Saturday, February 2, 2008

Review of D.A. Carson--The Cross and Christian Ministry

Author: D.A. Carson

Pages: 137

Publisher: Baker

Price: 8.37 USD

Genre: Christian Ministry/Biblical Studies

Quick Summary:

This work by Carson is actually an overhaul of a series of four talks given at the ICAA (International Council of Accrediting Agencies). In it Carson hopes to show what the Cross of Christ means for preaching and ministering. He faithfully exposits the first four chapters of 1 Corinthians and then moves to 1 Corinthians 9:19-27.

Carson’s aim throughout this work is to show the centrality of the Cross in everything we do in ministry. From the central influence that the Cross has on biblical preaching to the mandate the Cross puts on our lives to take the gospel to the nations; Carson faithfully shows that the Cross is (and should remain to be) the center of all Christian ministry.

This book is not only for pastors; it speaks to every Christian in any form of ministry. This book will prove a much needed resource in the ever changing culture in which we live. If Carson’s advice is heeded we will come to believe that the Cross is central (and effective) in whatever generation it is proclaimed. “Christ crucified” is just as much the power of God unto salvation in our day as it was in Paul’s. As Carson says in his preface, this lesson “must be learned afresh by every generation of Christians, or the gospel will be sidelined by assorted fads.” This work by Carson stands in the way of such fad-driven ministries, and faithfully proclaims Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

What I Liked:

As always D.A. Carson does a wonderful job of biblical exposition. He not only teaches on the Cross and Christian leadership, but he faithfully exposits the texts with which he uses. This book could be used as much as a commentary as a book on ministry. Carson is a wonderful example of expository preaching.

Also of importance is the centrality of the Cross that Carson repeatedly lifts up. One will walk away from this book with a new resolve and confidence in proclaiming Christ and Him crucified. Wonderfully woven throughout this work are ministerial gems. Carson grounds everything in the Word and then applies it faithfully; with warnings and encouragements.

What I Disliked:

A better word than dislike would probably be disappointed. My only disapproval of the book is that it is not long enough. Carson has a wealth of insight on the Cross and Christian ministry; I was saddened after each chapter, as well as at the end of the book, that Carson did not share the depth of his insight with us. Nonetheless, it is a must have to any Christian library.
Should You Buy It?

I would most certainly buy a copy of this magazine. It would be especially effective for any young minister or newly appointed Sunday School teacher. A church could easily benefit by having its ministers go through a small group study with this book as its core. Also, I would be remiss if I did not encourage the reader (especially pastors) to pick up a copy of Arturo Azurdia’s Spirit Empowered Preaching as well as Bryan Chapell’s Christ-Centered Preaching.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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