The unique and only Son of God becomes incarnate to be the new covenant head and redeemer, to fulfill God’s saving work as a man. In the context of the Bible’s storyline we can see that Jesus’ self-identity was as the God-man, the Messiah. At the Baptism of Jesus, the Father identifies Jesus as his Son, and Jesus sees himself as the fulfillment of Scripture. In Jesus’ life and ministry we see him doing things that are the prerogatives of. . .
Read the rest of this summary at Books at a Glance.