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Scandalous [Paperback]

D. A. Carson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

19 Feb 2010
Nothing is more central to the Bible than Jesus' death and resurrection, over one weekend in Jerusalem about two thousand years ago. Attempts to make sense of the Bible that do not integrate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus are doomed to failure. Jesus' own followers did not expect him to be crucified; they certainly did not expect him to rise again. Yet after these events their thinking and attitudes were so transformed that they could see the sheer inevitability that Jesus would die on a cross and leave an empty tomb behind, and absolutely everything in their lives was changed. However much the Bible insists on the historicity of these events, it is as important to know what they mean as to know that they happened. With clarity and conviction, D. A. Carson unpacks what some of the earliest witnesses wrote, in five New Testament texts, to provide an introductory explanation of Jesus death and resurrection. CONTENTS Preface 1 The Ironies of the Cross: Matthew 27:27 51a The Man Who Is Mocked as King Is the King The Man Who Is Utterly Powerless Is Powerful The Man Who Can't Save Himself Saves Others The Man Who Cries Out in Despair Trusts God 2 The Center of the Whole Bible: Romans 3:21 26 Where the Passage Falls in Romans What Paul Establishes 3 The Strange Triumph of a Slaughtered Lamb: Revelation 12. The Occasion for Satanic Rage The Reasons for Satanic Rage How Christians Overcome Satanic Rage 4 A Miracle Full of Surprises: John 11:1 53 Jesus Receives a Desperate Plea for Help Jesus Comes Up Against Devastating Loss Jesus Confronts Implacable Death Jesus Comes Up Against Moral and Spiritual Death 5 Doubting the Resurrection of Jesus: John 20:24 31 The Cry of a Disappointed Skeptic The Adoration of an Astonished Skeptic The Function of a Converted Skeptic

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: ivp (19 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844744167
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844744169
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 288,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Don Carson is Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author of over forty-five books, including 'The Gagging of God', 'An Introduction to the New Testament', 'A Call to Spiritual Reformation', 'How Long, O Lord?' and 'The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God'. He has served as a pastor and is an active guest speaker in church and academic settings around the world.

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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expostion of some key gospel passages 18 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback
There was a time when the definition of an "evangelical" was someone who liked John Stott and Billy Graham. Today, perhaps one could suggest that Don Carson has a similarly defining role, alongside people like John Piper. Certainly Carson's books are well known and sell widely. He is recognized as a gifted expositor of God's word and a sought-after conference speaker.

Scandalous is a short book closely based on a series of sermons Carson preached at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. It reads very much like a series of sermons. He chose five passages and exposited them verse by verse. The passages might initially seem like a surprising combination. But the theme underlying each of them is the vital place of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

It is great to see the resurrection given such prominence alongside the cross, even in the title of this book. My own book, Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything, was published in the same month, as well as Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life by Sam Allberry. Both of these books argue that the resurrection has been neglected in our teaching and in Christian books. It is good, therefore, to see a man like Don Carson turn his gaze to this vital subject. Since Raised With Christ and Lifted are both more thematic, this series of expositions would complement them nicely.

Carson's exposition of Matthew 27 focuses on the ironies of the cross. How could the King of kings be mocked? How could the one who appeared so powerless in truth be the most powerful being of all?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book - Highly Recommended. 8 Dec 2010
By Han
Format:Paperback
This book by Don Carson is just amazing - and has really challenged and developed the way that I think about the cross of Jesus. Don Carson is a brilliant author and excellent theologian. This book has led me to understand more about the cross, more about grace, more about God's sacrifice, more about the enormity and eternal wonder of Jesus' crucifixion. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about Jesus' death and resurrection, and what that means for us today. As Carson to brilliantly pointed out in this book, Jesus Christ, on that cross, cried 'Father, why have you forsaken me?' so that for the rest of eternity I, you, wouldn't have to.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential foundational stuff 23 April 2010
Format:Paperback
Very good essential foundational stuff. An eye-opener for both new Christians and those a little further along the way. Encouraging uplifting and challenging.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, Biblical, and Powerful 8 Mar 2010
By Matthew Robbins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
D.A. Carson can preach.

I was introduced to this preaching when he spoke at my church's Bible conference a few years back on the person of Jesus Christ. I was blown away by Dr. Carson's intellect, his ability to point out things in scripture I'd never seen before, his passion for Christ, and the witty, entertaining way in which he was able to do all of this. He simply made the Bible come alive to me in way I'd never experienced before.

His new book, Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, did exactly the same thing.

Carson examines 5 different texts from the Bible from Matthew 27, Romans 3, Revelation 12, John 11, and John 20. These are heavy passages, dealing with the crucifixion of Jesus, his raising of Lazarus from the dead, and the disciple Thomas' doubting. The other passages tackle "the center of the whole Bible" (Romans 3), which connects the Old and New Testaments, as well John's prophetic visions in Revelation. Difficult parts of the Bible to explain, to say the least, but Carson is able to plumb the depths of these theologically packed passages in such an insightful and concise way as to make them manageable and beautiful. The book is simply a feast for those who love to hear the Bible taught passionately and clearly.

