Three Views Of One Cross
Key Words for Lent, by George W. Barrett (Seabury, 1963, 133 pp., $2.75) and Words and Wonders of the Cross, by Gordon H. Girod (Baker, 1962, 154 pp., $2.50), are reviewed by Paul S. Rees, Vice-President-at-large, World Vision, Pasadena, California.

What these two works have in common is the Crucifixion theme and a basically similar author’s format. Both are divided into two sections. Where Episcopal rector Barrett devotes the first part of his study to an examination of such salient Christian words as repentance, obedience, commitment, grace, suffering, and freedom, Reformed Church pastor Girod reexamines the Saviour’s seven sayings on the cross. Where Barrett calls Part II “Good Friday” and addresses himself to such topics as “Offended by Virtue,” “Tested by Sacrifice,” and “Healed by His Wounds,” Girod (without titular characterization) discusses the “miracles” of Good Friday: darkness at noon, quaking earth, rent veil, opened graves, the raised bodies of the saints.

Beyond this, however, the similarities between the two authors and their works are not remarkable. If one permits himself to overgeneralize (and who doesn’t?), he will want to say that theologically, Barrett is all putty and Girod all rock. This observation is as fair and as unfair to both men as sweeping generalizations usually are.

Author Girod is a rigid predestinarian who finds in Holy Scripture indubitable support for the view that the number of the “elect” was determined prehistorically and solely by God’s decree and that, accordingly, the death of Christ, far from having significance for all men, has meaning only for the elect, for whom, and for whom alone, it did provide an atonement (“the atonement is not universal; it is not ...

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