What is the truth of the cross? It may sound to many like a very simple question. Yet we live in a time where the truth and reason for Christ’s death has become hijacked by many who have made something entirely different of it. People like Brian McLaren appear to be reinventing the purpose of Christ’s death while others like Rob Bell have determined that Christ’s sacrifice was a sort of psychological relief to get people to realize that they did not need to sacrifice animals to please God (see Drops Like Stars, Love Wins, and his tour video The Gods Aren’t Angry).
It is in this time that books like RC Sproul’s The Truth of the Cross become more and more essential to the preservation of the truth of our faith. In his easy conversational style, Sproul begins at the beginning (a very good place to start) and describes our desperate need for a Savior. He walks us through the covenant that God made with Abraham to bless all the nations through him. Sproul then analyzes our vast debt of sin and the impossibility of our repayment.
And after plunging us into the truth of our depravity, Sproul then paints a most glorious picture of the truth of the cross, otherwise known as the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is true that only when we come to grasp our deep need does the gospel taste sweet, and Sproul does not shrink back from that task in order to show that deep love of God.
If I have any critique of this book it is in Sproul’s chapter on the atonement. Rather than simply discussing the biblical teaching on the atonement, he explicitly discusses the differences between Reformed and Arminian theology, championing the doctrine of limited (or particular) atonement. Having a Reformed perspective myself, I do not disagree with his argument. The doctrine is biblical and is sufficiently defended on the basis of Scripture alone rather than bringing up 16th century terms that may do more to alienate people from the doctrine than embrace it.
All in all this was a well-written book for anyone who is just curious about Christianity, has recently converted to the faith, or anyone who could simply benefit from being reminded of the finished work of Christ that has done more than we could ever hope or imagine to erase our sinful debt and bestow on us his righteousness as a free gift.
[A copy of this book was provided by the publisher as compensation for this review. However, reviews are not required to be positive; my opinions are fully expressed in my reviews.]