Skip to main content

Salvation by Crucifixiin by Philip Graham Ryken

Salvation by Crucifixion




Salvation by Crucifixion by Philip Graham Ryken

Former Senior Pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and President of Wheaton College, Philip Graham Ryken is well equipped to deliver a message on the crucifixion that is powerful and timely.  This new book, Salvation by Crucifixion is a brief foray into the meaning and application of the crucifixion of Jesus for the church.  Written with keen insight, historical background, and theological intensity, this book is a sure work to turn to when you want to know more about the crucifixion.  The unique thing about his book is Dr. Ryken’s emphasis that on the cross Jesus accomplished our salvation, thus he captures this point through looking at different lenses like the power, the offense, and triumph of the cross.  Often, as is the case here, the most slender of volumes carry the weight of a large tome.

In seven short chapters, Dr. Ryken looks at the cross from its necessity to it the boast of the cross.  In the first chapter on the necessity of the cross, Philip brings up a point concerning the cross that is sorely needed in our age.  He writes, “But how could He deal with this sin without sacrificing His love or His holiness?  This was the problem.  God could not simply overlook our sins.  This might have been loving, but it would not have been holy.  Justice would not have been served.  Our sins would have been paid for.” (23)  In some theologies of the cross, love is the measure of all things and trumps all other attributes or characteristics of God’s character.  But, Dr. Ryken rightly frames the argument in terms of God’s love and His justice being evident in the cross.  We rejoice in this fact because not only has God not left us in our sins, but that he has paid for them right down to the last penny in the cross. 

I am reminded of the power of God for salvation in Ryken’s writing on the offense of the cross.  He writes, “The cross also says that we are helpless.  It says that we cannot get into heaven on the strength of our own record.  We need someone else to offer his perfect life on our behalf.  This is one difference between Christianity and every other religion.” (36)  In the confusing world of religious pluralism and relativism, we miss the utter uniqueness of Christianity.  Here, in the cross, we find a solution to sin that counters every Johnny Be Good notion that our culture speaks of, and instead, offers us to bring ourselves as beggars on our knees with nothing in our hands to bring.  For modern man, believing in the goodness of man, this notion of helplessness is a sign of weakness and cowardice.  Yet, for the Christian, the very act of humbling oneself means that we receive new life in Christ at our lowest point.  This idea is offensive because it speaks clearly that nothing that we aim to do will coerce God’s hand into letting us into heaven.

Beautifully written and biblically faithful, Dr. Ryken has given us a wonderful book on the cross as a means to understand our glorious salvation.  May this book be read by many.


Thanks to Christian Focus Publications and Cross Focused Reviews for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Growing up with the NIV, the NKJV was not a bible I was familiar with.  This new NKJV Study Bible takes all of the features of the Thomas Nelson Study Bible and makes them better.  Right out of the box I noticed that the Bible was considerably lighter than most study bibles I have read.  Further, the text font was much larger than most study editions, although I’m not quite sure of the size. The aquamarine color was a great touch and the Bible was finely put together, enduring the wear of many coming years of use.
Why is this Bible worth the purchase?  First, the study notes were great for extra handling of particular confusing and messy areas of Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.  Yet, the study notes aren’t an obstruction to the reading of the biblical text.  Clearly, the editors have taken great care in making the text stand out and the notes illuminate certain themes and areas of Scripture.  Second, the NKJV takes into account all t…