Book Review: Scandalous

A while back, Westminster Bookstore was having a half off sale on all of their Re:Lit material. You may not know this about me, but I’m a pretty big Re:Lit fan. I took my majors seminar with Justin Holcomb and we even played on a city championship softball team. Anyways, during that sale, I picked up a copy of Scandalous by DA Carson.

Scandalous is a book on the cross and the resurrection. It was take. From a few of Carson’s lectures that he gave at a conference at Mars Hill a couple of years ago. Thus, it is a relatively easy read, and is interspersed with stories because Carson was trying to connect with a presumably younger audience.

I enjoyed the first two chapters the most in this work. The first was is on the ironies of the cross while the second is on the center of the whole Bible.

In the ironies of the cross Carson lays out the scandal that is the cross. How can a king die like this? Especially a king that is as all powerful as Jesus claimed to have been? He looks at the way the crowd treats Jesus and how the soldiers treat Jesus and ow this is great irony that Matthew is laying out for us. Divine irony. Carson does great work to show how central the cross is to Christian Theology. It’s what matters. It is the climax. We preach Christ crucified, Paul says. That’s it!

The second chapter is on Romans 3:21-26. Any good Luther scholar knows that this is what Luther wrote ink the margin of his Bible as the central passage in the Bible. Luther said you understand the Old Testament through the lens of the Old, the New through Romans, and Romans through chapter 3.

I think Carson does a great job explaining the Romans road at the outset and some of the problems we have with that analogy in the University setting today. as he says, you can’t find a solution until you all agree on what the problem is.

Then Carson goes on to paint a great theological picture of what happened on the cross explaining words like propitiation, atonement, justification and others. It’s a great read to help get an even better picture of what happened on the cross. I will surely be using this chapter in my internship class on the atonement.

The rest of the book continues and goes into a lot of things that happen in John’s gospel. I’ve already read Carson’s commentary on John, so I didn’t find this as revolutionary but it was still very good.

Overall, a great read and be that I would highly recommend. Though, I have still found Death by alive to be the best book on the atonement.


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