It's hard to pick a favorite chapter as they were all fantastic, but I really enjoyed the discussion of the stories of Lazarus and Thomas. We've heard these stories so many times; it would be easy for them to feel familiar and less powerful than they should. Carson's talent doesn't allow for this response. He brings you right into the settings of the passages, and you feel like you're watching the story unfold before you for the first time, seeing the actions of Jesus in completely new ways. I've yet to find many other authors who have this skill for making the scriptures so real to me.

These 5 chapters were given as sermons at Mars Hill Church in Seattle back in December of 2008 as part of a Resurgence Conference. I was lucky enough to catch these sermons online. I don't always enjoy reading a book after hearing the material preached live, but the writing in Scandalous makes you feel like you're sitting there, talking personally to Dr. Carson as he explains and expounds upon the deep truths of scripture. He simply has a gift for exposition and it shines gloriously in this book.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Advancing the Gospel 11 Mar 2010
By John A. Bird - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Do you want to see the greatest evidence of the love of God? Go to the cross. Do you want to see the greatest evidence of the justice of God? Go to the cross. It is where wrath and mercy meet. Holiness and peace kiss each other. The climax of redemptive history is the cross." So says D.A. Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, in his new book, Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus.

Dr. Carson has been teaching since 1978, and it shows. He addresses deep and profound truths with clarity. What's the difference between propitiation and expiation? Carson cannot only explain it, but he can interest you while he does.He certainly held my interest. He even made me laugh. But more importantly, he informed me, convicted me, and challenged me. There was something highlighter-worthy on every page.

Scandalous has five parts. Each is distinct, keeping the book interesting, yet each ties into the main topic: the cross and resurrection. Part one looks at four "Ironies of the Cross" unfolded in Matthew's gospel. Dr. Carson says that these ironies "show attentive readers what is really going on." Part two is an unpacking of "The Center of the Whole Bible," Romans 3:21-26. It's here that Carson explains the meaning of the cross and why it was necessary. Part three deals with Satan's rage and how it is overcome. In part four, Carson looks at the meaning behind the raising of Lazarus, and in part five, he discusses Thomas, the "converted skeptic."

I'm usually not excited about eschatology, but I loved Dr. Carson's exposition of Revelation 12. The main point here is Satan's rage against the woman (the believing community), and how it is overcome. How are believers to function as salt and light in light of the enemy? "We dare not withdraw into a little holy huddle. But we must recognize with every ounce of our being that what finally transforms society is the gospel," which is advanced by the "word of our testimony." What will happen in the meantime? "The world will continue to get both better and worse. The gospel will advance, and so will opposition." But even in the face of opposition, even in the face of Satan's rage, believers can be confident. The victory "has been secured by the blood of the Lamb."

As this book is about the cross and the resurrection, which is the heart of the gospel, a theme that continues to run through the book is this advancing of the gospel mentioned above. What was the main point that Jesus made in raising Lazarus? "I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever believes in me will never die," (John 11:25-26). Jesus bears witness to himself. And John, in recording the event, bears witness to Jesus. He advances the gospel.

And what is the point of the story of Thomas the skeptic?

"He saw and believed, and by his witness, by his confession he still speaks and, by God's grace, generates faith in countless later generations who come to share his faith because of his witness to the truth. Like Thomas, because of Thomas, they believe, they have eternal life, and they are blessed...Here is the function of a converted skeptic. And thus, it's the function of every believer."

But evangelism is not the focus of the book. The focus, instead, is Jesus Christ and what He accomplished. And it is this focus which makes me so highly recommend this book.

"In all of our theologizing, in all of our debates about how the New Testament uses the Old Testament and the precise meaning of inerrancy and all the other subjects that must be addressed, do not ever lose the heart of the issue: 'God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ' (2 Cor. 5:19)."

Thank you, Dr. Carson, for faithfully advancing the gospel.

I received a review copy of this book from Crossway.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Scandalously Incomplete 19 Jun 2011
By J. Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
D.A. Carson's book "Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus" is made-up of five edited sermons preached at one of Mark Driscoll's Resurgence conferences.

The first chapter explores "The Ironies of the Cross," showing spiritual truth in spite of spiritual blindness. Next, Carson unpacks the Gospel and describes how it flows from the cross - along the way giving one of the most helpful explanations of propitiation I have ever read.

The third chapter focuses our attention on the church and how victory is assured over Satan because of the cross. Carson then explains the death and resurrection of Lazarus and what it reveals about our need for and provision of salvation through Jesus. Finally, the story of Thomas is used to discuss the ever present problem of doubt.

I would recommend this book as a resource to understand many of the important implications arising from the literal death and resurrection of Jesus. But I have one serious complaint (as someone once said, I speak as a fly to a theological giant):

There is no exposition of the resurrection story. Carson chose to deal only with the implications of the event as it touched his other points. Consequently, this is a fine book on Christ's death. However, it fails to fulfill its promise to explain the resurrection, leaving me disappointed that Carson's exegetical gifts were not brought to bear on a part of the Gospel that is so often neglected.

