D.A. Carson’s Scandalous surprised me with how enjoyable it was to read and how encouraging it was to my soul. Carson is a name that is synonymous with scholarship in the world of modern Evangelicalism.
A well-known professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and the author of numerous books and biblical commentaries, Carson is someone that most evangelicals should read.
As a pastor, I have worked through a few of Carson’s books. Generally, I found them to be lofty in their language and complex in their argumentation. Thus, I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that Scandalous is a very easy-to-read and compelling work. Carson’s language is very accessible in this book. His illustrations are easy to understand, and his humor is surprisingly down-to-earth.
This book is a collection of five looks at five passages relating to Christ’s death and resurrection. In each look, Carson puts forth very helpful thoughts to challenge and encourage Christians. I especially found Carson’s look at the crucifixion and at the resurrection of Lazarus to be the two most interesting and helpful chapters. That said, none of the five chapters left me bored or confused. Each was clear, interesting, and refreshing.
I have very little negative to say about this work. One small point that did concern me, however, was one of Carson’s choices of illustrations. He made a fine point with an illustration of how a man came to Christ after speaking with Carson about several logical points. However, the illustration also involved a young Christian lady going on dates with the lost man. This is advice that I would not give to any Christian, as the outcome of such relationships is very often not positive. Again, I recognize that Carson was making an entirely different point. I only wish that he had chosen a different illustration there for his point so as not to offer unwilling approval to weak Christians who wish to enter into dating relationships with non-believers.
Without question, I recommend Scandalous very highly. I believe that any Christian can benefit from and be encouraged by Carson’s work. This book would make a fine read for groups who wish to read a chapter per week and meet for discussion and prayer. It would also make a fine springboard for a five-session Bible study. Simply put, this is excellent work by Carson, and I commend it to any believer.
For this review, I listened to the excellent recording of this work made available to me as part of the reviewers program for ChristianAudio.com. This work is one of the best I have heard for ease of listening from the site. John Haag is my new favorite narrator from ChristianAudio.com.
D.A. Carson. Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010.