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Proclaiming a Cross-centered Theology (Together for the Gospel) Hardcover – 18 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway USA(Good News Publishers) Main Account; First edition (18 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433502062
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433502064
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 16.1 x 1.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 895,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Some of the leading voices in evangelical Christianity reaffirm the importance of preaching biblical theology for the health of our churches. Loving, teaching, and rightly dividing the Word of God is every pastor's privilege and responsibility.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Worthwhile Reading 6 May 2010
By Aaron Davis - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Proclaiming a Cross-centered Theology (Together for the Gospel)is essentially the written form of the Together For The Gospel 2008 conference. Reading it is the same as being there, so long as you also do the following:

1) Imagine the voice and preaching style of the individual authors as you read. (Caution: don't mix them. If you read Sproul and think Mahaney, it will get very confusing)
2) Invite several thousand friends over to sing various worship songs before reading each chapter.
3) Imagine the witty banter and thoughtful insight from the authors after each chapter.
4) Ask a friend or relative to surprise you with new books in your chair every time you leave the room.
5) Have a horse near you. A doll, a picture, a real live pony, any horse will do. You are, after all, suppose to be in Louisville.

Ok, so its not the same as being there, but for those of us that weren't at T4G08, its nice to have the teaching all in once book.

Since this book is a compilation of the T4G sermons, each chapter, like T4G itself is only loosely connected to any other. The one thing each has in common is a strong desire to proclaim the Gospel of the cross.

First up, is Ligon Duncon. His chapter, Sound Doctrine, is an argument for systematic theology and clear doctrine. He exposes the idea that we could be "doctrine-less" as being a doctrine in and of itself and stresses that the question is not should we or should we not have doctrine, but what doctrine should we have? He carefully reveals the ideas which question doctrine and thoroughly explains that doctrine is necessary and useful and that systematic theology is every bit as biblical as biblical theology.

Next up is Thabiti Anyabwile. Thabiti presents one of the freshest and profound arguments against racism I have ever read. As someone who once made "Jeremiah Wright look like a poster child for the Boy Scouts," he argues that "the trajectory of race is always toward racism and an unbridgeable otherness." He rejects the very idea of race, reminding us that we are descendants of Adam. We are of one race. Any acknowledgment of other sources or other races may very well suggest another savior. To Thabiti, the idea of race is contrary to the gospel. He acknowledges that we may have ethnic differences among us, and he certainly agrees that we have biological differences, but he urges that we realize four grounds for unity: 1) Unity in Adam, 2) Unity in Christ, 3) Unity in the Church, and 4) Unity in glory.

John MacArthur is next. He addresses the doctrine of total depravity. Claiming that "soft preaching makes hard people," MacArthur calls for a renewed zeal of this once common doctrine. As someone that is often outside of the reformed camp, I appreciate the careful way in which MacArthur explains this subject. This is a valuable chapter for the Calvinist and non-Calvinist alike.

Mark Dever presents a defense against five "improvements" to the Gospel. He urges pastors to "preach the Gospel we have been given" and be aware of various trends in theology that attempt to make the gospel social, larger, relevant, personal, or kinder. He argues that all the good points of these ideas are found within the Gospel, but to focus on any of them alone is to step away from the Gospel.

[For clarity, Dever has included and addendum written by Greg Gilbert entitled What is the Gospel? In it, Gilbert claims that the Gospel is the "declaration of the Kingdom together with the means of entering it." Gilbert's article has been expanded and published as a book now. What Is the Gospel? (9marks) is on my reading list and will be reviewed here soon.]

Sproul's contribution is a look at the Curse Motif of atonement. This is a hard hitting message which reminds us of the depth of what was accomplished at the cross. He charges his readers with this, "That is the reality we must make clear to our people - either they will bear the curse of God themselves or they will flee to the One who took it for them." This is an excellent explanation and argument for the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, which sets us up for what is next.

Al Mohler provides eye-opening evidence for the fact that a most basic doctrine, that Jesus Christ bore the punishment for our sins, is under attack. As I read this chapter, I realized how much of hatred of substitutionary atonement I have heard in popular Christians books lately. Mohler gives an excellent argument for why questioning this doctrine is "an assault on the integrity of the gospel of Jesus Christ." This was one of the most valuable chapters in the book.

The last two chapters are meant to encourage, and they do it well. John Piper provides a walk through Hebrews and what it says about the Supremacy of Christ. He concludes, "Let us go to him outside the camp. For here we have no lasting city. But we seek a city which is to come, whose builder is God and whose light is the Lamb."

Finally, C.J. Mahaney contributes a message for pastors. He understands well, the conflict between a great conference, message, or book, and the day to day struggle of pastoring a "regular" church. He urges pastors to be grateful rather than complaining, to minister in faith (how often we neglect that!), and to love the people we serve. It is a simple and profound charge.

I was introduced to T4G by attending the 2010 conference. It was wonderful. It was truly the best conference I have attended and I wish I had known about it for 2006 and 2008. It is good that the messages are available in this format. This is an excellent book for any pastor or layperson. It is thoughtful and thought-provoking, and well worth the time to read.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful, Biblical Truth 14 Dec. 2009
By Matthew Robbins - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Over the past 6 months or so, I've spent a lot of time reading books and blogs written by people quite a ways apart from me on the theological spectrum. Some of this was because those were the books I had a chance to review; some was simply me trying to understand the views of those people and attempt to formulate responses to their questions about biblical doctrines I hold dear.

The results of this? I now have a good understanding about where many of these people are coming from. I also, however, have developed a good deal of frustration with hearing biblical truth not only questioned, but outright rejected and even maligned.

