Easter Sunday has passed. The festivities of faith, family, food and candy are complete. If you really believe in our Lord Jesus Christ and want to live as a true follower of Jesus, where in the Bible could you turn? If you ask, many would say turn to the Gospels and the teachings of Jesus. Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ teaching of the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. I remember learning about the Beatitudes as a kid in Sunday School, and have always seen them as a list to aspire to in if you make it you will be blessed. You know, if you are meek or pure of heart or a peacemaker, you would be a good Christian … right? It seemed like it was a kind of a to-do-list for a Christian and a tall order at that.
So when I saw that a book on the Beatitudes was up for review I was intrigued. What caught my attention in particular was the description, and frankly I wanted a new angle on this teaching. RW Glenn, pastor and author of Crucifying Morality: The Gospel of the Beatitudes describes his book as”Jesus doesn’t prescribe what ought to be in order to experience God’s grace, but describes what is true of people who understand the grace of God.” Now that was something I wanted to know more about, so I was in for this review!
This is a short read in length, but a very deep dive into the scripture of Matthew 5:1-12. Glenn divides this book into ten chapters, each based on a Beatitude, including those who are poor in spirit, mourn, are meek, hungry and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and persecuted because of righteousness. From the get go Glenn states that this book is not written for the scholarly type; however he provides footnotes for the reader to go to other resources to dig deeper and study what other writers and teachers have more to say about the Beatitudes. Each chapter is structured with discussion questions to consider for your head, your heart, your church, and your community. Crucifying Morality is a smooth read that presents and lives up to its intent. I walked away from this book enriched, stretched in my faith, and excited to share the ideas with friends. Glenn has truly packed these pages with meaty substance for his reader. He points his readers to Jesus rather than living on his or her own might. Glenn is a brilliant communicator who eloquently walks his reader (and hopefully a group of friends) through the Beatitudes .
I really cannot say enough good things about this book. It stretched me and challenged me to consider what it really means to live in God’s grace. It was an easy read in that Glenn’s style of writing is understandable, but doesn’t provide a milky teaching on this well-known scripture. I would encourage readers to consider using this title for a small group, Bible study, or self-reflection. I give this title five stars out of five.
R. W. Glenn is the Pastor of Preaching and Vision at Redeemer Bible Church in Minnetonka, MN. He is the author of various evangelistic and theological audio and video resources with Wretched Radio and Television, as well as the books Modest: Men and Women Clothed in the Gospel written with Tim Challies, and Crucifying Morality: The Gospel of the Beatitudes. Bob and his wife, Gayle, have been married since 1995 and have two sons and two daughters.
Christianity is not moralism. Christianity is not religiosity. Jesus was crucified because we are committed to saving ourselves by our religious stamina and moral efforts. The Beatitudes in their simplicity are not commands to be followed, principles to live by, or attitudes to adopt. They profile people who have crucified their own morality in Jesus death, resurrection, and rule.
Crucifying Morality walks through Matthew 5:1-12, where Jesus doesn’t prescribe what ought to be in order to experience God’s grace, but describes what is true of people who understand the grace of God.
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Shepherd Press (April 1, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
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Note: We were provided with a complimentary copy of the book through Shaun Tabatt at Cross-Focused Reviews for an honest review of this title.
*Picture in post was taken at site of the Sermon on the Mount, Sea of Galilee, during our 2012 pilgrimage to Israel.