One of my favorite books on the cross is Cross Words by Paul Wells. Dr. Wells is a professor of systematic theology and a pastor. As a result his book is theologically rigorous and highly accessible.
The doctrine of the atonement is under constant threat. The church is never in short supply of those who call for us to redefine Christianity or re-imagine the Gospel. In our own day influential evangelicals call the biblical doctrine of the atonement "cosmic child abuse" (Steve Chalk, Brian McLaren). Others are saying that the cross was God's attempt to gain "moral authority" and to learn to understand us (Clark Pinnock). What is at stake is the church's most precious treasure and God's powerful means by which He brings sinners to salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-5).
Cross Words is a gracious but clear refutation of these attempts as well as a moving reaffirmation of the biblical doctrine of Christ's substitutionary atonement.
The cross was a sacrifice for sin. It turned away God's legitimate anger at man's rebellion. It abolished sin and established righteousness. It satisfied God's conditions for redemption. It made perfect peace between God and sinners. It laid the foundation for a new creation. Whenever the glory of the cross is fully appreciated it inspires faith, hope, and love.
- Paul Wells