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The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians Paperback – February 1, 2004
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From the Back Cover
Today we commonly see images of the cross adorning churches, dangling from necklaces, and gleaming from lapels. Yet the image that is so sanitized for us today was grotesque and abhorrent to those living in the first century. It was a symbol of evil, torture, and shame. It is this realistic and horrifying view of the cross that should call us to Christian ministry and compel us to share the Good News of Christ's triumph over death.
Through his exposition of 1 Corinthians, D. A. Carson presents a comprehensive view of what the death of Christ means in preaching and ministering to God's people. He confronts the issues of factionalism, servant-leadership, shaping "world" Christians, and the source of knowledge in order to help Christian leaders learn principles for dynamic, cross-centered worship.
D. A. Carson (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author or editor of over forty books, including The King James Version Debate; How Long, O Lord?; A Call to Spiritual Reformation; and Justification and Variegated Nomism.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is one of several smaller volumes Carson has written as expositions of parts of NT epistles. He has written one on discipleship form a part of Philippians, and Showing the Spirit is also from 1 Corinthians, but covers chapters 12-14.
This book has become something of a modern classic among certain readerships in the evangelical Reformed tradition, often recommended by people like Mark Dever, C.J. Mehanney, and the like.
This is NOT a normal Christian book on leadership. It is a biblical exposition of 1 Corinthians 1-4, 9 with an eye to Christian leadership as it relates to and is formed by a theology of the Cross. Yet it is a book on Christian leadership, since the first epistle to the Corinthians is much a defense by the apostle of his theological thinking undergurding his unorthodox leadership style- a style thought asinine and foolish in first century circles of Greek Rhetoricians (of which Paul was considered one since he was a traveling "preacher") and apparently to the Corinthian church also. Its lessons are more contemporaneous than one would expect from a 2000 year old text given certain showy and factional trends in American evangelicalism.Read more ›
_The Cross and Christian Ministry_ is a small book (137 pages) that offers a commentary on chapters one through four and nine of 1 Corinthians. As the title implies, Carson is concerned with how the cross of Christ is central to Christian ministry, whether the topic is preaching, the role and function of the Holy Spirit, factionalism, leadership, etc. Though this is one of Carson's smaller works, it is packed to the hilt with intense theological reflection, cutting questions, and convicting applications.
What I really connect with in many of Carson's writings is the maturity and wisdom with which he addresses many sensitive issues. This is manifest in his ability to view issues from both sides, even when those sides give the appearance as polar opposites. For example, in 1 Corinthians 4 when addressing whether a Christian is to judge others, Carson remarks:
"...on the one hand we find Jesus saying, 'Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you' (Matt. 7:1-2). On the other hand, he says, 'Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment' (John 7:24). This running tension is very strong throughout the New Testament. There is much that condemns what might be called 'judgmentalism.Read more ›
In this book, Carson again brings these two things together as he runs through the first several chapters of 1 Corinthians (and one later chapter) to provide a glimpse into the mind of Paul and his approach to ministry. Whereas we sometimes have a tendency to read small sections of the Scriptures in isolation, this book does an excellent job of drawing out the common thread that runs through these chapters - the centrality of the cross in Christian ministry. Never does Paul's mind wander far from the source of his salvation and D. A. Carson does a great job of showing that from these chapters in 1 Corinthians.
Especially if you are a pastor, I believe you will find this book to be a worthy reminder of what is central in ministry and it will be a fresh call to take up your cross and follow Jesus. (But even if you are not a pastor - as I am not - you will still benefit greatly from reading this book.)
Although Carson's ability to synthesise Paul's teaching is admirable, he is perhaps stretching the point somewhat in his chapter headings - Paul only uses the word "cross" twice, in 1:17-18. He also uses the word "crucified" in 2:8, but by chapter 3 it would seem that Paul is no longer talking about the cross. There seems to be no particular reason why the cross should be seen as the over-arching theme of these passages. Carson counters this by saying that in the first four chapters Paul is addressing the 'bitter factionalism' of the Corinthian believers,and that behind this factionalism lay a misunderstanding of the gospel, "and in particular the centrality of the cross" (p. 70).
Carson is correct in his view that in order to deal with the factionalism present at Corinth, Paul had to address several misconceptions related to the nature of genuine Christian leadership (p. 93). In this way, Carson strives to bring out the unity of these chapters: the issues of factionalism, leadership, and wisdom are all closely related, and are intertwined throughout the first four chapters of the epistle. He says, for example, that the Corinthians love of pomp, prestige, rhetoric and so on, "demonstrated that they had not reflected very deeply on the entailments of the gospel of the crucified Messiah." This raises the question, however, of why Paul does not make more of this connection.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Solid read on Christian ministry and leadership... er servanthood. Learned much from "The a God who is There"as well. Read morePublished 26 days ago by EKim
Carson does an excellent job of expounding the Scripture and only drawing applications that are in the scope of the biblical teaching. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
The Cross and Christian Ministry was very clear and hermaneutically sound. It points to the heart of the issue facing both the church today as well as throughout history. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Christopher Eric Taylor
Loved the book. Dr. Carson has uncovered the meaning of the text and applied it to the current issues confronting the church. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dr. Robert L. Burris
Fantastic thoughtful and extremely practical encouragement and exhortation. Every Christian leader should read and teach this to their teams. I know I will!Published 11 months ago by Stevedredden
This is a clear explanation of what Christian leaders, not just pastors, need to see to properly lead. It shows how we are to be like Paul in his vision, purpose and attitude. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Dale Sigler
This book was basically an exegesis of select chapters of 1st Corinthians with a few nuggets on leadership thrown in.Published 20 months ago by The Beetle