Indeed, most tend to focus exclusively on the cross. But the cross without the resurrection is merely a story about a good man. The resurrection changes Jesus from being apparently a "good example," to what he really is: the living Son of God. Let us remember and live in light of the resurrection not just during the Easter season, but until our Lord returns again - in his resurrected body.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gospel Essentials: Power and Truth 8 April 2010
By Mike Robinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
First-rate scholar and exegetical authority D.A. Carson delivers an outstanding book on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Scriptural texts that he expounds are:

- The Cross (Matthew 27:27-51)

- The Center of the Whole Bible (Romans 3:21-26)

- The Triumph of the Lamb (Revelation 12)

- Lazarus Raised (John 11:1-53)

- The Resurrection of Jesus (John 20.24-31).

A natural and unforced, yet potent and emotive read.

Romans 3:21-26 "But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."

The reader will especially enjoy Carson's exposition of Romans 3:21-26, his astute analysis of John 11 and the raising of Lazarus, and his view of doubting the Resurrection: a look at Thomas before and after his Resurrection faith. This engaging read is filled with precise exegesis and s enjoyable, winsome, yet profoundly deep.

D.A. Carson is evangelical and Reformed with a heart and a style that reaches all modes of Christians and many non-Christians as he encourages them to trust in the truth and goodness of God in Christ.

Countless Christian leaders recommend this work including:

--Mark Driscoll (Pastor, Mars Hill Church)
--Mark Dever (Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church)
--Bill Kynes (Pastor, Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church)
--Stephen T. Um (Pastor, Citylife Presbyterian Church)
--Crawford W. Loritts, Jr. (Pastor, Fellowship Bible Church).

This is a fine book concerning truly vital and significant subjects.
also see:
Truth, Knowledge and the Reason for God: The Defense of the Rational Assurance of Christianity
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Reminder of the Offensiveness of the Cross 8 July 2010
By John Gardner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Based on a series of lectures D.A. Carson delivered at Seattle's Mars Hill Church in 2008, this book investigates five aspects of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection that are particularly scandalous. After all, the message of the cross is an offense (Galatians 5:11). It is a stumbling block (1 Corinthians 1:23). It is folly to the weak and perishing... but it is also the power of God for those who are being saved (1 Corinthians 1:18). Too often we glaze over the real meaning of the cross. We don't realize how truly scandalous it is, nor how wonderful it is for those who believe in Christ. Thankfully, Carson has given us this great book to teach us a familiar message in a fresh new way!

The first chapter deals with four ironies of the cross: The Man Who Is Mocked as King Is the King; The Man Who Is Utterly Powerless Is Powerful; The Man Who Can't Save Himself Saves Others; and The Man Who Cries Out in Despair Trusts God. In each of these, Carson shows how there are multiple layers of irony in the text, and how understanding this irony "enables hearers and readers to see what is really going on. [It] provides a dimension of depth and color that would otherwise be missing."

In chapter two, Carson unpacks the passage which Martin Luther called "the center of the whole Bible": Romans 3:21-26. This is a very useful exposition, as it clearly shows how God's justice and righteousness were displayed in the death of His Son, and how the old covenant Law was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, making way for the availability of an undeserved righteousness apart from the Law. Perhaps most helpful is the careful differentiation explained between the definitions of "propitiation" and "expiation". These are some weighty theological concepts made accessible in layman's terms.

The third chapter deals with Satan's war against the offspring of the woman in Revelation 12. Carson shows how Christ's death and resurrection defeated Death and Satan, and gives us eschatological hope. In this life we will still have tribulation. Satan is violently waging war against God's people, because his time is short and he knows it. The cross gives us confidence that we have a share in Christ's ultimate victory over evil!

Next, Carson turns his attention to the miraculous resurrection of Lazarus from the dead. There are many surprising elements to this miracle, particularly when seen in light of its context directly preceding Christ's Passion week. Each section of this book contains lots of great quote material, but this chapter may have the most. Here's one example: "Death is not normal when you look at it from the vantage point of what God created in the first place. It is normal this side of the fall, but that is not saying much. It is an enemy. It is ugly. It destroys relationships. It is to be feared. It is repulsive. There is something odious about death. Never ever pretend otherwise. But death does not have the last word."

The final chapter is especially helpful in this age of skepticism, as Carson investigates the doubts of Thomas the Disciple. He looks at several various causes of doubt (present in both believers and nonbelievers), and how each cause requires different solutions. The tone is optimistic, as we see the conversion of Thomas' doubt into adoration, and discover that even the most hardened doubters still have the gift of salvation by grace through faith open to them. The message of the cross, when understood and accepted fully, truly changes everything.

A relatively short book (176 pages) and written in a very conversational manner, Scandalous has the feel of a light-reading book even while covering very heavy material. Carson does an excellent job of maintaining the reader's interest throughout. I highly recommend this book to any believer, no matter how well-versed you may think you are in the cross. This is one message we can never hear too much!
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