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The Cross of Christ

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  10,603 ratings  ·  294 reviews
"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 n ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 14th 1989 by Inter-Varsity Press (first published October 16th 1986)
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It is hard to overstate how much I enjoyed this book. It was hard work, shouldering through the dense material. It's not impossible reading, but it does requires careful thought. Stott shows the significance of the cross and why certain doctrines are important, and he outlines many implications stemming from those doctrines. Lots of brilliant insights.

One of the chapters I especially enjoyed was the one where Stott covers four images of salvation: shrine, market, court of law, and home. They are
Keren Threlfall
Since John R. W. Stott’s death in July 2011, interest in The Cross of Christ has been revived, particularly through the 20th anniversary edition (2006). Although it’s only been around 25 years since first published, The Cross of Christ has already been recognized as a Christian classic. It was on my list of Christian classic to-reads, along with older authors as Athanasius, Augustine, and Luther.

Like a skilled jeweler carefully examining and detailing the many facets of a gem, John Stott goes th
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-books
Just like IKEA: classic, colossal and always an interesting visit. So expansive are the halls to roam that to make the most of it you need to take a sit down on your trolley, rest up and consider.
So expansive is the range of material that it takes a good while to reach the goal, but when you do reach it it's all the more satisfying. Don't forget the meatballs.

Stott has helped shore up many aspects of the cross I hadn't considered, and provoked many a thought on how the cross does completely effe
Kevin Halloran
A remarkable book! A blend of accessible yet historical, theological, and devotional material. No wonder this is a classic.
Jun 05, 2012 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Quotes that stood out to me as I read:
"Nobody is ever envious of others who is not first proud of himself." (pg. 57)

"So [the Jewish leaders] felt threatened by Jesus. He undermined their prestige, their hold over the people, their own self-confidence and self-respect, while leaving his intact." (pg. 58)

"We resent [Jesus'] intrustion into our privacy, his demand for our homage, his expectation of our obedience. Why can't he mind his own business. we ask petulantly, and le
Brice Karickhoff
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
What a book to read during Holy Week. I am blown away by how beautiful, shocking, logically consistent, and practically applicable the Christian Gospel is at its most simple and most deep levels. This book is an incredible and enjoyable deep dive into the Cross of Christ and it’s significance historically, ethically, and spiritually.

Stott uses a great deal of structure to address the hard questions head on. For some “Jesus died for your sins” is a sufficient story to elicit faith, but for other
Mark A Powell
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stott’s seminal work has been reprinted on its twentieth anniversary. Within these pages, Stott surveys the cross of Christ with clarity and aplomb scarcely found in such examinations. Not only does Stott trace the Biblical teaching on the cross, he also addresses common criticisms and controversial views, revealing the truth behind the work Jesus accomplished through His death. Though it reads long in places, careful meditation on Stott’s work is not only helpful, but eagerly recommended.
Mitchell Dixon
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has widely been considered one of the best books to read if you are a Christian. John Stott has affectionately been called the closest thing to a pope that Protestants have and I can see why. His width and breadth of knowledge, scriptural, historical, artistic, evangelistic, and pastoral all come out in this book. The Cross of Christ is going to take you on a wide sweep of all of the beauties and graces of the cross and at the heart of it, justification.

This book can be hard to read at tim
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"This is the best book we have read in this group."

So commented a faculty member recently in a campus book group that discussed Stott's book. And we've discussed some pretty significant books by the likes of Augustine, Pascal, Calvin, Kierkegaard, Barth, and others!

I think what marks this book by John Stott, that I first read when published nearly 30 years ago, is a combination of theological clarity and pastoral application that help one deeply root one's understanding of the work of Christ on
James Bunyan
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
Jeffrey Niles
Aug 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
All of history and all of Scripture holds as its central most important event the cross of Christ. Indeed, in the mind of Christ, no other event of his life on earth held a more central focus then the sacrifice he made at Calvary. The cross is the centerpiece of Christianity and must spread from that position until it saturates all of faith and life for the church and for the individual. The Cross of Christ by John R. W. Stott remains after twenty-two years a tour de force in the literature of C ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challies-2020
I listened to a christianaudio version of this, and it was very well-read. There is so much to this book, though, that audio doesn't do it justice for someone like me. I would have benefited much more from reading a hard copy with highlighter and pencil in hand and a notebook nearby. At least I can say I've been "exposed" to this book now and hopefully some of it will stick with me until I can really read it someday. ...more
Marc Sims
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The definitive treatment of the atonement. I cannot think of a better book. The argument he provides for penal substitutionary atonement is overwhelmingly persuasive, and because it is Stott, he is able to communicate all of this without being dry and book-ish, but pastorally and worshipfully.
Alex Sachak
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a brilliant book! The Christian faith is at its very core about the cross and I have read no better treatment of the subject than this book. Stott writes with such clarity and balance on the many biblical, theological and pastoral questions that the cross of Christ confronts us with. I hope to return to this many more times in the future.
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By far one of the best books I've read this year. Easily in the top three. Maybe even number one. 

