At the heart of this complex and learned book is a single question: Did the apostle Paul regard the gospel as an offer or as a powerful redemptive gift?
Douglas Campbell, in this massive study of justification in the letters of Paul, contends that most readings of Paul view the gospel as an offer, in which sinful human beings are rescued from God’s just retribution by their belief in Christ’s atoning death. The resultant understanding of salvation, which Campbell refers to as “Justi fication theory,” is individualistic, conditional and contractual. In Campbell’s view, the gospel is not an offer to be accepted or rejected, but a gift. It breaks into human history (hence the term apocalyptic), revealing humanity’s corporate captivity to the power of sin and calling faith into being.