Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Truth of the Cross

At the Christian bookseller's convention I graciously received a copy of R. C. Sproul's new, little book, The Truth of the Cross, published by Reformation Trust. This is Sproul--a master communicator of theological truth--at his best. My thoughts on the book echo those of Bruce Waltke's:
The Truth of the Cross is the best book on the cross I have read. It is a "must" for every church library and a book that I will give away many times to friends. This is so because it is sober (i.e., it contains historically informed reflections on salient biblical texts), sensible (i.e., it is well-argued), simple (i.e., it holds the reader's attention through grabbing illustrations and even a seventh-grader can get its substance), and spiritual (i.e., it comes from a heart set ablaze by the Spirit).
Here's a quote to whet your appetite:
In some instances, the prevailing indifference to the cross mutates into outright hostility. I once was asked to deliver a lecture explaining the relationship between the old and new covenants. In the course of delivering this lecture, I referred to Christ's death as a substitutionary, vicarious sacrifice for the sins of others. To my surprise, someone in the back of the room yelled out, "That's primitive and obscene." I was taken aback for a moment, so I asked, "What did you say?" He said it again with great hostility: "That's primitive and obscene." At that point, I had recovered from my surprise, and I told the man I actually liked his choice of adjectives. It is primitive for a blood sacrifice to be made to satisfy the justice of a transcendent and holy God, but sin is a primitive thing that is basic to our human existence, so God chose to communicate His love, mercy, and redemption to us through his primitive work. And the cross is an obscenity, because all of the corporate sin of God's people was laid on Christ. The cross was the ugliest, most obscene thing in the history of the world. So I thanked the man for his observation. (pp. 10-11)
More quotes to come (DV).