Saturday, November 13, 2010

Review: The Cross and Christian Ministry

The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 CorinthiansThe Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians by D.A. Carson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book's five chapters are based on a series of talks. Each one is an exposition of a passage from 1 Corinthians that discusses a topic in relation to the cross. Thus there are chapters on the cross and preaching, the cross and factionalism, the cross and leadership, and so on.

The undercurrent through all five chapters is that Jesus’ cross is the standard, and nothing else. This has radical, radical, radical implications for leadership—and that’s an understatement.

As always, Carson’s expositions mix solid exegesis with devotional warmth and deep pastoral and cultural insight.

I close with a few of my favourite quotes from this book:

On the Corinthians who should have been on a solids diet, not a milk one: “They want nothing more than another round of choruses and a ‘simple message’—something that won’t challenge them to think, to examine their lives, to make choices, and to grow in their knowledge and adoration of the living God” (p.72).

“But part of the reason why Paul’s stance seems alien to many of us is that we have unwittingly become more like Corinthian Christians than like Pauline (that is, biblical!) Christians. Many of are well-to-do and comfortable, with little incentive to live in vibrant anticipation of Christ’s return. Our desire for the approval of the world often outstrips our desire for Jesus’ ‘Well done!’ on the last day. The proper place to begin to change this deep betrayal of the gospel is at the cross—in repentance, contrition, and renewed passion not only to make the gospel of the crucified Messiah central in all our preaching and teaching, but in our lives and the lives of our leaders as well” (p.108).

“How can Christians stand beside the cross and insist on their rights?” (p.125)

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Anonymous said...

That's a great, little book, Mike. I read it years ago and really enjoyed it.

If I'm not mistaken, Carson writes about the ignominy of the cross and says that if grasped properly, Christians wouldn't wear crosses around their necks - it would be akin to wearing a t-shirt promoting the electric chair or the bomb at Hiroshima!


MJK said...

Yes, Carson does say that, Joel. It is a great little book!