Reviewed by J. Carl Laney
By Victor Kuligin
Wooster, Ohio. Weaver Book Company, 2015.
255 pp | $15.99
Victor Kuligin is Academic Dean and Lecturer at Bible Institute of South Africa. After his training as a chemical engineer, he went on to DeVry University where he earned an M.B.A. and then to Wheaton College Graduate School where he earned an M.A. in biblical studies. Kuligin did his doctoral work (D.Th.) in systematic theology at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. His other book, Ten Things I Wish Jesus Never Said is published by Crossway.
I ordered this book from the publisher based on the subtitle, “Discovering the Riches of What It Means to Be Saved.” Since I spend a lot of time on this subject in my teaching of the Gospels, I thought the book may be of some benefit in my own study and teaching. And I was not disappointed!
I can say without hesitation that this is the best book I have ever read on the subject of salvation! Most of the books on this subject treat soteriology from the perspective of systematic theology. Kuligin takes a refreshingly different approach. He points out that the language used in the Bible to describe salvation is considerably varied. And rather than focusing on one model of salvation to describe the spiritual transformation which takes place when someone believes, Kuligin presents thirteen models of salvation based on the different terms used in Scripture. All thirteen terms explain the same salvation, but each considers the subject from a different angle. Like a multi-faceted gem, the truth of salvation can be examined from a variety of perspectives. And each perspective contributes to a better understanding and appreciation of this grand and wonderful truth.
The thirteen facets presented in thirteen chapters include (1) Regeneration: from death to life; (2) Justification: from guilt to acquittal; (3) Adoption: from rejection to acceptance, (4) Redemption: from bondage to liberation; (5) Citizenship: from Satan’s kingdom to God’s kingdom; (6) Atonement: from retribution to propitiation; (7) Reconciliation: from enmity to friendship; (8) Illumination: from darkness to light; (9) Sanctification: from impurity to purity; (10) Fruitfulness: from barrenness to productivity; (11) Transformation: from deformity to glorification; (12) Participation: from separation to union; and (13) Salvation: from defeat to victory. Each chapter concludes with the question, “What does it mean to be saved?” followed by a short summary.
This book is not “salvation lite.” Kuligin interacts with the weighty theological issues of election, justification, and propitiation. He discusses the key Greek words on which the doctrine of salvation is grounded. He doesn’t shy away from critical or controversial issues. Yet he writes in a very readable and understandable manner, offering helpful illustrations from church history as well as his own personal and ministry experiences.
Each chapter begins with an engaging introduction to the particular facet of salvation being presented and concludes with questions for group discussion. An annotated bibliography and scripture index is provided for further study. With thirteen chapters and group study questions, The Language of Salvation is nicely formatted for group Bible study.
There is nothing quite as important as the biblical doctrine of salvation and Kuligin’s book ably helps readers understand and appreciate the richness of this grand truth.