Cross Words

Paul Wells

Precious Seed

Paperback, 252pp. Published by Christian Focus Publications, Geanies House, Fearn, Ross-shire IV20 1TW, UK.
Price £7.99, ISBN 1 84550 118 7

Cross Words is sub-titled ’The Biblical Doctrine of the Atonement’, the author indicating in the opening chapter that the object of the book is to examine ‘why it was necessary for God in Jesus Christ to take on Himself human nature, to redeem people from sin and death by dying for them in the flesh’. Chapters 2-6 examine the relationship existing between God and men and the necessity for the cross. Within this section there is a most helpful chapter on the ‘Scandal of the Cross’ in which the writer, on the basis of the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1 verses 18- 25, considers the ‘scandal’ of the cross in contemporary society. Chapters 7-12 explore what the cross involved, considering, amongst other themes, the cross and violence, sacrifice and abandonment. Finally, chapters 13-17 consider results of the work of the cross such as redemption, righteousness and reconciliation.

This is a scholarly and technical book, in consequence of which some will not find it the easiest to read. There are some interesting and helpful chapters and some very quotable comments, for example, ‘sin can only be trivialised when the holiness of God is treated lightly’. However, in the early chapters the writer hints that in connection with the cross he adheres to a line of teaching which he subsequently clearly states in the penultimate chapter, namely that Christ died for the elect, what exponents of that view call ‘particular redemption’ but more often referred to as ‘limited atonement’. Since I myself totally reject this view I am unable to recommend this book to others.

[Our thanks to Richard Catchpole, South Norwood, London for this review]