The Infinite Atonement is rapidly becoming a classic, as it offers what may be the most comprehensive treatment of the Atonement in our day. With clarity, testimony, and understanding, Tad R. Callister teaches us rich and wonderful truths about this “doctrine of doctrines” and elevates our spirits as we contemplate the perfect love of him who gave us all that we might receive all.
I just loved what the Spirit taught as I read this very excellent text. Through my life I have received clarity from James E. Talmage, Spencer W. Kimball, Bruce R. McKonkie, Joseph Fielding Smith, Boyd K. Packer, Jeffrey R. Holland, and now Tad R. Callister. In my life, I have pursued medicine as a career and ministry.
I have never been able to visualize the Savior as weak or effeminate although some world artists have so-portrayed Him. I can't. I see Him as the strong carpenter-son of Joseph, regularly working with, shaping, joining, and lifting wood! I envision Him as being physically powerful--someone who could easily carry the cross or the cross-piece of it. All the carpenters I have ever known have great physical strength--just as stone-masons. So, why was he unable to carry His cross?
Two profound reasons: Gethsemane and Gabbatha/Praetorium. Each of my above mentors teach of the horrific reality of Gethsemane. Each quote Luke's account and that in the Doctrine and Covenants' that He did literally bleed from every pore. This was not due to injuries to the pores themselves but to His blood. In 35 years of medical studies and practice I have seen it three times--after profound infection; after severe multiple trauma, and after iatrogenic (doctor-caused) drug overdose. There are two phases to it. First wide-spread and complete coagulation; then, being unable to coagulate. The pores ooze blood but the skin is intact: multi-organ failure and the death process has begun. But the Savior was a God and His skin was intact, until Gabbatha or the Praetorium where Pilate judged the Judge of Heaven and Earth, and caused Him to be scourged: the pious Jews allowed 40 less one lashes (13 X 3) with a multi-stranded whip with pieces of bone, metal, and rock worked into the leather. After this, His skin was no longer intact, and He clearly bled openly. And then to Golgotha which He could not manage while carrying the weight of the cross. Even simply walking He probably stumbled many times. He was nailed to the cross but, as Joseph Fielding Smith suggests, that was probably the least of His suffering. He died only at His own willingness to give up the spirit. A guard passed a spear into His side and out gushed blood AND water--His blood could no longer clot together. John, the honest reporter, probably had no understanding of what he saw and wrote. As the Savior of the world exsanguinated, His heart had to beat faster and faster, yet not effectively, and the heart muscle likely did (AS Elder Callister SURMISES) rupture: He died of a broken heart literally.
This book is a wonderful read for now and many times in the future: it tells of things we did not before know.
I give the gift edition as a graduation gift for seniors to start their own personal gospel library with. Absolutely stunning in it's depth and clarity. Sits right there with my scriptures as a monumental work!
I first read Elder Callister's book about a year ago and immediately began suggesting it to members and non members alike. I have started reading it for the second time and gave a copy of it and The Inevitable Apostasy, also a great read, as a Christmas gift to a dear brother. I would heartily endorse the reading of either of these books.
Elder Callister presents the Atonement with humble and compelling clarity. Although predating Elder Holland's beautiful conference address on the Atonement in April 2009, this work serves as a most satisfying follow up. This work does not draw attention to itself, but brings together the scriptures, inspired words of the Brethren, and other inspired writers to shed light on the Atonement.
This book is the most thorough examination of the atonement I have read. Bro. Callister writes in a very clear, precise and logical style, reflecting his legal background. He presents a case and lays out the basis and reasoning leading to his conclusions. What is truly unique and refreshing is his exploration of several theories to explain why the Savior was required to do what he did and how his acts can redeem the rest of us. He courageously goes beyond the point where nearly all LDS thinkers concede they simply do not understand. Bro. Callister does not pretend to understand completely, but he leads us closer to that goal than any other LDS author including Elder Talmage.