An Unhappy Reviewer

Another pseudonymous reviewer has expressed deep and hostile thoughts about The Cross Is Not Enough. Apparently there is just one author of The Cross Is Not Enough  as the reviewer begins by saying “This author…”. If the reviewer has read the book then why has such a basic fact that the book has two authors escaped the reviewer’s eyes?

As we have noted with a previous negative reader’s review, it is proper etiquette to  describe a book’s argument before one raises criticisms, and it helps if due acknowledgement is made that there are two authors.

Leaving aside those minor points, check out what the pseudonymous reviewer at Barnes & Noble argues based on using portions of the epistle to the Galatians. Evidently we are guilty of diluting the gospel by overlooking passages in Galatians concerning the law and the cross. It is somewhat ironic that the reviewer skips over Paul’s salutation: “Paul an apostle-sent neither by human commission nor from human authorities, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead…” (Gal. 1:1). The resurrection of Christ is the melody and the undergirding theme through which Paul interprets the power and meaning of the cross.

As we have carefully stated in our book so that readers would not go off the beaten track about what we think of the Cross:

We accept that the cross is an indispensable part of the gospel’s message of reconciliation, and that it shows us the obedience, humility, and servanthood of Christ and forgiveness of sin in his atoning death (p 26) … we do not want to be misunderstood: We affirm that the death of Jesus on the cross is very important. We are not belittling the agony and horror of the cross or downplaying the theological importance of atonement. In fact we want to underscore the point that Paul was right in saying that ‘the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us’ (2 Cor. 1:5).

What needs to be brought back into focus, and which the pseudonymous reviewer fails to comment on, is that Paul made it very plain as to the content of the message of the gospel:

Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which you also stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you-unless you have come to believe in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn I had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures. (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. (1 Cor 15.:17)

Paul’s gospel message consists of both the death and resurrection of Jesus, and he asserts that without Christ’s resurrection there would no forgiveness for sin. Again, while Paul referred to the cross and justification, he also saw the resurrection as integral to justification:

“Who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.” (Rom. 4:25)

It is difficult to know if this reviewer has read the whole book and read it in context. It seems like, on the basis of the reviewer’s remarks, that the message of the gospel is just the cross.

Check out what the reviewer has written and make up your own mind. See the review at http://my.barnesandnoble.com/reviews-izzyt84/

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