The Cross of Christ
The work of a lifetime, from one of the world's most influential thinkers, about the heart of the Christian faith.
"I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. . . . In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?" With compelling honesty John Stott confronts this generation with the centrality of the cross in God's redemption of the world—a world now haunted by the memories of Auschwitz, the pain of oppression and the specter of nuclear war.
Can we see triumph in tragedy, victory in shame? Why should an object of Roman distaste and Jewish disgust be the emblem of our worship and the axiom of our faith? And what does it mean for us today?
Now from one of the foremost preachers and Christian leaders of our day comes theology at its readable best, a contemporary restatement of the meaning of the cross. At the cross Stott finds the majesty and love of God disclosed, the sin and bondage of the world exposed.
More than a study of the atonement, this book brings Scripture into living dialogue with Christian theology and the twentieth century. What emerges is a pattern for Christian life and worship, hope and mission.
Destined to be a classic study of the center of our faith, Stott's work is the product of a uniquely gifted pastor, scholar and Christian statesman. His penetrating insight, charitable scholarship and pastoral warmth are guaranteed to feed both heart and mind.
"Outside of the Bible itself, this may be the best book I've ever read on the cross of Christ. It is thorough, thoughtful and timely. As I read it, my mind was challenged, my heart was warmed, my faith was strengthened, and my focus was sharpened on the cross. Praise God for just giving us Jesus with nail prints in his hands and feet!"
"I read everything John Stott writes because I know it will be biblical, well-reasoned and contextually applicable. The Cross of Christ is an intelligent, imaginative and timely exploration of the centrality of the cross, by a personal mentor I've come to appreciate for his scholar's mind and pastor's heart; he knows God deeply, understands the times clearly and engagingly explains truth in a relativistic age."
"John Stott is loved and revered in our home. We have all of his writings, I believe, and in the honored center place in our bookshelf sits The Cross of Christ.
My wife and I consider The Cross of Christ one of the outstanding books of all times. We refer to it often. We have given copies away and recommended it widely. We take it out as we discuss the work of the Savior and in preparation for preaching and teaching. My own personally autographed copy is all marked up.
It is an outstanding exposition of scriptural truth. I believe we must saturate the churches across the world with the central truth of The Cross of Christ.
Once again as a call for the history of Christianity, a fresh generation of young followers of Jesus Christ need to understand the cross of Christ. Many are weak and some are even childish spiritually for not understanding the work of the cross.
Chapter six alone—"Self-Substitution of God"—is worth the whole of this rich, God-honoring, Christ-exhausting, devotional, biblical, ever-so-balanced, theologically sane and clear book."
"In our world of war and terror, there is nothing more important to contemplate than the cross of Christ. May Stott's reflections give us the courage to fight, with all the love within us, the war of the slaughtered Lamb. The cross teaches us there is something worth dying for but nothing worth killing for, that we can conquer evil without mirroring it. So grab this book and get ready to live real good and get beat up real bad. It is the story of our faith."
"I have no hesitation in saying that this is the most enriching theological book I have ever read. I read it slowly and devotionally over a period of several months. I found that it edified and challenged me, thrilled me with the glory of the cross, and equipped me to answer some of the questions non-Christians and skeptics ask about the cross. I am happy that a new thrust is being made to introduce this great book to a new generation of Christians."
"The passion of Paul's statement, 'I am determined to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ and him crucified,' resonates on every page of this classic book on the centrality of the cross. What's more, Dr. Stott has validated every word with a life spent in servant leadership."
"Biblical, clear and cogent are the words that came to mind on first reading this book. The passing of time has also made it indisputable that this book is a classic which is profound in a way that few evangelical books have been in recent years. It is compelling in its simplicity and comprehensive in its grasp of the way in which God conquers our sin, our rebellion, our ghastly evil through the person of Christ. Here is truth which is true, not just because it works for me, but because it is grounded in the very being and character of God, revealed and authenticated by him, worked out in the very fabric of our history, and therefore it is truth for all time."
"For those who want an evenhanded and robust defense of the penal substitutionary theory of the atonement, John Stott's The Cross of Christ is the benchmark. With a deft hand, Stott has given us a classic articulation of this influential, evangelical doctrine that is both vigorous and readable. Books like this stand the test of time."
"As relevant today as when it first appeared, The Cross of Christ is more than a classic. It restates in our own time the heart of the Christian message. Like John the Baptist, John Stott points us away from the distractions that occupy so much of our energies in order, announcing, 'Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'"
"Rarely does a volume of theology combine six cardinal virtues, but John Stott's The Cross of Christ does so magnificently. It says what must be said about the cross; it gently but firmly warns against what must not be said; it grounds its judgments in biblical texts, again and again; it hierarchizes its arguments so that the main thing is always the main thing; it is written with admirable clarity; and it is so cast as to elicit genuine worship and thankfulness from any thoughtful reader. There are not many 'must read' books—books that belong on every minister's shelf, and on the shelves of thoughtful laypersons who want a better grasp of what is central in Scripture—but this is one of them."
This is an overall fine, useful book . . . it is always a delight to learn of others who take the cross of Christ seriously and seek to tell others about it.
[Stott's] penetrating insight, charitable scholarship and pastoral warmth are guaranteed to feed both heart and mind.
"John Stott rises grandly to the challenge of the greatest of all themes. All the qualities that we expect of him—biblical precision, thoughtfulness and thoroughness, order and method, moral alertness and the measured tread, balanced judgment and practical passion—are here in fullest evidence. This, more than any book he has written, is his masterpiece."
Foreword to the 2006 Edition
Preface to the Original Edition
I. Approaching the Cross
1. The Centrality of the Cross
2. Why Did Christ Die?
3. Looking Below the Surface
II. The Heart of the Cross
4. The Problem of Forgiveness
5. Satisfaction for Sin
6. Self-Substitution of God
III. The Achievement of the Cross
7. The Salvation of Sinners
8. The Revelation of God
9. The Conquest of Evil
IV. Living Under the Cross
10. The Community of Celebration
11. Self-Understanding and Self-Giving
12. Loving Our Enemies
13. Suffering and Glory
Conclusion: The Pervasive Influence of the Cross