I just received my copy of The Cross in Our Context.  A friend suggested that I read it.  So in a series of posts I will share my impressions of the book.  I invite comments from others as they will help me understand the book and my view of it.  I’ve been told that I have a tendency to being judgemental and ‘Pharisaical’.   That’s true – I struggle with these character flaws daily.  That being said I evaluate any book about theology using Scripture first and last.  I can only admit my approach and make every effort not to judge the writer and only use  discernment to say how close or far the writing is from what is written in the Holy Bible.

Sadly some people think that isn’t enough.  We should not judge and not use Scripture as a standard but rather other academic instruments of assessment like ‘historic/redactic criticism’.  Fortunately we can all stand on Scripture: “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”  (Hebrews 9:27,28)  If you are truly waiting for Jesus you’ll be OK even if I say otherwise about  your opinions or writings – I’m not your judge!

The introduction to The Cross in Our Context causes me concern for two reasons.  One, there is little Scripture mentioned in it other than 2 Timothy 2:15 ; ” . . . But a religious community must always be busy with sifting its essence from historical accidents and extraneous associations – ‘rightly dividing the word of truth.  This is more conspicuously the case today than ever before, for the future well-being of the entire planet is at stake.” (p 3)  Yet on this very topic the Bible tells us the future is assured.  The victory is won; “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,   in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9,10,11)

Yet, the author claims; “A religious community that believes itself to be in possession of ‘the Truth’ is a community equipped with the most lethal weapon of any warfare; the sense of its own superiority and mandate to mastery. . . . it is the theological triumphalism of Christendom that must be altered if the Christian faith is to exist in the world of today and tomorrow as a force for life and not death.” (p. 5) That is not what the Bible tells me.  And this is the second reason this book concerns me;  who should I believe Professor Hall or Jesus Christ who says; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) I’ll read the book but I choose Jesus!

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