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The Truth of the Cross Hardcover – July 1, 2007
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In this book, Dr. R.C. Sproul surveys the great work accomplished by Jesus Christ through His crucifixion ― the redemption of God’s people. Dr. Sproul considers the atonement from numerous angles and shows conclusively that the cross was absolutely necessary if anyone was to be saved.
Opening the Scriptures, Dr. Sproul shows that God Himself provided salvation by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross, and the cross was always God’s intended method by which to bring salvation. The Truth of the Cross is an uncompromising reminder that the atonement of Christ is an absolutely essential doctrine of the Christian faith, one that should be studied and understood by all believers.
“The gospel is a message of good news that something extraordinary has happened. At the heart of that message is that Jesus, God the Son incarnate, has atoned for the sins of all His people, turning away the righteous wrath of God. The gospel is a cross-shaped message. Sadly, in our day, this message is being reshaped into other forms, and the results are not happy. We can give thanks for this volume by R.C. Sproul, however, because in it he steps into the breach once more to provide a clear, concise, and thoughtful case for the biblical and historic Christian gospel of the cross.”-- Dr. R. Scott Clark
“The cross stands at the very center of our Christian lives. Still, many Christians are confused about the heart of the gospel, for many deviant views are in the air. R.C. Sproul blows the fog away in this wonderfully clear, theologically profound, and pastorally rich work. Learn afresh or anew what God has accomplished in the cross, so that you will boast only in the cross of Jesus Christ.”-- Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner
About the Author
R.C. Sproul (1939-2017) was founder of Ligonier Ministries in Orlando, Fla. He was also first minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew’s Chapel, first president of Reformation Bible College, and executive editor of Tabletalk magazine. His radio program, Renewing Your Mind, is still broadcast daily on hundreds of radio stations around the world and can also be heard online.
- Publisher : Ligonier Ministries (July 1, 2007)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 167 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1567690874
- ISBN-13 : 978-1567690873
- Item Weight : 7.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.5 x 0.69 x 6.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #734,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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R. C. Sproul's name comes up automatically in such a search, as he has empirically shown over 40-plus years that he has a gift of making difficult and controversial topics simple and understandable. The effect of his ministry on my own life is hard to measure, as his books and audio/video sermons and conference messages have increased both my understanding of and love for the gospel, the bible in general, and evangelism as a whole.
When I saw this book become available, I quickly requested a PDF copy from [...] for review. (FCC note: the publisher provided me with a free copy of the book for review purposes; no other benefit or payment was or is forthcoming). I wanted to know if this book fit the bill as a book I could hand to folks who don't have a good understanding of need for the substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross (whether new believers or old ones who really haven't heard much gospel preached in their lives).
The book is short (167 pages), has a lot of good stuff in it, and is accessable by the new believer. Anyone with a high-school education can understand it, as the more complex theological arguments are, typical of Dr. Sproul, made accessible in terms and word-pictures that are easy to understand. There are nine chapters plus a chapter at the end called, 'Questions and Answers'. I have learned over time that the Q&A sessions at the Ligonier (and other) conferences can be some of the best teaching times, so the Q&A chapter in the book is particularly helpful. And, Dr. Sproul is really at his best when dialoging one-on-one with students.
In chapter one, 'The Necessity of an Atonement' Dr. Sproul moves the reader's view of the cross from a religious symbol to a necessary response to the seriousness of sin (that we usually underemphasize). He describes the three basic views of historic Christian theology (Pelagianism, Semi-pelagianism, and Augustinianism) and how the mindset found in each pre-determines one's view of the cross.
In chapter two, 'The Just God' Sproul talks about the holiness of God and how it would be unjust (and therefore un-God-like) for God to ignore sin rather than deal with it.
Chapter three talks about our place (nature) in the debate about sin, and Dr. Sproul uses his idea of Cosmic Treason that he has developed previously to describe the seriousness of sin before God.
Chapters four and five describe Christ as a ransom and a substitute (respectively). Here the importance of substitutionary atonement is developed.
Chapter six is on the humanity of Christ, and the importance to us of his perfect, sinless obedience to God. Without this, his substitution wouldn't mean much to us.
Chapter seven, 'The Suffering Servant' is a development of the old testament view of the messiah. It ties together the two testaments and serves to show the plan of God from the beginning was a salvation by faith alone.
Chapter eight is on the crucifixion itself. Importantly, Sproul points out the curse of God, not the pain of the cross itself, should be the focus of the passion event. Many people were crucified in this era, but only one suffered the full wrath of God at the same time.
Chapter nine is on the limited nature of the atonement (how the atonement applies to the elect). Sproul does an excellent job of communicating that the atonement wasn't a potential atonement actuated by the sinner, but an actual atonement initiated by the savior.
In summary, I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for an overview of the cross and its meaning to the Christian and not wanting a highly technical, seminary-intended-audience coverage of the subject. I've never given a bad review to an R. C. Sproul-authored book, and this one is no exception. I've bought several to hand to folks who are interested. I'll probably make an outline of it for a series of Sunday School lessons for my adult SS class; it is small enough and inexpensive enough to be purchased as 'notes' for such a study. You won't be disappointed in this book.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the message of salvation to all who place their faith in Christ alone. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). Praise God for His goodness and His love and His mercy. The only way that the cross will ever seem glorious is if a person recognizes the depths of his depravity and the nature of the atonement. Christ was crucified and bore the wrath of God for us, His people, so that we would not have to. This verse is most likely one of the most famous in the entire Bible, and though it may have lost its zest to those who have heard it hundreds of times, when it is understood that the Father was "pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grift; if he would render Himself as a guilt offering" (Isaiah 53:10), it is sweeter than any honey and more awesome than anything imaginable: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Hallelujah! Praise the LORD God Almighty!
Here one of my favorite quotes in the book: "I've heard sermons about the nails and the thorns. Granted, the physical agony of crucifixion is a ghastly thing. But thousands of people have died on crosses, and others have had ever more painful, excruciating deaths than that. But only One received the full measure of the curse of God while on a cross. Because of that, I wonder whether Jesus was even aware of the nails and the thorns. He was overwhelmed by the outer darkness. One the cross, he was in hell, totally bereft of the grace and the presence of God, utterly separated from all blessedness of the Father. He became a curse for us so that we one day will be able to see the face of God. God turned His back on His Son so that the light of His countenance will fall on us. It's no wonder Jesus screamed from the depths of His soul." The Cross is not just some "icon" to wear around your neck--it is a symbol of the hope believers have in Christ Jesus. This book presents that truth in an articulate and God-honoring way.
He goes into detail explaining our problem (as fallen human beings), how our sin has affected our relationship with God, and exactly why the Cross is the only solution. After reading this book, one cannot but marvel at the grace of God. A deeper understanding of what both God did, and what Jesus did on the Cross makes for a much deeper, meaningful relationship with God. My life has been impacted by this book and given my a much greater appreciation for, and love of Jesus.