Thursday, September 12, 2013

Book Review: One With Christ

One With Christ. An Evangelical Theology of Salvation. Marcus Peter Johnson. 2013. Crossway. 256 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

I hate having to rate books on Amazon--especially Christian books.   It is hard to balance the theology of the book, the spiritual or theological content of a book AND the way that information is conveyed or expressed. A book can contain theological truth but be so inaccessible that it makes it almost impossible to comprehend. Such is the case with Johnson's One With Christ. I believe the significance of his message. What I was able to comprehend, usually when he was providing summaries and making formal conclusions, I tended to agree with. But there was so much of this one that was too complex, too intense, too mind-boggling. For scholars and theologians, for those with a heavy background in deep theology, this one might seem manageable. For the average reader, however, it is a struggle. I can't recommend a book this inaccessible to most readers.

I was pleased every time I saw Johnson quoting Martin Luther or John Calvin. In some ways, I was eager for these passages, these quotes, because I found them more accessible than the main narrative. That wasn't always the case, however.  I used Johnson's quotes of other people to make some sense of Johnson's own text. And without his conclusions at the end of each chapter I would have been horribly lost.

I do think the book was biblical--at least what I could understand. I think his subject is quite important; his main point being that believers need to give proper credit to being IN CHRIST and united to Christ's person. That it is only because we are IN CHRIST that we have obtained salvation, been justified, etc. It is because of this extraordinary vital connection with Christ--that the Christian life is possible. This is something we read of in the Bible over and over and over again. Those little phrases "in Christ" or "in Him". This book contemplates this subject on a grand level. And it is definitely a worthy subject.

Favorite quotes:
Jesus does not send the Spirit to the church in order that she might become holy in Jesus's absence. Rather, Jesus sends the Spirit in order that he, through the Spirit, might be present as her holiness. (126)
Once joined to Christ, believers will never be separated from him. This is not because our grasp on Christ is so strong, but because his grip on us is unbreakable. (174)
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

1 comment:

Monica said...

You know, I feel like if you are going to write a book about Christ or Salvation, Grace, anything that an "unsaved" reader might benefit from you should NOT write over their heads! How can you possible win someone for the Kingdom if they can't understand what you are trying to say? Boggles the mind!