Guest / Limited Access /


If non-Western critics are right, American Christians have a skewed view of Jesus. Asian and African American theologians have consistently emphasized the suffering, compassion, and humiliation of Jesus—not just on the cross but in all stages of his earthly life and ministry. Most Americans, on the other hand, like our Jesus triumphant and our Christianity muscular.

Since the "muscular Christianity" movement of the 19th century, preachers from Billy Sunday to modern pulpiteers have favored a Jesus with (in Mark Driscoll's phrasing) "callused hands and big biceps." Sure, we acknowledge that Jesus suffered on the cross for our sins. But we struggle to express how Christ stands in solidarity with the destitute, diseased, and disenfranchised because we fixate on the glorified Lord and forget the suffering Savior.

Because of this, claims one Japanese theologian, "Christianity in the West has become an anomaly." But perhaps it's no wonder. Theological traditions in the Protestant West have plenty to say about Christus victor—the triumphant Christ—but little to say about Christus dolor—the grief-stricken Christ. Is the American theological tradition deficient in its view of Jesus?

Richard J. Mouw and Douglas A. Sweeney aim to answer this question in The Suffering and Victorious Christ: Toward a More Compassionate Christology (Baker Academic). Mouw (former president of Fuller Seminary) and Sweeney (a professor of church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) have taken the criticisms of their non-European colleagues to heart. They have mined their own traditions (Sweeney's Lutheranism and Mouw's Calvinism) for resources that articulate a more compassionate ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Browse All Book Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueIs Your Faith Slipping into Maintenance Mode?
Subscriber Access Only Is Your Faith Slipping into Maintenance Mode?
Maybe you're not crashing and burning. But it's dangerous to stay stuck in neutral.
RecommendedEvangelicals' Favorite Heresies Revisited by Researchers
Evangelicals' Favorite Heresies Revisited by Researchers
Second study examines what Americans believe about 47 theological statements.
TrendingWhy Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
Why Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
In the face of a candidate’s antics, ‘America’s Pastor’ speaks out.
Editor's PickI Found the Gospel in Communist Romania
I Found the Gospel in Communist Romania
And then I shared it with the man the government sent to kill me.
Christianity Today
Jesus Feels Your Pain
hide thisNovember November

In the Magazine

November 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.