That's why I was so happy to get the chance to review Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology, a collection of essays based on the Together For The Gospel Conference talks. Al Mohler, Mark Dever, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur and other fine theologians contributed, and the book is a much-welcomed respite from the constant doubting and deconstructionism going on in many corners of evangelical theology. Instead, we get a beautiful, biblically-based collection of truth that fights back against the attacks of liberalism and paints a picture of the gospel that has honestly refreshed me.

Every chapter oozes the gospel, but some did stand out to me. Thabiti Anyabwile's essay on humanity's common ancestry as Image-bearers and the effects of this on race relations was fantastic and presented the issues in a way I'd never heard. R.C. Sproul's essay on the "Curse Motif of the Atonement" was spectacular, setting the foundation for understanding the gospel in a way that has been almost completely lost among my generation. Finally, Al Mohler's defense of substitutionary atonement is a great example of why I consider him one of the greatest intellectual Christians of our time. His history lesson on the development of attacks against the doctrine helps set things in perspective when you hear the latest "conversation" about it.

John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, and Greg Gilbert also contribute helpful essays.

These are the men I most admire when it comes to theology, and this compilation of gospel-defending, bible-embracing, God-honoring essays was perfectly timed for me. In a world where everyone, even many Christians, want to question everything, even the things God has made abundantly clear and beautiful, these are some of the men who are consistently, clearly, and astutely articulating the truth. The truths in this book can serve as an anchor for us against the siege of deconstructionism. Questions are good, but they need to have answers. We don't have them all, but many of those answers, especially pertaining to the gospel and the cross of Christ, can be found in this book. I'm very thankful for it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Keep the cross central in your theology. 7 Dec. 2009
By PastoralMusings - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Proclaiming A Cross-Centered Theology is a product of Together for The Gospel, a coalition of concerned Christians who seek to maintain the purity of the gospel and encourage others to do the same.
The 2008 conference featured speakers Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, John MacArthur, John Piper, Al Mohler, Thabiti Anyabwile, R.C. Sproul, and others. This quite the impressive lineup. Transcripts of each speaker's contribution to the conference form the content of this book.
The main subject is declared by the book title, Proclaiming A Cross-Centered Theology. The goal is to uphold the gospel of Christ as central to the theology that is proclaimed from Christian pulpits.
Ligon Duncan leads out in chapter one by calling for sound doctrine. Duncan insists that systematic theology is not only necessary, but unavoidable if we are to speak of Christ. Taking the time to dispel some myths concerning a conflict between exegetical theology, Biblical theology, and systematic theology, Duncan shows that we all have a system of thought that we operate out of, and calls for us to recognize the need to use systematic theology in the church.
Thabiti Ayabwile shows how all are made in the image of God. In so doing, he emphasized to us all that racism is contrary to the gospel of Christ, and can be seen as a denial of the gospel, or at least a compromise of the gospel.
John MacArthur tackled the huge topic of human depravity and inability.
Mark Dever gave to us "Improving the Gospel: Exercises in Unbiblical Theology." Dever demonstrated how the "new and improved" versions of the gospel are actually deficient. Whether men seek to make the gospel relevant by a contextualization that actually changes the gospel, whether we expand the gospel by embracing as fellow laborers those who deny the gospel (especially relevant in the days of Evangelicals and Catholics Together and the Manhattan Declaration), Dever calls us to simply embrace the Biblical truth of the gospel and stand upon it.
Greg Gilbert gives an overview of what the gospel actually is. One would like to think that Christians do not need to be reminded of this, yet we sadly need this reminder.
Sproul takes the "Curse Motif of The Atonement" and demonstrates to us that Jesus became a curse for us when He went to the cross and died for our sins. This seems to have resonated with everyone at the conference, possibly being considered not only the best presentation of the conference, but the best ever spoken by Sproul.
R. Albert Mohler Jr (Al) spoke concerning the battle against penal substitutionary atonement (PSA). His question is, "Why do they hate it so?" Having read this, it is obvious that the battle rages on even among those who call themselves evangelicals. Mohler declares that PSA is Biblical and should be embraced by those who desire to be true to the gospel.
John Piper is certainly in his element when he speaks from the book of Hebrews to show us how the supremacy of Christ can create radical Christian sacrifice. This chapter will certainly be an encouragement to those who are facing hard times for the sake of the gospel. It also has the potential to lay a foundation within our hearts for the times when we must suffer for Jesus' sake.
Last, but not least, C.J. Mahaney gives us "Sustaining The Pastor's Soul". Mahaney has the peculiar gift of being able to take his Bible and bring out to us exactly what we need to pick us up off of the floor, or drag us out of the pit of self pity, or even the slough of despond. I honestly can see myself going back to this chapter in times of discouragement.
This book is a call for us to come Together for The Gospel. T4G has done a good job, and this book is indicative of the work that they have been doing for several years.
Many times transcripts of speeches/sermons show the marks of having been spoken and leave something to be desired when one reads them. Whether the credit goes to the speakers or to the editors, I do not know. I do know that one should not have this problem when reading Proclaiming A Cross-Centered Theology.
Many thanks to Angie Cheatham of Crossway for providing PastoralMusings with this review copy.
A good book, with contributions from prominent conservative 18 Sept. 2014
By John O. Gould, Topeka, KS - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A good book, with contributions from prominent conservative, reformed theologians. Each of the essays is well thought-out, and can be read as stand alone pieces. I thought that it might have more to say about Christian suffering, enduring persecution, and the personal sacrifice required of every Christian, and in this I was somewhat disappointed. But the actual purpose of the book was to present the cross as the center and starting point of Gospel proclamation, and this modest volume succeeded in that effort.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Together for the Gospel 1 Feb. 2010
By Roger D. Miracle - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book was recieved sooner than expected and the content was just what was expected. Ecellent service and an excellent read!!
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