Congratulations to Fleming Rutledge, whose book The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ has been named “Book of the Year” by Christianity Today. The full article can be read here.
After publishing several powerful collections of sermons and having faithfully served the cause of the Gospel for many years in pulpits both within her own Episcopal Church and across the ecumenical spectrum, it is wonderful to see her magnum opus receiving this kind of well-deserved recognition.
Here’s an excerpt from The Crucifixion particularly relevant to the season:
“The incarnation itself was widely understood during most of the Christian era to be God’s invasion of Satan’s territory. This can easily be illustrated by various medieval poems set to music for the Christmas season . . .
This theme continues even into the eighteenth century:
Remember Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.
In today’s culture, references to ‘transgressive’ are and behavior are compliments, and irony continues to be the pervasive tone of our times. Yet it is a sign of the underlying sentimentality of our culture that Christmas carols with themes such as these would be unthinkable today. Despite the terror and suffering all around us, we demand soft-focus peace-and-joy images for our Christmas cards. By contrast, the apocalyptic gospel dramatizes a cosmic struggle between good and evil, light and darkness, day and night in a symbolic world that grants evil its due and girds itself ahead of time for the irruption of such events as terrorist attacks.”1
- Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016), 386-388. ↩