The 21st thesis of Luther's Heidelberg Disputation makes the audacious claim that "a theology of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theology of the cross calls the thing what it actually is." By these standards, 2008 was the year of the cross. Brutal, often savage honesty became the watchword in the arts. Critics heralded Roberto Bolaño's posthumous epic, 2666, with its shattering litany of rape and murder of Mexican border women, the best novel of the year. Heath Ledger's unyielding portrayal of anarchic evil as the Joker in The Dark Knight propelled the film to blockbuster status. Even Christian novelist William P. Young built The Shack, his best-selling depiction of a man's reconciliation with the Trinity, upon the bloody disappearance of his daughter. Clearly, artists and audiences longing to "call the thing what it actually is" are lifting the veil of postmodern ambiguity.
Never one to pass on cultural trends, controversial Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll rejoins theologian Gerry Breshears in Death by Love: Letters from the Cross (Crossway) to present their take on the theology of the cross. They are convinced that "there is no such thing as Christian community or Christian ministry apart from a rigorous theology of the cross applied to the lives of real people." To demonstrate the power of the cross, the authors write letters to individuals from Driscoll's past in whom one facet of "the great jewel of the cross" is made "intensely practical for that person's life." Each of the 12 chapters deals with a specific doctrine such as expiation, propitiation, or ransom, and is followed by brief "Answers to Common Questions" penned by Breshears. Confronted with the harsh reality of human sin, the authors believe that "what ...1