The Cross of Christ, by John Stott (InterVarsity, 383 pp.; $14.95, cloth). Reviewed by J. I. Packer, professor of historical and systematic theology at Regent College.

John Stott has been heard to insist that he is not a theologian, but this book refutes any such idea. Written for the golden jubilee of British Inter-Varsity Press, it may fairly be called Stott’s magnum opus. In it he stands revealed as a first-class biblical theologian with an unusually systematic mind, great power of analysis, great clarity of expression, a superb command of his material, and a preacher’s passion to proclaim truth that will change lives. Weightier than Griffith Thomas, though less massive than B. B. Warfield and less metaphysical than Jonathan Edwards, his logical thoroughness, verbal precision, mastery of arrangement, and persistent biblicism put one in mind of all three.

Any fool, they say, can make simple things complicated, but it takes a wise man to make complicated things simple; well, Stott has this wisdom in full measure. Yet his style is free of technicalities, and his easy lucidity hides his learning. He is, in truth, one of the aristocrats of modern Christian exposition.

Arresting and Challenging

This book is something of a milestone, both for Stott and his readers. In one sense, it is unadventurous, for the author is firmly anchored in the conservative evangelical mainstream. In another sense, however, it is highly adventurous, for it ranges over the ethical implications of the Cross for Christians today in a more arresting and challenging way than any I have met so far. As an exposition of all that Scripture says about the Cross, it is more than a treatise on the Atonement. Its four parts deal with the centrality of ...

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