The Cross and Christian Ministry [ePub]

by D.A. Carson

D.A. Carson’s book read very much like a commentary on the life and writing of the Apostle Paul as they related to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the Lord’s call on us as ministers of the Gospel. The five major sections flowed together easily, and I felt as if I was reading Carson’s footnotes to the New Testament.
Because there was so much based directly on the Bible, I focused my attention on extra-biblical commentary that resonated with me. Toward the end of the first chapter, Carson says:
“We have become so performance-oriented that it is hard to see how compromised we are. Consider one small example. In many of our churches, prayers in morning services now function, in large measure, as the time to change the set in the sanctuary. The people of the congregation bow their heads and close their eyes, and when they look up a minute later, why, the singers are in place, or the drama group is ready to perform. It is all so smooth. It is also profane. Nominally we are in prayer together addressing the King of heaven, the sovereign Lord. In reality, some of us are doing that while others are rushing on tiptoes around the “stage” and others , with their eyes closed, are busy wondering what new and happy configuration will confront them when it is time to take a peek.” (38)
I could not have re-stated it better, so I included the whole quote in the above block. This is a very practical application of the point Carson is making in this section about Paul’s exhortation in 1 Corinthians 2:2 (proclaiming nothing but Christ crucified).
I also appreciated his explanation of the biblical answer to the claims of the Catholic Church on purgatory on page 68. There is much food for thought and discussion that we were not able to get into because of time constraints.
Before his strong ending to the book insisting that leaders in the church to press on through times of difficult trials, Carson argues for the continued, passionate proclamation of the cross of Christ; saying, “we may be winning more adherents than converts” (80) if we don’t. I appreciate his differentiation of adherents and converts. This speaks to the personality-driven plague that superimposes the Holy Spirit in many churches today.

25.06.2017

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