Stott spends his time in the first half of the book setting up the theological arguments for the crucifixion, and he takes his time. During the first half you'll get the urge to put it down, don't! It is well worth the time. In fact, go get your pencil and a notebook and take your time.

Then in the second half Stott shifts to speaking pastorally and begins drawing  implications of the cross on our li
Noah Austria
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"But God does not impose his gifts on us willy-nilly; we have to receive them by faith. Of both the divine gift and the human reception the Lord's Supper remains the perpetual outward sign. It is intended to be "a participation in the body and blood of Christ" (1 Cor 10:16)."

"God could quite justly have abandoned us to our fate. He could have left us alone to reap the fruit of our wrongdoing and to perish in our sins. It is what we deserved. But he did not. Because he loved us, he came after us
Tom Bazan
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
Probably one of the most complete books that I have ever read. Stott shows how Christianity is focused around the Cross of Christ. He covers topics broadly and, generally, thoroughly. He is extremely well-read and I will probably use this book as a reference for the variety of topics that he covers.

His description of what Christ (God) accomplished on the cross--the different aspects and why each of them is vital--is probably one of the best that I've read. Basically, he takes some very big ideas
Thom Leiter
Mar 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition the journaling thing got set by the wayside and I haven't been able to keep up on it, so, I'll just give some insight into the book. This is an amazing book nonetheless.

Here goes...

If you are someone who has been introduced to Christ for the first time, this book may not be the first book you'll want to read. Only because it's very theologically based and deep in it's exposition. Wonderful to read, but can be very hard to understand at times.

I don't believe that God opens our eyes to t
Samuel Kassing
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second time reading through this book. The first time I read it was roughly 8 years ago. I had recently become a Christian and was wrestling with the implication of suffering. This book was helpful then and it is still an edifying read today.

I lowered my rating though upon finishing this reading of Stott's work. I question Stott's reworking of simplicity and impassiblity. These are technical things. But, I think they pastorally matter. I affirm his heart behind his statements but I d
Mike Print
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are interested in Christianity, God or Jesus read this book!
Douglas Wilson
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Very fine book. I have read Stott over the years, and have always enjoyed him, but I decided to read this (listen to it on audio, rather) after he went to be the Lord. Very helpful, in a lot of ways.
Chris Land
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books on the cross and highly recommend it.
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read it and then go ahead and plan to re-read it.
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is hard to overstate how influential this book is in modern Christianity. Having been referred to as ‘an excellent biblical exposition’ and ‘a classic study of the centre of [the Christian] faith’, Stott delves into the significance of Christ’s cross, placing it at the foundation of the Christianity in a work that is thoroughly deep and comprehensive in its treatment of the subject.

This work is an intellectually hefty tome – rather than being something that can be easily digested over a cock
Matt Lee
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
In this work, Stott considers a systematic approach to understand the crucifixtion of Jesus Christ and its implications.

The book, in brief overview, considers the necessity of the cross, the indentity of the one who died on the cross, and how its benefits are applied to believers.

Where this books is particularly strong is its defence of not only the de facto truth of penal substitutionary atonement (PSA), but why PSA must necessarily be the only possible way to consider the work of Christ on the
Tyler Brown
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really fine treatment on the work of Jesus on the cross.

Some of my favorite insights. Stott does a great job in part one of highlighting the reasons Christ died at the human level (considering, Judas, the Jews, Pontius Pilate and the others responsible) before considering the Father sent Jesus and the Son gave himself in the crucifixion. In the second section, he offers a helpful paradigm of thinking about the scriptural language of atonement. He argues that substitution is the heart of the d
Matthew McBirth
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars.
An amazing classic that every person interested in Jesus of Nazareth should read. Stott did an amazing job diving into the subject of the cross of Christ, looking at it from several view points that could very well be confusing without his consistent structure. This was my second time reading it, and the importance of the scandalous cross of Christ never gets old.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic! Stott brilliantly takes the reality of the work of Christ and helps bring it to life in a comprehensive way. Given the topic, this is an incredibly accessible book - it was hard to put down!
Matt Allhands
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stop reading this review, and go read this book.
Natalie Print
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A helpful, well-researched exploration of why Jesus died on the cross, what was achieved when he did, and the life-changing difference that makes to our lives. I found it to be a good book to read during Lent and the discipline was helpful as some sections are easier to read than others, but I am glad that I have finally read it. For me, the best section was the last, as Stott explored the practical difference Jesus’ death should make in our day to day lives, so I would encourage perseverance!
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InterVarsity Pres...: My review of The Cross of Christ 1 17 Dec 11, 2014 11:05AM  
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Reading the Class...: Chapter One: Approaching The Cross 2 10 Aug 19, 2011 05:10AM  

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John R. W. Stott is known worldwide as a preacher, evangelist, and communicator of Scripture. For many years he served as rector of All Souls Church in London, where he carried out an effective urban pastoral ministry. A leader among evangelicals in Britain, the United States and around the world, Stott was a principal framer of the landmark Lausanne Covenant (1974). His many books, including Why ...more

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“Envy! Envy is the reverse side of a coin called vanity. Nobody is ever envious of others who is not first proud of himself.” 11 likes
“What dominated his mind was not the living but the giving of his life.” 7 likes
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